Wednesday brought simple and complicated victories for many, and naturally, a few eliminations along the way. I’m writing another for South Korea, since it was a bit premature for me to have written one, and things have changed quite a bit since Saturday.
Ramble of the Day
After a messy end to Tuesday, Wednesday doubled down on the chaos and drama. The final result saw Germany and South Korea, opponents on Group F’s final match day, heading out.
South Korea came into the match needing a lot to happen in addition to beating the reigning world champions, and surprisingly managed the latter. An otherwise insignificant World Cup campaign that saw a sloppy and frustrating team was turned on its head, as they showed their best against Germany. Of course, it was not without its imperfections; a majority of their 12 shots were off target, and plenty of attacks died earlier than many wished. Once Kim Young-gwon and Son Heung-min scored, it was easy to notice that they had done their best, even if it was difficult. After all, they pulled off one of the most memorable upsets in World Cup history.
As for their opponents, Germany has shocked the world with just how poor they were. Joachim Löw boldly went into his side’s title defense, and showed little for it. The midfield, throughout the three group stage matches, did not click, setting up for a host of other problems. Players were not performing at their best, and another was calling the coach out publicly. Toni Kroos’s last gasp winner was Germany’s only highlight in Russia, as the well-oiled machine that was the German national team quickly and epically fell apart.
Wednesday’s final eliminated side was Serbia, the so-called masters of the 1-0 scoreline who did not finish enough matches 1-0. The first match fit that plan perfectly, beating Costa Rica with an impressive freekick from Aleksander Kolarov. From there, their defensive-minded nature resulted in offensive efforts that were not enough, and eventually, their defensive weaknesses were exposed. Many of the teams in Russia this year will be remembered, fondly or not, but Serbia will not be one of them. They were simply a boring team who did not earn a knockout round berth.
tl;dr: See you around, South Korea, Germany, and Serbia.
Links of the Day
AC Milan have been banned from UEFA competition for a year after violating Financial Fair Play rules.
A small compilation of videos of Mexicans celebrating with Koreans following South Korea’s victory over Germany that ensured Mexico’s spot in the Round of 16.
Following Germany’s elimination from the World Cup, The Guardian has collected the reactions of media outlets around the world.
Today’s longer read: Andrew Keh on a Mexico supporter who went to Russia with a sombrero but without tickets to a single match for The New York Times