The 2018 FIFA World Cup has no doubt lived up to the hype. In just under a week, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hattrick, Lionel Messi missed a penalty (again!), Neymar, Griezmann, Mikel Obi and a lot of superstars failed to shine, the defending champions failed to win their opening match, and we’ve had way more surprising upsets than expected victories.
But of all the things that have happened so far in the World Cup, there are 7 teams that have shocked the world and pulled off what we all thought impossible.
The host nation earned their right to be among one of the teams to watch out for in the tournament. So far, they are the only team to have scored over three goals in their 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia. Many will attribute this to playing in front of their home crowd like South Korea did to reach the semis in the 2002 edition. Regardless, Russia knows the world is watching them and they are ready to live up to their country’s expectations.
Home to just under 350,000 people who are living on a vast ice land. Iceland are once again surprising the world in a football competition – after knocking out England in the Euros. This time, they earned themselves a 1-1 draw against Argentina – who had Sergio Aguero, Javier Mascherano, and Lionel Messi captaining them. Iceland, who are famous for their Viking clap, now have more of the world backing them to qualify from their group.
The Swiss merchants have always been known as the underdogs for years. Many people see them as the country that may try to do something but are not necessarily going to be a threat. However, after drawing 1-1 with Brazil in a shocking opener, football fans all over the world attributed the result to the Swiss’s calmness than the Brazilians messing up. And that’s definitely a good sign.
The Mexicans are one of the few countries to have never lost an opening game at the World Cup, and a lot of people thought this 2018 World Cup was going to be the year it changed mainly because their first match was against the defending champions, Germany. But surprisingly, the Mexicans defeated the Germans 1-0 and they really took it to the Germans too by outplaying them on a few occasions.
As expected, Cristiano Ronaldo was the man behind Portugal’s amazing comeback to draw Spain 3-3 in their first match thanks to an 89th-minute freekick. The major shock was Portugal being able to score three goals against a Spanish side that had Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique in the defence and David De Gea in the goalpost.
Not much was expected of Iran because they hadn’t won a World Cup match in 20 years, but Iran got the better of Morocco and earned themselves a 1-0 victory which put them at the top of their group – a group which has both Spain and Portugal.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria have no doubt had an awesome pre-world cup campaign thanks largely to the football jersey which has become more of a fashionable wear than an actual sports jersey. The jersey was the only one to sell out within minutes. Now transition to the football pitch and the Super Eagles had a very lacklustre performance against Croatia. Before the match, the players were warming up and dancing shaku shaku like they were confident but instead, they lost out woefully and didn’t even put up any fight during the match.