With another round finished the World Cup is living up to all the hype! The tournament is really been an exciting one to watch. You can see that the gap in talent from the elite nations to those said to be average is quickly fading. Which makes every game an intense and highly entertaining affair. Football crazed Brazil was definitely an ideal location to hosts this year’s tournament. The atmosphere of the games from a high definition perspective on the tele is splendiferous to say the least. I can only imagine how it is to be in the stadiums watching the world’s best dazzle the globe live!
Brazil 2 Colombia 1
Germany 1 France 0
Argentina 1 Belgium 0
Netherlands 0 Costa Rica 0 A.E.T
PSO (Netherlands 4-Costa Rica 3)
(A.E.T= After Extra Time)
(PSO= Penalty Shootout)
Brazil versus Colombia was a great and highly competitive opener for the quarterfinal. Brazil being the host nation had the support of a good 75% of the 60,000 in attendance. The game was very competitive from start to finish. Defender Thiago Silva opened up the scoring with a glorious header in the 7th minute from a corner kick. Then Defender David Luiz struck a screamer into the net from 35 yards out. Golly you could see Fortaleza erupt when that mouth watering free kick hit the old onion bag. Prior to the Luiz goal Colombia were applying a lot of pressure to the host nation. The Cafeteros scored an equalizer as well, but was disallowed. Upon further review after the fact the Yepes goal should have stood for the Cafeteros. So it was definitely a huge sigh of relief for Selecao supporters worldwide. The young Colombian stud James Rodriguez was able to score his 6th goal of the tournament from a penalty kick in the 80th minute. Colombia were desperate to find an equalizer in the last ten minutes but to no avail.
The biggest news of the night was not that Brazil advanced but that Neymar has been “eliminated” from taking any further part in the tournament. In the 87 minute Juan Zuniga rashly hit Neymar in the back which to me didn’t seem like a play on the ball perse. Neymar the boy wonder had to be carted off and you could literally hear a pin drop as the Selecao faithful were holding their breaths collectively. Upon further examination Neymar one of the brightest stars of the tournament was ruled out with a fractured veterbra and as a result will no longer play in the World Cup. That is a huge blow to the Brazilians cup hopes. Neymar was arguably one of the best players in the tournament. Neymar also is credited with 40% of Brazil’s scoring which is a staggering amount to try to make up. Only James Rodriguez contributes a higher percentage with a ridiculous 60%. Filling the shoes of Neymar will take a group effort and the fans will have to be in just as good form as the players because the Germans are ready to be disrespectful in Brazil’s house.
Germany and France faced off in Rio De Janeiro. two of the most impressive teams in the tournament thus far made for a very delectable endeavor. Mat Hummels struck first for the Germans scoring on one of their patented set pieces with a header. Much of the game was very lethargic as both teams didn’t really seem to play with the urgency a quarterfinal warrants. Even still action picked up in little glimpses. Benzema in the dying stages of the game had a chance to beat the best keeper in the world Manuel Neuer but was denied. Germany soon after went on to win.
Argentina and Belgium met up in a great duel that had anything a soccer fan would want. Argentina got on the scoreboard first as Gonzalo Higuain hit a marvelous volley past the 6 foot 6 Belgian prodigy in goal Thibaut Courtois. The match was a back and forth affair which sadly for the devils of Belgian, Eden Hazard put in a very quiet performance. Messi had a chance to ice the game as the Belgians were pressing hard for an equalizer but was turned away on his breakaway by Courtois. Alex Witsel had one final crack at goal but his efforts went wide of the mark. Argentina survived and booked their reservations for the semi-finals. They didn’t advance without a hitch because Angel Di Maria suffered a thigh injury that will not allow him to play in the semi-final.
The Dutch took on Costa Rica in a match not many saw coming. Costa Rica continue to stun their critics and analyst. Costa Rica by no means are as talented as the Dutch but they played with the heart of a champion and took the Dutch the distance. The Dutch had many close calls as Wesley Sneijder found the woodwork twice on two scintillating strikes. Costa Rica had their chances as well but failed to provide the finishing touches to great buildups. The play of the game had to be manager Louie Van Gaal subbing in Tim Krul for starting keeper Jasper Cillessen. Tim Krul is a better penalty saver throughout his career and showed why as he made two key saves to push the dutch through in the shootout. Costa Rica’s Bryan Ruiz put in a fine tournament but was surpringly one of the Costa Ricans to be denied by Krul. The Dutch continue on their road to redemption as they are only one match away from making it back to the World Cup Final. Costa Rica should be extremely proud because they made history for their country and played an amazing part in Brazil.
The spartans see the road alot clearer and the final four teams have been in these positions before. All four teams have a rich tradition of performing well and starring the most coveted players. Brazil have won the cup 5 times, Germany three times, Argentina twice, and The Dutch have been to the finals 3 times but that monkey is still firmly on their backs. West Germany at the time and Argentina earned World Cup glory by defeating the Dutch in ’74 and in ’78 respectively. The last World Cup saw the Spanish shatter Dutch dreams. All four teams are no stranger to the final lap of the World Cup and on paper it truly is a gift from the soccer gods to feature high caliber teams in a setting as fitting as Brazil. Sit back ladies and gentlemen it shall be an unforgettable finale!
Brazil vs. Germany 16:00 ET 7.8.2014
Argentina vs. Netherlands (Holland) 16:00 ET 7.9.2014
Golden Boot Nominees:
James Rodriguez (COL) 6 goals
Thomas Mueller (GER) 4 goals
Lionel Messi (ARG) 4 goals
Neymar Jr. (BRA) 4 goals
Karim Benzema (FRA) 3 goals
Arjen Robben (NED) 3 goals
Robin Van Persie (NED) 3 goals