It’s been an exciting World Cup so far, but the last 16 haven’t favoured the underdogs. If you could call them underdogs.
In my opinion, and I’m far from an expert, none of the so called favourites or top teams have really played that well.
England, Spain and Italy were all dumped out at the group stages. I am not sure whether these teams really are crammed full of the world’s best players, or have the marketing departments just convinced us all, in Europe anyway, that these players are the best. They certainly under performed.
Only for Lionel Messi, Argentina probably wouldn’t be in the last 8. While he is not the only player who has played well on the Argentinian team, he is the only one who seems to have pulled them out of the fire on several occasions.
Iran could have beaten them, but up pops Messi and smacks a screamer into the top corner.
Fair enough. Di Maria scored a great goal against Switzerland, but then the Swiss go and hit the post. You can be sure if that was Argentina, it would have gone in off his leg.
Same with Chile. They hit the crossbar in the last minute of extra time against Brazil. Then they go out on penalties.
Imagine how much this tournament would be if Chile and Switzerland had gone through to the last eight instead of Brazil and Argentina.
The Greeks! Again, dumped out by Costa Rica, not that you would begrudge Costa Rica, but Greece could have won this in normal time or in extra time. Luck was against them.
Algeria! If they had a bit more quality up front, who knows. Germany, bad and all as they have been are still hanging in there.
Mexico should have gone through, but they blew it. They should be there.
The Americans. Maybe it was Tim Howard who created a false illusion by making so many saves, but they could and should have taken the game to penalties. Luck not on their side?
Imagine a last eight with Greece, Colombia, Algeria, USA, Switzerland, Chile, France, Mexico.
You can be sure the marketing departments wouldn’t like it with all these “minnows” int he last 8.
Instead we have Brazil, Argentina, and Holland poxing their way into the last 8.