VAR, Messi and Momentum.
What a cracking World Cup so far!
The introduction of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) has been a revelation. I am a massive advocate. It increases the drama of the occasion, almost gets the call right 90% of the time and gives the referees freedom to act on first instinct. There will be no more death threats laid at referee's doors for contentious calls. It's better for everyone.
The great teams have underwhelmed and the average have overachieved. I thought Nigeria and Senegal were extremely unlucky. The fair play rule is a joke in regards to using as a tie-breaker. I was speaking to a mate yesterday evening and he suggested that using 'corners won' would be a more suitable tie-breaker as it encourages and rewards offensive football. What a damn genius he is! I totally agree. Croatia has been breathtaking and Sweden has been strategically amazing. Germany fell on their face, Argentina has been incredible disjointed and France has not lit the tournament on fire as expected. Are we in for a surprise winner for the first time ever?
Lionel Messi may be coming to life. I'm currently watching the anthems of France vs. Argentina and I felt that Messi had his shackles or stress removed before last game. With that said, I think his supporting cast is terribly average and Argentina's defence is inept so Argentina's fate lay directly on his shoulders.
Momentum means nothing. There were numerous occassions were we felts a team had gained some momentum and would carry it forward to the next game. German winning in the last minute vs. Sweden, Mexico winning their first two games etc. This couldn't be farther from the truth. All that matters in football is the mood of the players on the day - this dictates performance. What happened 4-5 days prior is quickly erased from the mind in tournament football.
My pick for the tournament is still Brazil as I feel they have the correct balance within their squad.
Bring on the Round of 16 - I love this game!