Throughout the World Cup, we at 32 Flags will be giving you a complete recap of the action at the end of the day in our World Cup Roundup. Not only will we run down the biggest winners and losers, but the highlights and most talked about moments of each day and a look ahead to tomorrow.
1) Biggest Winner – Netherlands (5-1 over Spain)
Dare we say this is all you need to know about what happened to Spain on Friday:
OK, so maybe that was a bit of overkill, but still…
After an opening day that marred by controversy, it appeared that day two of the 2014 World Cup would be more of the same early on. However, the World Cup was rocked by something else entirely—the Dutch. It looked like it would go all pear-shaped for the Netherlands as Diego Costa got a dubious penalty call and put the reigning World Cup champions on the front foot, 1-0. However, that just woke up the sleeping Dutch Lions, as they completely demolished Spain from that moment on in a 5-1 victory. Robin Van Persie had a brace, as did his teammate Arjen Robben. The two played so well it will be hard to chose between them for goal of the game and player of the day awards. Speaking of which…
2) Standout Performer – Arjen Robben, Netherlands
You could make a great case for Robben’s teammate Robin Van Persie, who scored two goals of his own. However, Robben’s brace was impressive because of his speed, timing and patience on both strikes. He was a pest against the Spanish back line all game long and his link with the midfield was just crazy good. Robben had a day most strikers dream of—only it was reality for him on Friday.
3) Biggest Loser – Spain
As for the Spanish, coming out of this game with a negative-4 goal differential puts them in serious jeopardy of not making it out of the group stage. This was a simple thing of beauty if you’re a fan of Holland, and nothing short of a a disaster if you’re a fan of Spain. No doubts were left as to who was the king of the hill in this one.
4) Best Tweet
Drake just became a nationalized citizen of Netherlands.
— Josh Parcell (@JoshParcell) June 13, 2014
5) Biggest Surprise – Tim Cahill’s Play
Cahill was one of the top players in the EPL in his day, but at age 34 many thought is best soccer was behind him. Well, if Friday’s performance is any indication Cahill won’t be going out with a whimper. After it appeared his Socceroos were going down in flames with two conceded goals in 14 minutes, he single-handily picked up his team and got them back in the match. Of course, being Cahill he notched the ‘Roos goal via his head to make a game of it and nearly swiped a point from the Chileans via his head again before the goal was called back. One could argue that there wasn’t a player with a better individual game on the pitch in this matchup—and few, if any, expected that to happen.
6) Best Moment – Van Persie’s dead sprint to Luis Van Gaal
While we’ll likely see replays of RVP’s stunning 44th minute goal, what was equally impressive was the dead sprint he did to celebrate it with Van Gaal. It was a significant moment not only because of the tie score, but because Van Gaal is about to become Van Persie’s manager at club side Manchester United. It was a moment of pure emotion and that’s what makes this game so much fun.
7) Best Goal – Robin Van Persie’s “Superman” header
All five of Holland’s goals were pure brilliance, but there wasn’t a better moment of individual creativity and timing than RVP’s first of two on the day. Words don’t do it justice, so let’s just show it to you:
It’s safe to say this one could bump a few goals off the the obligatory ‘top 10′ goals in World Cup history. What a way to start the cup for the Dutch, huh?
8) Extra Time - Celebrations!!! Who says coaches don’t get too in to the game? Mexico boss Miguel Herrera certainly celebrated his side’s goal in style. In fact, I dare any other coach to top that celebration. Just enjoy the beauty.
*all times Eastern
Colombia vs. Greece 12PM, ABC
Greece won Euro 2004, but since then they’ve been a disappointment. On the other side of the field will be a Colombian side with a lot of expectations in front of them. Will Colombia live up to them early on in this important first match in Group C? Not having Radamel Falcao will be a challenge for the side looking to erase a terrible World Cup history and restore glory to the national side.
Uruguay vs. Costa Rica 3PM, ABC
Uruguay were darlings of the 2010 World Cup, and they have that whole winning a World Cup in Brazil to their name too. However, don’t sleep on Costa Rica who finished second in CONCACAF qualifying. Plenty of talent will be on display from the likes of Luis Suarez (Liverpool), Óscar Duarte (Club Brugge), Brian Ruiz (PSV) and Edinson Cavani (PSG) to name a few. This is Uruguay’s do or die World Cup as some of the attacking players on this side are likely to not be around for the next go-round. Getting off to a positive start in a crazy group will be vital, and the longer it lets Costa Rica stick around the more dangerous the side becomes.
England vs. Italy 6PM, ESPN
This is the mouth-watering matchup of the day and it’s fitting it’s in prime time in the Americas. Now, if only the pitch or the stadium were up to primetime too. If there’s a loser in this game it could be disaster for them considering Uruguay’s likely win over Costa Rica in the other “Group of Death.”
Ivory Coast vs. Japan PM, ESPN
This could be the game that decides one of the two teams to advance from the hopefully entertaining Group C. Japan is a very disciplined side, while Ivory Coast possess a ton of potential in attack. Will Japan be able to match that attacking prowess or dictate the pace of action? If they can do neither it could be a disappointing 2014 World Cup appearance for the promising Asian side.