As we head into the second round of group games at the Russian World Cup, there seems to be an overall feeling that this tournament could be a good one.
The usual mind-numbing stalemates have been reduced to just a couple of tedious matches this time around. Most of the encounters have been lively and interesting, especially England’s vital win in Volgograd.
In fact, this World Cup has produced the goods already, potentially it could be an all-time classic.
We’ve already had amazing shock upsets, stunning free-kicks and some sublime pieces of skill.
The opening day goal from Russian Winger, Denis Cheryshev, with the outside of his left foot, curled over the goalkeeper is an all time great World Cup goal and has really set the tone for this 21st edition of the FIFA World Cup.
France ’98 was the last good World Cup, according to most football journalists I speak to, but Russia 2018 could go one further and become a great one like Spain ’82.
Russia may have ignited the tournament with their unexpectedly vibrant display, but it was Mexico and their ‘kamikaze’ football that really set the weekend of action alight.
Of course, Portugal 3-3 Spain was thoroughly entertaining but my favourite game so far has to be Germany 0-1 Mexico. What can you say about the unbelievably high-pressing, attacking, fearless performance that Mexico put on against the current World Champions?
I think it may have re-ignited a lot of people’s faith in the beautiful game. If you had become jaded with football and switched this game on, on Sunday afternoon, just to see a bit of World Cup action, you will have been shocked to see the care-free abandon of Mexico’s forward play.
It was like a throw-back to old-school attacking football; Mexico always had three players pushed into the German half of the pitch, even when Germany had a corner. This approach caught Germany cold, and their player’s bemusement at Mexico’s tactics should be a lesson to all other teams across the world. You can unsettle even the best teams by pressing high and committing players forward on every attack.
You can already see Mexico’s downfall though, they are too pure, and certainly far too profligate; they create 10 chances on goal but only convert one of them. Everyone wants to see them go as far as possible but they will proabably get picked off on the counter-attack by a more wily opponent in the knockout stages. But this is why we love the World Cup, anything could happen, and it really feels like anyone could win it too.
South Korea v Mexico – Mexico to Win, Best Odds 1.67 @ Ladbrokes
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