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As Cup Gets Kicking, The Whole World is Watching

Mexico’s Upset of Germany Highlights World Cup’s First Weekend

World Cup Monday

Mexico’s Upset of Germany Highlights World Cup’s First Weekend

Welcome to the time in each sporting quadrennial when the serious fan, without preconceived notions or prejudices, respectful of the ethnicities of other cultures, is afforded the opportunity to wake up every day for a month to the crescendo of Andres Cantor perforating ear drums somewhere around the world on Telemundo.

It’s World Cup time, folks. And it truthfully doesn’t matter whether you love soccer or not because the vast majority of the universe is currently having a blast turning your Super Bowl week into their summer samba celebration.

World Cup Monday

Alexander Hassenstein / Getty

Well, not in the United States, or Italy, of course, where funerial marches are more in vogue right now because their teams weren’t swell enough to qualify. Or maybe you didn’t hear about that, this spring in Biloxi? Yeah, probably not.

But elsewhere on the map, almost through the first week of the event being held at various spots in Russia, adrenaline is pumping through the veins of those who consider football freaking fabulous.

On Sunday morning, seismic devices in Mexico City identified signs of what may have constituted a minor earthquake. What distinguished it from other geological events was that it seemed to be prompted by something just as spontaneous but certainly less menacing.

“Possibly because of mass jumping,” the Institute of Geologic and Atmospheric Investigations in Mexico told the New York Times.

Coincidentally, Mexico’s Hirving Lozano had just scored in the 34th minute of his team’s Group F opener against defending World Cup champion Germany. Mexicans were soon dancing in the moonlight in celebration of their 1-0 win, the Germans’ first opening-round defeat since 1982.

That takes team-spirit-let’s-hear-it to an entirely new level. And its typical of the World Cup.

Mexico’s win has certainly been the highlight of this week’s action, although there have been other notable results.

World Cup Monday

Dan Mullan / Getty

Portugal and Spain tied, 3-3. Argentina tied Iceland, 1-1. And Switzerland managed a 1-1 tie with Brazil when Steven Zuber scored on a header in 50thminute.

As for who might eventually emerge as champion, everyone naturally has a favorite.

Argentina still has Lionel Messi, one of the most gifted and charismatic players in the world. He may not be what he once was, but it’s unlikely his team would have made it to the Cup final four years ago without him. Defense has been its problem this cycle, a 3-0 loss to the Brazil during qualifying the glaring example.

Belguim’s roster, led by goal scorer Romelu Lukaku, is nearing its apex which makes it a formidable opponent. But there has been some internal discord after Kevin De Bruyne, perhaps its best player, called out manager Roberto Martinez over a few strategic decisions.

Brazil, memorably destroyed 7-1 by Germany in 2014, has its usual quota of splendidly talented stars, most again known by only one name, like Allison, Paulinho, Casemiro, Ederson and, of course, Neymar.

France, which beat Australia 2-1 in its first match, made it to the finals of the 2016 European Championships before losing to Argentina. They also have an experienced team led by Paul Pogba, Hugo Lloris, Samuel Umtiti and Raphael Varane.

But the favorite likely is Germany, which returns a veteran core with extensive international experience and success, even without retired stars Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

One thing is certain, however: When your team scores, try to find Cantor’s call. Trust us, you may never feel the same way about soccer again.

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