France will be well rested when they meet Croatia Monday in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final.
They used the extra day to sit about, stirring those tiny cups of coffee they fancy, smoke unfiltered cigarettes and work on mime routines for when they score a goal agasint fatigued Croatia.
Actually we do not know what France was doing, but the benefit of an extra day to prepare for a Croatia that has been pushed to the limit for most of the tournament is hard to overlook.
Our survey of one Australian bookmaker, Ladbrokes, seems to be the confirmation to back our idea. France is offered at $1.91 to $4.50 for Croatia, but as the World Cup has shown over and over, odds and rankings count for little in the low scoring game of football.
Back in the UK, we found no bitterness, no recriminations, no sledges for Gareth Southgate and his young crew. Quite the opposite, as the public and the media were expressing thanks and gratitude to England for restoring faith in the tiny island’s return to the top ranks.
Of course, there were some laments, after all, the 2 – 1 extra time victory by Croatia could just as easily gone the other way and from watching, it would seem that the sealer was the result of one momentary lapse in concentration by one British player at the worst possible moment.
England’s downfall may have been the result of taking an early lead in the fifth minute, but then allowing Croatia to dominate possession for the balance of the game. There were moments when England seemed frozen in place while Croatia probed and there were at least two occasions where only bad decisions and impatience by a Croatia player resulted in excellent chances squandered.
All the same, it would seem as though the future is bright for the Three Lions. Gareth Southgate has been redeemed at the team has the young players who will emerge wiser and will carry the experience gained and use it to good stead going forward.