As fans, we love permutations… don’t we? It happens in every tournament, especially after the opening round of games. You hear the permutations in league campaigns and cup competitions. You also hear it when international teams play in tournament qualifiers. Most especially, you hear it from Nigerians when the Super Eagles are busy giving them heart attacks and high blood pressure (lol).
The World Cup has reached its climax, with the final set of games billed to kick off this week. At the moment, some teams have already qualified for the knock-out rounds while some nations need to be certain despite being in the driving seat. The hosts, Russia, have been great despite doubts over their playing ability while the likes of Saudi Arabia and Panama have also lived up to their Free-Pointer tag (remember my article on that?). The likes of Croatia, England, Belgium, Spain and Portugal have made light work of their group so no one has to worry about them.
What has fascinated me though is the performances of the likes of Brazil, Germany, Argentina and Colombia. These are big football nations with players of the highest repute. Somehow, they managed to stumble their way through the opening stages. Few would have predicted Germany’s loss to Mexico (except Mexicans) or Colombia losing to Japan (except the Japanese folks) or Brazil’s draw with Switzerland (I think the Swiss were looking for a win) or even Croatia’s crushing of Argentina (oh c’mon…even Argentines were betting against their team…lol).
We are now left with a fascinating round of games that will decide those who complete the lineup for the next round and the speculation is in full flow. Group H is undecided as only Poland is sure to be on their way home. Senegal, Japan and Colombia will need stuff to go their way for progress to be achieved. It’s the same scenario in Group E as only Costa Rica has been confirmed to be on their way home so far. The likes of Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia will tear each other apart for the final few spots. It’s a bit simpler in Group C as France is the only team that is sure of progressing. Peru is gone but it’s a straight fight between Denmark and Australia for the 2nd spot. So much can go down this week and let’s not forget Nigeria’s group as well. Do you know that Mexico can still go home? Take a look at what can happen and you’ll be seriously intrigued. It’s too juicy to ignore.
Some of you were hoping that I was going to drop some calculations in this article. I don’t have that time and I’m sure most people have already done the calculations themselves. All in all, we should just get ready for an explosive week…starting with Group A.