Tournament for the stars – Pogba leads France by example

The midfielder has often been criticized but he showed up to bail France out with a terrific winner against Australia.

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The Manchester United midfielder has had a frustrating last 24 months at both club and international level, with his performances coming under intense scrutiny.

Pogba’s case had been made worse by calls from certain quarters that she should be dropped due to the complication with his best position in the Les Bleus side.

However, on Saturday he vindicated Didier Deschamps’ faith with a match-winning performance in Russia.

On a day when most of France’s stars failed to show up, the 25-year-old was a busy figure at the heart of midfield, trying to dominate on his own, as well as link up play.

The first half was poor, both from Pogba and the entire French team, but the former Juventus man stepped up to the plate when it mattered most.

Having seen Mile Jedinak cancel out Antoine Griezmann’s opener with a deft penalty, Deschamps’ men were heading for a disappointing draw before Pogba sprung the Kazan Arena into life.

The Man United anchorman looped home an amazing effort which deflected off the crossbar and into the net to hand France a narrow 2-1 win. The importance of that goal his highlighted by the fact that it came with just 10 minutes to the end of the game.

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In a World Cup where many stars have already shone for the nations, the array from France failed to come to the party in their opening game against Australia.

But with Pogba leading by example, it is fair to say that this is indeed a tournament for the stars.

First it was Dennis Cherychev for Russia, Cristiano Ronaldo followed for Portugal, and now Pogba’s has added his name to the list of standout performers in Russia.