As a soccer fan - in respect of our American friends I will not use the correct term "Football" - the month-long World Cup ended last night with a pulsating and exciting match between France and Croatia. France won by 4 goals to 2.
Perhaps because it coincided with the Thai cave rescue, there have been no prior comments here. Despite many late nights with a 2-week orgy of three matches each evening/night during the first fortnight, I thought this was the best World Cup I have ever watched. There were major concerns prior to the tournament that being held in Russia might result at the very least in homophobic and racist chanting. None of that seems to have occurred that I am aware of. The only hint was that all the excellent Russian broadcast teams - and they were superb throughout - concentrated too much on petty young ladies when they cut to quick shots of the spectators. That was changed near the end of the tournament. Russians as a whole seemed to have embraced the tournament and all the fans - perhaps in part because their team advanced much further than expected.
France have the most exciting player to emerge in many a tournament - 19-year old Kylian Mbappe. A big, handsome athlete with stunning pace and no fear in front of goal, he is now being lauded not just as the successor to the ageing Messi and Ronaldo but as the new Pele. Time will tell. For now he is a shining star.
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