Brazil vs Chile
A cracker of a game was promised and a cracker of a game was delivered by Brazil and Chile.
Brazil expectedly dominated possession and even opened the scoring but Chile were not about to let them have it all their own way. In fact Chile were the more enterprising team, more ferocious in the tackle and more determined and accurate with the passing but all of that counts for little in football when knockout games finish with the scores even after extra time.
Before the lottery of penalties Luiz had somehow smuggled an awkward touch to score his first goal for Brazil and Alexis Sánchez, one of the stars of the World Cup, had equalised with a quite brilliant low pass to beat César, all in the first half.
Neither team could score again in the next 90 minutes but this didn’t spoil an enthralling contest between the two South American rivals. Chile the clear underdog in football history didn’t lie down for their illustrious opponents to just steamroll them, in fact Chile had the better chances and with only two minutes to go in normal time should have qualified for the next round with a thunderous shot that rattled the post and all Brazilian hearts.Lady luck shone on Brazil. César saved the first two Chilean penalties. Both were weak attempts and by the time the 5th kick hit the post and went wide, Brazilians were quietly confident their team was going to make the next round.
I’m disappointed for Chile, they played an exciting brand of football. Hopefully they grow as a team, find more players like Vidal, Sanchez and Bravo and come back in Russia 2016 with another gutsy team that are a pleasure to watch.
Brazil will hopefully have woken up. Relying on just one player to do all the creative play and get all your goals is proving to be a flawed gameplan. They need to get some of the midfield more involved in creating chances and players like Hulk, Fred and Jo need to put on their scoring boots if this is to be a successful tournament for the hosts.
Colombia vs Uruguay
The whining had to stop once the match begun and thankfully we can now stop listening to the Uruguay coach going on about how his team was expelled unfairly on the back of the Suarez debacle. For crying out loud the whole world saw him do it.
Let’s move swiftly on to the football. Uruguay, another one man team, where completely outplayed by Colombia, one of the pre-tournament dark horses. With the demise of Cavani to nothing more than a hairstyle and the other hairstyle, Forlan, also being nothing more than an passenger at this World Cup, the exit of Uruguay was expected unless they could spring another set piece surprise goal from the likes of Godin. Fortunately for all football lovers we see the back of Uruguay but not before James Rodriguez delivered what might be the goal of the tournament:
This game had ambled along cagily for almost half an hour, Uruguay tigerishly setting about stifling any hint of Colombian ascendancy, when Abel Aguilar nodded the ball forward to Rodríguez, loitering with his back to goal in a pocket of space just outside the Uruguay penalty area. There was no obvious threat developing, no reason for the experienced Diego Godín to sense danger. Yet El Nuevo Pibe (The New Kid) flashed a quick glance at goal to make certain of his bearings before, as Godín and Maxi Pereira edged forward half-heartedly in anticipation of a block if required, collecting the ball on his chest and dispatching his shot left-footed on the volley. The attempt dipped gloriously, a startled Fernando Muslera leaping to his right only for the ball to graze the fingertips of his right hand and kiss the underside of the crossbar before careering into the net. The Guardian
His second was a mere tap in from industrious, possession based football. Rodriguez is now the leader in the quest for the golden boot.
I’m not going to mince words here, I’m happy Uruguay are gone. I am one of those who think the punishment handed down to Suarez is not harsh enough, 43% versus 31% who think it’s too harsh and 26% who think it’s just right (Sky sports website). I’m happy to see a player apologise for his mistake and make amends but 3 times ? The same mistake? And now he is denying it happened? Come on, we know who you are.
Colombia have a great spirit, they play exciting football. It’s a great shame Falcao could not be fit for the World Cup but they seem to be coping with their fantastic work ethic and all the pieces are falling into place for Rodriguez.
Brazil will be having sleepless nights as they attempt to orchestrate a plan around closing the space and blocking everything Rodriguez might create. This encounter should be a firecracker!