I would’ve written this post sooner but there just wasn’t enough to write about. There was the World Cup final and third-place playoff, of course, but there’s only so much you can write about something that the whole damn world is writing about. Besides, it took me a while to recover from those games. You have to watch the finals with full commitment, you know.
So France took the cup and didn’t care how much the English yelled that “it’s coming home”. The English didn’t even get the bronze medal. Serves them right, playing such atrocious football on the biggest stage in the world. You think they’ll give up glorifying their orcist tendencies in the EPL now? No? Neither do I. The English can be as thick-skinned as trolls sometimes.
The World Cup and the Final
I have to say I enjoyed this World Cup. Who doesn’t like a good upset and there were multiple in this tourney. First, there was the ignominious exit of the defending champions, Germany. Their performance was uncharacteristically lacking of the verve that the Germans are famous for.
Then, the Argentinians (Portugal’s exit wasn’t an upset. Anyone who saw Uruguay play would say that) bowed out to the eventual champions France. Considering how good France were and the fact that they brought it “maison”, this was possibly the most acceptable upset of them all.
This was followed by the Spaniards bidding adios to everyone. They, at least, tried. When it comes to penalties, it’s a crap shoot (out). Bad luck to them. The biggest upset was the Brazilians though. They went out to a fairly young and upstart Belgian team. Belgians really did show up the Brazilians with their teamwork and passing. As good as the entire European team was, Kevin De Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois still stood out.
How about that final, though. As good as the French attack was, their true strength in the game was their defence. The best goal of the game came from the Croatians. That control and shot from Perisic was superb! The Loris howler was also superb. I LOL’ed so hard when that happened, not least because he’s a Spurs player.
The most significant moment of the game, though, was the VAR. I can’t decide myself whether that was a penalty or not. I’ve swayed both ways with it and I have a feeling most neutrals are in the same boat. That was a big decision from the ref, though, and it told by the end of it.
A word for the Croatian president: that woman is pure class. Why can’t we have a PM like that, eh?
Noussair El Mimouni to ATK from Morocco
I think this is a Jahouh inspired signing. Ahmed Jahouh was such a big success for FC Goa that ATK must’ve decided to explore the Moroccan shores. They found Mimouni, who also happens to be a defensive midfielder. Mimouni is also versatile in terms of position. His preferred positions in decreasing order of proficiency are DM > CM > CB > RB.
The ATK squad is shaping up very nicely indeed. I have a feeling that Mimouni in conjunction with Pronay Halder will free Manuel Lanzarote to do what he does best on the pitch – float around. Mimouni will also add to the team’s defensive solidity especially since he possesses tactical intelligence that is not at all common in midfielders these days.
He lacks a bit of pace but Halder and Coppell’s defensive focus should negate that little flaw tidily. In fact, I expect him to be Coppell’s midfield general in the same way that Jahouh is the midfield general of Lobera. Additionally, he’ll have John Johnson deployed behind him in the centre of defence and they together should form the base of the ATK spine.
Nirmal Chhetri to FC Goa from NorthEast United FC
Sergio Lobera’s FC Goa have acquired the services of Nirmal Chhetri from NorthEast United FC. This isn’t an inspired signing by any stretch of imagination but I think Chhetri will cement his position in the Gaurs’ first eleven. He mainly plays in the right back position but can put in a shift in the centre of defence as well. Although, I doubt he’ll get many minutes there.
Chhetri has a defence first tendency which will serve him well in an FC Goa team that can be too gung-ho. He also has experience of the Indian Super League having played for Kerala Blasters FC and NorthEast United FC both. With the right defensive partners, I think Chhetri can prove to be an asset to Lobera’s attack minded team.
Alen Deory to Mumbai City FC from the I-League
Alen Deory is all set to make a return to the ISL as Mumbai City FC have recruited him from the I-League club Shillong Lajong FC. What I can’t figure out is whether Guimares has recruited Deory as a first team player or squad player. Looking at Deory’s versatility (CF > AM > LM > LW > RM > CM), contract length (only 2 years), and tender age (22), I would think it is the latter and not the former.
Add to this the fact that Deory, no doubt a greatly talented player, hasn’t really been giving stellar performances. In 31 I-League and ISL matches in the last five years, Deory has scored a solitary goal. In fact, he wasn’t even a regular first teamer till the last year when he racked up 12 appearances. Either Guimares has seen something he really likes in this player or he’s going to be a squad player again.