Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Quality wins through in Brazil

Brazil has certainly put on a World Cup to remember so far and the quarter-finals look like they may put some icing on the footballing cake. 

After all the doom and gloom leading up the tournament about whether or not the stadiums and infrastructure would be ready and the risk to travellers, we have seen some superb stadiums, largely full, great atmospheres and not a story of trouble for the world's football fans anywhere.

The football itself has been great with plenty of goals and lots of drama. The first knock-out round may have seen three nil-nils at full-time but they weren't bad matches and they all lit up in extra-time and penalties. Last night's Belgium v USA game was the most enjoyable for me yet. Belgium deserved the win but the Americans were superb, especially in extra time and after they fell two goals behind in quick succession. Tim Howard gave one of the goal-keeping performances of the tournament and the US offense was awesome as they threw everything at Belgium with the clock running down. The match was electric after Green pulled one back.

If they had managed the equaliser that they came so desperately close to, I would have taken them to knock the Belgians out on penalties. Jurgen Klinsmann can hold his head-up high and the US leave the tournament like Chile did with a lot more friends and respect than they came into it with. The American fans were great and you could see that they were enjoying the party and will be spreading the story about the brilliance of being at a World Cup when they get home.

The quarters look nicely balanced and we should see some some fascinating matches. Six of the big guns left and I am expecting four of them to make the semis.

Brazil v Colombia
France v Germany
Netherlands v Costa Rica
Argentina v Belgium

You have to fancy Brazil to raise their game against Colombia and I take the Germans to see it out against the French. 

The Dutch will also need a better performance against Costa Rica but they have the goals going forward and that could be the highest scoring game of the quarters.

Finally Argentina v Belgium and a match that is too close to call. Having watched Belgium at home and away in the qualifiers, they were my tip to progress and they may just have lit the blue touch paper following last night's resilient showing against the US. They will need to overcome Lionel Messi and Kun Aguerro but I will take them to do it and set-up an all European semi.

My only wish is that I had been there for the first fortnight, spending £10,000 to watch Scotland slump out.


Tony said...

I think Costa Rica may surprise here, the Dutch rode their luck in the previous round. Going for a costa win in this one.
Brazil have been a little fortunate, and if that last minute effort from Chile had been 6" lower then they would have been out. That could have proved troublesome. Anyway, fancy them to beat Columbia.
As for the remainder, too close to call so fancy draws over 90 mins in both.
Think Belgium will see that doubling up on Messi will prove fruitful, but may distract them from their game.
French look good, but how many times have the Germans been written off, only to prove us all wrong.
So that's me, two wins, two draws.

Tony said...

"The US offence was awesome" like it.
If only they could have played more football in the Belgians end zone more.
On this note, why the need to add " kick" to things?
A penalty is a penalty, and a corner is a corner.