The round of 16 at the Qatar World Cup 2022 is turning into a pandemonium for small nations and it is possible to believe that it will take more than some beautiful football for a bigger shock in these finals.
Now that the hope for small nations rests on Morocco and Switzerland, the question is which one can make it into the last 8 and what price they will have to pay in facing the likes of Portugal or Spain in the quarter-finals.
At this moment, Morocco remains unbeaten. Winning in its group and winning a chance to fight it out against Spain. For Spain, this is another historically charged tie given the tragedy of the religious wars between them.
On the other hand, Spain had some difficulties in their group after trashing Costa Rica 7-0, held by Germany 1-1 they lost to Japan 2-1 with a Japanese goal that is still disputed by football fans.
But to be truthful, Spain has the experience – as a former World Cup winner when Shakira and Waka Waka was rocking the airwaves (2010) – and the players that can make the difference, but don’t discount the Morocco side which is a valiant team led by the very talented Hakim Zyech.
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If Morocco beats Spain, it will be a major shocker, an even bigger shock than a win by Switzerland versus Portugal with Ronaldo upfront. (Editor’s Note: Morocco has beaten Spain on 3-0 on penalties)
Neverttheless, countries like Saudi Arabia, Cameron, Japan and even Ghana or the USA played such vibrant football that it is a pity that they failed to progress into the last eight.
Perhaps the World Cup is not made for smaller nations with big ambitions and it is now so commercialised that it has to be the tournament of big guns that escape elimination through penalties- South Korea lost to Croatia on penalties in the round of 16 – or because they go for the suicidal tactics running a-mock against their mighty adversary hoping they could strike a win while the experienced teams plays counter attack – England versus Senegal.
Focusing on the beautiful football games at the World Cup, we saw how Saudi Arabia defeated the unsuspected Argentina with King Lionel in their ranks. But that was not enough. Instead of pressing more on the brakes and maybe parking the bus against their two other opponents as opposed to attacking them to score and win, the Saudis could have promulgated their stay in the cup and offer fans another bit of stylish football?
It is all about tactics and even King Pele, before he fell further Ill last week, advised the Brazilian team to sacrifice beauty and style for tactics that would help the country lift the trophy on December 18.