Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball


The Knockout stages of the Qatar World Cup were phenomenal

Irish journalist Dan McDonnell joined The Football Show to discuss the World Cup. The World Cup f...

Irish journalist Dan McDonnell joined The Football Show to discuss the World Cup.

The World Cup final between France and Argentina was the best World Cup final ever played.

That's a fairly consensus opinion at this stage.

But if we look beyond the final, the knockout stages of the competition were outstanding. Croatia beat Brazil on penalties. Argentina did the same to Holland. Morocco upset Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal and France outlasted England in a tense affair.

While the semi-finals of the World Cup provided some straight-forward outcomes, the quality of football played in those games was still high overall.

Dan McDonnell and Joe Molloy discussed the quality of the games on The Football Show.

"The four quarter-finals were all brilliant," McDonnell said.

"I think that's the best 24 hours in terms of drama that I can remember in football," Molloy echoed.

"Incredibly good. And the semi-finals even...Morocco-France was good. Argentina-Croatia maybe the second half [was bad] but even within that you still have the Messi solo run and assist. Which is a really memorable moment. And the final delivered so..." McDonnell elaborated.

"The Round of 16 maybe was a small bit flat you could say. But that was the price you paid for getting the good quarter-finals."

This World Cup inverted what we expect from a great tournament. Normally the group stages provide the most entertainment. There are constant games and the players are less tense. When the knockout stages begin, teams become more cautious and individuals are less impactful.

But in this World Cup everyone played with great freedom in the biggest moments.

"A lot of the great tournaments I remember, there was actually brilliant group stage drama or stories. 98 was definitely a good World Cup but later on in the competition you would have had cagey knockout ties that went to penalties that didn't leave a good impression.

"In this one, all of the last seven games, leaving out the third place game, the last seven games of the tournament all delivered things you will remember from each game."

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