As the World Cup 2018 in Russia continues to gather pace, those who support the lesser lights of the tournament have suddenly started to become very excited indeed at the prospect of the team they support reaching the final, contrary to the picture painted by the initial pre-tournament punditry, which lauded the likes of Germany, Spain, and Argentina.
Now, some of the mightier sides of the perceived weaker half of the draw have not only crashed out of the tournament, but have done so in a fashion that has at times left fans bored to tears after long, tedious games, with some of the latest ones concluded by a penalty shoot-out where it has looked as hard for teams to score as it has for Ronaldo to look modest.
— FOX Sports Football (@FOXFOOTBALL) July 2, 2018
With nations such as Russia, England, and even Sweden or Croatia all likely to be in the mix when it comes to showing off that they can be the best of the worst come the final, some media outlets like the BBC have managed to get ahead of themselves by starting to predict how the teams could reach the final, where, as we know, they will then meet a team who actually deserve to be there!
Nations in jubilations
This rather incredible news that one of these teams from the weaker side of the draw will get the chance to enjoy a horrible thrashing on world football’s biggest stage has clearly made fans of those nations less favoured in the World Cup betting very excited, especially as few of the teams in question have managed to achieve any kind of success at a World Cup in recent years, a fact that helps to explain why their side of the draw is seen as a weaker one.
As fans adjust to these new giddy heights of relative ambition, with the fear of not just getting embarrassed in the group stages of the competition now fully banished, the only question that remains for some is whether it is physically possible for a team to reach the final of World Cup 2018 without playing any sort of attractive, free-flowing football.
Inspired by the Russians
Having managed to perfect the art of simply defending for an entire game then hoping for a win in a penalty shoot-out, Russia clearly have perfected the blueprint for success when it comes to reaching that holy grail of a final. In fairness, this style of winning games without creating any sort of excitement has clearly not been heard by certain other teams, as France and Argentina missed out on the chance to present their fans with a tedious affair by scoring an amazing seven goals in a single game, which left fans of dire football worried that they may actually have to see the ball hit the back of the net from open play.
Whatever the outcome for these lesser teams in the final, and however badly they get thrashed in the last 90 minutes of the tournament, fans can at least revel in their shot to glory, no matter how boring or bizarre that shot turns out to be.
If further proof were needed about how neatly World Cup football and bizarreness can go hand in hand, just think back quickly to the success that Fat Les had with the song Vindaloo; even the unlikeliest of entries can go down in history, even if it is looked down upon and judged by anyone who actually enjoys the beautiful game in the first place!
— Neal Underwood (@neal_sousbois) June 28, 2018