Every team has played two games to date in the 2014 World Cup, and it’s safe to say this has been a wild ride so far. We’ve had champions go out, upstarts leading groups and substitutes outscoring regular starters.
With so many interesting moments already happening, the rest of this tournament will have a lot to live up to. However, it’s time to reflect on the moments we’ve seen—both good and bad. So, we give you the five biggest surprises and disappointments of the World Cup to date.
Now, do you want the bad news or the good news first? We say it’s always better to lead with the bad news.
5 Biggest Disappointments:
5. England bouncing out of the World Cup
Wayne Rooney finally opened up his World Cup account, but the Three Lions were defeated by both Italy and Uruguay and bounced out of the tournament with one game left to play. Things don’t look like they’ll get much better in the third game as Costa Rica has two wins over Uruguay and Italy on its resume. About the only thing that will save this World Cup from being a complete disaster for England is finding a way to win a meaningless game against Los Ticos. However, given the players available to manager Roy Hodgson this isn’t as disappointing as it would be with a full complement of English players available to him.
4. Empty seats everywhere you look
Brazil is supposed to be soccer-mad, and when traveling there you are bound to see people playing the game everywhere you look. However, the sports popularity hasn’t translated in to butts in seats to the degree we’ve come to expect at the World Cup. There are few games where there aren’t swaths of empty seats in the stands, and it’s happening at supposedly good matchups as well. That is disappointing to see, but not wholly unexpected given the socio-economics at play in Brazil and the unpopularity over how things have been done in the lead up to the event. Still, you’d expect the entire soccer-mad nation to embrace the games once they started and empty seats are a bit disappointing.
3. Brazil’s lack of flare
We’ve discussed this earlier after a scoreless draw with Mexico in game two for Brazil, but Brazil has been downright boring to watch so far in this World Cup. Little of the attacking flare, the spectacular offensive moments or moments of individual brilliance have been on display against Croatia and Mexico. The reason this isn’t a bigger disappointment is because a look at this team over the past few years should’ve told us all this was coming.
2. Belgium’s boring start
The Red Devils were expected to run away with Group H, but instead the Belgians have struggled in wins over Algeria and Russia. Belgium have scored just three goals in its two wins, and are through to the knockout stages, but one look at the roster for Belgium should tell you exactly why this side has been a disappointment. There are 12 players in the 23-man roster who ply their trade in the English Premier League. Add in players who are on sides like Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid and there’s little excuse for this group to not have walked over Algeria and Russia. Romelu Lukaku hasn’t been healthy and it has hurt this team, but there just appears to be zero chemistry as a team and they are lucky to be on top of its group at this World Cup.
1. Spain going out of the tournament
The Spaniards have had the run of the soccer wold since winning Euro 2008, but father time and hubris brought down the reigning World Cup champions. Two games, two shocking and rightfully deserved defeats. It all equals a Spanish side that’s out of the World Cup and players already jumping ship on the international level. Maybe we should’ve known that having the same Spanish style for a decade coupled with an aging roster was a recipe for disaster, but the epic fashion in which they have gone out of the tournament in is rather disappointing. Now, imagine what happens if Australia leaves them pointless in the tournament? Yikes.