Whether your team was in it or not (looking at you USMNT) , this World Cup was one to remember. Every game had goals, except that France vs. Denmark game which is better left forgotten anyways. In most cases, they had many goals as well. It seems there is no real story line here, just mostly a bunch of parallel story lines that either ended in disaster or in euphoria.
The most notable of the story lines running rampant through this World Cup was Lionel Messi’s. There was immense pressure for the Argentine forward to produce a championship to his country, hearkening back to the days of Diego Maradona carrying the country on his back. However, the team performed closer to Diego’s less than graceful, and drug addled TV appearances this World Cup; hopeful that at some point everything will get back in order and be okay, when deep down you know it’s not gonna happen anytime soon.
The elimination of Messi and Ronaldo almost simultaneously could be a story in its own, two of the greatest to play the game ever and certainly of the past decade were absent from the business end of the biggest soccer event the world has to offer. Now we almost certainly will miss Ronaldo next World Cup, but we may have a old man Messi if we get lucky.
Next story line on the list is the Russian team’s dream run to the quarterfinals where they were a couple penalty kicks away from a semifinal appearance. Yes, there is plenty of well earned speculation that the team could’ve participated in some major doping, however regardless of the country’s disturbing past it seems a great moment for the people of the country. After all they made it out of a group which made some predict only Uruguay and Egypt passing since the team had really been that atrocious before the World Cup. Regardless, the Russian people will be full of joy remembering the win against Spain and taking the eventual finalist Croatia to the brink.
Lastly, Group F’s struggles, largely considered to be the group of death, left everyone coming out of there reeling. The major point here was that Germany went out in the group stage for the first time since 1938. Their campaign started off rocky, one that inversely propelled Mexican hopes and dreams. Their own version of ‘its coming home’ was being sung. Unfortunately, the come down was as hard and fast as the ascent, after scraping past a formidable South Korea, Mexico just barely qualified after a terrible performance versus Sweden in which they lost 3-0. They would not have even pulled it off without an impressive South Korea win over Germany, in which they themselves thought they had secured a spot in the next round. This group was full of heartbreak and stress but all excitement.
Note: I could’ve talked about England and their whole run and how cool that is, but they get enough press, so I’m changing the narrative, no England, sorry.
The World Cup was successful and entertaining despite my own country’s shortcomings. From time of posting there’s only about 17 days until the start of the Premier League, and we’ll start this rodeo all over again.
-Manny (now returned from even longer temporary absence, life’s hard ok)