Tag: World Cup 2014

World Cup 2014: Quarter Finals Day 2

Yesterday’s 2014 World Cup Quarter Final matches saw Brazil and Germany advance to the semi-finals, sending France and Columbia home. They will meet each other on Tuesday July 8. The match between Brazil and Columbia was more rough and tumble than the statistics showed, with the referees failing to control the game. As a result, Brazil lost a key player, Neymar, when in the 87th minute of play, a Colombian player, Juan Camilo Zuniga, planted his knee in Neymar’s back fracturing a vertebrae. The penalty? None. Columbia was not the only side playing very rough, so was Brazil and the referees did little to stop it.

So what happened to Neymar? How did the face of this tournament end up in a hospital? Brazilian fans will not like to hear it, but while Zuniga was directly responsible for causing Neymar’s injury, Neymar’s teammates – specifically Fernandinho, though there were others – as well as the referee, Carlos Velasco Carballo, deserve their share of the blame, too. They did not commit the crime, but they contributed to an environment of lawlessness that led to Neymar being battered.

If that sounds harsh, consider that Brazil’s coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari, made a point of saying before the game that there was no historical rivalry between Brazil and Colombia and that games between the teams are “friendly matches.” Thiago Silva, the captain, said that playing against Colombia’s considerable skill players would make for a cleaner, more fluid game.

Yet from the first minute it appeared that Brazil was determined to play the game cynically, tripping and pushing and kicking at Colombia’s players, especially James Rodriguez, the team’s wunderkind scorer. Colombia, on the other hand, seemed almost deferential at first. When Neymar went off on a spirited run six minutes into the game, the Colombian defenders did little to try to knock him off stride, let alone scythe him to the ground as previous opponents had done. He ran freely.

When Rodriguez went to claim the ball a few minutes later, however, Brazil’s Oscar ran right into Rodriguez’s back as if to make clear to the Colombian that no space on the Fortaleza field would be a safe space. Rodriguez’s teammates were understandably upset, but there was no retaliation – the feeling of violence in the game, especially early on, came almost exclusively from Brazil.

Two minutes after Oscar’s foul, Marcelo blasted the Colombian midfielder Juan Cuadrado. Three minutes after that, Fernandinho, a midfielder who often plays with an edge, slammed into Rodriguez again. Velasco Carballo blew his whistle and called a foul but did not show Fernandinho a yellow card.

And on and on it went to the end. There was a lot of media criticism, heaped mostly on the referees, and rightfully so. Hopefully this isn’t a harbinger of the game on Tuesday or today’s matches.

Speaking of today’ matches for the second day of the 2014 Quarter Finals, first up at Noon EDT is Argentina and Belgium, who are pretty evenly matched as far as player strength and scoring goes. All of their previous games were missing the drama of yellow and red cards.

Costa Rica is considered the underdog in its match against the Netherlands, whose players are considered bullies, especially their star, Arjen Robben, known for his foul creating theatrics.

ABC and ESPN are juggling the matches with the tennis world’s Wimbledon Women’s and Men’s Finals. The Argentina – Belgium match is being shown on ABC with coverage starting at 11:30 and the game beginning at Noon. ESPN takes over for the Costa Rica – Netherlands game starting at 3:30 with kick-off at 4 PM. All times EDT.

World Cup 2014: Quarter Finals Day 1

Today start the Quarters Finals starting with the match between France and Germany in Rio de Janeiro. Naturally, the Germans think their team is better and will beat France

Toni Kroos reflected the confidence within the German ranks when he declared that his country had a better team than France and it was merely a matter of proving it in the quarter-final tie at the MaracanĂ£.

The Bayern Munich midfielder, who refused to comment on reports linking him with a transfer to Real Madrid after the World Cup, believes that the game will be won or lost in midfield. However, he was rather more keen to advance the prospect of the former.

“France have a very strong midfield but if all of us deliver our best performance, then I believe we are the better team,” Kroos said. “But we have to show that. It’s going to be very important for us to have possession and to win the duels. Then, I believe we will really have a good opportunity to win.”

Some of the German players have come down with flu like symptoms.

Seven Germany players are suffering mild flu symptoms ahead of the quarter-final match against France on Friday, coach Joachim Loew said in a German radio interview without identifying the players.

“Seven players have somehow come down with slight cases of the flu,” Loew was quoted telling Germany’s ARD radio. He said that most had “throat aches” but did not reveal their names.

“As a result, it’s too early to make any final decisions about the line-up,” Loew added.

That is a problem.

At 4 PM EDT, Brazil and Columbia meet on the field in Fortaleza, Brazil. There has been some doubts about team Brazil having their hearts and souls in the game for a win:

Hosts Brazil barely made it out of Belo Horizonte alive, needing penalty kicks to get past Chile. They were beaten up and emotionally drained, evidenced by their tears after winning the shootout, and now they have to face a high-flying Colombian side. Led by James Rodriguez and his five goals, Colombia have been the most exciting team in the tournament. They will look to take the game to the Brazilians when the two teams meet in Fortaleza on Friday afternoon. [..]

Brazil has been less than impressive so far in the World Cup. While their defense has mostly held strong, allowing just three goals in four games, the team’s attack has been unable to possess the ball consistently and create quality chances. Up top, Fred has been unable to find his Confederations Cup form, and Oscar has only shown flashes of brilliance. Luiz Felipe Scolari will need to get those two clicking alongside Neymar and Hulk (or anybody else) if he hopes to take his team any further.

Meanwhile, American viewers have generated new interest in the game, thanks to team USA:

Combined with the 1.1 million viewers on the streaming service WatchESPN, the game exceeded 22 million viewers – despite being played in the middle of a workday.

The earlier game against Portugal pulled in about 18.2 million viewers for ESPN’s coverage, and 6.5 million on Univision – but that game was played on a Sunday afternoon, in traditional viewing hours for sports. The ESPN number alone again topped the average for this past year’s N.B.A. Finals and the baseball World Series on television.

Speaking of interest, the internet has gone viral with accolades for USA’s goal keeper Tim Howard and his record breaking 16 saves:

The Everton goalkeeper’s performance was so impressive that a White House petition was started to rename the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport after Howard and, if it receives 100,000 signatures, the US government must respond.

But the USMNT goalkeeper’s remarkable performance has been celebrated on the internet – with #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave trending – and here we show you the best virals of Howard’s feat.


World Cup 2014: USA v Belgium

Most sports analysts are still scratching their heads that USA made it out of the elimination rounds of the 2014 World Cup. The team is almost the worst offensively and to get past Belgium today, they need to be more aggressive.

The pregame drama revolved around the health of two star players, with Belgium’s Vincent Kompany questionable with an injury and Jozy Altidore possibly making a return from his hamstring injury for the United States. The Americans could use some help with their attack, which generated precious few chances in their final group game against Germany. Belgium has fallen into the habit of scoring late, and only when it really needs to, often after substitutes come in to add energy. It will need to break out of that pattern as the competition improves if it hopes to advance.

Here are the results so far in the knockout rounds of sixteen:

After tying with Chile 1 – 1 and two mandatory overtime rounds, Brazil beat them 5 – 2 in penalty kicks.

Columbia 2 – Uruguay 0

Netherlands 2 – Mexico 1

Costa Rica beat Greece 5 – 3 in penalty kick after regulation and overtime play.

France 2 – Nigeria 0

Germany 2 – Algeria 1

Argentina 1 – Switzerland 0

The Quarter Finals start Friday July 4:

Noon EDT France vs Germany

4 PM EDT Brazil v Columbia

Saturday July 5

Noon EDT Agentina v The winner of USA – Belgium

4 PM EDT Netherlands v Costa Rica