World Cup: My Thoughts So Far

I’ve really, really enjoyed World Cup 2018 so far. There are some caveats, but for the most part I’ve been surprised by how often I’ve been drawn back to the TV to watch “just 5 more minutes.” This is one of the few occasions since I started running my company full-time that I haven’t been as disciplined as I should be during the work day.

Here are a few random thoughts so far:

  • VAR: For the first time, the World Cup features instant replay on specific types of plays. It hasn’t been used often, but it’s been a factor in a few penalty kicks. Oddly enough, even after using VAR, I’ve seen the ref make some iffy calls. I think it’s a testament to how easily players choose to go down when inside the 18-yard box that makes it difficult for the referee–even while using VAR–to make the right call.
  • Stress:  It hit me today that I’m super stressed by this World Cup. I can really feel the tension and the stakes, which is awesome, but it’s almost been too much at times. I can only imagine how it must feel to have your country’s team in the competition!
  • Parity: I love that every team has the chance to win at the World Cup. Of the top 10 teams, only 2 of them won their opening match! That means great things for the second and third games of the group stage, as many teams will be going all-out instead of playing for a tie. It would be awesome to see some smaller, lower-ranked countries advance deep into the tournament.

Have you enjoyed the World Cup so far? If you’re in the US, have you found yourself rooting for another country or just for entertaining games?


5 Responses to “World Cup: My Thoughts So Far”

  1. Charles Dionne says:

    It’s been great so far! That Portugal-Spain match was fantastic… one of the best matches I’ve seen in a long time. Seeing the favorites somewhat struggle is definitely helping to keep things interesting. Can’t wait to see how the rest unfolds. I must admit that I’m a fan of Brazil. My soccer team in 1994 organized a trip to go see them play at the Silverdome and I’m been a huge fan ever since. I still occasionally sport my old Ronaldo jersey! Not the start I was expecting with a draw against Switzerland but I’m hoping they will play better as the tournament goes on!

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      I agree, that was a really good game, and such a dramatic finish. Good luck to your Brazil for the rest of the tournament!

  2. Atlas Grey says:

    I think the VAR is doing a lot more bad than good for both teams and fans alike – personally I think it should be dropped. That said, I’m in the same position – the tension and excitement is real!

    It’s great seeing so many popular teams struggle at the mercy of the underdogs early on… though it does mean the fan’s stress levels are going to be at an a time high right up to the end haha

    I’m backing Aus, Korea and Russia this year… and while the first two are struggling the third is doing phenomenally!!

  3. tmac80 says:

    As you know, I’m overly excited about the World Cup! I would watch every match if I could (and if I had Fox Sports1). The only real stress I’ve felt has been shortly before checking the score for a team I hold in the World Cup pool you’re hosting. In general, I’ve appreciate the use of VAR for select plays, like reviewing goals and penalties in the box. Without the US in the tournament, I do find myself supporting nearly every team and wishing for quality games, although I get even more excited when a game features one of the teams I hold in the World Cup pool. Admittedly, choosing Russia in the pool has significantly shifted my desire for them to succeed (I’m cheering hard for them). Also, maybe this is odd, but I feel a sense of parity (“anything can happen on a given day”) with the distinct exception of 1 team – Saudi Arabia. Based on pre-tournament analysis, I expect the Saudis to lose every game with little chance of a tie. (I thought about putting Panama in that bucket as well.) We’ll see how that pans out though–if Mexico can defeat Germany on the world’s biggest stage, anything can happen!

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