By Nth Degree
What a roller-coaster World Cup. First, a quick recap. Action started June 14 with the group phase. That ended on Thursday, June 28. Those who caught flights home for an early vacation after the group matches were Saudi Arabia, Egypt (sorry, Mo Salah), Morocco, Iran, Peru, Australia, Nigeria, Iceland (smallest country ever to make the finals), Serbia, Costa Rica, South Korea, Panama, Tunisia, Poland, Senegal and the biggest shocker of all, 2014 Brazil World Cup champions, Germany (sniff).
And then after a day of respite from all the drama, the knockout round began in earnest just last weekend. Those who went sight-seeing in Russia before confirming their flights home were Messi and Argentina, Ronaldo and Portugal, 2010 South Africa World Cup champions Spain, Denmark, CONCACAF powerhouses Mexico, the impressive but naïve Japan, ho-hum Switzerland and the undisciplined Colombia.