This world cup is shaping out to be one of the most unpredictable in recent times. This began with Germany’s defeat by Mexico in the group stages and eventually being eliminated as bottom of the group. Personally i was unconvinced by this Germany side after watching their friendly match against Austria. They looked average and they lacked the spark they had four years ago. So from Germany leaving the tournament it opened the flood gates for the so called ‘big teams’ to be eliminated enter Argentina and Portugal. I feel for Messi because he couldn’t carry that team on his own. They were so poor and lacked quality in almost all aspects of the field.
In the expense of these teams let me introduce the so called ‘underdogs’!! Hail the rise of Mexico, Uruguay, Colombia, Croatia, Sweden and Switzerland. These teams have dazzled us with different styles of play from explosive counter attacks to more rugged approach and it has been entertaining.
With Messi and Ronaldo being eliminated on the same day just gives evidence of poetry in motion to this fairy tale that is unfolding. One of the teams that has really disappointed me so far is Brazil with so much quality they are yet to prove themselves as worthy contenders. So far it has been the Neymar show and not in a positive manner. He hasn’t settled down. Its like any slight tackle turns into him rolling on the pitch and what about him wanting to be involved in every free kick and corners which in my opinion that responsibility should be given to Coutinho because we know he can hit them!
Now lets go to my picks!!! In no particular order:
I know i might get stick for this after their performance against Sweden but i know they will turn up for Brazil. Why Mexico? Tactically they are rapid and full of pace. Their transition from defense to attack is impressive and very quick. They can also defend as a team when need be. They kind of remind me of Liverpool in their attack and quickness. The number 22 know as Hirving Lozano has really stood out for me. He is that type of a player who is all over the field attack and also helps defend when necessary. Javier Hernandez is another player who has given heart to this team blood, sweat and tears mostly tears. He is a leader in the middle of the pack and grinds out passes in the final third and if in the right position he scores. Now lets talk about the only wall Mexico are willing to pay for goalkeeper Ochoa. He’s been like spider-man making impeccable and also he just doesn’t panic. Very calm on the goal even under immense pressure. Who can forget their fans!! They are so loud in the stands and their support will carry this team.
Like Mexico their attack play is very impressive. They also have a ‘go hard or go home’ attitude that i think will serve them well. Juan Cuadrado is one player that has stood out in this team. His runs on the right wing and work rate are to die for. Most of their attacks come from his wing. James Rodriguez is the other one. He is the one the team looks for when they need lifting. He gives 100% and has the ability to pick passes from the midfield and drive to the final third. I hope he will be fit to face England. Then there is an emerging talent known as Quintero who has a sweet left foot who can shoot from long range and also create intelligent passes he reminds me Coutinho. Their 4-2-3-1 formation has given them width in their attacks and on the helm being Falcao who can terrorize any defense.
This team can be classified as balanced where the defense is solid, the midfield is finger liking good and the attack is lethal. They are also the only team that has won all their matches so far. They were however put to task by Denmark but survived the penalty shoot out. They are a team with individual quality but can play as a team. With Modric’s leadership they have all the tools to each the finals but they have to be better than their last match. With him playing a more creative role compared to a defensive one that he does for Real Madrid. So far have been impressed by Rebic, Perisic and Manzukic very lethal in the final third and also their goal keeper Subasic.
Notable mention goes to Uruguay they are also in the mix!
So lets go team underdogs!!!!