If there’s one thing this world cup has so far taught us, it’s that team’s superstar players aren’t quite living up to their hyped-up expectations.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s and his Portugal side have been knocked out of this years World Cup after another below par performance from a side that promised so much.
Pundits and fans alike believed that this was the tournament where Ronaldo & co. could finally flex their muscles, given the balance of a Portugese team that provides the superstar appeal beyond Ronaldo.
After a successful campaign with Real Madrid and the highly sought after 10th Champions League or ‘La Decima’ under his belt, expectations on the winger were always going to be high.
Yet, he failed to carry his nation and live up to the minimal expectations placed on him.
Portugal’s qualification path had minor bumps, yet in the deciding play-off match against Sweden, fans were tasted to a performance from their captain that many expected to continue through the tournament in Brazil that would prove to have an abundance of shock early exits.
Ronaldo’s input (or lack their of) in Portugal’s opener against Germany was not a performance of a captain. Despite the early chances, the work rate of the Worlds Greatest Player failed to impress on the world stage once again.
Eventually, Germany thumped Portgual 4-0, leaving very little room to recover. Center back Pepe’s rush of blood and red card also let down a nation which expected so much.
Maybe a new trend in football is emerging.
Wayne Rooney’s England too failed to qualify for the round of 16, with the striker finally managing his first world cup goal, a measly tap in under a diving Muslera at the back post in the 2-1 loss to Luis Suarez’ Uruguay.
The England national team which at club level has a combined total worth of over 200 million pounds failed to impress on the national stage under manager Roy Hodgson, with a big influence on an ageing midfield not enabling growth for future young players like Lallana and Barkley to flourish after break-out seasons for their respectful clubs.
Despite being in a difficult group, an enormous amount of pressure was placed on an English side which lacked balance and cohesion, and often struggled to complete simple tasks when attempting the magnificent.
Was the writing on the wall for England?
After the world cup in 2010, South Africa was another tournament in which the apparent ‘worlds best’ failed to shine for the 3 lions.
Englands only win came from a 1-0 win to lowly based European nation Slovenia, and finished behind the United States in their group, where they would go on to face Germany and be knocked out at the round of 16.
Words by Lucas Pavlidis.
So what do we make from these two sides failing to impress at a World Cup with quality players, despite being in strangely difficult teams?
Football is beautiful. If you are not good enough, it will find you out. And quite simply, Portugal nor England were good enough despite the superstar allure of both teams.
The World Cup despises the complacency shown by both teams, and proves that in groups of smaller countries with limited possibilities, their nation’s pride is placed within their football team and it often gets them over the line.
Since the weight of the world was placed on england and portugal, they had no choice to progress, but failed too under that crushing weight.
This is a world cup for flare, for ‘joga bonito,’ for ‘ginga,’ for all the elements that make Brazil one of the most incredible nations to watch play the beautiful game.
Other nations have bought their a-game, with their youth the basis of their success in reaching the last 16, and not just the notion of youth, but the unpredictability and fearlessness of young players to shock the world and make a name for themselves on the biggest stage possible.