WC 2018: Day 16: Gears changed to sports mode

Knockouts Day 1

As expected teams upped the ante as the knockouts begin. And hence the setbacks.

Argentina 3 - France 4

I earlier lamented on French football the way they played in the group games. After this game, I take some of my qualms back. It seems as if they deliberately created a fake perception around themselves. Thereby saving all their real talents for now when it matters the most. Mbappe’s sprints are like Ronaldo’s. It’s a breath of fresh air watching him run like a lightning towards the goal. Argentinian weak defence had no idea what to do with him. They never strategised how to tackle him. Which, as it is quite clear now, was the biggest mistake. Messy was helpless as the solid French defence surrounded him like hawks the moment he touched the ball. Overall the game was worthy of a knockout between 2 matured teams. It was fast-paced, there were some startling long distance shots, and – continuing the spirit of this World Cup– had some last minute drama.

Portugal 1 - Uruguay 2

Uruguayans, like the French, presented their unique proposition for the Cup with the way they played in this match. It was the game when Cavani resurged being one of Uruguay’s real stars. People should move away from Suarez. Ronaldo like Messi was caged by a more unbreakable defence. Portugal’s vulnerability with lack of attacking options was out in the open for Uruguayans to exploit. At one time it was appalling to watch Portugal’s attack being helpless & failing to take a single shot at the goal. The best team won in this match as well and now both of these worthy winners will meet for, hopefully, a riveting quarterfinal.