For the first round of the World Cup I have been in El Salvador. I have before said how negative I am about this World Cup generally, but I would like to strike a more positive note by mentioning the top five things I have liked most about the World Cup so far in this first round of matches:
5) Denmark's luck: I watched the Peru-Denmark match in a Denmark shirt in an empty bar called Strikers in San Salvador. Denmark were lucky to say the least, but it felt good to finally have some of that elusive football luck that seems to favour everyone else but me.
4) VAR: I must admit that I did not like it in the first few matches. But as I see referees use it with more restraint it is becoming better; players do seem more careful that a crazy challenge could lead to a penalty or a goal, but at the same time referees are not using it all the time. Of course some of the decisions remain unclear (I do not think France should have had a penalty against Australia), but that should be part of the game. Now, the next step is to use it against all the acting that is still way too much....
3) The excuse for drinking beer: Perhaps pretty obvious, but the more I travel around the world I see this as one of the most common and best traits of the World Cup. And here in El Salvador it is no exception amid great people, football fans and the occasional beer.
2) Russia and its fans: Russia has been exceptional against expectations. Of course they are yet to face quality opposition, but an 8-1 score remains a great way to start any World Cup. And best of all they have been supported by fantastic fans that should put all the people who doubted a World Cup in Russia to shame.
1) Mexico and its fans: The Mexicans were very pessimistic before the tournament. Now they have turned around completely and consider themselves World Champions. But they always had a good team and defeated a lame Germany fair and square. But who needs to win if you have fans like the Mexicans? No matter the result they would have turned Russia into a party, and just the more so because of their victory. I will wear my Chapulin Colorado shirt for Mexico's next matches! Viva Mexico!