TOPSHOT – Argentinian referee Nestor Pitana gestures as he listens to indications from the Video Assistant Refereeing (VAR) through the Russia 2018 World Cup ultimate soccer match between France and Croatia on the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 15, 2018.

FRANCK FIFE / AFP/Getty Photographs

France gained the World Cup in a match that was eventful and entertaining, although not precisely a basic.

Croatia performed very properly, and the rating line flattered France, however on the finish of the day the French attackers had been higher opportunists.

It was unlucky {that a} video replay determination performed such a outstanding function in deciding the course of the sport. I don’t suppose the handball was deliberate, and it positively wasn’t a “clear and apparent” penalty, which is the standards that’s purported to be utilized. The video assistant referee ought to have let it cross.

VAR has its critics, and a few predicted it could result in chaos at this World Cup, with referees from world wide utilizing the system for the very first time.

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I feel it’s labored out properly although and video expertise is unquestionably the way in which ahead. It’s solely going to enhance as implementations get higher. And it did lead to extra targets, with a document 29 penalty kicks awarded at this World Cup.

The ultimate additionally noticed the 12th personal objective of the match as Mario Mandzukic headed one previous his personal keeper. That doubled the earlier document, and is greater than the final three World Cups! I don’t suppose there’s any purpose for it, only a fluke run of misfortune.

A dissatisfied Luka Modric deservedly earned the Golden Ball award as participant of the match. Modric all the time appears to be in the proper place on the proper time, regardless that you don’t see him charging in regards to the pitch.

Kylian Mbappe was award Finest Younger Participant, as he turned the primary teenager to attain in a ultimate since Pele. He has an incredible future forward of him.

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Belgium’s Thibault Courtois picked up the Golden Glove for his secure palms all through the match.

Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subasic and France’s Hugo Lloris had been each within the working for that award heading into the ultimate, however neither coated themselves in glory within the sport. Lloris gifted a objective for Mandzukic, whereas Subasic appeared caught off guard by France’s final two targets.

It’s rumoured that Subasic is carrying an damage from the sport towards Russia, so he could not have been 100 per cent.

After all Harry Kane claimed the Golden Boot as prime scorer. Kane scored most of his targets early on within the group stage, then went quiet in a while.

Total it was a fantastic match. The large disappointment for me was the South American groups. They got here with promise, however typically didn’t dwell as much as expectations. Add within the diving and theatrics and the complaints about biased refereeing, and South America actually didn’t make a fantastic impression.

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One factor I did respect was the general parity. There weren’t numerous blowouts, and the darkish horses and underdogs received to shine. Again in 1998, many individuals moaned when the World Cup went from 24 groups to 32, saying it could dilute the competitors. I feel it’s been nice. I like to see all of the completely different groups, and the wealth being shared.

And I’m trying ahead to 2026 when it expands to 48 groups, with Canada as one of many hosts.

Earlier than then is Qatar 2022, and I feel Canada has a fantastic likelihood to qualify. We’ve received group of gamers and with John Herdman in cost we now have a coach who is aware of methods to get the most effective out of them. Thrilling occasions forward.

Lenarduzzi is president of Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Tickets: go to whitecapsfc.com/tickets

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