This World Cup has produced more than its fair share of shockers.
Or are they shockers?
Senegal beat France 1-0 on the opening day, all be it with a little help from Manchester Uniteds flapping, wandering keeper. However as the tournament has gone on Senegal have without a doubt shown the World that they have got the quality and France was not just a one off, so far I feel they have produced the best team goal of this tournament against Denmark in the group stage.
The Americans who were probably favourites to finish bottom of their group now find themselves in the Quarter Finals against our good friends the Germans. Again America have shown how far they have come since flying out to France and more or less flying straight back after losing all the games including a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Iran.
In Italy's, group Mexico topped it, that I feel was a surprise and Italy only just scraped through themselves. In that Group we saw a Croatian team who 4 years ago were in the unknown and this year were fancied for finishing at least second, find themselves not in the second round draw.
It also has to be brought to my attention that a certain team from South America who play in blue and white stripes crashed out. Yes, Argentina failing to make the second round for the first time in a long time. No English person who if they were honest were completely sure of qualifying, one thing was certain Argentina would probably top the group but if not then they would definitely go through. Nope.
So pundits all over the World have been thrown into a state of disbelief and uncertainty, Pele who writes for World Soccer magazine, his opinions are usually so spot on, the only one that was correct was that his home nation Brazil would top their group.
The Quarter Finals look quite odd considering what people thought it would look like, Italy the most notable loss.
What most people thought:(how it is):
- France (England) v (Brazil) Brazil
- Germany (Germany) v (USA) Italy
- Spain (Spain) v (South Korea) Portugal
- Argentina (Senegal) v (Turkey) Turkey
Gary Lineker put the question to his panel after the South Koreans un-expectedly beat Italy - "Is this a case of the less talented nations coming through or the big guns under achieving?" It was met with a mixed response.
I feel that for some years now the teams everyone thinks would be a walk over have developed hugely, people are surprised at the South Koreans, looking at them in the pre-tournament friendlies they looked a very good team, these walk overs won't be taking place soon, 1990 Costa Rica beat Scotland by a single goal, the sad truth for Scottish people is that Scotland would struggle to keep more than one Costa Rican goal, Germany who are in the quarter finals were beaten (all be it in a friendly) by Wales, they had 8 of their 11 first team World Cup players against the Welsh and still lost. If TV money doesn't cripple football I would say football and National football especially will come alight, not saying that it hasn't been alight but it will become very, very interesting. Clubs will start buying up the South Koreans and the Japanese, more Americans will end up in the Champions League. It is all balancing out.
World Cup 2010.
South Korea lift the cup after beating the USA 2-1. Brazil, Argentina, France didn't get out of the group and Italy didn't even qualify.
Football, despite crawling into the biggest financial rut it possibly could have, the talent side and with that talent the excitement is coming back, mainly because people wont be able to walk into a football match and say "This team will easily win" they will watch the game in interest not knowing at all, knowing that each attack could result in another twist to that particular, football will no longer be the remotest bit predictable if this World Cup is anything to go by. It will have a knock on effect in the club football. Shaktar Donetsk will be Champions of Europe, Harriers will have won the Premiership after winning their last three games against Liverpool, Man United and Arsenal, their American left winger providing the assists for their tall South Korean to score the goals, this after their Senegalese goalkeeper kept so many brilliant shots out of his goal.
I hope football heads in this direction. I predict that by the next World Cup in 2006 there will be no out and out favourite and all the financial problems are all pretty much flattened out.
Stranger things have happened in football and this World Cup proves it!!