In this article today, I intend sharing my Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup Experience as a Nigerian so far. There have been so many surprises in this year’s event from different squads, we have seen teams that no one expected to lose actually failing to meet up our expectation. Many star players have shined, there are still many yet to make their teams proud of them.
Every now and then, news of outstanding experiences hit social media especially with the use of goal-line technology which has made it easy to know when the ball passes the line and the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) which has made the center Referee to overturn a lot of decisions and giving penalties. The latest VAR decision was against Nigeria which made the Center Referee give a penalty to Iceland team but was wasted.
So far in this Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup competition, we have had a lot of Shockers, Christiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in the Portugal-Spain match which made them get a point each. For Argentina, Lionel Messi has not lived up to his best in this year’s Mundial. The host team, Russia has already qualified for the round of 16 with their great start which saw them win Saudi Arabia 5-0 (on home soil – they are the only team that has that advantage). Many thought that was a fluke, but they went on to beat Mohamed Salah’s Egypt in their second game. Egypt already lost two of their games and so would be returning home after their last match against Saudi Arabia on Monday 25th of June, 2018.
Mohamed Salah was tipped as a top contender for the best player of the tournament, no thanks to the injury inflicted on him by Spain and Real Madrid’s Sergio Arguero in the Champions League finals between Real Madrid and Liverpool where Arguero twisted his hand, yet no card was given, no thanks to the lack of VAR in that match. There have been several fixtures that have turned the other way against what people expected. A typical example is the fact that the defending champions – Germany actually lost Mexico 1-0 in their opening fixture, what most people didn’t think would have happened.
I made a decision to watch the major games in this year’s Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup, so far, I have been thrilled.There have been other unexpected wins and losses and even draws. We’ve had the largest penalty decisions in history which were initially not given all thanks to VAR technology. So far, in group A, the host, Russia and Uruguay have qualified for the next round while Egypt and Saudi Arabia, though have one more match left, only have tourism adventures to do in Russia as they pack their bags to the waiting embrace of the fellow countrymen.
Group B is still a little bit open, though Portugal and Spain are leaading the table with four points each, they both still have a match left. Iran which is presently on 3 points can still qualify if they win their last match against Portugal (I don’t see that happening though) but what it means is that if Iran wins and Spain also wins, it would be Iran and Spain that would proceed, otherwise it would be Spain and Portugal. As for Morocco, they still have one more match of funfair to go, they either spoil Spain’s chances or give them a free ride to the next round.
So far in the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup, group C is still a little bit undecided, though France are on their way to the next round haven won their first two matches. The contention is really between Denmark and Australia. Australia is on one point haven drawn with Denmark, while Denmark is on 4 points. Denmark has a higher chance though. If they win their last match, they would progress to the next to the round of 16, but if they lose and Australia wins, whoever has the highest goals would qualify because they would both be on 4 points and only goals difference would decide who would proceed to the next round.
I’m proundly a Nigerian, so the group that concerns me most is Group D, for many reasons, but because my country has the best dressed squard with our ‘Aso-ebi’ that everyone loves. The jersey is so fine that a lot of countries support Nigeria because of it and they proudly wear their jerseys if only for the glam of social media. Anyways, Nigeria lost its first match to Croatia 2-0. The same croatia team later went on the defeat, sorry, white-wash Lionel Messi-led Argentine squad 3-0. I know they are waiting for Nigeria, but we are also waiting for them, they are the key to our next level and we must collect it. This group is pretty open as well, with all teams left with one match left, the usual ‘win-this, lose this, draw-here’ scenario is playing out here. If Nigeria wins, they, sorry ‘we’ proceed to the next round, but if we draw, we would have to pray that Croatia wins their game against Iceland to proceed to the next round, and that would only be if goal difference favors us because we would be of 4 point with Argentina. We’ll win ‘sha’!
Group E teams have also played two matched with one match left. Brazil and Switzerland have good standing with 4 points each while Serbia comes closely with 3 points. As for Costa Rica, all that remains is fanfare. group F have their matches today South Korea taking on Mexico and Germany taking on Sweden. Today’s world cup fixtures is a must watch. In group G, Belgium is also going to fight it out with Tunisia today while England take on Panama. (their first world cup appearance) tomorrow. Other fixtures include Japan: Senegal and Poland: Colombia.
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back at your faces next week Saturday for another episode of ‘Straight from Russia: My Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup Experience as a Nigerian’.
PS: I’ve been watching the matches live from Lagos Nigeria in different locations and ‘stadiums’.
I’m yours truly,
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