Random thoughts about the tournament, Exploring Qatar, USA-England
As I sit with my breakfast, newspaper, and computer to write today’s blog, here’s what I am looking at:
First some random thoughts about the games so far through 1 week of matches:
1 – The competitive gaps between countries are closing. Spain beat Costa Rica 7-0, but then Costa Rica beat Japan, who beat Germany. And England beat Iran 6-2, but then Iran beat Wales 2-0. Outside of that, most games have been competitive.
2 – Teams play not to lose their first game. There have been five 0-0 draws in the first games. 70% of teams that don’t win their first game don’t move on, and coaches know that. As mentioned in point 1, the tactics don’t change drastically from team to team.
3 – To win, you have to have game-breakers. At the Denmark – France match last night, the teams were fairly evenly matched. Possession, defending, set pieces, etc were similar. France just won the battle of game-changing players like Kylian M’bappe, Ouseme Dembele, and Antoine Grieman made the difference in a 2-1 game. This is why I still think Brazil has the advantage to win it all – Neymar, Richarlison, Martinelli, Jesus, Antony, and a few more are all threats to change a game.
Qatar has been under Bahraini, Saudi, Ottoman, and British rule, gaining independence in 1971. Much of the wealth here is from oil and natural gas exports. There are 2.6 million people, but only 313,000 of them are Qatari citizens. Much of the museum focuses on the earlier periods of history and the ties to Mongolian people, Bedouin nomads and their culture.
On Saturday we went to the Museum of Islamic Art.
This was a massive museum, 4 floors of 1000s of years old artwork, was just stunning. Again, I wish I had way more time to explore. Intricate wooden and ivory carvings, Persian rugs, glass pieces, and more. But most of what was on display were handwritten copies of the Koran and other books throughout the centuries.
Friday was the big day – the big game – the rematch of the Revolutionary War – USA vs England!
This is the one we’d been waiting for. The atmosphere was pretty electric, and the game was competitive, as far as 0-0 draws go. We were able to take it to England and create the better of the few chances, but unfortunate not to finish one of them and go home with the full 3 points. Also unfortunate to not have more to write about!
I saw Claudio Reyna (Former USA legend, and father of current player Gio Reyna) sitting in my section. I also sat right next to Columbus Crew forward Lucas Zelerayan – so that was cool.
Next up on my schedule:
Today – Canada vs Croatia
Monday – South Korea vs Ghana
Tuesday – the big one: USA vs Iran – win or go home for the Yanks!