This World Cup was a special one in many different ways, but the fact that many of the so-called smaller teams did so well is right up there. It was a shock to see teams like Italy and Holland not making it to the tournament. If you see the pedigree both these teams have, the names in the squad and their history at the competition, you’d have expected them to be there for sure.
It shows us how football is evolving and how the gap between the so-called bigger teams and the smaller ones is diminishing. If you see the matches that Italy and Holland have played, you wouldn’t call them unlucky because every game they played in qualifying was against tough opposition and teams that wanted to prove a point. It makes for very interesting contests and this World Cup was an amazing one for a neutral fan.
Coming to the tournament, the first big upset that comes to my mind is Germany. I would never have expected it to bow out of a group that had Mexico, Sweden and South Korea. These teams had prepared well to face Germany and made sure not to give much space. Germany had a lot of possession in all these games, but it failed to convert its chances. The same was the case with Spain, which came up against some very narrow and compact sides. A lot of credit goes to the coaches of these teams because it isn’t easy to defend against the likes of Spain or Germany.
Most of the games at the World Cup were very interesting because so many games were hard fought. For a nation like ours, it was a good one because we saw the smaller teams hurt the bigger ones. We may not be as skilful or as fancied, but if the coaching staff understands the quality and chalks out a plan, then any of the teams can fight and churn out a result. It’s not been one or two games, so it’s a great learning experience. I hope everyone in the country, especially the players, watched this World Cup and learnt a lot, as I have.
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