Winners of Group A vs Group C. Brazil vs Colombia. We just couldn’t pick from between the two sides. Neymar vs James. Cesar vs Ospina. This would be anything but a stultifying encounter.
The first period saw Brazil’s Jogo Bonito in full flow, as they exuded class and were simply too good for Jose Pekerman’s side. 7 minutes in, Brazil won a corner after some industrious work by Fernandinho. The corner was delivered through the center and went past a throng of bodies only for Brazil’s El Capitano to help the ball into the back of the net. Dismal defending from Carlos Sanchez and it wasn’t one of the most elegant finishes, but in this case, ends justify the means. What mattered was that Brazil had the lead. Fortaleza was rampant, loud and robust. Continue reading
This Group B encounter was the decider for Spain and they had to, had to win, in order to stay in the tournament. However, the holders crashed out of the tournament after they were stunned 2-0 by a brilliant Chile side on Wednesday night. After a 5-1 hammering at the hands of Holland in their opening Group B clash, Vicente del Bosque’s side needed an immediate response, but fell short in another lacklustre showing. Del Bosque dropped Barcelona duo Gerard Pique and Xavi for Bayern Munich’s Javi Martinez and Barcelona’s Pedro Rodriguez. Chile had a great outing, qualifying for the last 16 along with Netherlands.
This match, unlike other World Cup games (except Iran vs Nigeria), started at a very slow and boring pace, thanks to (yes, you guessed it) Spain’s Tiki-taka. As usual, Spain had possession, but on a warm evening in Rio, Chile had the chances. Having fallen behind to Eduardo Vargas’ well-taken 20th-minute finish when after latching on to Alexis Sanchez’s through ball, Aranguiz squared to Vargas, who cleverly side-stepped Casillas before prodding the ball into an empty net. It was a Spainful night for the champions as they were pushed to the brink by a second from Charles Aranguiz – helped by another Iker Casillas error – who failed to parry the ball away from goal from a freekick. The defence was sleeping and the Udinese striker reacted first, doubling Chile’s advantage and their chances of progression. A comeback was never likely and it seemed the Spaniards would be coming up short again. Spain didn’t pose a threat at all, their passing became redundant after some time, and they couldn’t get past Medel. We’d like to give a shoutout to Brazilian Diego Costa, who was invisible in the game. If the Spanish Costa is going to Chelsea, Mourinho may as well resign, because his strike force isn’t improving with this addition. The half ended with Chile on a high and it was nice to see them leave the pitch all eleven together, while Spain looked crestfallen and were trying to come to terms with the gravity of the situation. At half-time, only a miracle could keep Spain alive.Continue reading
This is a special post just to address the main issues seen in the Group A games. Not the beautiful football played by the teams but the appalling decisions taken by the officials. Yes, FIFA has installed Goal Line Technology which takes a bit of the pressure off, yes they have introduced a vanishing spray for line markings. But seeing the performances of Japan’s Yuichi Nishimura in the initial game, and Columbia’s Wilmar Roldan’s team, who is the youngest official in the tournament of a mere age of 34, we can safely say the officiating is not up to the mark.
Let us start with the Brazil game. We will give you one blatant wrong decision and a few which can be contemplated upon. 70 minutes were gone of the game and it seemed the Croats were on course for a draw but the referee had other ideas when he awarded a penalty to Brazil after Dejan Lovren touched Fred in the box. It was a harmless challenge and the world (apart from Brazil) went crazy as to how it could’ve been given. Yuichi is the same referee who was the official in the Netherlands vs Brazil game in 2010, the same who sent Felipe Melo for an shower then. Was he trying to make amends? Anyway, congratulations for the 3-1 win, Brazil.Continue reading
So, Game 3 of the World Cup and the first in Group B. This was definitely one of the most anticipated matches of tournaments ever since the draws were out. The finalists of the previous World Cup in an exciting match up. Spain versus Holland. La Furia Roja against the Oranje. Netherlands were the first team to qualify for Brazil notching up an impressive 9 wins and 1 draw in a not so impressive group and they looked an entirely new squad under future Manchester United gaffer Louis Van Gaal, who is known for his attacking outlook. Ever since Johan Cyruff and Co. The Netherlands are known for their attacking style of play but had come under heavy criticism for their negative play in the finals last time. This time out with Rafael Van Der Vaart and Kevin Strootman missing, it was going to be really tough for the Flying Dutchmen. Their opponents? Spain. DOUBLE EURO winners, holders of the World Cup and world number 1, they are known for their tiki-taka game. With a Diego Costa in their frontline, Spain are formidable opponents and favourites to top Group B.
It was a tale of sweet revenge for Holland, something nobody could’ve ever seen coming. It was a five star performance by the Dutch as they went on to win by 5 goals to 1. Honestly, it could’ve been worse.