Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Best team in the World Cup (so far)

In my soccer day job I follow club soccer. And because I only have time for a few things my interests therein must have their limits. My scope is modest: I love Barcelona, and The Spanish La Liga, and my enemies are Real Madrid and The English Premiere League. 

But shouldn't The World Cup be a vacation from all that?

As I write, just after the end of the second round of group play I think we can safely pronounce the best team in The World Cup so far.

No, not the best National Team. At this point it is impossible to tell. Is Belgium good? After a mere two games maybe their opponents have simply been poor. England the same, and with the same opponents. Let's see them against each other before we so judge. Uruguay, Russia, who's to say? France, Croatia, Mexico, I am hardly ready to call it for any of these teams, as good as some have been. But after two games I am willing to say that the best team so far has been Real Madrid. 

Yes, hated Real Madrid. 

But aren't we on vacation from hating Real Madrid?

Luka Modric has had two of the best games of the tournament by anyone, playing now for Croatia. Marcelo has been thrilling on Brazil. Isco is bright and essential for Spain. Toni Kroos the reason Germany is still in it. And of course Ronaldo is the entire difference, after two games, for Portugal.

I don't resent it. Good for them. But the third game is still to come. And ever the story changes. Barcelona, the Barcelona of Rakitic, Messi, Iniesta (sort of), Dembele, Umtitie, Busquets, and Coutinho, who all wait in the wings of glory, some already having made great marks, some, not yet so much. 

But I will try, for awhile now, to not keep that score,the score of those teams of my normal life. The deck has been reshuffled. And while deep preferences persist, new, unheard of combinations have blossomed into being.

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