World Cup 2018: Didier Drogba on England, African groups – and life with no ponytail
In addition to folks asking me what has occurred to my hair, the query I’ve been getting most whereas I’ve been at this World Cup is what has occurred to the African groups.
Let me clear up my haircut first. It’s one thing I had achieved about seven months in the past, however I assume I’m not that good on social media – I do not publish sufficient selfies!
So, I do know persons are not used to it, as a result of I had my ponytail for years and years – however me having no hair just isn’t new.
It does make issues simpler, although, as a result of I spend rather a lot much less time within the rest room now!
‘It’s essential to maintain your id as a crew’
It has been a disappointing begin to the World Cup for Africa – till Nigeria beat Iceland on Friday, there had been six defeats in seven video games for the 5 African international locations in Russia.
So it was nice to see the Tremendous Eagles win, however the way in which they did it was simply as vital and spectacular.
Within the second half, Nigeria got here to life and performed the way in which I need to see all of the African groups play – occurring the assault, utilizing their tempo and energy, and having a number of photographs.
That’s what I didn’t see of their first recreation against Croatia, when Nigeria have been taking part in inside themselves – conserving a good condition, taking part in protected, and passing the ball backward and forward.
This time, they went out simply to win. They performed with two strikers they usually have been so quick and aggressive going ahead that they frightened Iceland.
They have been spontaneous and thrilling, which is the way in which I anticipated them to play at this World Cup – and that’s the reason they gained the sport.
The purpose I’m making is that you might want to maintain your id as a crew. Till then, Senegal had been the one African crew to do this, and actually attempt to scare their opposition.
It is crucial they maintain doing that – and Nigeria too – if they will attain the final 16. In the event that they resolve to remain defensive and begin fearing conceding targets, they are going to be going dwelling.
‘I do know what it’s like to not be 100% at World Cup’
Sadly, it seems like Nigeria and Senegal are the one African groups who’ve an opportunity of creating it out of their teams. Egypt are out, however it will have been a special story for them if Mohamed Salah was match.
I do know him properly from our time at Chelsea, when he was like just a little brother to me, and I do know what he brings to the Egypt crew.
It isn’t simply his risk of targets, it’s his charisma. They really feel safe when he’s on the pitch, as a result of they know they may get probabilities, and it’s actually unhappy that he couldn’t carry out at his greatest due to his damage. It’s a tragedy for him.
I’ve been by way of it once I broke my arm simply earlier than the 2010 World Cup. Like Salah, I performed – however I used to be nowhere close to 100% when in a World Cup you might want to be at 120%.
Morocco are out too, however not less than they’ve had a go. They haven’t scored a aim at this World Cup however they created so many probabilities in their defeat by Portugal that they positively deserved one.
And it’s going to be exhausting for Tunisia to rescue their state of affairs after dropping their opening recreation, however I at all times thought they have been in a really tough group with two of the groups I believe will go far on this event: Belgium and England.
‘England, Croatia and Belgium the groups to face out to date’
The England crew is one other topic that has come up rather a lot throughout my time in Moscow, the place I’ve been working for Fifa in addition to the BBC.
I actually admire being requested about them, as a result of it means my time within the Premier League was memorable for lots of people in addition to for myself – the years I spent at Chelsea have been a number of the greatest instances of my profession.
England are literally considered one of my favourites for this event – I actually appreciated the way in which they performed of their opening recreation against Tunisia too.
It’s too early to say which crew has stood out as a possible winner after the primary week of the World Cup, however I’ve been impressed by Croatia, and their midfielders – Ivan Rakitic, Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic – who were brilliant against Argentina.
The crew I like essentially the most remains to be Belgium, although. One motive is that I’ve numerous buddies of their squad, however they’ve a lot high quality too and I do not know why extra folks do not talk about them as winners.
‘I am a fan of strikers who take an opportunity – and VAR’
We now have seen numerous supposedly smaller soccer nations frustrate the massive sides to date at this World Cup however the highlights for me have been when we’ve got seen some thrilling attacking play.
I’m speaking about Cristiano Ronaldo’s performance for Portugal against Spain, or Ahmed Musa for Nigeria against Iceland. They have been each keen to strive issues, they usually weren’t afraid to overlook.
I’ve additionally been a giant fan of the video assistant referee (VAR), which has performed its half in some huge moments on the event to date.
With the variety of penalties which were given, you may assume I’m talking as a former striker there – however I truly assume it’s a constructive for defenders too. It reduces errors each methods.
I assumed the problem on Neymar through the Costa Rica match was a penalty once I first noticed it, however the choice was appropriately dominated out as a result of it was too comfortable.
These type of selections are game-changing so you will need to get them proper.
Having VAR at this World Cup has been the very best innovation and enchancment of contemporary soccer – it’s a nice evolution of the sport.
Didier Drogba was chatting with BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan in Moscow.
|2018 Fifa World Cup on the BBC|
|Host: Russia Dates: 14 June – 15 July|
|Reside: Protection throughout BBC TV, BBC Radio and BBC Sport web site with additional protection on Crimson Button, Linked TVs and cellular app.|