World Cup play-offs and internationals: 10 things we learned

“1) Individualists ready to break out in Brazil? Is there something in the air? Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic both lived up to the hype in Stockholm, spectacularly so, and there’s something that doesn’t happen in overcooked modern football all that often. Their determination to wring every last desperate drop from their talent, in the hope of dragging their team single-handedly to the World Cup finals, was a joy to behold. More of this, please! Could it be that a few of this generation’s great individualists have decided the time is right to break ranks, shake off the tactical shackles, and stamp their name all over the 2014 finals? It’s statistically viable, if nothing else. The last two tournaments have been all about great teamplay, while a harsh observer – sorry Zizou, apologies Original Ronaldo – might argue that there hasn’t been a truly great one-month one-man residency at a finals since Roberto Baggio nearly took Italy all the way in 1994. …” Guardian

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