LAF World Cup Diary: Do we always have to support the underdog?

 
18 June 2018, 13:03
Life After Football

Dear Diary, am I a bad person for not wanting the underdogs to win?

In football as in life, we all have an affection for those who prosper against all odds. We see it films and we read it in books. Everybody loves an underdog. Everybody loves a rags to riches tale. 

Backing the underdog seems like the moral thing to do. Many people loved how Australia almost got something from their game against France and many rejoiced at how Iceland contained Argentina, how Mexico upset Germany and how the Swiss got a draw versus Brazil. But, whose to say it's wrong to want to see quite the opposite happen?

In defence of my attack...

Yes, it's great to see the playing field levelled by the likes of Iceland, a nation which has a population 10 times less than the capital city of Argentina, the two-time World Champions who they drew against on Saturday. However, what with Ronaldo's display on Friday night, surely there was nothing wrong with hoping for a Messi-inspired Argentina thrashing? Imagine Lionel getting four goals to CR7's three, whipping in free-kicks and putting Icelandic defenders on their backsides. That's what I wanted to see.

Likewise on Sunday evening as the eagerly awaited arrival of Brazil at this year's World Cup finally came. Draped in their famous gold and with all the flair of Coutinho, Neymar and more, there's something to be enjoyed about the prospect of them turning on the style and destroying someone like Switzerland.

Again, it's great to see a lesser team make it so hard for one of the big boys, but have we all just been denied a samba masterclass? Has Switzerland's excellent defence prevented us from seeing Neymar knock the ball through a poor bloke's legs, over the head of another, before dribbling past the goalkeeper and crouching down to head the ball over the line? Because at the end of a long day sat on the sofa, what would you rather have seen: a brilliantly organised defence or a devastating attack? 

To contradict my role as devil's advocate, how great were Mexico? Time and time again they sucked their World Champion opponents in and hit them on the break with amazing speed and style. Their determined defence absorbed pressure before sprouting it back out into counter-attacks. Their win, made possible thanks to all of the above plus a great goal from Lozano, marked an undeniably admirable win for the underdog. And again, everybody loved it.

But am I a bad person for wishing that Toni Kroos didn't make the net bulge from 30 yards out? 

 

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