No one likes losing. Fortunately, even though England just lost to Belgium, they are still in the World Cup.
After comfortably beating Panama 6-1, England were guaranteed at least a second place finish even before setting foot on the pitch to face Belgium.
And though it wasn’t quite another 6-1 thrashing, the recent loss by one goal has actually made England’s path to overall victory slightly easier.
By finishing as runners-up of their group, rather than top of it, the teams they will now face in the knock-out stages don’t seem (on paper, at least) quite as daunting as if they’d won.
The winners of Group G, which we now know to be Belgium, are likely to face Brazil in a potential quarter final, whereas the runners-up – England – will come up against Switzerland or Sweden in the last eight.
Additionally, if Belgium advance to the semi-final, they would prospectively face either Uruguay, Portugal, France or Argentina. England, meanwhile, would face one of Spain, Russia, Croatia or Denmark, the Independent reports.
Now that they’ve come runner-up of their group, the teams that England will face are, statistically, ranked lower than the teams they would’ve faced had they won the group.
Based on World Football Elo Ratings, the teams England could face have a collective rating of 163, whereas if they’d won, the teams they could’ve faced have a total rating of 112.
Sorry for the maths homework but what I’m trying to say is, even though England just lost, they are most definitely not out of the World Cup, and might actually be in with a better chance after today’s defeat.
Of course, everyone’s path to World Cup glory became a lot better after South Korea’s shock win over Germany.
The 2014 winners’ premature exit sent shockwaves throughout the world, while both Mexico and Sweden fans basked in pure nirvana – and they had plucky South Korea to thank for it.
Despite Mexico getting absolutely slaughtered by Sweden in their final group game (3-0), the two nations still did enough to progress through to the knockout stages, after the Germans absolutely capitulated in a shock 2-0 loss to South Korea.
Mexico fans and South Korea fans unite in Munich after knocking Germany out of the World Cup! ?
— World Cup 2018 (@WCGoalz) June 27, 2018
As we’ve seen a number of times now, the celebrations after World Cup victories often receive as much attention as the matches themselves.
After South Korea knocked out Germany, it wasn’t just the Korean fans celebrating.
The post-match celebrations carried on well into the evening, as both Mexico and Sweden fans hoisted South Korea fans on their shoulders as if they were rock stars or conquering heroes.
That’s the Korean consul general to Mexico, Byoung-Jin Han, celebrating with grateful Mexican fans outside the Korea embassy here. One fan said he took a shot of tequila with them earlier. pic.twitter.com/NGWEmRADUW
— James Wagner (@ByJamesWagner) June 27, 2018
Whether they were outside the stadium in Ekaterinburg, Russia, or in the streets and offices of Mexico City, jubilant Mexicans celebrated joyfully.
Fans in Russia though, who came across South Korea supporters, lifted them up into the air, as if it was Daenerys Targaryen herself coming to their rescue.
According to Vice Sports, Mexico had a proper party atmosphere as they made their way to the South Korean embassy, only to find Ambassador Byoung-Jin Han.
They gave him the heroes’ treatment too, by throwing him upon their shoulders. It’s as if Cinco De Mayo came around twice this year.
Here’s to more celebrations in the future!
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.