For the third time in last four World Cups, a defending champion has been eliminated in the group stages.
Germany, the four time winners of the World Cup, who came into this year’s competition as defending champions, have been knocked out from the group stages.
Football just can’t get better than this!
It isn’t the reputation of this German squad which makes it impossible for anyone to process their early exist.
Neither is it the recent history of football World Cups, the last five editions of which has seen four previous champions dumped out in group stage.
Instead, it’s the manner by which Germany went out that raises eyebrows. They weren’t beaten by a stellar squad.
Nor did anyone – least of all German fans – could say that their team deserved to go through.
Such was the poor level of performance of the German side that no one is saying they deserved to progress to the knockout stages. After all, they got three chances, and barring a late Tony Kroos goal against Sweden, the Germans failed to grasp all of them.
Still, while Germany’s exit follows a trend of recent World Cups, it could make this one memorable. No longer do we have a team of Germany’s caliber which could beat any opponent at its day. No longer do we have a squad as feared – and respected – as Germany’s.
Yes, we still have heavyweights like France, Brazil, and Spain, but neither of these three teams came into this year’s World Cup with as stellar a reputation as Germany.
France, under Didier Deschamps, still look like a work in progress. Brazil, for all their star-studded starting lineup, isn’t playing at the level we know they are capable of playing at.
As for Spain, they’re still reeling from the unexpected and sudden sacking of their manager just before the start of World Cup.
That doesn’t mean that one of these three teams are destined to win this year’s World Cup.
After all, Ronaldo and Messi are still in the competition with their respective teams, with both Belgium and England punching above their weight so far.
And now that we don’t have a heavyweight like Germany amid us fighting for glory in Russia 2018, all these teams – the remaining ones – should feel they have a chance to take the cup home!