General thoughts are that it was by far the most enjoyable group stage i can remember, but the knockouts were, understandably i guess, a bit more of a mixed bag. I do think a 32-team tournament’s excessive. A 48-team one will be even worse, though maybe a second group stage will keep the gung-ho ties going longer.
France remind me a bit of Real Madrid, in that they’ve no clear playing style, but more a group of elite players and a good team ethic, which aren’t negatives obviously, but not that entertaining either save odd moments of individual brilliance. It’s a bit perfunctionary and drab for be, but then we embraced England for having about two shots a game.
Great tournament, but we shouldn’t forget that it was a great tournament because it had great political worth to the hosts in terms of soft power, just like City or PSG doing well does to Abu Dhabi or Qatar. I can seperate the two to a point, but doing so completely is pretty irresponsible. It’s great that it passed without trouble, but at what cost, and what sort of legacy will it leave for everyday people in Russia?
Highlights for me:
- Portugal v Spain, and the end of the last games in that group.
- Argentina getting mauled by Croatia, and the whole of the Nigeria v Argentina game.
- Germany essentially being England, especially the late defeat to South Korea.
- The Belgium v Japan and France v Argentina second round ties.