Monday, June 18, 2018

World Cup 2018: What's Happened So Far

The first week of the World Cup is arguably the best: three matches a day, none at the same time. It is Soccer Christmas for futbol fans, and it's hard to get much work done at the office.

Each team takes the pitch with fresh legs, ready to show whether its prospects have been over- or underrated. And if this weekend's biggest matches had one lesson, it was that even great teams don't win every game. The Davids showed themselves stronger than expected, and the Goliaths were sometimes weighed down by sky-high expectations.

Case in point: World Cup rookie Iceland tied Argentina on Saturday, in what must have felt like a stunning loss for fans of Lionel Messi and La Albiceleste. Sergio Aguero of Argentina scored first, but Iceland soon equalized it.

Then Argentina drew a penalty, and Messi stepped up. It seemed like Iceland's luck had run out. But then Messi fired his shot, and Hannes Halldorsson dove and blocked it in one of the tournament's most stunning moments so far.

Mexico beat Germany 1-0, after a goal in the 35th minute by 22-year-old Hirving Lozano. Germany, which won the Cup four years ago and is ranked No. 1 in the world, kept pushing but never scored

And Brazil, along with Germany a favorite to win the whole thing, found itself with a disappointing 1-1 tie with Switzerland. While such an outcome is rare for Die Mannschaft, Germans have a word for losing an opening game: Auftaktniederlage.

The greatest match of the tournament so far was Friday's thrilling 3-3 draw between Spain and Portugal, featuring a hat trick by Ronaldo.More, NPR

World Cup 2018: What's Happened So Far


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