Once again, Andrew is on the road on his “Tour De Baby” and receiving gifts for doing practically zero work in the whole process, but he is still glued to his iPhone/iPad/laptop whenever he can sneak away to watch all of the games. At this point, his wife is as well versed on all the World Cup games as Taylor Twellman, but Andrew still took the time to give us his recaps. Once again, slightly abbreviated over what he can do when he is in the comfort of his own home, but still the type of view he has gained from burning his retinas with every minute of this World Cup. LET’S GET IT!!!
Belgium vs Russia
Is it because we have gotten so spoiled with this World Cup? Who knows. If this match took place four years ago, it would have been considered standard fare and would probably have been praised as having a late winner. However, in 2014, this game was just plain poor. Despite gaining six points and being through to the next round, the shine that Belgium entered into this tournament with is fading. With talent present across the pitch, Belgium will need to either send a message with their last fixture or come out firing in the knockout round in order to return the bandwagon to the Red Devils. Despite a quality run from Hazard that ended up presenting Origi with an easy finish, Belgium have stumbled into qualification…barely…
While Belgium are through, Russia still have an outside chance of succeeding. Still, if Russia fails, it begs the question of how much longer Fabio Capello will be given such high-paying jobs. The Russians looked extremely well-organized (seriously, if that is all Capello brings to your team…every game they talk about how organized Capello’s squads are…you kinda need to win…), but they lack the attacking edge that they seemed to have at Euro 2012. Two teams, two different things taken away from this game, and yet two negative atmospheres surrounding both squads.
Algeria vs South Korea
While the early game was expected to provide all the goals, this was one that was worth having on your DVR. Luckily, this game was showing while my family enjoyed some fantastic south-of-the-border cuisine. Sadly for them, it meant that they would not get to spend much time with me, but it meant that I got dinner AND a show. Three goals in the first half (with the first being a fantastic chip from a fantastic long ball) and the Korean defense looked like the weakest back-line that we had seen in the entirety of the World Cup. Then, after the break, even more goals started to flow!
Considering the lax attitude that three goals can bring, it comes as no surprise that Korea was able to snag two for themselves and attempt to make this a game. Sadly, for them, they conceded another in between their own…making the rest of the fixture a formality. However, even though the last goal was scored in the 72nd minute, both teams looked likely to concede as the game wore on…making it surprising that it ended 4-2 and propelling Algeria to the second place within their group. A perfect game to watch with Spanish commentary…especially considering the incredible amount of “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL” calls that we heard throughout.
Portugal vs United States
The time to prove whether the United States had lucked into three points against Ghana. The time to prove whether the United States could be considered to be an actual member of the “Group of Death” instead of just fodder for the other teams. Sadly, only 5 minutes in, a defensive miscue would gift Nani the easiest chance he will get in the tournament. While his ridiculous celebration would have felt more fitting to a 40 yard thunderbolt or beating 6 opposition players and rounding the keeper, the pressure now fell on the Americans to prove that they would not be overrun by Portugal. Impressively, the USMNT actually did seem to rise to the occasion and were able to prevent a second goal that would have felt like too big a mountain to climb. Still, the halftime whistle would send the Americans locked in on their screens and the USMNT into the break fearing for their World Cup future.
The second half was extremely free-flowing with chances arriving for both squads. The USMNT had a lot of success down the wings and, although Bradley should have tied it up a bit earlier, Jermaine Jones hit one of the best long range strikes of the tournament to tie it up at 1-1 and send the mass of American fans into absolute jubilation. With the excitement we saw from tying it up, it paled in comparison to when Clint Dempsey was able to stay onside and hip-thrust the ball into the back of the net to put the U.S. up 2-1. Sadly, after 94 minutes of pedestrian football from CR7, the world’s best football player showed why a bum-knee will not hamper his class. A perfect cross in the last breath of the game was turned in to tie the game and set this group up for the most knife’s edge finish in the entirety of the World Cup.
Andrew’s travels will end on Tuesday, so we will have one more day of his analysis being hampered by his attempts to make the trip as easy and enjoyable as possible for his dogs and wife (and future USWNT player that currently is residing in his wife’s midsection). Still, our in-house doctors are starting to say that watching all this soccer might not be good for Andrew’s health. His response, “DON’T CARE! MORE SOCCER!!!!”