Monday, July 7, 2014

World Cup stop: the semis

Could we have gotten a more uninspiring quarterfinal round than that?  I guess it was a bad idea for all these sides to consult with Bokolis on how to play knockout tournament football.  It's like they set back football 24 years.  Even that 1990 World Cup had relentless hacking and chopping, first to the Swamp Rat, then extending to everyone capable of getting past a defender.

This one didn't even have that, as Neymar's injury wasn't even worth the bit he took.  Bokolis found it telling that his reaction to being legitimately injured was indistinguishable from his myriad other embellishments.

I call it karma for the home cooking the received all match long- not to mention the penalty in the opening match vs Croatia- from the Spanish referee.  This errand boy booked James for far less than the Brazilians had been doing to him all night, when he hadn't even gotten around to really clipping the man on the ball.

That is not to say Brazil didn't deserve to win; Colombia made fatal errors on Brazil's two goals, and Brazil did not.  So, ultimately, it wasn't as bad as the multiple screwjobs in 2002, but it was another case of FIFA engineering a semi-final run for an inadequate home team.  We can only hope that it stops there.

Columbia was worth the 4-1.

We saw Argentina revert to what approached park-the-bus tactics after Higuain snagged an early opportunistic goal.  While Bokolis isn't too keen on their keeper, their back line was underestimated by the pundits.

Similarly, the Germans grabbed an early goal and undertook a guarded position to see it out.

Costa Rica caught a few breaks, but the Dutch should be embarrassed that they didn't score in 120 minutes.

Germany over Brazil - As was mentioned above, even before they lost Neymar, Brazil are inadequate.  If that is the way they have to score, they cannot stand up to the Germans without some sort of chicanery, whether that be a favorable FIFA ruling on Thiago Silva's suspension- hey, how else are Brazil going to score without their defenders- or another dosage of the drugs they were on for last year's Confederations Cup.  This is far from a sure thing, however, and the Germans will have to keep their collective foot on the gas so as to break the opponent's spirit, as Brazil figure to have plenty of it.  If they let the Brazilians hang around, as they did with the French, there's no telling what freakishness will happen.

Argentina over Netherlands - Penalties, anyone?  Having pulled it out of the fire against Mexico and needing penalties against Costa Rica, the Dutch now get the Latino mothership in Argentina.  You have to figure that the Dutch would like to relentlessly hack down Messi every chance they get.  Unlike the last outfit with de Jong and van Bommel, this side may not have the size (or a benign referee) to do it.  That should expose them enough for Messi & Co. to strike.

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