After years, months and weeks of anticipation and restlessness the 2018 world cup in Russia has well and truly gotten underway. It has been a week since the tournament started. The 1st round of matches have begun and ended. The 2nd round of matches have begun. Like I promised earlier let’s look at the things that happened in the 1st round of matches. A lot of things have happened but we will look at only ten of them.
THE CHASE FOR THE GOLDEN BOOT IS VERY COMPETITIVE.
Even though we are only 1 round of matches into the tournament, things are not slow as you would expect. In fact things are only gaining speed or momentum. One of those things is the race for the golden boot award, otherwise known as the top scorer award. As many people feature on the list already.
Cristiano Ronaldo for the 1st time feature on this list. He has 3 goals to his name. That tally comes from his only match in the tournament so far, a hat trick against Spain. He became the oldest player in the tournament to do that. Denis Cheryshev from Russia is 2nd on the list with 3 goals, albeit from 2 matches. The surprise starter for Russia courtesy of injured teammate is riding the wave. Romelu Lukaku, Harry Kane and Diego Costa have two to their names. A host of players have 1 each. The race is well and truly on.
NO MINOWS AT THE RUSSIA 2018.
Football has really come of age. Gone were the days when footballing giants outmuscled smaller nations. That isn’t going to be the case in Russia. The football minnow’s really came to the tournament prepared.
It wasn’t a fluke when Iceland held Argentina to a 1-1 draw by the end of 90 minutes. Switzerland also held tournament favorite Brazil to a 1-1 draw. The story didn’t end there.
Mexico against all odds defeated Germany another world cup favorites.
1st WIN FOR AFRICA.
All the African teams who featured before yesterday were defeated by their opponents. They include Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia. But that wasn’t going to be the case for long. Things changed on Tuesday afternoon for Africa.
The Teranga lions of Senegal made Africa proud. They took to the field with the weight of being the only African team yet to be defeated in the 1st round of matches. Their prospect didn’t look good considering they were facing a Poland team with Lewandowski and Zielinski leading its attack. That all changed when they entered the pitch. Senegal played in a disciplined manner to claim all 3 points. They beat Poland 2-1 to claim Africa’s 1st win in Russia.
HOST (RUSSIA) DEFYING EXPECTATIONS.
Many people, fans and pundits wrote Russia off prior to the commencement of the tournament. A week after the tournament commencement and things have totally changed. They now look the most likely to top their group.
They are also the 1st team to qualify to the next round of the competition. Even though they are the 1st team to play 2 matches aside Egypt, it doesn’t make their achievement any less outstanding. Cheryshev is their surprise heroin this fairy tale.
VIDEO ASSISTANT REFEREE WILL COME IN HANDY.
The Video Assistant Referee generates debate and will continue to rightly do so. But for now the fruit of success is there for all to see. It has made certain key decisions that have gone on too influence the outcome of matches.
A typical example is the case of the penalty incident in Japan’s win over Colombia. It was used in the match between Sweden and South Korea. This shows that the Video Assistant Referee will come in when needed.
GOAL LINE TECHNOLOGY WILL BE HELPFUL.
Goal line technology wasn’t around to improve things during the 2010 world cup when Frank Lampard’s goal was incorrectly rejected. That wouldn’t be the case this time around. The technology has already proven beneficial when it correctly detected the goal scored by Quintero of Colombia. It will continue to do so throughout the tournament.
1ST ASIAN WIN OVER SOUTH AMERICA.
A similar story happened that same day. Prior to the match between Colombia and Japan, no Asian team had tasted victory against a South American nation. All of that was about to change. The Japanese team took to the field believing in themselves.
Things went well for Japan when Carlos Sanchez of Columbia was shown a straight red for preventing a goal bound shot. The Japanese dispatched the penalty successfully and took initiative from there. After the 90 minutes of football, despite Columbia’s perseverance Japan held on to defeat them by 2 goals to 1.
RACISM IN RUSSIA OVERESTIMATED.
Prior to the tournament in Russia there were concerns as to how racism will affect the world cup. Russia are known to be racist, or engage in racist activities. Calls were therefore made to change the venue of the world cup. That didn’t happen though. But after the 1st round of matches I can confidently say Russia has comported itself because I haven’t heard or read any racism related issue. It seems the issue was blown out of proportions.
WORLD CUP FAVORITES DISAPPOINTING.
Every world cup year, certain nations are tagged as favorite to go home with the trophy. This year isn’t any different. Germany, Argentina and Brazil were touted as favorites. Although we are only one match into the tournament, they have done little to argue their case. They are simply disappointing and do not deserve such titles.
RUSSIA IS BEAUTIFUL.
One thing we have learned from the 1st round of matches in Russia is that the country is really beautiful. Their cities, parks, squares, museums and culture are beautiful. They are simply a joy to watch and experience. So if you are thinking of going to Russia it is not too late.
This are the ten things I have observed. If you agree with me comment on it in the comment section. If you disagree with me also share your opinions as well. Please share if you find the article interesting enough. Enjoy the world cup and Russia.