We are at the turning point. After two weeks, the World Cup in Qatar gets underway. Filed the big surprises (the German and Belgian flop) we are now in the round of 16. After the initial fuss, we begin to pull the strings. The trend is clear: the squadrons, having disposed of the rust, have begun to mesh thanks also to the contribution of the most eagerly awaited bombers, Mbappè among all.
But there is some vibration in the air. The exploits of Japan and Morocco have left their mark. They are only signals, not yet certainties, but the suspicion is that football is globalizing. And that times are indeed changing. The Queens of football are still dominant, but something on the periphery of the world is moving. While waiting to see how it will end, let’s vote for the teams that have impressed us the most.
Leoni launch a new roar by overwhelming (3-0) a tender Senegal too fragile and messy to oppose the Southgate national team who will now find France in the quarterfinals, an unprecedented fact because the two rivals have never faced each other in a knockout match in a big tournament. The English, before maramalding against Senegal, risked on at least three occasions but then, after much skirmishing, they finally took the lead in the 40th minute with a left foot from Anderson. After that, everything goes smoothly with Kane (first goal in this world championship) and Saka rounding off the loot. An easy victory, but with too many frivolities to avoid with France. Not a probationary test, then, but one that will boost self-esteem. The mood is high and Harry Cane has finally scored in a team where everyone scores easily (12 goals in total). Good sign, but with France we need a further leap in quality
Nothing to say: the holder of the title continues to be scary. You saw it with Poland. For 40 minutes she dozes off, with an almost irritating chanteuse attitude. But when she goes bad, she snaps the paw. First that of Giroud (her world championship is extraordinary, who knows Pioli how he is enjoying it) and then that of Mbappè, a cheetah who gives no escape. It’s next level. With his brace he now leads the scorers chart with 5 goals. Thanks to her talents France goes. It’s not 100 percent, but still growing sharply. You risk confirming yourself as world champion. For us Italians, a second setback.
And yet it moves. Messi’s team, thanks to his magic and those of Alvarez, takes off. It’s not yet an imperious flight, it slows down from time to time, but now it proceeds confidently. Argentina to thank Leo Messi who on the day of his thousandth match (against Australia), pulled it out of the mud with one of his razors. For la Pulce it is a great leap forward. Not only does he score his ninth goal in a World Cup (only Batistuta beats him), but he makes the whole team understand that Messi is there. And that anything is possible. Like when he jumped alone to dribble half of Australia. He remembered the Great Diego, but pretend you didn’t hear him. Alvarez is also amazing, a midfielder with a vocation for goal. If even Lautaro (more dazed than Lukaku) wakes up, everyone is in trouble. Starting from Holland that the Albiceleste will cross in the quarterfinals by re-proposing a now historic challenge.