Despite the absence of a USA team, many have argued that 2018’s FIFA World Cup was the best in history and following France’s victory over Croatia by 4 goals to 2, President Trump added his congratulations: ” Congratulations to France, who played extraordinary soccer, on winning the 2018 World Cup. “
Macron was pleased…
And then, likely stirring the ‘resistance’ into fits, he dared to congratulate President Putin: ” congratulations to President Putin and Russia for putting on a truly great World Cup Tournament — one of the best ever! “
Congratulations to France, who played extraordinary soccer, on winning the 2018 World Cup. Additionally, congratulations to President Putin and Russia for putting on a truly great World Cup Tournament — one of the best ever!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2018
France were fantastic.
And for those who will immediately become football experts to proclaim Trump’s congratulatory proclamation, here is USA Today’s Martin Rogers to explain why Russia just staged the best tournament in history…
History suggests there is every reason to distrust the figures who control world soccer and therefore, every reason to be highly skeptical when the president of FIFA says that this was the best World Cup ever.
But when Gianni Infantino made that bold claim in the lead-up to Sunday’s final between France and Croatia, he was, against all odds, met with nods of agreement from around the globe.
This wasn’t supposed to be a great World Cup. Awarding the tournament to Russia seemed like a flawed and possibly corrupt decision to begin with. The Sochi Winter Olympics, Russia’s previous attempt at hosting at worldwide festival of sports, was good but not great — was hideously expensive, and was severely tainted by coordinated drug use by the host nation’s athletes.
Politics threatened to spill over into the sporting sphere here too, and indications were that not only would droves of fans stay away, but those that did come would be given either an indifferent or even hostile welcome.
On the field itself, it was suggested that the increasingly powerful status of club soccer, with leading teams now serving as almighty brands capable of influencing the sport at their whim, could leave the World Cup nursing a lesser role of importance.
And on a purely provincial level, the United States’ absence for the first time in 28 years was a serious blow to fans of the national team and to Fox, which paid handsomely for broadcast rights.
Yet somehow, it was all those dissenting voices that were wrong. Infantino’s remarks had already been uttered by players, supporters both on the ground and back home and a general consensus of agreement had been reached.
A tournament that started strongly only got better and by the time the final week was upon us, had etched its place decisively in soccer’s psyche as one of the very best in history, and quite possibly the greatest of all.
The hostile welcome … didn’t happen. Vladimir Putin’s politics leave much to be desired but the Russian people rolled out their charm and embraced both the spirit of the event and the opportunity to show a different side to their country.
As the field narrowed and the knockout rounds built towards their climax, the soccer community realized that not only does the international game still matter, but that this tournament will forever matter the most.
It wasn’t dominated by one team or one player, although both Kylian Mbappe and Luka Modric went into the final with an opportunity to place their name alongside the past’s key World Cup influencers.
But there was a treasure trove of treats to keep a worldwide audience occupied and wove a gripping narrative over the course of a month and more.
Giants like defending champion Germany fell, rose and then crashed again. Brazil brought flair, color and Neymar’s dubious theatrics before being bumped off by Belgium. England believed briefly that football was coming home, only to find that no, they were. Mexico battled, Belgium dazzled, Uruguay tussled and Spain got frazzled.
Russia came within a whisker of a semifinal place no one thought possible, not even Putin and his penchant for bluster.
The biggest individual names in the sport left yet another World Cup without winning it, but Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi spun us a stirring tale regardless. Ronaldo began with a bang — three of them in a hat-trick against Spain — but then lost his mojo, his cool and his place in the tournament, before trying to upstage the whole thing post-departure by revealing his move to Juventus just before the semifinal.
Messi’s journey looked to dissolve into a nightmare before a late revival in the final group match, before Argentina got edged in a thriller after giving France more problems than anyone.
The goals kept coming, not as a trickle but wave upon wave of them, with only one scoreless game in the whole tournament leading into the final. There were the cruel thrills of penalty shootouts, late winners in plentiful supply and a platform for the best to showcase their tricks and abilities.
Perhaps best of all, was the experience for those who did travel. Anyone who did not visit this World Cup and won’t visit the next one on grounds of conscience is only to be admired, but for those who pay their money and give their time there is nothing to be guilty of.
European teams occupied each of the four semifinal places but South American fans (plus Mexico) won the imaginary championship for the best supporters. They came in their droves, adding joy and energy to cities around Russia, but especially to Moscow, where most international visitors based themselves.
Peru was eliminated in the group stage but its followers stayed long after, partying hard and singing long and loud. Argentina’s followers didn’t let their team’s dismal campaign negate their fun entirely. CONCACAF’s banner was flown admirably by Mexico, not just the team but the vast number of loyal fanatics with their smiles and enthusiasm.
It was a strange summer, in that it kept on giving even after it seemed like there was nothing left to offer. It will be missed and looked back upon with reverence and affection. It promised little and delivered much, even more perhaps, than any World Cup before it.
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We can’t wait for Nancy Pelosi or Maxine Waters to denounce Trump’s unpatriotic comments, seemingly downplaying the occasion when USA hosted The World Cup.
And sure enough, the left are out in force…
What a dick. @NBCNews: President Trump congratulates France on World Cup win, adds “congratulations to President Putin and Russia for putting on a truly great World Cup Tournament — one of the best ever!” day before meeting with Putin pic.twitter.com/W0mMnfomLC
— AYR AMERYCA #AYR (@_AYR_) July 15, 2018
— Akinwumi Junior Oyebade (@oyebee) July 15, 2018
— Fuck Donald Trump (@FukPOTUS45) July 15, 2018
Yes, this country will heal when YOU are out of office. Again, flattering Putin over the World Cup in soccer! Wow. Does this bashing of our allies & coziness with Putin really show strength & leadership? No, it shows Russia rigged the 2016 election for you.
— Susan (@SusanPaRN321) July 15, 2018
How is it that trump is congratulating the French team made up primarily of immigrants from S-hole countries? Kind of not his style is it? Or was the tweet set up really to congratulate Putin on his World Cup?
— Kathleen Adams (@ktkee) July 15, 2018
Read on ZH