World Cup: State of Play

After the qualifying rounds have come to an end, Brussels Express provides you with an overall insight on the first conclusions as well as the main the upcoming games and stakes.

The favourite teams have (almost all) been successful so far…..

England Football
Harry Kane – England’s top goal scorer

The first round has been quite successful for the main teams. Spain, Portugal, France, Argentina, Brazil, England and Belgium will indeed take part of the Round of 16 as of Saturday.

Not considering the performance of England and Belgium, which have actually played vs “weaker” teams during the first two games, the other favourite teams were not that impressive. Portugal and Spain had some difficulties, France has not played that well and Argentina almost failed to qualify.

It is then up them to show they have what it takes to win the World Cup through the upcoming games.

Germany is out!

German Football
German team 2018 – By Steindy (talk) 14:28, 27 June 2011 (UTC) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win”. That famous sentence, which was issued by Gary Lineker in 1990, is not true anymore.

Germany was definitely one of the TOP-3 teams for the 2018 World Cup. But a lack of collective sense has knocked them out of the competition. And their last game vs. Korea, who scored twice in the extra-time, was completely unprecedented for Germany.

It seems there is an ‘ex-winner syndrome’. All teams that won the previous competition get knocked out in the group stages of the next: France got eliminated in the qualifying round in 2002, and Italy and Spain have experienced the same trauma in 2010 and 2014.

Croatia and Colombia: Rising stars

Croatia Football
Croatia 2018 – By Agência Brasil [CC BY 3.0 br], via Wikimedia Commons

The qualifying rounds were quite surprising: there is no real “small team”. If you forget some completely unbalanced games, all of them were quite tight.

But a couple of teams were quite attractive and can have a chance to blosson to something interesting. Croatia was really impressive vs. Argentina and many experts find them a very good outsider. It is then worth having a look at the Modric’s mates’ performance over the next days.

Colombia, which lost the first game it played vs. Japan, went on to win the two other games and will surely benefit from a continued popular support. They won’t be an easy team to defeat.

What about the Red devils?

Belgium football
Belgium V Panama

Belgium has been congratulated for the offensive way of playing it has implemented in the first two games. The challenge was, however, doable vs. Panama and Tunisia, which could not be representative for the upcoming games. The game vs. England was also non-significant, as both coaches didn’t really aim to win.

We therefore really can’t assess the Red devils’ performance as of now. The upcoming game vs. Japan and the potential one vs. Brazil in the quarter-final can then be very interesting.