Paul Pogba was the only Juventus player to make it to the quarter finals of the World Cup, but was knocked out in the first of the four fixtures. His France side looked lacklustre for long periods and were subsequently eliminated by a very ordinary looking Germany team.
The Germans drew first blood with an early goal from defender Mats Hummels thanks to some shady defending by Les Blues. Germany were happy to cede possession to France from pretty much that point on till the end of the game. Lucky for them though, France failed to answer the bell. It seemed like they were desperately looking for a player to take the game by the scruff of the neck and dictate play. For long periods of time especially in the second half, all the French play seemed to go down the left where Mathieu Valbuena, Blaise Matuidi and Patrice Evra were responsible for all the futility.
Paul Pogba had six dribbles in the first half alone, and promised bigger better things in the second period of the game. Mysteriously though, Didier Deschamps and his crew kept a lot of the play down the left, often completely bypassing the middle as they attempted to play the ball behind the German backline. Pogba cut a sorrow picture in the middle, despondent as time after time he remained on the periphery of play before France turned it over again.Fellow youngster Antoine Griezmann was much more involved in the play and between him and Valbuena neither involved Pogba on runs down the right. Juventus fans are used to seeing Pogba getting many more touches on the ball, and are equally used to seeing his frustrated face whenever he loses possession.
While his disappearance in the second half can be partly forgiven due to his youth, Pogba can also be accused of not showing enough leadership in a midfield that was crying out for a game manager. Yohan Cabaye was equally to blame for not playing the pivot role as France constantly gave up the ball cheaply despite Germany not necessarily pressing too hard. The weather might also be blamed as both sides flagged visibly in the humidity in the last fifteen minutes, but France didn't look like they wanted this too badly.
One game does not a career make or break - Pogba is no less a brilliant midfielder on the basis of today's second half. However, questions about his leadership and ability to carry the team will be asked, and it will be on Pogba to answer his detractors this coming season.
Tell us what you thought about Pogba's performance today in the quarters in the comments below.
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