Last Man Standing
All the Belgian and English based Tottenham players still in Russia will be now rooting for Hugo Llloris, because Lloris is not just the captain of France but he is also the captain of Tottenham. Ironically the captain of England is Harry Kane but there is only one Tottenham player who wears numero uno on the back of his soccer jersey and that is Hugo Lloris.
Today as the kids of England fell short of the World Cup Final, it reminded me of what Alan Hansen (formerly of Liverpool) said so many years ago "you can't win anything with kids".
As a Tottenham never was Alan Hansen's saying more true than in the year Leicester City pipped Tottenham to the Premier League title. That was a couple of years ago, so those Spurs players that were way young back then, should have come of age now - and that was demonstrated by a dozen goals from Tottenham players in this World Cup. Unless Lloris scores in the final from a goal-kick, there is only the Tottenham goalkeeper who will be walking out to the World Cup Final.
Ironically Hugo Lloris will be escorting his French team out wearing the cockerel of France and in September in the Premier League, he will be leading his Tottenham team out wearing the cockerel of Tottenham. Alan Hansen's words may have come back and haunted the England team today but at least for Tottenham this World Cup experience may have a greater silver lining for Tottenham than for England.
England relied on the youngsters and had not Plan B to go to, and that unfortunately now papers over the cracks that the England team have in having Gareth Southgate as a boss. Southgate played the same tactics over and over and eventually he lost the plot and brought on kids when he had experienced players on the bench. Lacking tactical nous he could not rely on blind luck anymore - England achieved a lot at this World Cup by defying the odds and reaching a World Cup Semi-final. That is why this tournament may prove NOT to be a silver lining for England, though the U-17 and U-20 England teams have actually lifted the World Cup recently for their respective age bracket, but England do need a far superior mind than Gareth Southgate, though Southgate should be congratulated on a very good run in this particular World Cup.
Instead of Gazza crying at the end, it was England hero Kieran Trippier. Trippier's performances at this World Cup spell very good news for Tottenham supporters, especially since he was given the nod for the right back position for England instead of ex-Tottenham player Kyle Walker. Walker still played but with time running out in the game, Southgate brought on Rashford (another kid) and Jamie Vardy (a more experienced player but not a world class player). He should have brought on Gary Cahill for Trippier and allowed Kyle Walker to use his speed on the wings and he should have taken off the young and tempermental Deli Alli instead of rock solid Henderson of Liverpool.
The eight Tottenham players who now feel the string of semi-final defeat will meeting again on Saturday for the third place playoff but we may only see four of five of them on the field. England's theme song "It's Coming Home" alas was not a sufficient psychological edge in the end, and while the song say it is Football rather than the World Cup that is coming home, what is actually coming home is more heartbreak but the kind of English pride the Brits give to heroic losers.
The difference between England fans and Tottenham fans is that England fans taste this heartbreak every two years, while Tottenham fans taste this feeling of coming up short on an annual basis. Now Hugo Lloris it the last Tottenham player standing in the World Cup final. I have personally experienced this feeling for decades, though there have been intermittent moments of Tottenham glory, they have been for secondary prizes rather than the League Title.
Having Captain Hugo Lloris bring home a World Cup medal will simply add more perspective to what is still a relatively young Tottenham team. As Spurs first match in its new stadium will now be a game against Liverpool - all this experience needs to be invoked over the next two or three months and instilled into the collective psyche of Tottenham players. There is no question this World Cup has been a breakout one for the players who have been developed by Mauricio Pochettino whether it is England, Belgium, Denmark, South Korea or France. Personally I think Argentina made a big mistake in not having Tottenham's Erik Lamela in their squad as they bowed out in the Round of 16.
In eight years time, England will see a new crop of world-beaters arise and the Premier League is only going to get better and better as a league - so while England fans will see this World Cup as restoring pride in English football, that ironically is the same sentiment that was expressed in 1990.
Now it is time to put my support behind Les Bleus, as Hugo Lloris trades in the blue of Tottenham for the blue of France. There is nothing noble about Croatia winning the World Cup, in a World Cup that has worked hard in a campaign to say no to racism, their fans have been banned recently for uttering racist words - and the assistant Croatia manager was sacked for his pro-Ukraine comments after their last win - yet FIFA did nothing to hold Croatian defender Vida equally accountable and he played a pivotal role in the win over England earlier today.
The good news for England is that they narrowly lost to Croatia today, but looking at how good the French team is, they won't end up taking an intense beating by France - and that is from today's evidence against Croatia, is a beating that may have embarrassed this young English team. My own town of Streetsville is more or less "Little Croatia" so I think I will keep myself locked in doors for the next week, until that is France and Hugo Lloris emerge as World Cup Champions, then as all the Tottenham players come home from this fabulous World Cup - the next chapter is what this World Cup actually does to to Tottenham in terms of establishing themselves as World force.
At this time I am not tinged by sadness because Tottenham have always promised much and under-delivered, instead England actually went beyond expectations and before the World Cup the expectation was losing at the Quarter-Final stage. Just like 1990 England reached the World Cup Semi-Finals and just like 1990 left many Brits in tears of what might have been, but for Tottenham fans, while Gary Linker did not win for England back then, he took Tottenham to the FA Cup Final and won it in 1991. Spurs used to win things when there as a "1" in the year a.k.a. cup wins in 1901, 1921, 1961, 1971, 1981 and 1991 and League titles in 1951 and 1961 - but this was the Spurs of old - in all what Tottenham players did in this World Cup, as a Spurs fan we may actually be seeing the re-writing of future history of the kind of team Tottenham will be now with experience behind them, and what it means in the dressing room if the Tottenham captain brings home a World Cup Winners medal with France.
So as a Spurs fan I remember 2018 as I did 1990 - as a Spurs Fan !