Tuesday, July 3, 2018


Mumbaikars shift loyalties as popular teams crash out of the FIFA World Cup

The last few days have seen some of the most popular teams crash out of FIFA World Cup 2018. Clearly, this tournament is now turning out to be the battle of the underdogs and football fans in the city are temporarily shifting their loyalties.

Argentina and Portugal’s heavy reliance on their star players, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, might have cost them dear in terms of team work, but the biggest upset of the tournament came when defending champions Germany crashed out. For many Mumbaikars, like IT professional Prashant Pratap Singh, their ouster came as a shock. “It was shocking that they crashed out at the group stage itself. They were the winners of the last WC. Even though there are big teams like England and Brazil in the tournament still, I have a feeling, the winner will be an underdog.”

Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Pervez Shaikh, adds, “Germany has never bowed out of the World Cup in the group stages, so when they lost to South Korea this year, it was depressing. They’re the most clinical side in world football. They’re known as machines because the Germans are that efficient. This is the team that had beaten Brazil 7-1 in the last WC. I don’t feel like supporting any other team now, but if I had to choose a team, it would be Russia.”

Media professional Revathy Raut, a diehard Spain supporter, is heartbroken, too, after her favourite team crashed out on Sunday. But she is now all set to cheer for the underdog teams, “I’ve been a Spain loyalist for the past ten years, so it was upsetting to see them getting eliminated in penalty shootouts, since they dominated the game throughout.”

FIFA 2018: A cup of the underdogs?

Revathy adds, “Not that my loyalties will shift permanently, but for now, I will root for Mexico, Uruguay and Croatia. These teams were not really the favourites at the beginning, but now things are changing.”

This World Cup is throwing surprises at fans faster than twists in the Game Of Thrones universe. Earlier, when Mihir Dhruv, an FYBCom student, was supporting the lesser known teams, his friends would make fun of him. “I have always supported the underdogs and now, there’s a possibility that one of them will lift the Cup this year. My friends who supported all the big teams are depressed and I’m having the last laugh,” says Mihir.

Meanwhile, cinematographer Surjodeep Ghosh, who is currently in Russia for the WC, is hoping that his favourite team Brazil wins. He says, “Favourites like Argentina, Spain and Portugal are not in the running anymore. I support Brazil and thankfully, they are still in the reckoning. I really hope they win the World Cup this year.”

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