The Final Countdown

The World Cup ended abysmally for Brazil who lost 3-0 to Holland to finish 4th in the tournament. For most countries that would have been good enough, but not for Brazil who seemed to expect to win this tournament , despite having a generally poor team. Holland finished 3rd which they have never done before, so they were pretty chuffed.

The final was a very tight game, with both teams having a go at trying to break the other down. It took until extra time for the first goal to come and once Germany had got it through Mario Götze, there was no way that they were going to let anything get past them, and that is one thing the Germans are good at.

Despite it being only 1-0 after 120 minutes it was a pretty decent game and the end result was the right one as Germany were the best team to play in the tournament and they rightly won the trophy.

It looks like that they are going to be the team to beat for quite some time to come given the age of their current squad!

The Semi-Finals

The first semi-final saw Brazil take on Germany. Brazil were without Neymar, who had been injured in the previous game, and their captain Tiago Silva, who had been suspended for this game.

Even without those in the squad they had not been convincing but had always managed to find a way to win. German had played well from the start and had worked and worked until they found their way to winning their games.

For the first ten minutes the teams was relatively easily matched but Germany broke through and scored the first goal of the game. It looked as though Brazil might then start to do something and find an equaliser but Germany managed to get another goal to lead 2-0.

It wasn’t looking good for Brazil at that point but it still looked as though they might try and make a go of it but then, inexplicably German scored three times in quick succession and Brazil fell apart, totally capitulated and played the rest of the game like a group of chickens who had had their heads chopped off, totally with no direction and no game plan.

German added two more in the second half and Brazil got a goal back right at the last but the damage had been done in the first half and the Brazillians were convincly beaten. They were just simply not good enough and the Germans showed them up in every department. Whilst Brazil were inept, Germany were masterful and they picked them apart with consummate ease. They even seemed embarrased to be beating Brazil so easily but they were and it wasn’t even that hard for them.

The Netherlands against Argentina was a totally different proposition. Both teams were very cagey and neither of them seemed to want to make the first move and take the game by the scruff of the next which was pity after what we had witnessed in the first semi but this game was never going to match up with that one as neither team were are confident as Germany, or as tactially inept as Brazil.

The game was quite boring to be honest and they semeed to be playing for penalties, which was what they got in the end. The penalties were ok with Argentina slam dunking all of their penalties and Holland not as convincing from the spot as they had been in quarter final.

They even didn’t get a chance to bring Tim Krull on like they did before, and Van Gaal’s plan showed that he did know what he was going when he took Cillessen off for the penalties in the last game, and probably should have done the same here.

So we have European and South American clash in the final which is about part for the course for the World Cup and also a replay of the 1986 World Cup final which Argentina won 3-2.

The Last Eight

In the quarter finals of the World Cup Brazil played Columbia and didn’t exactly outclass them. The first goal Brazil scored from Tiago Silva was a well worked move where Silva just jabbed the ball into the back of the net using his knee. Brazil doubled there lead with a fine free kick from David Luiz and Brazil looked quite good to win the march but Columbia came good in the end with yet another goal from Rodriguez to set up a barnstorming last ten minutes or so where Columbia could not captialise on their chances and were not able to send the match to extra time.

The most notable thing about this game were the amount of fouls that went unpunished in this game. If most of the tackes that took place had yellow cards given then Brazil would have a lot of players suspended from the next game, and may have even ended this game without their full compliment of players. It really was a dirty game and makes you wonder if people are trying to make sure that Brazil go and win the tournament consdiering what they are getting away with. However it has not all gone their way as Neymar was injured and is now out for the rest of the tournment.

The only purely European tie left in the competition saw Germans score an early goal in the first half, and the French fail to make a dent into the German defence despite numerous chances. In the end it wasn’t to be and the Germans continue to power their way through the tournament as they always seem to do.

Argentina and Belgium played a rather scrappy game that also saw an early goal scored by Higuain (who had done everything but score up to this point) and the other team failing to capitalise on any chances that came their way.  Messi nearly doubled their lead near the end were it not for great work by Courtois. A last chances shot by Axel Witsel flew over the crossbar in what proved to be Belgium’s last chance in the game.

Plucky Costa Rica managed to hold off a rampant Dutch team for 120 minutes before sadly departing after a penalty shoot out.  The only thing that stood between a Dutch victory in normal time was Keylor Navas who stood between the goals like a Titan and was in the way of everything the Dutch threw at him, which included the kitchen sink.

It was sad to see Costa Rica go out in the way that they did and for me they are the team of the tournament for the way that they played throughout the tournament.

Round of 16 part two

The final two games in the round of 16 both ended in extra time and both were completed before penalties were required, which is the best way forward, as losing on penalties is even worse than losing to a half decent goal.

Switzerland were incredibly unlucky to lose to
Argentina who did nothing for 119 minutes and then Messi got the ball and set up Angel de maria for a fine shot which smashed into the back of the net.

Switzerland then missed a sitter right at the end with the ball rebounding of the post after a headed shot and then hitting the same players knee and bouncing out of play. So, so close, but not close enough unfortunately.

The United States held their own for the majority of the match and it wasn’t until extra time that Belgium came alive and scored two goals.

The US got a goal back and tried to press for an equaliser but it never came and Belgium ended up the victors despite never really convincing during the game.