Predictions are preposterous in soccer

| Ashim Gupta CHOUDHURY |

The ongoing FIFA World Cup edition has been a world cup full of surprises! So, one can be sure of cup winner only after the game is over.

Soccer enthusiasts’ prophecy from all over the world was Germany lifting the World Cup for the fifth time equaling the record of Brazil as they were pre-tournament favourites.

All soccer giants – Argentina, Brazil, Sweden and Portugal were back to their abode sooner than semi-finals were kicked off.  But those remain on the fray stole the hearts of millions owing to their commitments towards sport and admirable presentations.

The dreary acts of big teams by and large, were dependent on the services of their star performers. And once their star performer’s movement has been taken inside the bud vase by their opponents, run-of-the-mill shows began.

The unsung performers of marginally smaller teams arrested those giants to use colossal free spaces in the field to raise the game in their favour. Consequently, they failed to deliver goods and eventually let their team and country down.

Consequently, a cherished aspiration of winning the ongoing world cup by all big named players has twirled into a mere’s nest, as a few years on just before the next World Cup most of them will hung their boots.

Past is past. Here are permutations and combinations for the upcoming final and prediction of the likely champion team.

Croatia on Sunday’s final against France will not start as favourite though Croatia side is superior in three obvious ways: their tactical variety, ball possession and relying on set-pieces for their breakthroughs. While Croatia’s main weakness – their centre-back’s lack of mobility may cause problems.

Running down the weaknesses of France team, they are individually great performers though they lack in leadership qualities. The French players are indiscipline on and off-field. Both their defense and forward lines are strong enough to contain any team yet mid-field or supply line is their main worry as they heavily reliant on world’s best midfielder Pogba. But France has a nice mix of potential and experience as a result everything is possible.

France has a slight edge over Croatia but anything can happen in football as predictions are preposterous. Remember, final match perhaps will not be thrilling encounters.

Croatia coach beyond doubt will caution his side not to allow France to play their ‘natural game’ occupying sufficient ‘free space’ and ‘total attacking football’. While Croatia perhaps to achieve success, will invade the opponent goal mouth keeping their defense integrated in order not to concede unnecessary goal(s).

Soccer lovers perhaps will miss actions of football giants like Messi, Neimar and Ronaldo during next World Cup. But the way relatively smaller teams are marshalling over big teams in the world soccer, within next four years emergence of new Messi, new Neimar and new Ronaldo cannot be ruled out in smaller teams’.

Also the way Croatia marshaled over England in the second semi-final, leaving aside all permutations and combinations, football enthusiasts can speculate Croatia’s name to be written in golden letters in the list of world champions only after the Sunday’s game is over.

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