The Sideline Observer

Sports and Culture Commentary

World Cup Group Stage Recap

Hasta la vista Germany. Or as the Koreans say, 안녕히 가세요. The group stages of the World Cup are in the books and for the third straight World Cup, the reigning champion is out in the group stages. Before this year Spain lost in the group stages in 2014 after winning in 2010, similarly, Italy failed to move on in 2010 after lifting the trophy in 2006.

The superstitious would argue that there is somewhat of a curse going on. I completely agree. We have seen the art of witchcraft in sports plenty of times. For example, Lil B the Based God cursed Kevin Durant and the Thunder in 2011 after Durant called his music trash on twitter. The curse was oddly successful as Lebron and the Heat dismantled the Thunder in 5 games in the Finals. Lil B has also cursed James Harden and we all know that he is nowhere close to a ring.

Back to the World Cup, the final games of the group stage were packed with drama as teams battled for the remaining spots in the round of 16. Argentina squeaked into the knockout rounds on the back of a Lionel Messi goal and an 87th-minute game-winner from Marcos Rojo. Can’t forget about Maradona’s antics in the crowd.

Germany was knocked out of the World Cup group stage making it the first time they haven’t qualified for the knockout round since 1930. Hopefully, they are better losers this time around.

Japan got into the next round over Senegal based on fair play points(Japan had fewer yellow and red cards) which was the first time that ever happened in a World Cup.

There are some very entertaining matches coming up as Argentina matches up with France on Saturday, and Brazil plays Mexico on Monday. England also takes on Colombia on Tuesday. If you have not been keeping up with the World Cup I recommend you start because the drama is only going to get better.

– Matt

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