Photo Credit: fifg – stock.adobe.com
The excitement and buzz of the FIFA World Cup has had all football fans on the edge of their seats. Some teams have disappointed, others have impressed, and a handful have surprised. If you were to tell a football fan that Morocco would advance from the group stage ahead of Belgium before the World Cup started, for example, they would look at you in disbelief. Yet it happened.
This article will list three things that football fans have learned from the World Cup.
Brazil as World Cup Favourites only means one thing
For the last two World Cups running, the odds listed on sports betting sites have indicated that Brazil were the team that had the highest chance of winning the competition. This feels like somewhat of a curse that is cast upon the Brazilians, as for the last two World Cups, they have failed to make it to the final of the competition.
Brazil arguably had the most talented squad at the World Cup, and it was no wonder that the bookmakers thought it most likely for them to win the competition. No team at the World Cup had the same amount of quality to choose from.
Throughout the group stage, Brazil looked a lot like the team to beat, with a convincing win over Serbia and a last minute win over a strong Swiss team. While they conceded to Cameroon in a game they really should have won, many still felt that Brazil would go on to claim another FIFA World Cup.
When they met Croatia, however, they could not get the ball into the back of the net, and the Croatians, known for their ability to grind out wins in a penalty shoutout, proved that Brazil’s favourites curse was real. As soon as Brazil are cast as World Cup favourites, they won’t win the competition.
Morocco the giant slayers
At this World Cup, Morocco has risen up as the team to slay the most football playing giants. They went through the group stage unbeaten, in a group that consisted of Croatia, Belgium and Canada, and did not stop there. A goalless draw against a determined Croatia, and a 2-0 win over a stacked Belgium line up, were the makings of a legendary outing at the World Cup for the men from North Africa.
In the round of 16, they faced a very talented Spanish team, coached by one of the best managers to walk the face of the Earth. Luis Enrique’s men, however, could not break the defence of the Moroccans, and the game, that ended in a penalty shootout, sent the Spanish packing.
Their next task was Portugal, a team that also has plenty of talent to pick from. On this occasion, however, the Moroccans didn’t need 120 minutes and a penalty shoutout to prevail. They went ahead in the 42nd minute, and didn’t look back. This win meant that Morocco have made history as the first African team to make a World Cup semifinal.
Germany & Belgium need to rebuild
Belgium’s so-called golden generation were looking a little grey at this year’s World Cup. The team looked tired, and to be completely honest, looked like they didn’t belong at the competition. The likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku have all been extremely successful in their careers, but for some reason, when all of Belgium’s stars play together, something goes wrong.
Having only won one game in their group stage, the Belgians not making it to the round of 16 may have been the most shocking happening of the tournament, along with Germany’s early exit. The World Cup proved that these two teams are in desperate need of a drastic rebuild, and will need to start experimenting with some new, younger players if they are to become competitive at the international level again.
Football fans never fail to learn a thing or two from the action of the World Cup. Whether it’s which countries have a never-say-die attitude, or whether it’s how far a minnow team can go, the World Cup always provides inspiring performances, devastating upsets, and a thing or two to ponder about.
Robert Griffith is a content and essay writer. He is collaborating with local magazines and newspapers. Robert is interested in topics such as marketing and history.