Friday, 20 June 2014

Sports & Opinions: Some Thoughts About World Cup 2014 So Far

Fred appealing for a penalty even before his buttocks hit the ground
Image from ESPN

I guess it is not right not to talk about the World Cup when the entire world has now more or less come to a stagnation just for a game of soccer ball. And actually, I have done pretty much nothing these days other than doing housework, taking care of my baby, preparing tonnes of lecture notes, doing very little research and watching one soccer game every day.

And so, here are my views:

Brazil 3-1 Croatia

Lady Luck practically sat on the head of the Brazilian team, maybe she had even cast a penalty charm on the eyes of the Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura when Fred performed a kid-in-slide on Croatian centre-back Dejan Lovren's body. I like Brazil, but I hate diving!!! Did Fred really take Eric Cantona's advice -- "Never grow up, my friends"? So much for Joga Bonito!

Before the penalty wrongly granted, the game was 50-50 and Croatia could have been able to win it.

Netherlands 5-1 Spain

The score was not as good as it looked for the Oranje until Robin van Persie's brilliant flying header! And what do you know, his move has got a name right after that goal, called "Persieing"!

It was so amazing that it made "San Iker" looked dumb. That was his third biggest mistakes since the Champions League final last month, then his fourth and fifth came soon after.

Casillas was practically non-existed in front of goals as van Persie and Robben literally toyed with the Spanish goalkeeper. Whose fault? Not his, but manager Del Bosque's. He should not have played Casillas in the first place, the man was barely used by his club all season. How do you expect someone so lack of form to defend such high quality attacks?

England 1-2 Italy

Andrea Pirlo with his magnificent control and passing
Image from soccerbyives
Goals are always good, but the best of this game is not the goals, but Andrea Pirlo. Every player was expected to play for the full 90 minutes, many English players suffered cramps due to the heat, but none of the Italians had similar problems. The most incredible of all, was that the 35-year-old Italian playmaker was so fit and sharp throughout the game with his dead accurate passing that he made all youngsters look old and incompetent. The Italian's incredibly high successful passing rate as compared to the English's made all the difference. More good passes, less redundant runs. It is physics, the conservation of energy.

Ivory Coast 2 - 1 Japan

Nagatomo's sliding tackle
Image from soccerbyives
Japan's passing just did not connect, especially those coming from Kagawa. I have no idea what made him famous judging by his performance. He just kept given away possessions cheaply. Honda's goal was of great quality though.

Pity. I supported Japan in this match.

Argentina 2-1 Bosnia-Herzegovina

Messi's goal
Image from whoateallthepies
First World Cup goal for Messi in 8 years, good. Nice good from him? Yeah, but not great by his standard. Other than his goal, Argentina was a lot of individualism, very few connected passes and a very poor Kun Aguero. The Argentine never looked united or spirited to me. They were lucky to have won the match. Judging by their game, they definitely do not look like they can make it to the final. It was in fact the most boring match so far in the World Cup. Should have watched France VS Honduras instead.

Germany 4 - 0 Portugal

A walking Cristiano Ronaldo all match means Portugal will lose, definitely . No one will blame CR7 because everyone knows he was injured, he still is. The Germans are just too organised and well-teamed up for Portugal, or even for Brazil. So far, the strongest team I have seen in this World Cup. Muller simply knew where the ball will end up. Amazing!

Brazil 0 - 0 Mexico

The Brazilian team did not improve since the previous match. Mexico played really well though! With the god-like performance from the Mexican keeper Ochoa, I thought that Brazil will lose, and they should have!

With Ochoa out of contract from the club, he is one hot bargain for sure!

Spain 0 - 2 Chile
Eduardo Vargas scored an excellent goal and he is up for sale at his club
Image from dailymail
George Bush once said, "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." Of course, this is a very wrong saying, but I cannot use the correct one on Del Bosque because the wrong version fits his disastrous tactics perfectly.

The most "wrongest" move he made was to keep his faith in Casillas. I knew, many knew, that if Casillas played, it would be bye bye Espanol, and the match would be very entertaining too! Though I still chose to watch Australia VS Netherlands, I did not miss the highlight. So Barcelona wants to sell Alexis Sanchez? Eduardo Vargas is also for sale? For real? I seriously think that Inter Milan should get the pair.

Netherlands 3 - 2 Australia

Robben celebrating his goal
Image from cmgdigital

The Dutch thought the Aussie would be easier than the Spanish, and they were wrong. The Aussie were strong! The Dutch's passing was not as fluid as in the previous match. Lucky that the manager van Gaal knows his stuff and made Sneijder the key playmaker in the second half, so the Dutch regained more possessions and enjoyed some deadly through-passes from him. As usual, Robben was superb! That being said, Cahill is one very good striker and he should be playing in Europe!

My prediction for the following matches are:

Italy beating Costa Rica, France beats Switzerland, Argentina beats Iran, Germany beats Ghana, Belgium beats Russia, USA beats Portugal, Netherlands draws Chile.

So much for now.


Brazil 3-1 Croatia - Neymar shines in opening win @ ESPN FC

Joga Bonito @ Wikipedia

Holders routed by Dutch @ ESPN FC

 #BBCtrending: Van Persie's header sparks internet trend @ BBC News

Spain 1-5 Holland: Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben score twice @ Mail Online

England 1-2 Italy Mario Balotelli scores winner in Manaus @ ESPN FC

Ivory Coast 2-1 Japan - Elephants charge back @ ESPN FC

Argentina 2-1 Bosnia-Herzegovina Lionel Messi scores brilliant winner @ ESPN FC

Germany beat Portugal in World Cup opener as Pepe sees red @ ESPN FC

Brazil and Mexico play out goalless draw in World Cup's Group A @ ESPN FC

Spain exit World Cup after defeat to Chile @ ESPN FC

Netherlands beat Australia in tight World Cup Group B clash @ ESPN FC