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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

World Cup 2014: Rise of the Underdogs

So, the quarterfinal lineup for World Cup is ready and the big names like Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Netherlands are in the quarterfinals. Joining them are Belgium, Columbia and Costa Rica. Well, some big names like Italy, England, Portugal and even Uruguay are out. We have seen some spirited performance from the underdogs. Thus, World Cup 2014 perhaps can be termed as the rise of underdogs. Let us take a look at the underdogs this time.
Algeria: May be, I put their names at the beginning because they came alphabetically. However, the way they fought against Germany to the end was an epic match of this world cup. They did not play like an underdog at all but was the better team. They were unlucky not to have won the match and Germany was lucky that Ozil found the net at the right moment. In the group stage, Algeria was unlucky to lose to Belgium 1-2 despite finishing the first half with a lead of 1-0. They demolished South Korea and drew with Russia.
Costa Rica: It is a fairy tale World Cup for Costa Rica. In the group stage they remained undefeated and even won 2 matches and drew 1-1. They won against Italy and Uruguay and drew with England. According to FIFA ranking, Costa Rica is the 28th ranked country in the world. So, it is indeed a fairy tale run for them and they are going to face Netherlands in the quarterfinals. Hardly anyone is expecting them to win against the mighty Holland but who knows fairy tales can come true.
Chile: They almost had a fairy tale run too. In the group stage, Chile lost to Netherlands but they defeated Australia and the reigning champion Spain. IN the round of 16, they held Brazil to the 120 minutes but then lost in the penalty shootout. Defeating Spain and holding Brazil to 120 minutes are not that easy tasks. In both the matches, they looked strong. If they had advanced to the quarterfinal then it would have been simply great but they were unlucky.
USA: Things would have changed a lot of USA could win against Portugal in the stage. They suffered a goal in the 95th minute and until that point, USA was leading 2-1. This caused a loss of confidence and in the next match, they lost to Germany. Then in round of 16, they lost to Belgium 1-2. In Tim Howard, they have got a superb goalkeeper. He was at his best form against Belgium. Most of the time, it was Belgium vs Tim Howard. The spirited performance of USA brought a lot of interest among American people. President Obama enjoyed the matches too.
Belgium: You may call them dark horse but they are red in color. They have won every match so far. They defeated Algeria, Russia and South Korea. In the round of 16, Belgium overcame USA. The only thing that might cause some worry for them is the fact that they are finding it some difficult to get goals. In the group stage, Belgium scored only 4 goals in 3 matches. This does not look to be many for a team that scored full 9 points in the group stage. Well Argentina got only 5. Belgium has conceded only 2 goals so far and that is surely impressive.
Columbia: Columbia is going to face Brazil in the quarterfinals and if they can win this match the players will become immortal in the country’s history. This is the best run for Columbia in the history of world cup. In the group stage, Columbia defeated, Greece, Japan and Ivory Coast. They scored 9 goals while conceding just 2. Then, in the round of 16, they defeated Urugay 2-0. Thus, they have scored 11 goals and suffered just 2 in their 4 matches so far. However, defeating Brazil in Brazil may just prove to be too difficult for Columbia.
Switzerland: I feel somewhat sad for the Swiss team. They suffered exit after losing to Argentina by 1-0 yesterday. They played well and contained Argentina for 90 minutes quite well. Then towards the end of the extra time, Messi showed his magic and passed the ball to Di Maria. The Swizz suffered a humiliating defeat of 2-5 at the hands of France but apart from that they played well in the tournament. It was not an easy game for Argentina despite Messi creating 8 chances for his teammates.  
Most competitive world cup: I have been keeping track of World Cup since 1982. I feel that it is the most competitive world cup. It has happened mainly because of the rise of underdogs. I will not be shocked if one of teams among Columbia, Costa Rica and Belgium can move to the semis. However, I don’t see any of these 3 teams winning the title. Still, the gap among the football superpowers and underdogs has decreased a lot. It is clear in this world cup.


1 comment:

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