Monday, December 19, 2022

Judging the World Cup

With working from home still in effect, I saw a lot of the World Cup matches.  The tournament started on a downer.  Qatari government announced that no alcohol would be sold to the fans.  It was a big reversal from what was promised going way back.  There were no surprises during the first three days of the tournament.  On day four, Saudi Arabia shocked everyone (including themselves) by coming from behind to beat Argentina.  A 23 to 1 underdog came out on top!

Next day, Japan unexpectedly took down Germany as an 8 to 1 underdog.  Few days later, Morocco topped Belgium 2-0 as a 4 to 1 underdog.  For me (and Serbia's national team), the agony started the following day.  Having already lost 2-0 to Brazil, it was time to earn 3 points versus Cameroon.

Plenty of heartbreaks have occurred over the years:

In Italy, at the 1990 World Cup tournament, the quarter final match versus Argentina was a 0-0 draw through 120 minutes of play.  Next came the penalty shootout and a cruel loss.

In France, at the 1998 World Cup tournament, the round of 16 match against the Netherlands was lost 2-1 in the 92nd minute.  The game included a missed penalty to put us up 2-1.

In South Africa, at the 2010 World Cup tournament, game 1 was scoreless until an idiotic 85th minute handball by a Serbian defender.  Ghana showed no mercy from the penalty spot and took all three points with a 1-0 win.

In Russia, at the 2018 World Cup tournament, Switzerland did the unthinkable in game 2 in the 90th minute.  On a counterattack, they produced a game winning goal and walked away with a 2-1 win.

This brings us back to game 2 of the 2022 World Cup, Cameroon vs Serbia.  It went well if we compare it to the three disasters I described above.  It was a 3-3 tie and not a loss haha.  But it felt like a loss after giving up a 3-1 lead.  And just when I thought there was hope in the 3rd and final game against Switzerland, the 2-1 lead disappeared.  Elimination followed the final result, a 3-2 loss.

The knockout stage had five games go to penalty shootouts in order to determine the "better" team.  England's game was also decided on a penalty, a missed one.  Morocco impressed and Croatia showed how to win only one game out of five in regulation and still end up in the semifinals.

Overall, the World Cup was kind of average.  There were several soft penalties awarded and some that should have been given but weren't.  Even in the final, the penalty given to Argentina was weak.  The rest of the game was excellent.  Next up, the 2024 Euros in Germany.  I haven't been to Germany.  If the Eagles can qualify, maybe I'll go.  It doesn't hurt that the beer will be flowing!


  1. Merry Christmas and happy holidays! I enjoyed the World Cup but honestly, I didn't fully understand what I was watching. Obviously, I got the fundamentals, but still don't understand the whole offsides, how the refs time the match, etc.

    1. Even some soccer fans think that it is time to stop the game clock on prolonged delays during the game. Happy New Year, TMP and family!

  2. I didn't know much about "real" soccer until I went to college. My school was a perennial small college national power. I watch some now on occasion, but I guess I am just one of those typical USA guys who will never live and die for the sport. I particularly dislike all the thespian talents regularly displayed. The players seem almost akin to professional wrestlers with their tremendous recuperative powers.

    1. Just seeing your comment. It can be comical watching them hold a leg and screaming until the replay shows the leg in question was barely touched.