I hope I am wrong this time. by Charles Veritie
Watching the last half hour of the Nigeria v Argentina game, made me think of the 3rd round of the FA Cup. The spotlight of the FA Cup 3rd round is on matches that have a big team facing a team that has fought to get to this round whereas the ‘biggies’ start at this round. The games over all the headlines focus on the small team that has beaten the big team. So it is in this round of the World Cup. Both competitions follow the same pattern of progress to the final.
One or two biggies come unstuck and the little’uns triumph. With this round of World Cup being a three game round, the big team loses to a small team but when the 3 games are over it’s usually the first match defeated big team that goes through. The small club is not able to keep its first game momentum.
In the FA Cup it’s a one match round of course, so the winning small team plays in the next round and the losing big team is out. It is rare that the small club reaches a semi final and as for the final, has there ever been a small club in the final from the lowest two leagues? I am not sure, I need to check, but some how I doubt it.
In the World Cup the last four can be picked from a short list of big teams.
For both cups the identity of the small teams is unpredictable at the opening round of the World Cup and 3rd round of the FA Cup. However in both cups we know that one of the big teams will prove to be the cup winner.
Why is it that the momentum of the first great victory of the small teams doesn’t push them on to the final?
I wrote this not knowing the results of games after the Nigerian game. So this World Cup could prove me wrong. I hope so.