The 4 Biggest Shocks in the FIFA World Cup 2018 So Far

After Five days of games, the FIFA World Cup is already shaping up to be more exciting than many hoped. Some of the biggest teams in the tournament have underperformed, with a handful of shock results that should mix up the rest of the group games.

1. Russia thrashes Saudi Arabia

One of the biggest shocks so far happened on the opening day of the tournament, when the lowest-ranked team in the competition took the top spot in their group with a huge five-goal lead. Opening their home tournament in Moscow, Russia dominated Saudi Arabia, scoring three goals in ordinary time, then almost doubling their lead with two injury time shots.

Russia were the dominant team mainly because Saudi Arabia were a slow and lumbering side, but the start gave the hosts a boost, and much greater potential for getting out of the group with such a huge goal difference. Vladimir Putin will be pleased.

2. The defending champions Germany lose to Mexico

The current World Cup holders went into the tournament among the favorites to win and they were expected to beat inconsistent Mexico in their opening match in the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow. Yet Juan Carlos Osorio’s team was lively and hardworking against Germany, with Hirving Lozano scoring on the counter attack in the 35th minute, and the whole team keeping up a strategy of counter attacking after German chances.

3. Brazil’s superstars could not dominate the Swiss

With a squad of stars — including the most expensive club player in the world, Neymar — Brazil were expected to make relatively light work of their group. Despite Philippe Coutinho scoring one of the goals of the tournament so far, Brazil were held to a tie by Switzerland thanks to Steven Zuber’s goal in the 50th minute.

The match has gone down badly back in Brazil, with some pundits on ESPN saying Neymar should’ve been taken off in the second half for selfish play. Others, including Brazil’s coach, felt the Swiss goal came as a result of a push, and that Neymar had been unfairly fouled by the Swiss team—there were a total of 10 fouls on him in total.

4. One of the world’s best players blows a penalty shot

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi—five times voted the world’s best player—had the opportunity to win the game for Argentina with a penalty with 25 minutes left—but the save by Hannes Halldorsson was one of the other big surprises of the match.