Peter L’Official teaches literature at Bard College. He is working on his first book, about the South Bronx. (June)

Follow Peter L’Official on Twitter: @elapostrophe.

NYR DAILY

World Cup 2018: Sacrés Bleus!

Players celebrating after Zinedine Zidane (second left) scored in an exhibition match featuring veterans from France’s 1998 World Cup-winning team, Nanterre, France, June 12, 2018

The distance I feel from this team is one born of the disjuncture between what this side should be—adventurous, exciting, attacking—and what, to date, it has been: ponderous and predictable, preferring to knock long balls upfield or hit speculative crosses to no one in particular. Pogba, Mbappé, Griezmann, and Fekir have all provided moments of penetrating thought and action, but these have been too few to give this French side a characteristic style. These Bleus seem to be decidedly not themselves.