FIFA World Cup finals (2nd part)

 2002 World Cup final: Brazil 2-0 Germany

 Many experts noted that it was almost the weakest Brazilian team in the history of the world championships.  But still, in the match with the Germans, the pentacampeones looked like favorites. The German national team could only hope for order, a strictly defensive game, and the genius of Oliver Kahn, who conceded only once in six matches.

 The Germans had an advantage in possession of the ball, but did not know how to dispose of it, inflicted more shots on goal (12 vs. 9) than their opponent, but did not score a single goal, and took 13 corners, but there was no sense in this either –  quantity has not translated into quality. The Brazilians could have scored twice in the first half – Kleberson’s shot from outside the penalty area was deflected by the crossbar, and Ronaldo’s kick from the penalty area was beaten off by Oliver Kahn.

 In the second half, Gilberto Silva misses the moment – after a cross from the flank, he heads, it would seem, for sure, but the German goalkeeper plays great again.  But there are no such matches in which each of the teams has absolutely no chance.  Oliver Neuville from a free-kick, appointed 35 meters from the gate, decides to shoot and hits the post.  This was, in fact, the only true moment of the “Bundesmanschaft”. And in the 67th minute, Rivaldo struck a shot from outside the penalty area right in the center of the goal, and Oliver Kahn, who had previously played flawlessly not only in the match but in the tournament as a whole, made an unfortunate mistake by releasing the ball from his hands.  Ronaldo, who was right there, sent the ball into the net. The Germans went ahead, but could offer nothing but long-range shots, and soon conceded the second goal.  Kleberson sent a pass into the penalty area, Rivaldo elegantly passed the ball between the legs, and Ronaldo, easily leaving Asamoah, accurately shot.

 So the Brazilians became world champions for the fifth time.

 2010 World Cup final: Spain – Netherlands 1:0 in extra.  time

 It was a great final: a tough uncompromising struggle, a large (for the final) number of scoring chances, controversial refereeing decisions, and a worthy winner who was a little better than his opponent.

 On the eve of the match, it was obvious that the football world would receive a new, eighth champion, because neither the Spaniards nor the Dutch had won the world championship before, moreover, it was the first final for the Spanish team.  And one more historical event – for the first time a team from Europe became the world champion on another continent.

 As for the chances of the teams, some preference was given to the Spaniards.  Not that they were considered clear favorites, but Vicente del Bosque’s choice of performers was clearly richer than that of his colleague Bert van Marwijk.

 The Spaniards created the first moment – after a corner, Sergio Ramos delivered a good header, but Marten Stekelenburg turned out to be on top.  In the 28th minute, the Dutch had to stay with ten men – Nigel de Jong kicked Xabi Alonso in the chest, obviously borrowing this technique from karatekas, but Howard Webb did not dare to remove himself in such a situation and limited himself to a yellow card. By the way, the teams did not stand on ceremony with each other – by this time, Mark van Bommel, Robin van Persie, Carles Puyol, and Sergio Ramos had received yellow cards for rough play.  In total, Webb will show 13 yellow and 1 red card.

 In the first half, the Spaniards created more chances, then there were no more such clear opportunities as Ramos had, while the Dutch answered with a tight shot from Robben in the near corner – Casillas was in place. The Spaniards could have scored at the very beginning of the second half – Puyol, after drawing a corner, threw the ball into the goalkeeper’s line, but Pedro inexplicably missed the ball.  Then Arjen Robben missed a 100% chance – Snyder took him one on one with the goalkeeper cleanly, but Casillas was at his best.

 In the 70th minute, David Villa had to score – he shot from outside the goalkeeper’s area, but John Heitinga, sprawled on the lawn, touched the ball and he went above the gate. In the 84th minute, the referee returned the favor to the Spaniards – Puyol frankly hooked Robben, who was running one on one with the goalkeeper.  The Dutchman did not fall, but lost speed and allowed Casillas to pick up the ball.  And Webb, instead of sending off Puyol for a foul of last hope, showed Robben a “yellow card” because he was too loud (albeit rightly) indignant at the silence of the referee’s whistle.

 In the middle of the second half, substitutions began, and if del Bosque removed the tired Xabi Alonso, Pedro, and Villa from the field, releasing Cesc Fabregas, Jesus Navas, and Fernando Torres instead, then Bert van Marwijk did not have an equivalent replacement for the leaders. As a result, the advantage of the Spaniards increased – Cesc ruined the one-on-one exit, and Heitinga was able to stop Iniesta only at the cost of a second yellow card.  But after seven minutes, the latter was brought to the shock position by Fabregas and calmly realized the moment.

 Thus ended the first-ever World Cup on African soil.

2014 World Cup final:  Germany – Argentina 1:0 in extra.  time

 The Germans approached the final match without losses, but Sami Khedira, already included in the starting lineup, felt unwell and was replaced by Christoph Kramer.  Joachim Loew arranged his players according to the 4-2-3-1 scheme, and not a “false nine”, but a full-fledged forward, Miroslav Klose, came out as the tip.

 The Argentines before the match lost Angel di Maria, who pulled a thigh muscle in the quarterfinals with the Belgians.  The loss for the Argentina national team is more than significant, because Enzo Perez from Benfica, who came out in the starting lineup, did not look like an equivalent replacement for Angel.

The scheme of the Argentines was more like a classic 4-4-2, if you do not take into account the position of Leo Messi – as always, he is given complete freedom of action.

 Match

 Already in the 18th minute, the medical staff of the German national team assisted Christoph Kramer, who received a strong blow to the face in a collision with defenders.  Looking ahead, I’ll say that in the 31st minute Andrea Schurrle replaced him, and later Kramer admits that he doesn’t remember how he played until the substitution and how he left for the locker room. However, after a couple of minutes it seemed that Toni Kroos was lost in space – in a rather harmless situation, he, passing back, threw the ball over his defenders directly to Gonzalo Higuain, who, in splendid isolation, jogged out of offside. Higuain had time to run to the goal, look around and take aim – the perfect moment, but he managed to shoot past the goal.  It is quite possible that then Alejandro Sabella regretted that he did not release Sergio Aguero – he disposed of such moments much better.  And for Toni Kroos it was the 50th match for the national team.  A good “gift” he could give himself and all the fans of the German national team.  Higuain later scored, but did so from offside.  Then the Germans could score twice – first, Sergio Romero parried a dangerous shot by Kroos, and in stoppage time the goalkeeper was powerless, but Hevedas, after filing the same Kroos from the corner of the field, hit the post.

 During the break, Sabella replaced Lavezzi with Aguero, and at the very beginning of the second half, Messi from 11 meters without interference hit the far corner with his magic left foot, but the ball missed the post a little.

 The teams had no more clear moments in the second half, and then it was time for substitutions.  The Argentine coach removed Perez and Higuain, releasing Fernando Gago and Rodrigo Palacio, and Joachim Lev replaced Klose with Mario Gotze.

 At the very beginning of extra time, Andre Schurrle had the moment, but from seven meters he struck right at Romero.  The chance of the Argentines was “fatter” – Palacio was alone on the line of someone else’s penalty area, but awkwardly handled the ball and, as a result, transferred both Neuer and the goal. And in the 113th minute, a goal took place – Andre Schurrle broke through on the left flank and hung into the penalty area, where Mario Gotze, forgotten by the defenders, handled the ball with one touch, and shot past Romero with the second. The Argentines had two half-moments and Leo Messi had both, but he used them frankly badly – at first, he hit his head above the target, and already in stoppage time he disgustingly took a free kick.

 The final whistle of the Italian Nicola Rizzoli, who refereed the match flawlessly, marked the victory of the Germans, the fourth in the World Championships and the first for the united German team.

 2018 World Cup final: France team – Croatia team 4:2

 If the French team on the eve of the tournament, along with the teams of Brazil, Germany, and Spain, was among its main favorites, then no one expected the Croats to reach the final.  Personally, I assumed that they would win their group, but they would not go beyond the quarterfinals

 About the Match

 The first half of the match turned out to be ambiguous.  The French scored twice after set pieces, both of which were rather controversial.  The foul on Antoine Griezmann, after which Mario Mandzukic cut the ball into his own net, did not look as obvious as the penalty after the ball hit Ivan Perisic’s hand.  Between these goals, there was a fantastic blow from the same Perisic, after the Croats won three duels in the Hugo Lloris penalty area.

And in the middle of the second half, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappé decided the outcome of the match in favor of the French team, scoring two goals in an interval of six minutes.  Almost immediately, Mandzukic gave the Croats hope – Lloris decided to play Loris Karius and brought the ball into his own net.  And a few minutes later Rakitic hit dangerously, but the ball went close to the post. Perhaps this was the moment after which it became clear: France is the champion!

 So the French won their second world title and the fourth big trophy in history.

What will be the final of the 2022 World Cup – we will find out very soon.  Leave your options in the comments.

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