by Graham Pierrepoint
You can normally expect some form of drama or two when it comes to international football – many will likely remember Greece winning the European Championships years ago and Senegal managing to hammer a few nails into France’s trophy-hunting hopes some tournaments back – but this past week in world cup mania seems to have created quite a few noteworthy moments. Most surprising has been what’s happened to the big names in the tournament – with Italy not having qualified, it’s up to the remaining titans to really strive for Jules Remaine – but if the first seven days of action have been anything to go by, it really could be anyone’s tournament.
The biggest story so far has been Germany – who are in Russia to defend their status as world champions – who lost in a dramatic first game against Mexico. Mexico have long since been a formidable country in these tournaments but they inarguably dominated the world champions in what should have been a done deal. Argentina, also one of the most formidable nations in the sport, could only manage a draw against plucky Iceland, who are making their debut at the world cup this very tournament. Belgium, a team which many are saying is one to watch, easily saw off Panama 3-0 in their maiden game, while England managed to scrap glory in the dying minutes of injury time with a 2-0 win over Tunisia – in a match which garnered controversy online over a number of decisions made by the referee in play.
Swedish fans reportedly generated a local beer shortage following their impressive 1-0 win over the always-steady South Korea – while Brazil managed to disappoint despite being a titan of the international scene, as they could only scrape a 1-1 draw with Switzerland. Senegal made themselves known with a 2-1 victory over Poland, while Russia have made their mark already with a 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia, and with a 3-1 win over Egypt. Spare a thought for poor Egypt – having received a drubbing earlier in the match week from Uruguay, who won the first-ever world cup in 1930.
As always, things may change by the time these pieces are published – but, as of the time of writing, that’s your run down of the biggest moments in the world cup thus far. Will Russia go all the way? Can Germany, Brazil and Argentina regain face and reach the knockout stages unscathed? Will England keep their fans on tenterhooks for every match? Will the Swedish fans finally get their beer? Stay tuned! You can follow the latest media coverage around the 2018 FIFA World Cup here on One News Page.