All football fans gathered around their TVs for the FIFA World Cup, cheering on their teams in hopes that they make it to the final 16. Most went in with high expectations based on their team’s run in the previous championship, but lo and behold, the big boys got a severe wake-up call as they were either underperforming or overwhelmed by the sheer tenacity of the underdogs. Here’s a list of teams that could easily represent the same effect games have had on us (or me in particular).
Brazil – Star Wars Battlefront 2
The Seleção has some of the biggest names in the football world and has been known to produce some of the most exciting football showcases known to man. With names like Neymar, Coutinho, Willian and Gabriel Jesus as part of the lineup you’d expect out of this world performances, but this was not the case in the group stages. There have been some great goals scored by the likes of Coutinho, but one can’t help but feel underwhelmed by the utter mediocre performances. The reason why I compared it with Battlefront 2 is that there’s so much hype around the game that emulates the expectation of the Brazilian football team. Star Wars has characters that are household names and a universe packed with compelling content that could easily translate into somewhat of a great experience, but the game ultimately felt nothing like what was expected on release, bar the microtransaction upheaval. It plays well and there are new additions that make it interesting, but then there’s the short single-player campaign and with a lack of the finer details during combat.
One could say that the wealth of talent of Brazil should guarantee high-calibre performances, especially with a player that cemented the highest transfer fee of this century. And Neymar’s spaghetti hairstyle doesn’t make it any better. Battlefront 2 has a similar reputation but just couldn’t hit the nail on the head.
England – Call of Duty
The Three Lions fans have mixed emotions ever since the day Beckham was labelled the betrayer when he was singled out as the reason for their exit from the 1998 World Cup. Since then the English have been struggling to make it anywhere near the final 16 and on some occasions, were not expected to even make it to the World Cup at all, but still had a massive following and undying support from their fans even when they do get knocked out. They definitely have a strong following and a great pedigree of world-class talent but seem to have produced more of the same every championship. The reason for likening their performance with Call of Duty is simple: more of the same, just a newer wrapper. This World Cup though we’ve seen some solid performances from the English, who sit at the top of their group thus far with a stellar performance against Panama. They have one game in hand against the Belgians this week, but the common belief is that they will succeed in maintaining the top spot by employing the same tactics as before. The tactics being: keep hold of the ball and build up play, feeding balls to the forwards and running the opponent down till their legs start turning to jelly. That’s been it for years, but now Southgate started holding on to the younger, faster players until the last 15 minutes. This change is evident since the last World Cup and it has worked out well for them.
Call of Duty employs a similar tactic where each games was created with two things in mind: A single-player experience with more attention spent on the multiplayer aspect. Rinse and repeat because, well, Call of Duty is an expected sell with every edition. This time though with Black Ops 4, the singleplayer will be missing with a strong focus on multiplayer. So, one tactic remains, but with new editions in the form of battle royale and more emphasis on the zombie mode. Going full force with multiplayer in the last new edition, listening to what the players want and then adding a twist to it. England does the same with their players, the best performers in the Premier League are there, but now the tactics have changed.
France – PUBG
Les Blues so far has the youngest and most creative players on paper, with a good record thus far in the group stages and just about qualified for the round of 16, but something just doesn’t feel right. On occasions when they field all the game changers and produce an OK performance leaves you wondering whether the players have had actual time with each other on the pitch to know what the tactics are and how well to perform with certain players on the field. Didier Deschamps seems to have miscalculated his team mashups of late and can’t seem to find a winning combination even if they do win games. Not to mention that they are a bit slow out the gate and can’t hold consistent performances, but they have so much support and some great players to boot.
Why do I compare them to PUBG you ask? Well, the game is still in early access and there are still issues with the game even though they do still have a massive following and quite popular. The content for the game also takes quite a while to be released on all platforms leaving you to think that you’ll be stuck with the same content for around 6 months and teased with test servers until it’s released. They have a great concept and their developer teams have grown substantially, but it seems they still don’t know what the final, final game will be all about. Will it have a new map soon or will they fix all the bugs first, or is it the other way around or will they fiddle with the weapons instead of adding the new reward system? It’s a bit all over the place, yet so many people still play it. The French supporters are left as confused by their national team, casting doubt over whether they’ll see the quarters or semis, but their belief in their star players keep them glued to the stands cheering them on even if it’s with a half-baked”Viva Les Blues”.
Portugal and Argentina – God of War
You should have seen this coming. Portugal and Argentina have the two best players in the world and seem to carry their teams in every competition they enter. A true one man show, if you will. Their ability to read the game, create opportunities out of nothing and show off inhuman abilities with the ball leaves you awestruck. Their humble beginnings and rise to stardom is inspiring and many have tried to emulate their reasons for success. It seems like every competition they bring another side of themselves and influences the team so much that it looks like there’s more than one of them on the field at any given time. It becomes painfully evident that their attitude influences the game when they feel like they’re not performing at their best and the rest of the team follows suit. Why do I liken them to Kratos? Because they are the Gods of Football.
Kratos, the God of War, the embodiment of rage, skilful with just about any weapon, defeated demigods with sheer will and determination. Revered and respected, Kratos is a symbol in the gaming world equivalent to Cristiano Ronaldo and Leonel Messi in the football world. Untouchable even if they don’t win every championship they enter, their impact was felt. Perhaps we’ll see one of them get a 10/10 at this year’s competition as their video game likeness did earlier this year. Hopefully not another “hand of God” scenario, because that would just be awful.
Germany – Destiny 2
What the hell happened here? The cup holders got eliminated in the group stages. No one expected this after their 7-1 demolition of Brazil in the 2014 World Cup, along with defeating Argentina in the final. It’s like they forgot who they are and what they are all about in the space of four years and neglected what made them so formidable in the last championship.
The same can be said for Destiny 2. The original Destiny’s success came with the continuous support and development after the game’s initial release and made into one of the most played and enjoyed multiplayer experiences. Great gunplay, exhilarating multiplayer experiences, raids, loot, loot and more loot. The game was so good that many still played it just before the release of Destiny 2. Perhaps due to expectations set for what the game was going to be like?
Well, you could look at Germany and think the same. The winners of the 2014 World Cup saw the end of the international careers for the veterans like Schweinsteiger and Lam to name a few and had the long awaited return of Reus into the lineup. A star studded team with experience and young blood, we expected the same results as the previous outing. But, no. That didn’t happen. Not one game that Germany played felt like they were in control or a cohesive team. The defence seem like they are useless without Boateng, the midfield is longing for anyone to take initiative and drive the team forward, and the forwards look like they constantly need to be told to run in behind the opponent’s defence. It just leaves you wondering why. Why and how did they change so much over four years? Is Germany an actual team of players or did the veterans win the cup for them, or did they not learn from their winning ways and decided on something new?
Destiny 2 left so many people asking similar questions. Why not learn from their previous successes and just build on it? In some patches they brought back certain mechanics that made the original great, but it seemed a little too late. The same can’t be said for Germany though. The champions have fallen and Destiny 2 seems to be following in their footsteps. Sure, the updates have brought back a few die hard players, but it won’t have them winning any awards this year, that’s for sure.