WC 2018: Day 20: South American exodus ●
It will be again a European crown like last time.
Uruguay 0 - France 2
It was a game of tussle between Uruguayan desperation & French persuasion. Without Cavani, the Uruguayan attack was like an already amputated man losing his last leg. Suarez tried his best to muster a number of chances. But none of his teammates had the vision or talent to work with them. France realised that & made sure they don’t do anything silly on the back. French game had the same fluidity like last time. Mbappe showed some interesting skills both with his legs & drama. However, I felt Uruguayans were not that bewildered by French defence. Which might be enough for Martinez’s jubilant men to easily triumph in the semis.
Brazil 1 - Belgium 2
This was the best match of the tournament so far for me (many consider Belgium’s last match with Japan to be the best). It was a great night of football where teams played to their best with a worthy winner in the end. Brazil’s painstaking efforts to penetrate Belgium defence was a treat to watch. Also quite heartbreaking. Belgium’s superb tactic to make De Bruyne play from the centre with Lukaku in the flanks split wide open Brazilian defence. Lukaku was unstoppable & Hazard was critical. But I would say the real hero of the match was Courtois. His gravity-defying saves took the match away from Brazil.
Tite’s plan to not start with Firmino again might be a bad move. He along with Costa made quite an impression in the second half. However, I felt Brazil lacks a physically strong attacking player who could withstand the pushing & shoving to rush inside a stubborn defence. Current talents like Neymar & Coutinho are too feeble to make their way in & hence spend most of the time strolling around the penalty circle. Brazil also missed some straightforward chances which are a criminal offence in the World Cup. Brazil did not disappoint like last time. I wish they progress further next time in Qatar.
In the meantime, I am betting on Belgium as champions.