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Brazil and Uruguay knocked out of FIFA World Cup 2018; but it still can't be said that it's a tournament of upsets
After Brazil were knocked out by Belgium in the quarter-final of the FIFA World Cup 2018, social media was flooded with messages of disappointment saying that this World Cup is a tournament of upsets. Similar sentiments were expressed when both Argentina led by Messi and Portugal led by Christian Ronaldo had exited in the Round of 16.

However, I don’t think these are upsets. Yes, defending champions Germany and a few other prominent teams like Brazil, Argentina, Portugal and Spain have been knocked out of the tournament; and teams like Italy and Netherlands didn’t qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2018. But still it can’t be said that it's a tournament of upsets because of three reasons.

First, the positive thing that happened in this tournament is that the gap between higher ranked teams and lower ranked teams reduced substantially. South Korea defeating Germany, Russia defeating Spain and Japan taking a 2-0 lead against Belgium proved that no team could be under estimated. Any higher ranked team would underestimate a lower ranked team only at its own peril.

Secondly, individual charisma doesn’t work nowadays unless the team is good. Cristiano Ronaldo was able to draw against Spain but then Portugal lost to Uruguay because the opposition's defence put a check on Ronaldo.

The third reason is very important. The team which plays well on that particular day wins irrespective of rankings or predictions. In Uruguay versus France match, most favoured France while many others including me though the Uruguay would go through. But then, Cavani didn’t play and the second goal blunder by goalkeeper Muslera made Uruguay's players shoulders drop. Why Cavani’s absence mattered? As Uruguay’s bench strength is not good the team lost in Cavani's absence. France won by 2-0, which means that France totally out classed Uruguay.

Similarly, Brazil were hot favourites in Brazil versus Belgium. But the team conceded two goals. The first goal being an ‘own goal’ (by Fernandinho), though Kompani’s header was also excellent. Then the second goal by De Bruyne was simply a magical shot which hardly any goalkeeper could have saved. Renato Augusto too scored a goal for Brazil by a classic header. Many said that Brazil were unlucky. They played very well and could have scored at least five goals. But what we shouldn’t forget is that football is not like boxing or wrestling where for every good move there’s a point system. In football it only matters how many goals you have scored.

Thus instead of calling them upsets we should say that both France and Belgium played better and deserved to win their respective matches. So let’s not discredit this World Cup as a tournament of upsets.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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