GREENSBORO, N.C. – The 2018 FIFA World Cup is in its second round of games now, and boy do I have some opinions about the venue, teams and matches played thus far.
FIFA, or the Federation Internationale de Football Association, have been very well known in the past to be weak in regards to one thing; money. They have a history of corruption, and it seems to be that little has changed.
Sepp Blatter, the ex-Chairman of FIFA, was recently the subject of an intense and scrupulous investigation instigated by Swiss and American law enforcement between 2013 and 2015. As a result of the investigation, Blatter’s predecessor, João Havelange, resigned as the organization’s honorary president.
Whilst both Blatter and Havelange were legally let off the hook, the writing was on the wall with Havelange’s departure and the fourteen indictments levied by authorities. FIFA was up to no good.
Russia has also been an object of scrutiny, with a very targeted eye during their hosting of the World Cup this year. This is not completely undeserved, considering the uneasy political climate they’ve stirred in the past years.
In 2010, local elections were rigged in Russia by the current presidency. Russia invaded Crimea and claimed that it wasn’t them the entire time. Russia poisoned an ex-spy and his daughter in broad daylight on British soil, though they claimed that they had no involvement.
In 2014, Russia involved itself in the Syrian civil war on the side of sitting president Bashar Al-Assad. You know, the man who had been brutally oppressing peaceful protests against his regime with bombing campaigns. At this point, it is safe to say that the 2018 World Cup should not have been held in Russia.
As far as the teams go, all of our expected heavyweights are in the group stages this year; Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Portugal, France, Sweden, Switzerland and England. There are some exceptions from that list – most notable being Italy, Holland, the United States, (if you can call them a heavyweight), and of course Scotland. Amongst these teams, we also have others like Australia, Denmark, Poland, Colombia, Uruguay and Peru who made it into the field of play.
So far, the standard teams have been following the status quo with a few notable exceptions. The first is Germany, the last World Cup winners, being beaten by Mexico, 1-0. This stunning victory created an artificial earthquake in Mexico from the celebrations.
The second was the 1-1 draw between Brazil and Switzerland, a shocker considering that Brazil was a favorite to win the whole tournament. Throw in Argentina losing 3-0 to Croatia and you start to wonder if the 2018 World Cup may spell doom for many of the conventional soccer powerhouses of the past.
Switzerland vs Brazil pitted a massive underdog against one of the kings of the sport. Brazil played very well but they were slowed down horrifically by Neymar’s Italian-esque, downright immature theatrics in the midfield. Brazil’s defense equaled the skill and speed of the Swiss front end, but couldn’t quite stop the one single goal that tied up the game.
Brazil’s Philippe Coutinho scored an actual screamer of a goal, bouncing the ball off of the right woodwork from outside the box. It was a goal so good that the goalie could only hope to catch if he had Iron Man-style jets on his feet. The game ended in an FT draw.
Of course, the game that really shocked the world, that literally had Mexico ‘shook’, was Germany vs Mexico. Germany, the powerhouse of European football and a team whose bench looks like the top five transfers of all-time between Real Madrid/Barcelona and Manchester City/Manchester United, was defeated by the supposedly outmatched Mexico. The world was in shock.
Despite all of the negativity put forth in this article, and despite all of the controversy surrounding the 2018 World Cup, this World Cup is set to be an absolute stormer and is high-class entertainment that you do not want to miss.