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 – Chile
Chile was seen as the team who would be fighting with the Netherlands for the 2nd spot in Group B. After the Netherlands beat Spain 5-1 in their first game, Chile’s backs were against the wall because their group rival beat the “best” team in the tournament according to FIFA rankings. Chile went into this game not afraid and took it to Spain. They took it to Spain so much that they dominated Spain 2-0 and clinched their own spot in the knockout stage. Now, the teams who everyone thought would be fighting for 2nd play each other on Monday to see who wins the group and who will finish 2nd.
2) Standout Performer – Mark Geiger
MLS referees usually get a lot of grief from everyone but Mark Geiger has been exemplary in a World Cup where the officiating has been suspect. He’s made great decisions and hasn’t been swayed by acts of gamesmanship among the players. Geiger has been a class act in the tourney and I expect to see him officiating in the knockout stage.
3) Biggest Loser – CAF
What happened to Africa in this World Cup? African teams are 1-1-4 so far and are really showing that they don’t deserve any more World Cup seeds. I can make the argument that the CAF should lose a seed or at the very least, a half of a seed, to CONCACAF, who currently has a 3-1-1 record. Looks like Ivory Coast is Africa’s only chance to get into the knockout stage.
4) Best Tweet – Tim Cahill
Even the man who scored the goal of the tournament so far had to stand back and appreciate his masterpiece.
— Tim Cahill (@Tim_Cahill) June 18, 2014
5) Biggest Surprise – Spain being the first team eliminated
I don’t know if tiki taka is dead or not but it’s certainly on life support. The Netherlands and Chile just destroyed Spain and showed that tiki taka has been figured out. The problem with Spain was that they didn’t have another game plan. Tiki taka worked so well for Spain that they really didn’t need to worry about doing anything else. Now that their players are four years older from the World Cup win, they maybe didn’t have the right personnel to make it work.
The best teams always have a Plan B and Spain didn’t have one. I love tiki taka too but when it doesn’t work, it clogs up the works. My problem with tiki taka and teams who solely use tiki taka is that there needs to be a purpose when it comes to passing the ball that many times. Passing the ball 25 times is all well and good but when you lose the ball on the 26th pass and you never get the shot off, then what good is it? Sometimes 3 or 4 passes and going straight toward the goal is more effective than 25. Spain needed to be more lenient and accepting of new strategies because they were caught with their pants down when Chile and the Netherlands figured them out and they didn’t have a comeback.
6) Best Moment
There were many great moments from today and I really would just be repeating myself so I’m going to point out something I noticed during the Netherlands/Australia game that I absolutely loved. I had to use my own twitter account to do this because I haven’t seen it elsewhere. I really do want that hat. For some reason it just gets to me way more than it should.
I so want that kangaroo hat. pic.twitter.com/bnjyT81tWs
— Phillip Bupp (@phillipbupp) June 19, 2014
7) Best Goal – Tim Cahill
I hate to repeat myself but that was simply a beautiful goal. Not only was it a terrific volley but Cahill scores it on his weak foot. If Cahill decides to retire from international play, that’s how you end an international career.
8) Extra Time – Cameroon red cards
What an embarrassing display from players who should have known better. They really didn’t do their country any favors and should be ashamed.
Colombia vs. Ivory Coast 12PM, ESPN
Day 8 begins with Colombia and Côte d’Ivoire. This match pits the two winners from Group C together so if there is a winner, they will clinch a spot in the knockout stage. Both teams looked tremendously impressive so I really don’t think either team should worry about not making it out of the group but I’m sure the winner here will surely love to clinch a game early and not have to worry about something happening in the last game.
Uruguay vs. England 3PM ESPN
This is the game I’m most looking forward to. If you follow the English Premier League, you know the matchup people will focus on. Liverpool’s Luis Suarez comes back from knee surgery to face some of his Liverpool teammates. England will potentially have six Liverpool players on the field at the same time. The reunion between Suarez and his club teammates will be short lived because the loser of this game will be all but eliminated. There’s a scenario for three teams to have three points but I’m not entertaining that thought because it’s not likely to happen.
Japan vs. Greece 6PM ESPN
Japan and Greece caps off Group C and this’ll likely be the worst game of the three. Greece notoriously parks the bus so if they have things their way, it won’t be the most exciting game. Just like with Uruguay and England, the loser of this game will be eliminated. I do love the play of Keisuke Honda so I’m looking forward to seeing him play.