Old order changeth
No team is invincible anymore. The 2018 FIFA World Cup has given hope to smaller teams that nothing is impossible.
FOR so long they were considered the sideshows to the main event. They would enter the stage, shine brightly for a brief while and then quietly fade away, their moment drowned and lost forever in the mad roar of the stadium. They were like the necessary hurdles placed along the glorious paths of football’s elite, essential for building up the momentum of the tournament and pushing it to its crescendo; and then they would make their exit, as though having completed their purpose in the broad scheme of things, leaving the stage for the main players. The world would applaud their efforts and cheerily send them off before quickly settling down for the “real show”, the clash of the titans. For so long they were the underdogs of the World Cup championships, who, for generations, delighted the world by adding a splash of extra colour and bringing a gritty edge to the games. But their days of living in the shadows of the giants are finally over.
If there is one thing that the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia has shown, it is that the old order in world football is making way for a new age of thrilling uncertainty. The gap between the game’s elite and underdogs has reduced to the point where the term underdog itself has