This World Cup was memorable in every way possible. The tournament that destroyed brackets and even made it impossible to make predictions gave us a final game that had an unfair result. France and Croatia faced each other as the two best teams of the tournament, Mbapee, and Pogba against Modric +10. The French would go on and win the game and establish themselves as the next dominant team in the international level. It might have been a bit obvious due to the squad they brought (and because they were one of my picks) I decided to share why this tournament was the best in recent years.
THE UNEXPECTED SURPRISES AND “THE CURSE OF THE CHAMPION”
I had written a preview of what I would be expecting in terms of surprises and results. However, the tournament was filled with moments that I wasn’t prepared for. The unexpected exit of both Argentina and Portugal takes has special consideration since it had more impact afterward. With both stars out of the tournament, it was clear that their national teams were heavily dependent on them. It was a very disappointing way to leave, but it was something that was bound to happen if you saw their results prior to their defeats (more on that on my previous post). In addition, Spain was another national team that failed to redeem itself after the way things ended 4 years ago. I guess things did go from bad to worse for them after many key players were left out of the final list for the tournament (Fabregas, Pedro as examples). Then, Lopetegui gets fired after agreeing to take charge as Real Madrid’s manager regardless of being under contract. Everything then comes to an end with their defeat against the hosts Russia through a penalty shootout. Their exit was very bitter since it also signaled the end of the road for Iniesta, one of the best players to have played the game.
Germany was without a doubt the biggest disappointment of the tournament. Similar to how things started with Spain, the problems off the field affected Germany as soon as the tournament began. Losing their opening game to Mexico was shocking but considering that they had play against Sweden and Korea, it did look like it was going to be an easy way out. However, things didn’t change, and only managed to win with a last-minute free-kick goal against Sweden Then came the shocker, a defeat against the Koreans saw the former champions leave the tournament confirming that “The curse of the champion” lives on. What is such a curse? It basically consists on the former champion not being able to defend the trophy in the following edition of the tournament. France in 2002, Brazil in 2006, Italy in 2010, Spain in 2014 and now Germany, but coincidence or not it’s certainly something to keep in mind.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS AND LOOKING AHEAD
I start by recapping how solid Uruguay was until they faced France. They were probably the most solid South American team in the tournament, but ill stay with Cavani’s goal against Portugal, amazing strike that ended Ronaldo’s chances to advance. In addition, I give an enormous praise to Costa Rica, Peru, Japan, Colombia alongside all the “small” teams that made the tournament memorable. The fighting spirit that they displayed in each of their games was worth the 4-year wait. Japan’s exit was the most heartbreaking, gone in 60 seconds but worth the watch. Brazil deserves a mention due to how well Coutinho, Marcelo, and Paulinho stood out despite being negatively overshadowed by Neymar’s performance. I’m probably forgetting many other moments, but not everyone might share my top picks so feel free to share your best moments in the comment section.
In terms of looking ahead, I would say is uncertain. The next World Cup host nation is still up for debate as I write this, but hopefully, it all works out well. Regardless of the outcome, I say that as long as the sport keeps growing and the fans continue to be involved nothing will change how magical The World Cup is. In addition, I hope that the competing nations continue to close the gap so that every tournament is as memorable as this one, with teams fighting until the end and defying the odds. The new champions have a promising generation that could become dominant for quite some time if they stay focused but who I’m I to decide what the future holds? I’ll let time be the judge for now. In terms of how active this blog is, it all depends on how much is going on. I didn’t start this to gain an audience but I think its time to change that. So if you like what I’ve written so far (Yes, not that much to choose from) just share it and leave me your comments below! Until next time…