The France squad that just won their second World Cup title didn’t make our jaws drop. Beauty and appearance were rather left to the Gioconda’s smile and to Napoleonic conquers. But in football, those who win are always right. And so, The Cult of Calcio’s final Top 11 lineup could not but feature many French – pardon, World Champions – representatives.
The World Cup Winners remains an elite club with very strict admission rules. France covered themselves with glory for the second time, while brusquely rejecting Croatia’s application to join the club. The Final in Moscow ended 4-2 for Didier Deschamps’ side, but we need to thank both teams for giving life to one of the most entertaining finals in decades.
A flash in the night of Saint Petersburg, Samuel Umtiti’s header brought France back to a World Cup Final, 12 years after the bitter outcome of Berlin 2006. Didier Deschamps’ side prevailed in their Semi Final over Belgium with a lone goal by their Barcelona-based center back. Just like 4 years ago in Brazil, the Red Devils faded away in the decisive moment.
Here is our new selection of the most impressive players seen during the Round of 16 and the Quarter Finals. We did have a few doubts, if truth be told, especially among the posts and on the sidelines. Therefore, we chose to keep some experience in the key roles, and leave room to those who have the age and the skills on their side to complete our ideal lineup.
Last stop for the host country. Russia left the competition in the hands of the Croatians, who survived the second penalty battle in a row. 120 minutes were not enough to determine the outcome of the last World Cup Quarter Final, which promoted coach Zlatko Dalic’s team. Mistakes by Fedor Smolov and Mario Fernandes proved fatal to Stanislav Cherchesov’s side.
Another penalty shootout lottery, another goalkeeping drama in the 4th game of the Round of 16 between Croatia and Denmark. Danijel Subasic saved three penalties, Kasper Schmeichel did the same – but one of them was kicked during extra time, and thus the shootout roulette promoted the Croatians after an infinite struggle in Nizhny Novgorod.
The Group Stage ended two days ago, featuring among other things the shocking elimination of Germany, much disappointment on the part of Poland, and the win by the Red Devils of Belgium over Harry Kane’s England. The Cult of Calcio offers you a new Top 11 of players that left their mark during the second and third round games of the Group Stage.
Too bad to be true. The Argentinian squad seen last night was an embarrassing collection of horrors assembled by their confused coach Jorge Sampaoli. Croatia, on the other hand, are one of the most dangerous side seen in the World Cup so far. They showed no mercy for the confused Albiceleste, which are now hanging by a thread in Pool C.
The first round of games in World Cup 2018 showed that the traditional powerhouses’ domination is being threatened by multiple outsiders. On that note, such victories as the one of Japan, Mexico, or Iceland’s draw are pure joy to those like us who love football in its pure expression. So bear with us as we take you through our very personal Top 11 Team of this first round.