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Goodbye Russia, goodbye World Cup 2018

Public Enemy said it first and they said it best with their seminal tune, " Don't believe tha hype!" If you listen to the press or social media 2018 was one of the great World Cups, but this was a World Cup for the reality T.V. generation, this was the Love Island of World Cups, good to look at, full of cheeky shocks and surprises but no substance to it. There was no depth, no quality to the football but, it was great to watch. Super powers tumbled and underdogs thrived but trust me the football was poor.
2018 confirmed France as a new football super power, their third appearance in a final in five world cups and their second triumph. France, comfortably had the best squad at this year's World Cup, had France not won, Deschamps will have cocked it up on an epic scale! However compare the 2018 version with their winning team from 1998,  I think only two, maybe three players from their most recent win make their 1998 team. Mbappe obviously gets in ahead of Stephane Guivarch and Kante ahead of Deschamps, but that's it. The big stars of this French team Pogba and Griezmann, no thanks give me Viera and Pogba every day of the week. Don't forget that a young Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet barely got a kick in 1998. This year's dominant force would barely have scratched the surface of the 1998 team!
Some World Cups are a celebration of football, some are a celebration of society. Russia 2018 was a celebration of everything that is good about the people in this world. We were told by the press, "don't go  to Russia, there will be excessive violence, excessive racism, excessive everything else that's wrong with the world, blah, blah, blah." However, this wasn't the case , the Russian World Cup was a joyous celebration of humanity, different cultures joining together in the sunshine to party.
 Some World Cups bring us something new, something exciting, something we haven't seen before and some bring us a full stop.
 2018 felt the like an ending to me, a moment to stop, take a breath and say goodbye to an era of football. The greatest individual football rivalry between two genuine legends came to a sad, stuttering end as the realisation that neither Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo would ever lift the fabled trophy. They may both be back in four years time but their greatest moments are behind them and their powers have definitely waned. New footballing geniuses will undoubtedly emerge but these two players have lit up world football for the last ten years and we will miss them!
 Some people are calling this World Cup the death of, "tiki-taca", and possession based football, but actually it was the end of an era for two teams that have played possession football incredibly well over the last ten years. Tiki-taca is designed to gradually increase pressure on an already creaking and stretched defence, to create situations where the team in possession has three vs two in important areas of the pitch, or to create one on ones where your best player ends up against their weaker players. However, this year both Spain and Germany fell into the trap, of playing possession for possessions sake and with no end product, both teams paid the price. This is the last time we will see many of these German players and several giants of Spanish football, Iniesta and Pique have already announced their International retirement.
 2018 of course did bring us the unmitigated success of VAR, and VAR will be developed further and be even better in 2022. So goodbye 2018, you were an amazing World Cup with dull, uninspiring football and goodbye to one of the greatest eras of World football.
See you all in the desert, Christmas 2022!

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