In very shocking fashion, the reigning World Cup champions fell in their World Cup debut in over a decade. Argentina and Brazil were humbled by a debuting Iceland and a mid-tier Switzerland squad.
Just yesterday, the 2014 runner-ups were spoon-fed their first win. At least that’s what we thought. Iceland had never stepped foot on the grand stage, so in this scenario, Messi and co. were expected to destroy the newcomers. Once Agüero scored in the 19th minute, the floodgates should’ve opened up. Nope. Instead, Alfred Finnbogason retaliated with a goal of his own, four minutes later. As we reached the 2nd half, Argentina failed to produce any results until they were awarded a penalty at the 64th minute. This was it, Messi was going to convert this penalty, and surely the goals were going to mount up. Jaws dropped as Halldorsson saved the shot.
While it’s excusable for Iceland to have not scored more, the same does not apply to Argentina. The CONMEBOL giants were humbled by an unknown island from Europe.
Then came the champions, Germany. Die Mannschaft has always been deemed as a destructive force that no one should poke. Leading that force lies Thomas Müller, a World Cup scoring machine (ten total). At the very back is the brick wall known as Manuel Neuer. Of course, the likes of Draxler and Kroos are always there to provide extra firing power. Regardless, that wasn’t enough.
Over on the Mexican side, Juan Carlos Osorio put together a team that strongly resembled the 2014 squad (by former coach, Miguel Herrera). Anyways, the concern wasn’t the players that Osorio selected, rather how was he going to approach this match tactically. To everyone’s surprise it worked. For 35 minutes, both teams were at a deadlock, until Hirving Lozano broke free to finish off a counter-attack.
The Germans were persistent in leveling the playing field, but all efforts were futile. Müller was ineffective, Ozil didn’t make himself relevant in the attacks, and Khedira was just there. The real threats lied in Werner, Draxler, and Kroos. Even then, they didn’t capitalized on their best chances.
After a horrendous 2014 World Cup, Brazil was primed to rebuild themselves and show the world that they’re ready reclaim their spot as World Champions. Switzerland had other plans. The Brazilians started off strong and it paid off at the 20th minute, with a goal by Coutinho. Despite being behind early, the Swiss did not cave in. Five minutes into the 2nd half is all it took for Zuber to tie the game. From then on, Brazil only came close on few occasions to secure the win. The biggest chance came in at the 94th minute. Brazil was given a free-kick within shooting rage, but Neymar failed to convert. The tremendous effort by the Swiss was too much, so Brazil settled for a draw.
Three of the most successful World Cup squads left us in disbelief. No wins; just two draws and a loss. At this pace, we just might crown a brand new champion.