Posted: 6/28/2018


      I am not one of those who gloated and jumped for joy after the sad but deserved exit of the Word Champions from Russia 2018 who came bottom of their group after a woeful display to South Korea. The Asians scored two goals in added time to shock the world. Germany have given much for the world to admire. They have won 4 times since 1954 and The Miracle of Bern and I was privileged to be in the Olympiastadion press box in 1974 to watch them beat the Dutch 2-1 in a come from behind triumph.

        You have to go back to 1938 when they were knocked out by Switzerland in a repaly 4-2 at Parc des Princes in front of 20,000 fans. They had earlier tied 1-1 in front of 27,152 at he same stadium refereed by Belgian John Langerus at his third World Cup. He refereed 4 matches in 1930 including the final, wearing a jacket and britches. Germany flew the Nazi flag, being ruled by Adolf Hitler in 1938 while defending champions were under the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini who beat Hungary 4-2 at Stade Olympique de Colombes in front of 45,000. Their were no groups matches back then.

      A year ago Joaquim Low took a young team to The Confederations Cup which they won, but brought back the more experienced players this year. The Koreans scored two goals in added time including the sight of  Son putting the ball into the empty net with Manuel Neuer stranded upfield. Low stated that they deserved to go home after the first round with their three displays.

       I was pleasantly surprised at Sweden's 3-0 win over Mexico who had impressed in earlier games. Both go through to the Round of Sixteen with the Swedes facing Switzerland and Mexico against Brazil. 

      NEW BALLS PLEASE ! No, this is not Wimbledon which starts next week, but on Saturday the Adidas'18 ball will be replaced by the AdidasTelstar Mechta with a touch of vivid red. Mechta means DREAM in Russian.

      Have you heard the official World Cup 2018 song LIVE IT UP by Nicky Jam featuring Will Smith and Era Istrefi? Way down in the various European charts, so I am told.   Mladen Krystajic the sorry Serbian manager was rightly fined by FIFA for his outburst after their match with Switzerland, refereed by a German.  He had suggested that he be put on trial for war crimes at the war tribunal in The Hague. Shut up !

     Costa Rica's two goals, including an own goal by Sommer) against Switzerland means that ALL 32 teams have scored at least once in Russia.