Weekly English Premier League Opinion - World Cup Edition Quarter Finals Uruguay v France
Uruguay v’s France
France were boring, unexciting, they lacked creativity and were not impressive.
Uruguay were pragmatic, defensive and they were tedious.
Nothing exciting about this game but given the result, one team goes home, and one team goes through. France goes through.
Pogba was anonymous, Griezmann was anonymous. France’s best player was the keeper and their defensive resilience was the winner. Hugo Loris was excellent in goal.
Uruguay didn’t come to play, they never do. Uruguay started the tournament playing for a penalty shootout. And but for a goalkeeper blunder they might have got it.
Uruguay are a talented team, but they are a boring team. Uruguay have talent and that makes you want good things too happened to them, but the style of play is horrible, they are so negative that any good will or faith that you might have had quickly diminishes. I didn’t want Uruguay to lose, but now I’m happy that this crappy team are out. There is major talent on the Uruguay roster and yet the aesthetics on the field are terrible; it might be effective, that is undeniable, but entertaining, certainly not.
But France were no better. There were subtle moments of quality that raised France above their mediocre opponents. The disguise and quality of the freekick was the most creative moment of the game, the delay allowing the Uruguay line to drop and the Varane run allied to the delivery something of genuine enjoyment. But outside of that, very little.
Kanté in midfield was his industrious self, but in possession he was obnoxious. Pogba never got his name mentioned in commentary. There are good ways and bad ways to get your name in the papers, and we’ve seen both sides of that conversation in this tournament. But Pogba remains a total mystery. He goes to the semi-final as a winner. But his contribution to that success was innocuous. France still cannot convince me that they are the best team here. France won, they scored two goals, they conceded none, they are in the semi-final; what more do you want?
I want much more. Mbappé was spoken about as the new idol. Messi, Ronaldo Pelé and Maradona need to move aside for this guy. The detail about those genuine world stars is that they don’t just play well one game, they play great every game. Every game. If you can piece together 10years of outstanding performances, then you are permitted to enter the conversation. If you play well in one World Cup game and then drop off the chart, then you are in the same bracket as a million other decent but totally uninteresting players.
These are the moments. These moments are few and very far between. If Pogba, Griezmann, Mbappé are going to be considered as genuine players on the world stage, genuine names that we recollect again and again and again, then they have to play like it. And now is the most important time.
For all the flair, for all the talent and for all the conversation, France didn’t show it. And those French superstars didn’t bring it.
France go through. France won. The best French player was the goalkeeper.
By Jonny Carter - Chicago Fire