After a month-long festival of football, France deservedly claimed the most prestigious prize in football on Sunday.
Les Blues defeated Croatia 4-2 to win the World Cup for a second time and crown what has been a fantastic four weeks of footballing action.
Read on as we look at the main talking points from Day 31 of the World Cup.
Pogba makes Souness look silly
Paul Pogba received plenty of criticism for his performances for Manchester United last season, but his contribution to France’s World Cup success was stunning.
The 25-year-old grabbed his team’s third goal in the final and he looked a class act against Croatia’s much-vaunted midfield partnership of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic.
His display was also the perfect response to former Liverpool player Graeme Souness.
In a column for the Sunday Times before the tournament, Souness imparted his ‘wisdom’ on Pogba and it’s fair to say he was spectacularly wrong.
“There are question marks about France,” he wrote.
“Like Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, Didier Deschamps struggles to find a system that gets the best out of Paul Pogba.
“He should draw a line under that. You can’t trust him as a central midfielder and, ultimately, that’s how Deschamps will see it. He could use Pogba as an impact substitute.
“If you’re 1-0 up, you’re not bringing him on to close the game down. If you’re chasing the game, he might do something, but he still doesn’t understand the midfield role properly.”
Top notch pundtiry there, Mr Souness. It probably explains why the managerial offers have dried up. The big red nose, floppy shoes and squirty flower are in the post.
Modric consolation prize a travesty
Croatia captain Modric won the FIFA Golden Ball for the best player at the World Cup and the award smacked of “let’s give the little fella a consolation prize”.
It is the second consecutive tournament when the winner has been named as a player on the losing side in the final, after Lionel Messi was awarded it in Brazil 2014.
Modric has certainly played well during the tournament, but he missed a penalty against Denmark in the last 16, was ineffective during the final and there were numerous more deserving options in the France line-up.
The award for the young player of the tournament went to Kylian Mbappe, but the 19-year-old, Pogba or N’Golo Kante can all feel aggrieved that Modric took the top award.
His churlish attitude after Croatia beat England in the semi-final was dummy-spitting at its finest and the reality is that he wasn’t even the best player for Croatia at the World Cup – Ivan Perisic and Rakitic were both better.
Modric’s selection as the tournament’s top player effectively makes the Golden Ball irrelevant if it’s to be used as a comfort blanket for the needy.
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