This World Cup has without question been one of the most entertaining in recent memory. 136 goals in the group stages was a tournament record, (since it’s been changed to the current 32 team format) and this set of second round matches have been full of drama, as 5 of the 8 matches were forced into extra time. Whilst the quality of defending from most sides has been questionable at best, this can be forgiven as it has meant that the attacking players have prospered in this World Cup, making it a feast of goals for the supporters to joyfully devour.
In amongst all these reasons to celebrate there is still one nagging issue for fans and pundits alike… At the moment there is no stand out favourites. All of the teams have impressed in flashes and at certain times looked like they could go on to dominate, yet none have consistently performed. This theme of uncertainty began at the start of the tournament as Spain, many peoples favourites to win the trophy for a second consecutive time, went crashing out after losing their opening two matches. Spain have been the dominant team of world football over the last 6 years, winning every competitive competition they have entered, and since they have crashed out, no team has stepped in to fill the void and take control of the tournament. Of the remaining European teams Germany and the Netherlands impressed most in the group stages, however, both stumbled heavily in the second round, requiring late drama to send them through in matches they ought to have won comfortably. Netherlands should advance past Costa Rica to make the semi-finals, but the same cannot be said of Germany, who are coming up against a strong French side.
In the other round of quarter finals the favourites should be Brazil and Argentina, but again both teams have been less than impressive throughout the tournament. Neymar and Messi are both singlehandedly dragging their respective teams through this tournament, receiving very little support from the players who are surrounding them.
Argentina struggled far too much against a well organised but technically inferior Swiss team, and can count themselves lucky to have come through that match thanks to some poor finishing from their opponents. Brazil admittedly did have a tough draw playing Chile, who had previously knocked Spain out of the tournament, but again failed to convince that they can meet the expectations of their nation and go all the way. Brazil also have the misfortune of meeting Colombia in the quarter finals, who have arguably been the standout performers of the tournament. Colombia have played some of the best football we’ve seen in Brazil, but due to a relatively easy group and second round fixture have not been fully tested yet, and their encounter with the hosts will be a tense affair.
So with no team completely impressing in reaching these stages it makes for a fascinating quarter finals, as each game is so unpredictable with many teams still attempting to find top gear. We at Original Footy are licking our lips looking at this set of fixtures and hope that now is the time that we see a team kick on and prove that they are the best in the world.