Paul Pogba went into the World Cup with concerns about his role in the France team; he aimed it dabbing and dancing as the heart of the team
If ever there was a hour for Paul Pogba to dab and dance, to snapchat and sing to his heart's content without giving a soul with any sense the opportunity even to tut, this was it. With Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium his stage, he dabbed with president Macron. He dabbed with his mother and friends on the pitch. He dabbed with an iconic 36.8 cm piece of sculpted gold that means everything in football. A world champ, a scorer of a objective that felt result-defining in the final, a fulcrum for his team, a massive personality worshipped back home, the only thing missing was a hairdresser on hand to create a World Cup-shaped cut to mark this most glorious of moments.
With Pogba in his exuberant part- the master of social media filming non-stop in the dressing room, on the bus, promoting all sorts of celebratory prospers with his band of World Cup-winning friends- he felt so central to everything about this French generation. During the course of this tournament his status within the group changed, and even for his own teammates it was difficult to articulate exactly what it was and how it happened. But everyone could feel it.” I can tell you that Paul Pogba, I don't know how and I don't know from where, has become a leader ,” announced Adil Rami.” He demonstrated it to us. He depicted it. He's the one that depicted the style. He was the strong man of the France team .”
His evolution during this tournament into a new various kinds of force-out for Les Bleu s , able to use his power, his presence and his technical skill set with an enhanced sense of being responsible and focus, is symbolic of how this squad clicked into serious competitors during their month in Russia.
Pogba being Pogba, when France arrived for this World Cup his role in the side was being debated. Polemicals about his more enigmatic characteristics, the search for a style to get him to play his best and how to fit him in the tactical strategy of things, bubbled from the off. The scene was not unfamiliar as Didier Deschamps looked tense when lobbed questions on the subject before a ball had even been kicked or an anthem sung.
Kazan. France's opening group game against Australia was not particularly persuading. The squad laboured. They lacked imagination and cohesion. Still, Pogba influenced the outcome more than most. A clever through-ball opened the game up to produce a penalty for their first goal- an assist of sorts- before he inspired and finished the move for the winner( afterward given as an own objective ). Post-match the Pogba inquisition started anew, inspiring him to defend himself by batting away the negative vibes.
” I am less entitled to make mistakes than others ,” he mused.” I ran from the biggest transfer in the world to the most criticised player in the world. Criticism is always here. When I was little, with my friends we always used to take the piss out of each other, telling:' You were good, you were bad .' It's about what happens on the pitch and I treat the criticism like I did when I was playing on the block as a kid. I never listen to it. I'm having fun and that's the only answer I can give to all those people who criticise me or who suppose I am this or that .”
Into the knockouts Pogba became more and more influential. The critics in general grew quieter and quieter. Against Argentina he enjoyed himself as France glided through the creative gears. Against Uruguay he helped his team to control the game and minimise pressure. Against Belgium he was strong and disciplined, supporting the defensive work with a mix of aggression and diligence. Pogba showed many facets to his game, able to do what was needed in different situations.
The connects he was stimulating on the pitching became stronger. His bond with N'Golo Kante prospered as a central midfield pair, though it was less effective in the final when Kante strained to be his usual ego. His instinctive understanding with Kylian Mbappe, as exemplified by that ravishing goal when they combined brilliantly as the adolescent bounded on to Pogba's sumptuous pass to ensure the final is recollected for some dazzling football as well as the strokes of first-half luck, is another major plus France take home from this tournament. As keepsakes go, a objective and an assistance from that period of play will rightly be cherished by Pogba.
15 July. There was Pogba's face, illuminating one of the uprights of the Arc de Triomphe alongside the face of Zinedine Zidane adorning the other. For Pogba this is a powerful thing, linked to his own memories of the 1998 Football world cup winners which is entwined with his love for his late parent, Fassou Antoine.” I think about 1998, when I watched a video videotape of the Football world cup with my father, at home, on repeat ,” he said.” We would watch it the entire period. Now I am a world champ. I miss my father. He is watching us. I think he would be very proud. This is for him .”
In the aftermath of it all Rio Ferdinand, with his Manchester United hat on, was quick to point to the challenge for his club to find a way to allow this version of Pogba, a more consistent dominator, to glisten more at Old Trafford. But that is for another day. For now Pogba can deservedly carry his French happiness any way he likes.