Favorites Struggling, Russia Surging in World Cup
The World Cup has reached the knockout stage, and it has seen some of the world’s biggest teams eliminated far sooner than many of us expected. In this article, I will break down the biggest upsets in the World Cup so far, including Germany being eliminate, and Russia advancing to the quarterfinals.
Known as one of the more dependable teams at the world stage, Germany were shockingly eliminated in the first round of the World Cup for the first time since 1938. They failed to beat Mexico and South Korea en route to a devastating campaign, arguably the worst in German history. It is one of the biggest shocks of this tournament, considering Germany have advanced to at least the semifinals every World Cup since 2002, and are the current title holders. But evidently, Germany ran out of gas. They are known as a machine, for their incredible conveyor belt of talent coming through, and their ruthless ability to win year after year. However, the run for the Germans ended in 2018, and there will be new world champions this year.
Possibly the best player in the world will be going home from the World Cup empty-handed. Lionel Messi and Argentina were humbled by France in a seven goal thriller, losing 4-3. It is a shame that one of the greatest players that has ever kicked a ball has never won a World Cup, considering the glamorous career he has had. There was plenty of momentum building for Messi going into the World Cup, as the general consensus of soccer fans around the world was that if Messi won the World Cup with a mediocre Argentina side, he would be the G.O.A.T., or the greatest of all time. But it did not work out that way, because Messi was not able to step up when his country needed him.
The World Cup is always fun, but it is even funner when the host nation does well. This year’s hosts, Russia, came into the tournament with low expectations. Russia are currently ranked the 70th best team in the world, the lowest ranked team in the World Cup according to FIFA’s World Rankings. However, after a scintillating first few games, including a 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia on opening day, Russia started to rally behind their national team. The Russians dazzled the world with their football and their goal-scoring against Saudi Arabia and Egypt, but expectations were dampered after a 3-0 loss to Uruguay. But they responded incredibly, with an astonishing victory over Spain in the second round. Spain, third favorites to win the World Cup, were bounced by Russia on penalty kicks, continuing the incredible Russian fairytale into the quarterfinals.