Russia 2018: Highs and Lows of Round 1

Its been a rollercoaster of a week and so far Russia is all I could have hoped for and more. Here are my personal highs and lows from round 1 of the tournament:

Highs

1) Russian roulette

I loved the home sides opening performance, I loved Golovins performance. I loved the home crowds engagement. I loved seeing the lowest ranked team in the tournament win by the biggest margin so far.

2) Favourites for what?

I love that the so called “smaller” and less prominent teams have come to play, and proven that they are not here just to make up numbers.  France, Belgium and England have been the only “big” teams to win – and only just.  And can we just talk about Mexico. Their passionate performance was one of my favourites in this first round. This match proved that playing with your heart will always trump playing with your brain. Ok not always. But mostly. That, combined with their emotional reaction to beating the current Champs Germany made my week.

Hirving Lozano celebrates

3) Africa <3

Senegal beat Poland 2-1 in the last game of the round. This means so much.  I am so proud. Senegal’s coach is the youngest coach in the tournament,  he is Aliou Cisse. He is also the only black coach in the tournament.

4) Goals Galore.

Its been a goal fest with 38 goals so far in Round 1. Thats averaging about 2 goals a game. Not to mention the 9 penalties that have been given. This tournament in well on its way to become to highest scoring world cup?

5) The 12th Man.

The influence of the fans cannot be underestimated. My picks for best fans are the Argentinians in the streets of Moscow, the Mexicans and Icelandic fans with the Viking Clap.

Lows

1) Neymars Hair.

I’ll just leave this here:

2) Opening ceremony.

I don’t know if its just me, but the standard of opening ceremonies have declined over the years.  While I loved Robbie Williams back in the 90’s, I was expecting something more…. ummm.. updated. This years was snooze fest was also very short aand over before I could say “Vladimir Putin”

3) David de Gea.

As most of you will know, I am and always will be partial to Spain. De Geas “slip up” in their opening game against Portugal was Karius-like and suspicious to say the least.

4) Fantasy Fail

My Fantasy Team is performing abysmally, I’ve mustered a mere 26 points – its back to the drawing board for me…

Undecided…

VAR (Video Assistant Referee) technology has been heavily used this tournament. Some say its slowing the game, that it takes away the human element, that so called “soft” calls are being made based on VAR. Others feel that this minimizes errors and is more fair. I’m still undecided. What are your thoughts on this?

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