Four games in one day! For any fan of international football, these days are a true test of your dedication. Games running side-by-side and with over 6 hours of footy means that you would have to decide that the sizzling retina within your eyeballs would be well worth watching a ridiculous amount of soccer. Worth it? OF COURSE! One set of matches where there is barely anything on the line (with the possible exception of pride) and another set where the outcomes will determine who advances out of the group stage. BRING-IT-ON!!!
Note: To encompass the four games, expect some brevity in comparison to past “World Cup Day” posts. Still, we can let you know what you missed and what games to go back and watch to make sure you can still sound more intelligent that a pseudo-pundit.
Chile vs Netherlands
For anybody expecting high-flying attacks with a ridiculous scoreline, then you would have to be watching the other game in the set. The Netherlands team that we had seen in the opening fixtures and that embodied the “Total Football” that we love seeing from the Clockwork Orange seemed to be completely missing here. While the Dutch squad had three changes to the starting line-up, it looked like a completely different team for the first 75 minutes. This is a game to skip on your DVR and to just watch the highlights.
The Dutch will enjoy the fact that they are still undefeated and will feel very positive going into the next round, especially given the form of Robben.
Chile will not like losing their momentum that they had going on. Vidal will take full advantage of a day off, and Chile still feel like a big “X factor” for any team unlucky enough to have to face them.
Australia vs Spain
There was only one thing going on here: the swan song for David Villa. Both teams had nothing to gain from any result that would occur, but Australia still fielded a squad very similar to what we had already seen from the Socceroos. Spain would completely change their line-up, giving David Villa one last ride at the biggest tournament on earth. The Spaniard pulled out all his tricks and was an absolute joy to watch. If this was the last time we see Villa with the Spanish national team, then he gave it all for the shirt. While there was nothing on the line, it is worth watching to see Villa in full-flow. Also, the speed of Australia’s Leckie has to have caught the eye of some mid-major club…the guy is a human blur.
Spain will be happy that they now have an excuse to kick the older fellas out the door. Cannot wait to see the future team that Spain fields in order to usher in a new era of possible dominance.
Australia will be one of the proudest squads getting sent home early. They were not a doormat against any squad and they pushed some of the big guns to the edge of every 90 minutes. Just ask Jordon how he feels, and he will tell you that the Socceroos accomplished everything that they set out to, and more…
Croatia vs Mexico
CONCACAF domination continues at this World Cup. While Croatia made a great showing against Brazil and seemed to find their best form against Cameroon, the Mexican attack and defensive hassling proved to be too much for the European team. Rafa Marquez proved that his selection was MORE than justified, Mexico proved that they are not scared of anyone, and the tournament continues to take CONCACAF for granted as the teams knock off major contenders one by one. If it means getting to see Herrera celebrate more, we at The Center Circle might start jumping on the bandwagon. Plus, Chicharito finally scoring might be a huge help to this squad moving forward.
Croatia will see this as a major trip at the finish line. Talent wasted across the pitch and a feeling of being so close to the knockout round will dog this squad until the next World Cup.
Mexico have completely found their footing that was lacking throughout qualifying. To underestimate them at this point will be at a team’s own peril.
Brazil vs Cameroon
Cameroon is out, but they had the opportunity to play the biggest spoiler of the entire tournament. Still, Neymar and Brazil showed up when the game dictated that they perform for their fans. While Brazil will feel great for finishing atop their group, the world will have watched these games and feel that the host country is 90 minutes from watching the tournament from the stands. It never ceases to amaze, but a 4-1 victory that did very little to ease the questions plaguing a squad means that Brazil will need to come out swinging in the knockout stage to push themselves back to the top of the heap.
Cameroon will be glad to be heading home. There is nothing positive to be gleaned from this team and their performance in this tournament. The picture of this squad at Brazil 2014 is getting destroyed by Croatia as Alex Song put an elbow in an opponent’s back. Fail.
Brazil was predicted to be here, and nobody is truly surprised. Still, to find anyone truly confident after their first three performances is to find someone drinking heavily of the Brazilian Kool-Aid. The hosts will need to improve if they hope to succeed against the bigger fish in the World Cup sea.
A great day of matches that has us excited for every footy-packed day that is going to follow. If you have yet to find a working DVR, download the WatchESPN app, find out how to make your TV show split-screen or picture-in-picture, or some form of technology that allows you to watch all of these matches despite them occurring at the same time, you have work to be done. Get some sleep gear-nerds…the games pile on again tomorrow!