After a month of summertime footballing frolics, it is time to take a breather. Corentin Tolisso would get some pitch time in the World Cup final, meaning that FC Bayern’s proud record continued. We now have one more World Champion in Munich.
17 minutes for Tolisso
Corentin Tolisso was already guaranteed a World Cup winner’s medal, but ensured that Bayern maintained their record of having a player in every final since 1982. With 73 minutes gone, he replaced for Blaise Matuidi. He did not have to do much, save help run down the clock.
France’s 4:2 win over Croatia was not quite in sync with the balance of play, but it was a well-deserved victory for Les Bleus. Bayern’s German contingent may have been disappointed by their showing in Russia, but Die Roten now have another World Champion. Coco joins 2014 winners Manuel Neuer, Jérôme Boateng, Mats Hummels and Thomas Müller.
The emphatic if slightly flattering scoreline matched that of 1966, the last time as many goals had been scored in a World Cup final. At least this time we had the benefit of goal-line technology.
Mandžukić the history maker
Former Bayern striker Mario Mandžukić also played a massive part in the final, by making history. Twice.
After just 18 minutes, the Croatian striker got enough on an Antoine Griezmann free-kick to register the first-ever own goal in a World Cup final. It was not his greatest moment.
But you cannot put a good man down. After 69 minutes, Croatia were pretty much down and out at 1:4 down. However, Mandžukić kept fighting. He chased down a ball that should have been an easy clearance for Hugo Lloris, and made the most of a howler from the French ‘keeper to score from close range.
In doing so, Mandzu became only the second player to score at both ends in any World Cup tournament match. The first? The Netherlands’ Ernie Brandts, against Italy in 1978.
Back to business
Tolisso will now get to enjoy his summer break, and was congratulated by Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge after his successful tournament. Kalle acknowledged that France had been the best team in the competition, and that Tolisso had more than done his bit.
Rummenigge weiter: "Wir alle freuen uns sehr für ‚Coco‘, dass er mit der @equipedefrance den Gipfel im Weltfußball erklommen hat. Frankreich war in meinen Augen das beste Team bei der WM in Russland & Tolisso hat über das gesamte Turnier einen maßgeblichen Teil dazu beigetragen." pic.twitter.com/BvUkTpwmwp
— FC Bayern München (@FCBayern) July 16, 2018
With Bayern’s World Cup contingent still on holiday, the remainder of the squad are continuing their training under new coach Niko Kovač.
With Croatia’s successful run in Russia, one can easily forgive Niko Kovač and brother Robert for taking some time out, but there has been no let-off. The first fortnight of training is over, and the signs are positive. Elder statesmen Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry are looking sharp. Serge Gnabry is back from injury. The returning Renato Sanches is looking to get a second chance in Munich. Everybody is raring to go.
Meanwhile, transfer gossip has been ramped up. Who is going? Who is staying? More on that to come, and more.