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The french national team, the VAR, the change of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus and the embarrassing final River Plate-Boca Juniors were part of this year full of football
In a year of FIFA World Cup, the Russian edition 2018, international football left great moments: some good, others not so much and others very ugly.
Leer en español: 2018: un año de mucho fútbol
It was a year of changes with the introduction of the VAR in more tournaments to strengthen trends, with the way France won the World Cup, and reflections for South America, with what happened in the final of the Copa Libertadores between River Plate and Boca Juniors .
The Russian World Cup
In 2018 he dressed up to receive the XXI World Cup, which was played for the first time in Russia. A championship in which Latin America intended to return the favor to Europe to be crowned in foreign land, as happened with Germany in Brazil 2014, but for the fourth consecutive year, we had to see how the old continent raised the cup. It was undoubtedly the most important football and sporting event of the year, but what did it leave us?
The positive, beyond the VAR's mistakes, it was to introduce it right in the most important tournament of the discipline: the World Cup, which shows a brave step of FIFA. In addition, on the basis that UEFA, for example, still did not introduce it in competitions of national teams Champions League (announced its possible introduction in this coming 2019), Europa League or Nations League (the great novelty of 2018 in terms of selection events and that in its first phase left a very good impression, eliminating friendly matches between Europeans).
The first phase of Russia 2018 was the one that more cases of VAR left us, mostly successful. For example, the selection of Spain was favored, eventhough, against Russia was handicapped with a hand of Gerard Piqué, which meant the draw for the local team and his subsequent victory in the penalty shootout.
France was a fair winner of the World Cup, there is no doubt about that. However, the debate opens up based on the style and the ways in which it won. The reactive football, to defend well and counterattack, which is not aesthetic, but very effective, is the one that for some time now has given more results on the international level.
Those times of the Brazil of magic or of the Spain of the 'Tiki Taka', were left behind. It is very difficult to win with these styles a tournament these days, because the rivals study you more, close well and always have some opportunities to beat you. That was France, of course, supported by great individuals and in a process already consolidated with Didier Deschamps.
The real Madrid
It was also a year in which Real Madrid reiterated its greatness. Another Champions League for its showcases, number 13, and leaving its adversaries far behind. Milan from Italy, with 7, is the one who follows him on that select list. That title, achieved in Kiev against Liverpool, and the runner-up obtained with the Croatia National Team, allowed Luka Modric to take down the Golden Ball hegemony of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo (only winners of the prize between 2008 and 2017).
Our opinion is that after the games of Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid , the white team will have a hard time maintaining its hegemony in Europe, as these two names gave it the mystique and the winning character they needed. In turn, we consider that the march of the Portuguese star to Italian football is a sign of great star, of someone who wants new challenges and continue to stand out in other frontiers. If CR7 manages to win the Champions League with Juventus, in our view, he will become the best player of recent times.
Undoubtedly, what happened in the final of the Copa Libertadores between River Plate and Boca Juniors of Argentina, was a blow to Latin American pride and a stain for Conmebol, the failure to control the acts of violence aroused in the second leg, that was going to be held at the Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires.
Violence, injured protagonists (such as the Boca Pablo Pérez midfielder), informative confusion, continued postponement of the game, and a final decision that surprised many and became very criticized as it was to play the second leg at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium from Madrid. Unusual. A totally denaturalized ending. A bad example that can not be repeated and that has to serve as learning for the Conmebol.
The good thing, in our way of seeing things, was that on the grass and in the purely sporting thing, the team that best played and better did things prevailed.
Argentina's River Plate, which had equaled 2-2 in the first leg at La Bombonera, managed to impose itself as a 'local' at the Santiago Bernabéu by 3-1 in extra time and thus retain its fourth continental title of Libertadores, although, and in what already marked the culmination of the year in what refers to football, was surprisingly eliminated in the semifinals of the increasingly debrided Club World, against Al Ain United Arab Emirates.
Thus, we closed a great year 2018, of a lot of soccer, of great champions, of important modifications, of positive and negative facts. Thus, we prepare for a 2019 in which the Copa America of Brazil will be the flagship tournament along with the start of the South American qualifiers towards Qatar 2022.
LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano
Translated from "2018: un año de mucho fútbol"