A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Opinion: World Cup 2018

The World Cup in Russia for 2018 has taken a very, very interesting turn. Many of the teams expected to qualify for the World Cup have been eliminated, which is a devastating tragedy for these countries. Not qualifying has caused major disappointment and rage from fans in major countries. One of the biggest teams to not qualify was Italy. The last time they didn’t qualify was 1958, which was almost six full decades ago. After drawing with Sweden 0-0 in the second leg, it was at that moment where it truly hit the Italians that they were out of the World Cup. The team was all in tears momentarily after the whistle was blown. Gianluigi Buffon, a forever legend in the name of soccer, gave a heartbreaking retirement speech after the game was over. Many hearts were broken to see such a passionate soccer player go down like this after such an amazing career. He said he was sorry for all of Italian football.

“It’s a shame my last official game coincided with the failure to qualify for the World Cup,¨ Buffon said, ¨Blame is shared equally between everyone. There can’t be scapegoats… There is certainly a future for Italian football because we have pride, ability, determination and after bad tumbles, we always find a way to get back on our feet.”

He made 176 appearances in 20 years serving with the Italian international team. Buffon’s Juventus teammate Andrea Barzagli and Roma midfielder Daniele de Rossi also ended their Italian international careers, and Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini is expected to join them. The quartet have won 461 caps between them. Some other teams that did not make the cut were the US, Netherlands and Chile. The US brought shock to the world when they failed to qualify. In my eyes, it was not very surprising after seeing the performance of the team go down and further down as time went by. It was only a matter of time, and I guess it just came in the wrong time of the year. They had been heavily under-performing for the longest time and struggling in the past World Cups as well. The US could have potential to become very good one day, but it is a matter of time before it clicks and they choose the right players. Implementing better college soccer and player development will be crucial. Time will tell which nations will step forward, fill the role of the countries that will not be competing, and make waves in the international soccer world.