Ahead of two promising World Cup semifinals, it’s important to realize just how incredibly special this soccer tournament has been.
We have seen some truly remarkable goals, moments and most importantly upsets. As an avid NBA fan, the unpredictability of this tournament has been a great change of pace.
How did we get here?
The upsets have been fantastic. Whether it’s Mexico topping Germany, Russia over Spain or the Belgians counter attacking Brazil faster than the Allied powers in World War II, you should not have been out of your seat for every second of it. While Belgium overcoming Brazil wasn’t uber-shocking to the rest of the world, I for one thought the team was going to collapse faster than a waffle.
Both Soccer Scoop co-host Dylan Gerstley and Fox Sports announcer Alexi Lalas (wow, Dylan’s going to hate me for grouping them together in the same sentence if he ever reads this) have been saying it for weeks: this World Cup has been the most drama-filled and entertaining of their lives. And they’re not wrong.
While I was initially skeptical of the quality of play dissipating throughout the Cup, the drama that’s ensued trumps the downside of all the “park the bus” tactics that stunk up the Group Stage. It seems the Leicester City revolution has taken over international football.
Even so, having the favorites and defending champs Germany ousted by South Korea on matchday three was almost as amazing as Messi’s two-touch rocket to the top corner.
Then having both him and possible Juventus signing Cristiano Ronaldo bow out on the same day was unthinkable. The following day saw two PK shootouts win the hearts of all Americans.
Again: If Soccer was just Penalty Kicks, the sport would be bigger than NFL within a couple of years. Americans live for this
— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) July 7, 2018
The last couple weeks have been rich with absolute bangers as well. Denis Cheryshev, Angel Di Maria and Granit Xhaka all scored some of the swaggiest lefty rips I’ve ever seen. And Cheryshev did it twice!
Aside from the upsets, storylines and bangers, there’s also just been some good ole fashioned fun sports!. As the beautiful game keeps growing globally for nations like Tunisia, Panama and Saudi Arabia, let’s hope the USMNT join in on the fun next time before they host in 2026.
Some will say that time-wasting Russia’s PK shootout victory over the overwhelmingly bland Spaniards or 12-year-old Jordan Pickford’s clutch save to propel the English over the Colombians was the best moment of the tournament so far. I disagree wholeheartedly.
If you didn’t watch the second half of the Belgium-Japan match, not only did you miss the game of the tournament, but also missed the best ending to a match since Sergio Aguero did this. What a dummy from Romelu.
Now, the semis
Thus, here we are. The European Championship World Cup semi finals are upon us. Today, the French will look to counter the Belgians counter attacks with counter attacks of their own. And after all the counter attacking is said and done, the two No. 10’s are going to be the key cogs in this matchup. It’ll come down to Kylian Mbappe’s youthful power and speed against Eden Hazard’s wily finesse and touch.
Or maybe some idiot defender like Benjamin Pavard or West Brom’s Nacer Chadli score important goals. Nobody knows, that’s the beauty of it all.
At the end of the day, it’s coming home.