World Cup is a win for Putin, but France deserve the crown

World Cup is a win for Putin, but France deserve the crown
Domagoj Vida (21), Mario Mandzukic (centre) and their Croatia teammates celebrate after their extra-time win over England in Moscow last WednesdayPic: Picture: Yohei Osada/AFLO SPORT

Leaving aside the geopolitics of it, this World Cup has been, as ever, a faintly outrageous carnival of sportsmanship

The World Cup hadn’t even kicked off, when so much of what would follow got put in its place.It was the day before the tournament opener and less than 48 hours before one of the justified favourites, and one of the few who can claim to be elite, were due on stage when they, were caught cold with a sucker-punch. Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez had given the green light to announce Julen Lopetegui as their new coach and, with Spain’s FA never the wiser to any negotiations, they sacked him.

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