What makes a World Cup legacy?
When Spain won the 2010 World Cup whilst executing a transplant version of the famed total football tactics of the Dutch against the Dutch in the final–a surreal case of the body snatchers indeed–coupled with the parallel success of Barcelona at the club level, it became clear that Spain was the soccer capital of the world.
This impressive achievement was stylistic and generational.
Thus far in the 2018 World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored four goals in two games, which includes the game-winning goal in Portugal’s 1-nil win today against Morocco, while Lionel Messi hasn’t registered a goal or assist after 90 minutes against Iceland in the group stage. Both Ronaldo and Messi, for instance, are world-class soccer players and generational icons. The point is whether Ronaldo is genuinely tipping the scale in his favor in real-time in his rivalry with Messi for best player in the world because he’s scored/scoring more goals than his Argentine counterpart on soccer’s biggest stage?
If the 2018 World Cup ends up tipping the scales in this heated debate–this premise being a whole other debate–will goals or style of play weigh heavier in defining the (proposed) best player of his generation?
Either way, Messi will have his shot(s) tomorrow to add some goals to his tournament résumé and for his country, as well as some weight to his side of the scale.
Today’s match between rivals Spain and Portugal fulfilled all the drama–before and during the game–short of a game-winning goal. And let’s be honest…this is one of those games where I should just point you to the highlight of the night.
Click PLAY, then click “Watch this video on YouTube” (FIFA stuff) and then please return to Jimmy’s Daily Planet.
Spain will view the 3-3 tie as a loss as they were pre-game favorites. They had the chance to win the game, collect three-points and sit atop Group B in pole position.
Portugal will likely view the 3-3 tie as a win as they were pre-game underdogs. Led by superstar Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat trick that served as the scoring bookends for the day (4th and 88th minute), the Portugeuse now have an opportunity to sincerely challenge Spain to win Group B.
Slightly More Reaction:
It’s a little difficult to tell if Spain and Portugal will continue at this pace, both in style and proficiency, throughout the tournament. Was this performance by both nations more of an isolated rivalry game that, like Ohio State and That Team Up North, just ignites an unexplainable fire that fuels players to accomplish the spectacular? Time will certainly tell, particularly outside of Group B against comparable top competition.
Either way, the hype is real–and was heart-poundingly real in Spain vs. Portugal–for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
From Russia with love for the beautiful game.