21 days have passed since the Mundial in Russia started. The matches in the Group stages have been played as well as the round 16 ones. The teams to play in the quarter finals were determined from those round 16 matches. A number of things happened in the course of determining those representatives. This article will discuss 7 of those things that transpired in the round of 16 matches.
ROUND 16: BELGIUM MEAN BUSINESS.
Belgium went into their round of 16 match against Japan as favorite to progress to the quarter finals of the tournament. Prior to the match, they had won all their 3 matches, scored 9 goals and conceded only 2 goals. But the match against Japan was a different game all together. They were about to relearn what they knew.
The 1st half of the match ended in a 0-0 stalemate, but the 2nd half promised something different. Japan raced into a 2 nil lead by the 55th minute and it seemed that the end was near for Belgium. However Belgium did not despair or think so. They showed why they were favorites going into the match. They showed that they mean business and are here to win the tournament by bouncing back to win 3-2. It was a commanding performance one that saw them break a record that has stood for over 50 years. The record was to come from 2 goals down in the knockout stage of a world cup match and win.
ROUND 16: KANE FOR GOLDEN BOOT.
Harry Kane is having a blast in this year’s world cup. He is leading the 2018 world cup golden boot chart with 6 goals. He has scored those 6 goals in just 3 matches, which is 2 group stage matches and a round 16 match. That shows his productivity and potency. His closest rivals are Romelu Lukaku and Cristiano Ronaldo both on 4 goals each. Ronaldo is out of the tournament and won’t be able to add to his tally.
Lukaku comes up against a Brazil side that have conceded only 1 goal in his next match whiles Kane meet Sweden. Chances are that Kane would have much opportunity to add to his tally thereby making him favorite to win the prestigious award. If he does so he will be the 2nd England player to win the award after Gary Lineker.
ROUND 16: BEST WORLD CUP IN A LONG TIME.
Football have witnessed many great and wonderful world cups over the years. We can mention the 2002 world cup in South Korea, the 1966 one in England, the 1970 one in Mexico and the 1990 one in Italy as great world cups. But the 2018 one in Russia is turning out to be the best one. This is even amazing considering the fact that the tournament only concluded the round of 16 a few days ago.
What makes this world cup stand out already is its collective shock and awe factor. There are no small teams in Russia 2018 or big gaps between teams. Most of the best teams and players have exited the tournament. A lot of the matches have been won by a one nil margin or penalty shootouts. Video Assistant Referees and Goal line technology have been in action and the news as well. All this already makes Russia 2018 the best world cup in a long time.
ROUND 16: PENALTY SHOOTOUT DECIDES MATCHES.
Another thing we learned from the round 16 of the world cup in Russia is that penalty shootouts decides matches. 3 of the round 16 matches were decided by penalty shootouts. That is over 37 percent of the total matches. It proves that matches are getting increasing difficult to be won in 90 minutes. That pattern will continue as we move to the next stage of the competition.
ROUND 16: TROPHY GOING TO EUROPE OR SOUTH AMERICA.
The 2018 world cup will once again go to Europe or South America as it has done on so many occasions. Prior to the round 16 matches the only non-European and South American sides left in the tournament was Japan and Mexico. However after the conclusion of the round 16, both have exited the tournament and the trophy looks destined to go to Europe or South America once again. This is another thing we learned from the round 16 of the 2018 world cup.
ROUND 16: HOST (RUSSIA) THE BIGGEST SURPRISE.
Russia, the host nation have defied expectations since the beginning of the tournament. They are continuing to do so on a daily basis. Almost everyone predicted for them to exit the tournament in the Group stage but they navigated it successfully. After they were paired with Spain in the round 16, we still didn’t learn our lesson and predicted their exit once again. They also once again shocked us by progressing to the quarter finals of the tournament. Wherever they get to in the tournament one thing is certain, they have exceeded our expectations.
ROUND 16: MORE TO COME IN RUSSIA 2018.
Another thing we learned from the round 16 of the world cup is that Russia 2018 already has everything. It has witnessed the drama, goals, skills, surprises, shock and upsets. It has also witnessed the support, video assistant referee, goal line technology and cards. The tournament is only at the round 16 stage so there is still more of that to come. No wonder this year’s tournament is being heralded as the best one ever.
This are the 7 things I have witnessed, observed and learnt. I hope you did too. If you agree with me, comment on it in the comment section. If you disagree with me also, share your opinions and views as well in the comment section. Please share the article with your friends, families and football lovers if you find it fascinating and interesting enough. Enjoy the world cup together with Russia.