Things are taking shape, more or less, in this World Cup; some teams are out, some are in, but many more have a lot to play for as we enter the last matches of the group stages.
This is a personal list of what I have liked and disliked in the tournament so far:
- Best team: Brazil! After many years during which Brazilian football had lost its way (culminating in the infamous 1-7 defeat to Germany) the Brazilians under Tite are now back with a solid and technically skilled side that so far has defeated two complicated and defensive European sides, Serbia and Switzerland. There is a lot of tournament ahead, but Brazil is more and more looking like the side to beat (alongside France and Portugal perhaps).
- Best goal: Richarlison against Serbia. No doubt, and showing the quality that Brazil has
- Worst side: Qatar. Not only should they never have been hosts, but they are also poor in footballing terms, showing nothing on the pitch and with fans who leave before the end of the match. Nobody will cry their elimination. Perhaps Costa Rica were worse against Spain, but they lifted themselves up at least
- Darlings: Canada. Impossible not to love the young Canadians who put up great matches against Belgium and Croatia, but are out nevertheless. However, the world will love to see them again. Of the teams that are still in the tournament, Ecuador are perhaps the darlings to watch
- Dark horses: Morocco and Ecuador. Two great sides that have pulled some excellent results, so hard to choose between them. Ecuador should have defeated the Netherlands, and have a thriller ahead against Senegal, while Morocco has tied Croatia and defeated the mighty Belgians, and with Canada left, they may win the group
- Biggest Surprise: Morocco, because they appear likely to win the group. But one should also add Saudi Arabia, due to their result against Argentina, but we are still to see whether it was a one-off and whether they are able to make it through
- Biggest Disappointment: In a hard contest I pick Belgium. They were lucky against Canada and had little to offer against Morocco, so it is the end of an era for the Belgians who I think are on their way out. They may be followed by other disappointing sides like Germany, Wales, South Corea, Denmark and Uruguay
- Best players: So many, but to mention a few (including some players to watch) Hakim Ziyech, Kylian Mbappé, Alphonse Davies, Enner Valencia, Pedri, Casemiro, Aurelien Tchouameni, Richarlison, Bruno Fernandes, Wojciech Szczesny
Still a lot to watch, and the list will surely change as the tournament progresses.