Sunday, June 17, 2018

World Cup!

Anyone else been enjoying the World Cup since it kicked off a couple of days ago?  I missed the Thursday night opener and the Friday slate due to work obligations, but caught two of the four games yesterday and all three today thanks to the magic of DVR.  With the Premier League done for the season it's nice to have some high-stakes international soccer to watch, even if the US didn't qualify.

Was running some errands a week or so back and saw these stocked up in my local Target.  I had no idea that Panini was doing a Prizm World Cup set for 2018, but I enjoyed their effort from the 2014 World Cup immensely and was excited to discover these.  My favorite cards from the 2014 release were the various "wave" refractors, so when I saw that you got three of them guaranteed in this rack pack I was sold.

At first I grabbed four of these, figuring they were probably $5 each and I'd spend $20 to make my own blaster of sorts.  I happened to ring one through a price checker at the end of an aisle just to make sure though, and I'm glad I did.  These are $9.99 each retail!  At that price I put three back on the rack and left with just a one-pack sample.

Soccer is sort of a second-tier sport for me.  I love the game and I watch English Premier League consistently every season, but with baseball and hockey I only have so much time for the sport so I can't keep up with the many other leagues across the globe.  I only mention this to make the point that this pack has serious hit-or-miss potential, as it's entirely possibly I might not recognize a single one of the 15 subjects to be found inside by name.

Let's see how I did...

Big smile on my face and a real winner with the very first card out of the pack.  Mo Salah was an unstoppable force for my favorite Premier League team, Liverpool, in the 2017-18 season.  His 32 goals were good for the Golden Boot (most goals in the league), and were the most scored by a single player in a Premier League season in over 20 years.  If you handed me a checklist and asked me to hand-select a single card from this set for my collection it might've been this one.

Don't recognize this guy.  Looks like he plays club ball in Argentina most recently, the same country he represents internationally.  I don't believe he got into the game in Argentina's 1-1 draw against Iceland yesterday.

Hey, another guy I actually know!  Hart was a longtime keeper for Manchester City in the Premier League, and spent the 2017-18 season on loan to West Ham United.  I don't believe he is actually representing England in 2018 here, but I suppose Panini had to settle on the checklist before all the finalized rosters were known.

Don't think I've ever seen Leon here play.  He signed a four-year contract with Bayern Munich earlier this year.  He is with Germany in Russia for the tournament, but didn't see any action in today's 1-0 loss to Mexico.

Carlos Vela did play in that game, albeit for the other side.  He was subbed for in the second half.

A Serbian national, Maksimovic must feel right at home at this World Cup, given that he played club ball for a team in Moscow on loan this past season.  Well, I should say he would've felt right at home, as I don't believe he's actually with team Serbia from what I can tell.

I certainly recognize longtime Premier League player Victor Moses.  He played the full 90 minutes in Nigeria's disappointing opening loss to Croatia yesterday.

This guy briefly played for Aston Villa in the Premier League years ago, though I'd be lying if I said I recognized him.  He was in for the duration of Morocco's opening loss to Iran, and picked up a yellow card.  Not a lot of success in the tournament so far for the guys in this pack, but it's still early.

Gerard Pique was on the field for arguably the tourney's most exciting game so far, a 3-3 draw between Spain and Portugal that saw Ronaldo net a hat trick!

Here's my last base card, another face I recognize well.  Christian Eriksen has been a major part of the success that Tottenham Hotspur have been enjoying the past few seasons, and he scored 10 times for them in Premier League play this past year.  This really was a perfect pack for me, I knew about half of the players and there's no way that average holds true over the entire set based on a quick glance at the checklist.

Those cards are nice and all, but it's the inserts and parallels that I love most...

This awesomely shiny bit of cardboard greatness is apparently a "Red Mosaic" parallel.  They're not serial-numbered but seem to be at least relatively rare from what I can tell, and I got a recognizable star player to boot!  In addition to being a key member of the powerhouse Brazil national team (they have to do better than 2014, right?), Willian is also a star with Chelsea in the Premier League.  A fantastic card that will look just great in my random soccer binder.

Here's my lone insert, a "New Era" Thomas Lemar.  Lemar rode the pine for France in their opener.  A nice enough card, but I'd have preferred another base, or even more so another shiny parallel.

Speaking of which, we'll close it out with my guaranteed three "Red and Blue Wave Refractors"...

It's a Brazil hot-pack!  Silva plays for one of the top teams in France, Paris Saint-Germain.  He's also with Brazil's team over in Russia, and like Willian was on the field for the entirety of the opener.

I don't know the first thing about Koo Ja-cheol, but it looks like he's been with the Korea Republic national team for over a decade, and was even captain for a stretch.  These Red and Blue Wave cards look just fantastic in hand.  I'll hopefully be scooping up some more of them on COMC in the coming weeks and months.

Last card in the pack, Mathew Leckie of Australia.  Mathew registered a shot and a yellow card in the first half of Australia's 2-1 loss to France.

Well, that wraps it up.  That was a very enjoyable rip, and to me was worth every bit of the $9.99 price tag.  I think I got incredibly lucky though, and with a different grouping of cards I could've easily come out of this with buyer's remorse.  If these were $4.99 or even $5.99  I'd probably be gobbling them up, but at ten bucks I think I'll stick to plucking singles off COMC.

So, have you watched any of the action thus far, or do you plan to?  If you're a fan of the game, have you picked any of these cards up, and would you if you saw them in your local big box store?


buckstorecards said...

In addition, Christian Eriksen is an honoured member of the 2/14 club. Hint. Hint.

Billy Kingsley said...

I'm not a soccer fan but I enjoyed the look at the pack...I like seeing the wide variety of jerseys and the somewhat unusual compared to American sports use of wide vertical stripes. The cards look more like Select than Prizm, but there's not really much difference in the products...

Fuji said...

Haven't watched a complete game yet... but I plan on watching Japan play Columbia tomorrow morning. I was able to pick up a partial team set (for Japan) at the flea market this weekend for $1.

Oscar in Sweden said...

Of course I'm watching the World Cup. Last day when Sweden played the offices and factorys all around the country ”stood still” :-) Luckily we got away with three points after Andreas Granqvists penalty after the judge choosed to consulate the VAR.

The Shlabotnik Report said...

I briefly thought about buying a pack of this, but decided against it because I figured I wouldn't know a single player... although I have heard of Salah.

I haven't watched much of the World Cup yet, but my prime Soccer-watching time is on weekend mornings before my wife is up. :-D

It's funny how completely odd it looks to see Prizm cards with un-photoshopped uniforms. I guess that says volumes about my experience with Prizm - mine all came out of baseball repacks.

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