The first round of the World Cup is over, usually in the second round something happens that turns the impression received in the first round upside down, that’s how history teaches us, so let’s wait and before that we have to say that the championship is worth it, we have spectacle, high tempo, drama and disappointment.
The Main Upset
We had two big defeats in the first round, one of which can be called an upset, on the same scale as when the world champion Argentina lost to Cameroon in 1990, at that time that story shook the world and even now people have not come to their senses after what the Arabs did to them. The match was very interesting, in the first minutes we saw one of the biggest venture in the history of the World Cup. Renard pushed the entire defensive line to the center of the pitch, effectively eliminating the space between the Argentine midfield and attacking zones. He knew that Lautaro, Messi and Di Maria would play, so he was not afraid of the speed of any of them, however, Messi is a player who can finish everything with one pass under such tactics. Renard was absolutely sure that his defenders would not be overwhelmed by speed and he probably could not imagine that the Argentines would not take at least one proper pause to overcome the barrier of offside. Messi and Di Maria are no longer as fast as they were years ago and Lautaro is a forward of the box. Renard’s task was to keep Messi as far away from his goal as possible, so he thought of such a crazy thing, but Scaloni couldn’t think of anything and the Argentines lost.
It should also be noted that at the beginning of the second half, Argentina met the aggressive pressing of the Saudis unprepared, this was another surprise from Renard.
Messi is calm, he called for the fans to trust. It’s true that Renard’s tactics worked, but I highly doubt anyone else will follow suit. Saudi Arabia will be watched with much greater attention.
People of the Details
The group is already difficult, even one loss is devastating. The people who were defeated in the Second World War and the people who got up the fastest clashed, the people who respect time the most. There are two stories to tell, one is what we have already written in the forecasts – German philosophy is sequential, first the foundation is laid, then the first brick is laid and then you can think about versatility, in the end the result comes, it always comes. Flick is laying the foundation first, so the first loss wasn’t a surprise to me. This is not a club that progresses every week, national team grows in big tournaments and for Flick, this is the first big tournament with Germany national team. The situation is very grave, because the next match will be against Spain national team, against Spain, which destroyed Low’s Germany 6:0 at the Nations League, the Germans do not forget such stories, of course, they will have a revengeful mood, however, the first concern will still be to secure the points. Before this match starts, the result of the match between Japan and Costa Rica will already be known. If the Japanese win, Germany will have to win, if they lose, they will be out of the championship. On the other hand, Spain can eliminate one of the favorites of the tournament from the group stage in the second round. It will be the second consecutive elimination for Germany national team, which has never happened before.
The second story is about Japan. In 2009, I visited the country of the rising sun and talked to one of the heads of football development. He told us that in 2030 Japan will be one of the best teams, then he told me – “I will not be alive anymore, but I will lay a brick for myself”. They are such people. There is a lot of sacrifice in this, towards one’s profession and the country. Their game, their attitude, their behavior, players and fans, simply inspire. I don’t know how far Japan will go at the moment, but I do know that Haruto have also contribute to this successful game, the brick laid by him is already visible.
The Most Beautiful Ones
The performances of England, Spain, France and Brazil were particularly outstanding. They not only won their matches, but also enjoyed themselves and scored some beautiful goals. France national team showed us that despite the big loss, they still have a very strong team. The world champions are one of the favorites and it should also be said that the exclusion of Paul Pogba and Karim Benzema was good for them to some extent. On the one hand, the relationship between Pogba and Mbappe could not be sorted out and in general, Pogba is not a player who carries the team spirit. On the other hand, Benzema would limit Kylian in some ways. Karim likes to touch the ball often and Olivier Giroud is a distinct forward of the box, playing with fewer touches and waiting for his chances in the box. This loss has increased Mbappe’s role even more and he finally has the image he most wanted to see – now he is a sole leader.
It should be said about Dembele, he had a good match. When you have Mbappe on one wing and Dembele on the other, it means that you will not find a team in the championship that can play at the same speed, this is a very big advantage of the French.
Spain painted! Enrique continued the work he started at Euro 2020. The team is perfectly prepared tactically, everyone knows what they are playing and they are as dominant as in their best years. Under Enrique, Busquets and Alba look much better than at the club, with Pedri and Gavi progressing from match to match, Dani Olmo and Ferran Torres shine like they did at the Euros. In a word, Luis Enrique knows exactly what he is doing and he does it very well. In the match with Germany in the second round, it will be shown how much this team can win the championship, they will need to be cold-blooded.
Brazil won the Brazilian way, with ball rolling, combinations, feints, beautiful shots and Richarlison’s best goal of the tournament so far. We got answers to several questions, – Richarlison was chosen over Jesus and it paid off. Neymar and Vinicius are great to play together. The Brazilians were worried about this, both of the two main stars are left wingers, the level on the right is a bit lower, neither Raphinha nor Antony nor Rodrygo are of their level yet. Martinelli is also better on the left. Right now, nothing is spoiled and in the playoffs, every detail will be crucial.
Neymar received a heavy blow and everyone hopes that he will not end the championship like he did in 2014.
England national team has a young, very energetic, fast and aggressive team, but I still have the impression that they could not solve the problem they had for decades. A smart central midfielder who can control the tempo – last one like that was Paul Scholes. In the end, Paul found himself on the left wing and he left. Since then, England has not had a player of this style. Gerrard was a great leader, Lampard the most efficient midfielder, but there was no organizer like Paul. Even now, I don’t see a midfielder like him. Bellingham is also an efficient and technical midfielder, but to what extent he will be able to take the reins at the crucial moment and control the pace of the game is another matter. I don’t think it’s his job either. This is the one problem, otherwise England national team has long and fast wings, so that they can fly very far.
There is much more to say and we will leave it for the second round. Portugal, the Netherlands and Belgium will give us a few words in the second round. Here we congratulate Ronaldo on another record, he became the first player in front of us to score a goal in five World Cups. When this record will be broken no one knows, maybe it will take as long as Pele’s records. For his part, the king of football was a man who could have set this record, but he did not go to the 1974 World Cup for political reasons.
Ronaldo is always looking ahead, he must already have a new record in his sight.