The World Cup is over for another four years, although we now have new names, new heroes, and new tactics to counter other teams.
My favourite game was Japan vs Belgium, because of the tactical battle between the two coaches.
Belgium were, bigger, faster and stronger, but Japan countered this by closing down space. It was an energy-sapping effort by their midfield and forward lines to defend against the Red Devils’ strengths, so the Japanese backs would not be exposed.
For their part, the Japanese could turn faster on the ball and create openings for any number of players in tight spaces for a shot on goal. Belgium coach Roberto Martínez countered this, especially in his final third, with smart positional play.
This is one of the great joys for the billions watching the World Cup: two countries with different cultures and physiques, but with every player proud to be representing their nation.
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Fans at the World Cup turn the tournament into a festival; a celebration of the game. No other sport comes remotely close.
Part of the fascination is that, on any given day, any side can win. But also, the players want to win for their country, as seen in video footage of Paul Pogba’s speeches in the French changerooms.
Football is the game the world plays. Today, a 19-year-old named Kylian Mbappé is known throughout the world.
Nothing compares to the World Cup.