There is no sporting event that comes close to the beauty and tension of the World Cup. Its beauty is only boosted by the tension every fan feels. These recent slates of games have only further proved that this tournament is king.

Having important games kickoff at the same time is a stroke of genius, as it has created some of the best matches of late. The group C and E final games will forever be etched into World Cup lore.

Group C was pretty much all up in the air with every team being theoretically alive. Mexico would face Saudi Arabia, with the Mexican side looking to dodge a historic collapse. Poland and Argentina was the, supposed, marquee match with two greats facing off.

Photo: Reuters

Meanwhile, group E was an oil soaked wood pile waiting for a match to spark a fire. Japan faced a tough Spain who have somehow found their next Iniesta and Xavi. Germany, desperate to avoid another bottom of the group finish, went up against Costa Rica.

If someone tells you that they predicted the outcomes of these games, they are a liar. These games were beautiful chaos that no one saw coming.

Memento Mori

We all have to die, it’s an inevitable process of life. This tournament was the moment this iteration of the Mexican team had to die.

Coming into this tournament, Mexican fans didn’t have the highest of expectations. A team that limped their way to the tournament without a real striker. Tata was seen as an artifact who refused to call up enough attackers to provide any real attack.

Their opener against Poland laid bare all their issues. Memo Ochoa had to bail out the defense with another all time performance. Despite the midfield and wings producing chances, the lack of a true striker made sure that they couldn’t find a winner.

After losing to Argentina, Mexico needed a win against the Saudis to have any chance of making it out of the group. While Saudi Arabia had, unexpectedly, beaten Argentina, their thorough defeat to Poland made Mexico slight favorites.

Photo: Getty

From the start, Mexico was determined to win at all costs, hoping to not totally rely on the Argentina Poland match. Tata opted to play Henry Martín up top as the sole striker, and it worked with the striker scoring after the half. This set up Luis Chávez to score one of the goals of the tournament, a free kick nestled into the top right corner..

With Poland down 2-0 and Mexico up 2-0, the Mexican players knew that they needed another goal. Despite peppeering the Saudi goal, Mexico would give up a brutal last minute goal after a total defensive mishap. Just like that, Mexico missed the knockouts for the first time in decades.

Mexican soccer is truly talented and churns out players who find their way into the best leagues. In a way, this is why they had to go out like this, to let a new generation be born for the 2026 World Cup, which they are co hosting.

3 Minutes

For three minutes, the world stood still. Germany and Spain were heading home. Costa Rica and Japan would be through, making it a truly historic moment for the underdogs. 

Unless you were a fan of those two giants, those were three minutes where all seemed possible. It was time for the underdog to be known. Alas, Germany would score to save Spain, but Spain failed to save their World War 2 collaborators. 

Germany opened their World Cup bid with their best squad since 2014 and a loss to Japan. After a great draw with Spain, all was set for a dramatic game against Costa Rica. Off one of the worst performances at a World Cup and a decent win, no one knew what to make of this Costa Rican side.

Germany were deserved winners when looking at the stats, but one does wish that Costa Rica could have held their lead. To be honest, Germany should have won this group given their great young talents. However, it’s clear that Hansi Flick is not the correct manager for this side.

Spain will still be considered a favorite, but finishing second will still dent their image. The midfield talent has every purist drooling with Pedri and Gavi creating magic. Despite concerns about the lack of an in form striker, Spain has found a way to score relying on the punching bag that is Morata.

Photo: Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay

It was beautiful to see Japan beat Spain with only 17% of the possession, in a massive screw you to modern soccer. There is a lot to like about this Japanese side, with their willingness to dare opponents to beat them, knowing they can kill them on the counter. This is a great way for underdogs to play, as it releases them from some pressure.

Group E’s matches have been some of the best of the entire tournament with upsets to rival any sporting event. The final two matches of this group will forever be remembered by fans as the three minutes that the world stood still.

There is no other sporting event on Earth that rivals the chaotic beauty of sport like the World Cup. Proving this idea are the games of groups C and E, which produced the best matches of the tournament so far. It is in the unexpected that we find beauty, be it still or wild, that beauty reminds us of why we are alive.


Featured image: AP

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