Four and a half years of waiting since Russia 2018 and the first date of the World Cup has already passed. In general lines there were good games, teams that like and thrash and others that scare, like Arabia and Argentina. The Arabs were scared because they beat us, ours because they ended up 2-1 down and without the courage or ideas to tie. That’s how things are. On Saturday it will be known why we are in this World Cup in which even Mexico surprised by playing more or less well against a Poland that did not play at all. We were lucky, because they tied 0-0. Ours should be one of the easiest areas to qualify. But we Argentines tend to complicate things.
boot with sadness
The World Cup week started sad. On Sunday, shortly before the inauguration and the match that Ecuador beat Qatar 2-0, we learned of the death of Hebe de Bonafini. It was a hard blow. Days later another came: the great Pablo Milanés also left us. And as if that were not enough, it is impossible not to remember at this time that Diego Maradona was leaving us two years ago.
Obviously it is not enough nor is it the same, but how good it would be to beat Mexico and recover a little joy. Especially in a country where football is usually the depository of hope. Meanwhile, there is almost no talk of human rights in Qatar or of the 6,500 workers who have died since the World Cup works began. Religion of our times, as Manuel Vázquez Montalbán alluded to, we entered the World mode. Dangerous state, but how good it is for us.
The great ones who fulfilled
On Monday, when we still felt on the glorious eve of making our big debut, England dispatched with 6 goals against Iran and made it clear that they are up for big things. That of the English was not an isolated triumph, but rather it is the clear demonstration that they are emerging as candidates. How well Bukayo Saka plays, who also scored two goals. The same France, which was left cut with 4 to 1 to Australia. He could do more. Mbappé showed again that he is crack. Is it by chance that he smiles when he misses a goal, as happened in the first half? Will it mean that he enjoys the World Cup, away from the pressures of being a French icon? For whatever, welcome to his level and that of his companions. There is more about the French: of 7 shots on target, 4 ended in a goal. Australia only kicked him once.
The other one that broke it was Spain: a 7-0 win over Costa Rica. The flurry of goals at the end was tremendous. There are those who say that what happened in Spain was an accident. I do not think so. Spain renewed itself, it has sub-20 players who broke it in their World Cup debut. Among them, Gavi, one of the great Spanish promises. At 18, she even scored a goal in a World Cup. There are also those with great experience. May Sergio Busquets never stop playing, please. Of 17 shots, the Spanish hit 8 on target. And of those 8, 7 ended up inside.
the other surprise
Another of the surprises was given by the Germans and the Japanese. The first to lose, the second to win. Germany, like Argentina, started winning. And also like Argentina, they couldn’t maintain the result, they faded in the second half and lost 2-1. The German misstep may be some consolation. The issue is that on Sunday we will have the first match between great candidates: Spain versus Germany. Flat.
The Netherlands is the eternal team that promises and in the end runs out of gasoline. This time he did not promise, but at least he started with a 2-0 Senegal. We’ll see what happens. Let’s not rule out Croatia or Belgium. Other teams are still in the nebula: Denmark, Tunisia, Morocco and Cameroon, who lost to Switzerland but deserved more. Iran, Australia, Costa Rica, Ghana and Canada are, at the moment, the weakest.
How not to look at Portugal if none other than Cristiano Ronaldo is in its ranks: five World Cups, at least one goal per World Cup. His Portugal fought to win against Ghana and place first in group H, in which Uruguay and South Korea drew without penalty or glory.
brazil woke up
If before we said that Argentina and Germany fell asleep in their second halfs, Brazil woke up and after a boring first half against Serbia, they came out as a candidate. Tick tock tick tock… a little clock the team of the inspired Neymar. Pressure, passes, some stick, touches, dribbles and… Goal!!!! Richarlison once, Richarlison again. Casemiro and Vinicius Junior broke it. Anyway, watch out for Serbia.
We can also mark this first date as the additional times. The average was 6 minutes for each stage. This detail, along with the millimeter off sides, is here to stay. Football will become more and more technological. The automatic VAR turns the referees into robocops, as if they were controlled with joysticks from a screen located who knows where.
But we, friends, only have eyes and hearts to think about Mexico. It is what touches us.