Kevin Kuranyi: ′World Cup left me somewhat baffled′ | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 16.07.2018
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Opinion

Kevin Kuranyi: 'World Cup left me somewhat baffled'

France deserve their title, but didn't play spectacular football while the general level at the tournament was average, with few new developments. Only the hosts set new trends, says DW columnist Kevin Kuranyi.

First, one needs to congratulate France on their World Cup title. They weren't bad as a team. But all in all, the football that the French produced wasn't particularly interesting. I didn't like their performance against Belgium in the semifinal at all.

Throughout the entire tournament, everyone in the French team defended together and then gave the ball to their quick players, such as Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann. I didn't think it was especially nice to watch. The play of Equipe Tricolore appeared unimaginative and uninspired. But the triumph at the end was deserved.

It was also a World Cup that wasn't that hard to win. There were only a few games at the highest level of quality. Spain against Portugal, for instance, was end-to-end. Besides that, the level of play was okay, but it wasn't the best football. The entertainment factor was not very high in many games.

The Croatians are proud of their team

I didn't notice a new, progressive trend either. The only things of note were the many set piece goals and the defensive playing styles. There have always been these destructive playing styles and I could not recognize any new innovations. In this vain, the World Cup leaves me somewhat baffled.

At least the Croatians tried to prioritized tactics and only just missed winning the title. They can be proud of their performance at this World Cup but were totally exhausted after all of their knockout games went into extra time. The physical stress was too high for the players, at least in comparison with other teams because Croatia didn't have many quality options coming off the bench. Most of the time, it was the same 11 players on the pitch.

My wife Viktorija is Croatian and she is, just like the whole country, proud of the team. Frustration stemming from the loss in the final naturally exists, but that will pass quickly. The whole of Croatia is buzzing about this team.

The Russian population will profit from the World Cup

One positive takeaway is definitely the great atmosphere that was all around Russia during the World Cup. The people there were really welcoming hosts, everything was excellently organized, all of the visitors felt safe and the country will profit from this World Cup. Many fans will definitely come back, maybe for vacation and to get to know the cities better.

After an intense period of plane rides, I am happy to go home. Now I just have to pack my bag, meet up with a few friends in Moscow and bid farewell. On Tuesday I will be back in Germany.

Kevin Kuranyi is covering the World Cup in Russia as a columnist for DW and a television pundit for public broadcaster ARD. Kuranyi is a citizen of three countries represented at the World Cup: Germany, Panama and his native Brazil. He made 52 international appearances for Germany and was part of the team that reached the final of Euro 2008. After a rift with coach Joachim Löw, which he has described as "the biggest mistake of my career," Kuranyi was kicked off the national team. Towards the end of his playing career, Kuranyi spent five years in Russia before hanging up his boots in 2017.

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