This wild ride on a roller coaster called the World Cup continued with lots of shocks and surprises. From a disappointing campaign by the African teams, with further disappointments when the yellow card rule came haunting Senegal who arguably had the best performance by an African side, to the knocking out of the World Cup holders, Germany and many more.
The African teams failed to progress pass the group stage, as no African team had ever gone beyond the quarter finals of the World Cup, hopes were raised that this was the time where one would probably go on to win it but those hopes were crushed as all the African teams in the tournament had to pack their bags after a rather poor run in the group stages.
Egypt who were tied with hosts Russia, Uruguay and Saudi Arabia failed to pick up a single point in the competition, Morocco picked up just a point but can consider themselves unlucky after being tied in a group that had Giants Spain and Portugal. Nigeria had a lifeline after Croatia had beaten Argentina in one of the group matches but couldn’t make good use of the opportunity as lots of wastefulness meant the Argentines progressed over them. Tunisia won just one after they had already been confirmed knocked out the competition while Senegal, tied with number of points, goals scored and goal conceded with Japan, were outdone by the number of yellow cards picked up by the team which is the new rule brought into the tournament.
The main shock in the last group stage matches saw defending champions Germany crash out of the competition as they were beaten 2-0 by South Korea who had nothing to play for but national pride.
The round of 16 matches got off to an exciting start as group C leaders, France faced Argentina in a seven-goal thriller. The French side came from behind to beat the Argentines 4-3 with the third goal from the Argentines serving as no more than consolation for the South Americans, later that day, the stage was set for the Portuguese National team locking horns with Uruguay who had won all their group matches without conceding a single goal. An Edinson Cavani brilliance set the Europeans crashing out of the competition as the match ended 2-1 in favour of Uruguay.
Day 2 saw hosts nation Russia play 2010 World Cup winners Spain, the match ended 1-all after extra time and headed to penalties in a rather dull encounter, the hosts pulled a quick one over the Spaniards and won the penalty shootout as they continued their good form in the competition. Group D leaders Croatia played Denmark, in an all European encounter. Denmark with the quickest goal yet in the competition this campaign went ahead after 50 seconds but Croatia didn’t wait long for an equalizer as the match ended 1-1 after Croatian captain Luka modric had missed the chance to seal victory after he squandered an extra time penalty as the match headed into a penalty shootout, Croatia won the shootout 3-2.
The third matchday features two matches as South American giants Brazil face Mexico in a tough encounter, Brazil would be looking to pull one over Mexico and see this tournament as their time as some favourites have left the competition already. The second match is Belgium against Japan, Belgium won all their matches in the group stage and shouldn’t have much trouble with this one.
The last matchday sees two very tough matches as Sweden lock horns with Switzerland and Colombia take on England in a somewhat unpredictable encounter.
The World Cup drama continues as teams may now view this as their opportunity to win the trophy after most of the Favourites are now out. Are there still upsets to ensue? Or is another big team left going to stroll to victory? We could only watch and enjoy all the action.