It was another very good weekend of World Cup action and if this doesn’t stop it may just end up being one of the classic World Cup’s! I’m sure we all hope so. It’s been a while since there has been a good World Cup, possibly France 98 was the last.
However, how is Brazil 2014 shaping up? Well, pretty good is the answer. We witnessed another comprehensive French victory on Friday night together with a win for Ecuador, which throws up an interesting final round of games in Group E. Argentina had to rely on the genius of Lionel Messi to overcome Iran who put up another dogged defensive display and with a little bit more luck could have come away with a huge win. Meanwhile, in Group D we saw Costa Rica provide another big shock with their 1-0 win over Italy.
Group G provided the greatest entertainment though with two fascinating 2-2 draws between Germany and Ghana and USA and Portugal. Germany legend Miroslav Klose became only the fifth player to score in four World Cup’s when he equalised after Ghana had taken a shock lead. Portugal meanwhile continued to struggle and after taking the lead through Nani, they proceeded to trail 2-1 until deep into injury at the end of the 2nd half when Cristiano Ronaldo provided Silvestre Varela with a chance to plant a brilliant header past Tim Howard. Brilliant as well is this Guts sport bonus!
Costa Rica have proved that smaller nations can take the fight to the big ones. When Bryan Ruiz planted that header past Gianluigi Buffon in the Italian goal, people sat up and noticed that the Costa Ricans weren’t going to go away without a fight. They are deservedly through to the next round with only England, who have nothing to play for, left to play and with a comfortable and sizeable goal difference over both Italy and Uruguay, it would be reasonable to assume that they are in with a 99% chance of topping the Group.
The indignity of having a goal wrongly disallowed and then proceeding to miss three or four other guilt-edged chances – that’s Edin Džeko. The Bosnian top scorer didn’t have his shooting boots on when Bosnia met Nigeria (apart from one occasion). A £27m striker should be scoring at least 2 of those chances and if he had, Bosnia may well still be in with a chance of securing a place in the knockout stages of the World Cup.
When his team needed the win, when it looked like they had run out of ideas up steps Lionel Messi to bury a wonderful curling shot past Iran keeper Haghighi. You can never relax when Messi has the ball and Iran’s tired limbs proved to be too weary to double mark the little genius as they had done all game until in the dying minutes he found a little bit of space to whip the ball with that magical left-foot and secure Argentina’s place in the knockout stage.
HONOURABLE MENTION – Karim Benzema’s flicked half-volley vs. Switzerland after a wonderful through ball from Paul Pogba and Silvestre Varela’s magnificent header from an equally magnificent cross from Cristiano Ronaldo.
Again, a refereeing decision proved crucial in Nigeria’s win vs. Bosnia. A goal that was clearly onside was ruled offside and if there is to be a greater respect of match officials then there has to be better training and better understanding amongst them, surely?Categories: world cup