This summer’s FIFA World Cup in Russia has been nothing short of sensational, and the incredible drama has already served up a whole host of shock results.
Defending champions Germany crashed out at the group stage, Lionel Messi’s Argentina and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal both feel at the last 16, and the unfavored host nation knocked out Spain in an incredible penalty shootout. When added to the fact that Italy, the Netherlands, and USMNT didn’t even qualify, it truly has been a sensational tournament of shocks.
Why Have There Been So Many Shocks?
The shocks started on night one on the tournament as Russia smashed five goals past a hapless Saudi Arabia. In truth, the surprises haven’t stopped since. We’ve seen poor performances by some of the world’s best while perennial underachievers like Belgium and England have performed very well.
So, why exactly has the tournament failed to follow the script? Here are five explanations.
The Playing Field Is More Even
The gulf between the top teams and worst teams in international football is still huge (just ask Panama) but the majority of teams at the FIFA World Cup now have the defensive qualities and tactical awareness to frustrate teams.
Possession football no longer has the impact it once did, which has allowed teams to win games on the counter. After all, the small nations know everything about the global stars and how those teams play. Nullifying a Neymar, Messi, or Ronaldo suddenly gives the underdog a greater chance.
Conversely, the big teams still have less knowledge of the smaller nations.
The introduction of Video-Assisted Referees was supposed to remove the controversy from the beautiful game. If anything, it has resulted in more mistakes than ever before.
Portugal, Spain, and England are just three teams to have been on the end of poor decisions while a host of others will feel have issues with the inconsistency of officiating. While the statistics will suggest that it has increased the accuracy, there’s no denying the negative factor it has played at times.
If nothing else, the times taken for decisions to be made has been laughable.
The combination of defensive stability by the underdogs and the disrupted play has also made it easier for inferior teams to play for penalties. Once you reach that stage, it is the ultimate lottery. Russia beat Spain via this method, underlining those sentiments to perfection.
On that same night, Croatia squeezed through against Denmark as expected but the crazy nature of that penalty shootout only further echoes those thoughts. Do not be surprised if we see another team exit in this manner before July 15.
If we were going to put money on it... England.
So, What Does The FIFA World Cup Teach Us?
If anything, the erratic nature of this year’s FIFA World Cup has taught us that;
- a) You have to be in it to win it.
- b) Anything can happen in a lottery.
Why not transfer those sentiments into your life today by trying to pick the winning Powerball ticket? If you get it right, your life will never be the same again.