The biggest football fever on the planet is already at full swing and we can already witness upsets and surprises. What was anticipated to be a merry ride for the big teams with no “group of death” this time, has turned out into a nail biting battle with smaller teams throwing their all to get off the mark. During the early days of the tournament itself when some of the teams are yet to start their ride at the carnival, we have seen some surprising results. Teams which are being considered to be less likely to win are playing like they have nothing to loose. Gone are the days when teams used to play on their heals against the giants.
Argentina v/s Iceland
Iceland had the time of their lives when they journeyed all the way to qualify for the world cup finals for the first time in their footballing history. They didn’t fail to impress at the biggest stage against one of the strongest sides in business as they played a 1-1 draw against Argentina. Despite of falling 1-0 down early in the game, Iceland showed strong intent to come back strong just after 4 minutes to level it 1-1. Their defense was rigid and they didn’t allow their biggest threat Lionel Messi to do much in the final third. They were blessed with a tinge of luck as Messi missed to capitalize on a penalty late in the game. The game ended 1-1.
Germany v/s Mexico
Though Mexico have come to the tournament with a decently strong side, but them beating the reigning champions Germany has to be the biggest surprise till now. No football pundit could’ve thought of that result. This is the first time Germany have lost their world cup opener in 28 years. They last lost their first game to Algeria back in 1990. As they say, “the best way to defend is to attack.” Mexico showed no signs of fear right from minute 1 and kept on testing the German wall. They finally clinched their goal later in the game and that shifted all the pressure to Germany. Germany had over 20 shots, but they failed to capitalize on any of them. It seemed as if the pressure of playing as defending champions had got to them. Now their group is wide open and all four teams have a shot at qualifying for pre-quarters.
Brazil v/s Switzerland
If you see Brazil’s attack on paper, you would feel they are capable of ripping apart any defense in the world. But this wasn’t the case as they played Switzerland in their world cup opener. The Brazilians started off on a high and tested the Swiss defense to full extent before Coutinho scored a scintillating goal from outside the box early in the game. The Swiss came back strong and nullified the one goal deficit early in the second half. The Brazilian trio of Neymar, Jesus, and Willian looked completely out of flair in the second half and failed to regain the lead. They had a couple of good chances which should have been converted, but when its not your day, nothing goes your way. The game ended in a 1-1 draw with each of the two teams taking a point with a lot of lessons as they move forward in the tournament.