About 60 minutes into the World Cup quarterfinal between Brazil and Belgium, Fox Sports commentator John Strong said the most blasphemous thing I’ve heard in quite some time: “The favorites could well be going home here.”
Of course, the delusional man was referring to Brazil. But that word. “Favorites.” I don’t see why the world thought that. Yes, the star power is frightening and will grab headlines; but they didn’t play like a World Cup-winning team. Neymar dived his way through most games, and only came up when his team were truly in danger of going out. Coutinho unveiled his signature cut-inside-before-ending-a-goalkeeper’s-career move twice. Left winger Marcelo whipped in crosses like there was no tomorrow. Other than that, Brazil didn’t seem like a squad that could go all the way. Yes, the Mexico win was impressive, but the Mexicans were thoroughly underwhelming throughout that 90 minutes. Good? Definitely. Winners? No way.
Belgium came out like a team determined to prove me right. The goals were superb. A beautiful cross from the corner kick eloquently landed on the forearm of Man City defensive midfielder, Fernanweepo. To make matters worse, after getting on the front foot for the next 25 minutes or so of the opening half, the Belgian Waffles strike again. This time, it’s KDB himself. A beautiful rocket on the counter with great holdup play from Romelu Lukaku.
Today was the only day I will ever root for a team dubbed “The Red Devils” (Man United are the worst.) Belgium deserved it. Lukaku is built like Lebron James, and spent 90 minutes playing playground bully to Miranda and Thiago Silva. Kevin De Bruyne continued to show us that good footballers can have bad hair. Eden Hazard made Florentino Perez salivate just a little bit more. They looked like the winners. Be afraid, world. I am. It may not be coming home.
While I’m endlessly nervous for Sweden tomorrow, I know I won’t get as angry as the Swedish manager.