Doubters, drubbings and a debacle: What's cooking in this edition of FIFA World Cup?
Well, the story for the men in shining armour has not been that glittery in this edition of the FIFA World Cup. Argentina sharing the honours with the debutants Iceland, Germany losing to Mexico and an eight-ranked Poland losing to twenty-seventh ranked Senegal, have been some of the most talked about points in this year's edition.
Although, each edition of this festival of football has managed to spring quite a few surprises, results this year around have been favouring the minnows consistently. Is this just a coincidence that a pattern of sorts is coming to the fore or are there some serious concerns for the biggies? Let us analyse some of the key points regarding this issue.
Julen Lopetegui was fired as Spanish coach, a couple of days before the tournament started. As soon as he was announced the next coach of Champions' League winning team Real Madrid, he was sacked by the Spanish Football Federation. It did not affect the team as such but the authorities received a lot of flak for such a hurried decision.
Jorge Sampaoli has struggled with this Argentine team and the results are reflecting the same. The rumour mills are abuzz with the fact that there was a coup to overthrow him as the coach but to no avail. A lot of big teams are facing issues with their coaching staff and this has reflected int heir poor performance.
France, this year, have some of the most feared players in their line-up but their chemistry was absolutely absent when they faced Socceroos in their opening encounter. A lot of club games and fewer friendlies have left most of the top-notch teams red-faced and the opponents are making sure that they take advantage of this chink. The dark horses Belgium seems to be the only team that has some sort of semblance while playing together and that's showing their spectacular performances in the first two games.
Parking the bus
Minnows and debutants like Iceland have dropped the idea of playing the beautiful game in that way. Flair has paved way for parking the bus. Minnows are satisfied defending deep in their half and are waiting patiently for some rapid counter-attacks. This might not make the game look that interesting but it surely is working for them.
However, as the tournament will approach its' business end, most of these biggies will rally together to overcome every obstacle like the champion teams do; their only concern would be to reach the business end in the first place!