Big Boys To The Fore: Qatar 2022
Anyone who laces his boot, picks up a ball and gets signed to a serious contract by a professional football team can play ball. Simple, right? Nah! If it's that simple, we wouldn't have some players on £500,000 per week while others of the same age bracket playing in the same position get paid £50,000. That's some serious difference in calibre, status and wages. Even though the ongoing football festival in Qatar has produced upsets of massive proportions, it will be stupid of anyone to assume teams like Japan, South Korea, Morocco or Switzerland will go all the way and win the tournament. But, why not? The reason is simple...
“ All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. ”
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
The last time a less talented team made it to the last four of a World Cup was back in 2002 when a heavily 'supported' South Korea made the last four of the tournament they co-hosted. Uruguay made the last four in 2010, but they had prime Diego Forlan, ripening Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, and some battle tested veterans like Lugano, Gargano, Fucile etc in that squad. That squad had highly experienced footballers who played at the top level in Europe.
So far, any punter who decided to play the 1X2 bet for the four Round of 16 games played so far should get all four predictions right. Netherlands dispatching the USA was expected. Argentina, France and England qualifications to the quarters were inevitable. Sadly, I expect Croatia, Brazil, Spain and Portugal to make it to the quarters also. Switzerland will definitely prove a tricky customer for Portugal but, "...some animals are more equal than the others."
The chaffs are being separated from the wheat already, the quarter finals is when the real World Cup starts. Netherlands vs Argentina looks like a 50-50 affair to me. Both teams are not incredibly stronger than each other. Argentina defends doggedly and leaves it all to Messi to conjure the game winning goals. Netherlands on the other hand can play two or three different tactics to confound the opponents. They yielded the ball to USA in their last game despite having a coach that loves to keep the ball, Van Gaal, and two accomplished passers of the ball, Frenkie de Jong and Daley Blind, in the team. The result was that they hit the Americans where it hurts, utilizing the speed of Depay and agility of Dumfries to end them. Netherlands has never faced any talent like Messi so far; Argentina has yet to face a team as calculated as the Netherlands too. A cracking game awaits.
France were installed as pre-tournament favourites considering the form of Benzema and Nkunku, the presence of uber-talented Mbappe and their status as defending champions. On the other hand, England has more than shown what they are capable of so far. The English national team has always been the butt of jokes around the world, and that's largely due to the huge media presence in their league. However, making the semis in the last two major tournaments is no mean feat. These two against each other will be explosive with France having the edge simply because of in-form Mbappe. If England quietens the marauding dude, they'll score against the leaky French defence that has yielded goals in all four games played so far.
It takes a big slice of luck for some random, less stacked team to win a particular tournament against the established ones. As much as we all love the underdog story, the knockout rounds will not be providing any. We've had our fair share of underdogs upsetting the status quo in the group stage. It's now the game of the big boys. It's now top level shit!
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I don’t totally agree with you here. Yes, the teams these guys are coming up against are so much better but this is a game and anything is possible. In the normal sense it shouldn’t even be but that’s why there’s tactics. Who would have though Germany and Belgium wouldn’t even make it out of the group stages.
I don’t think I’ve heard anyone rightly analyze Argentina like you have. They don’t defend particularly well and Netherlands have very good forwards.
England have been trolled all along but they’re a good team and we’ll see what they’re made of against France.
There will always be upsets and giant killers but, in the end, one of the more talented teams always win. Greece in 2004 were probably the last team to shock Europe.
Tactics only give the less stacked team the chance for upset, it doesn't put them on equal pegging with the more talented team. Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina unexpectedly, and that's why it's an upset. If Saudi Arabia and Argentina are to play against each other on nine more occasions right now, will you bet on Saudi Arabia to win at least five times? I guess not. Why? Because we all know the far better side. For every rule their is an exception, but it's called an exception because it occurs rarely. At the end, everything still regresses to the mean.
We all love underdogs getting to the top against all odds, but football is a game of numbers/talents. If Japan had Messi they'll probably be in the quarterfinals now, but they don't.
Sorry for such a late response.
Well you do have a point. The remainder of the big teams have more talent than under dogs.
If Saudi were to play Argentina again of course I’d go with Argentina so I understand your point. Maybe I just got carried away. I’m just hoping for more upsets at this point.
Well, we got another upset in Morocco. Can they go past Portugal? It's now a possibility.
Before Portugal’s game against Switzerland I actually thought they could but after watching them crush Switzerland I don’t think they can.
I actually do think Portugal have been looked down upon. Portugal could reach the finals. What do you think?
For the first time in this tournament Portugal looked a real force, smashing 6 goals past Switzerland. Spain also put 7 past Costa Rica but are already chilling at home.
Portugal has always been talented, they've just never really clicked together. If they finally found the balance they will be dangerous. But I'll still pick Brazil over Portugal if they cross paths.
It looks like we’re not getting the chance to pick Brazil anymore.🥲
I’m very surprised by their exit.
The Netherlands vs Argentina will be a tough match for both sides but I still see Argentina winning the match and qualifying for the next round. The name event this weekend will be France vs England both are strong teams that have young talented players, it is a match I am looking forward to and I won't miss it for a thing.
I think I'm leaning towards Netherlands win against Argentina mostly because the Dutch side has more ways to winning than the Argentines. Argentina struggled against Saudi Arabia because the Arabs pressed in the midfield, playing a very high line to choke Argentina. Holland can seize initiative or yield the ball, they have more than one ways to hurt Argentina.
France vs England is a must watch.
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