posted at 22:50
Author: Chris Taylor
World Cup Day 19: Guts But no Glory for the Underdogs
On Monday, after playing Germany, the country became the latest and perhaps the greatest team to go through the agonizing throes of "If only" and "We were so close." For the African underdog, which barely distinguished itself in the group stage, it was a stunning and brave performance - made all the more stunning by the fact that most of the team were fasting for Ramadan. Germany, for its part, played a panicky game, like a team spooked. Perhaps what spooked them was the cultural memory of the last time these two teams met in World Cup competition, in West Germany's opening match in 1982, when Algeria beat the favorites 2-1. Perhaps France, which faces Germany on Friday, could hire the Algerian team to give them some lessons. The French comfortably defeated its own African underdog team, Nigeria, 2-0 in regulation time. We have three teams that are relative underdogs according to FIFA rankings - Colombia, Costa Rica and France - playing supposedly superior Brazil, Netherlands and Germany respectively. Pro tip: for the rest of the World Cup, put your money on the lower-ranked team.

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