Even though they conceded twice to Nigeria of all teams, Argentina still finally looked like a team capable of contending for the title today. Messi was spectacular, moreso for his passing and overall control of the game than his two impressive goals. Previously he appeared to be trying to do it all himself, but today he started moving the ball around and Nigeria had no answer for it. Lost in all the furor over his goal-scoring is the fact Messi is one of the best passers around, especially when it comes to neat little one-twos and through balls in the box. If he plays like that and Di Maria is outstanding like he was today, these guys will create chances against anyone. Now as for that defense, well…
Bosnia picked up their game today against Iran but it was too little, too late, since they were already mathematically eliminated. Switzerland, meanwhile, put the boots to Honduras (one of the more popular pastimes at this World Cup, it seemed) thanks to an awesome hat trick by Xerdan Shaqiri. Three goals that probably will end up costing some extravagantly rich European club an extra 25 million euros later this summer if he leaves Bayern Munich as rumoured. Or maybe just made Pep Guardiola think, “Hmm, maybe that guy shouldn’t be glued to the bench”.
France goes through as group winner despite a frustrating 0-0 draw with Ecuador. The team that had scored 8 goals in 2 games going into this one somehow failed to really test the Ecuadoran keeper despite playing nearly the entire second half against 10 men. 10 Ecuadoran men, no less. How can a team fire 21 shots and never really come close to scoring, you ask? Come watch me play sometime and I’ll solve that mystery for you, and quick. Not sure how I feel about that red card to Antonio Valencia, either. On the one hand, a dangerous studs-up challenge. On the other, he had his studs-up on the ball until Digne kicked the ball out from under his foot and replaced it with his knee. Not sure what Valencia was supposed to do about it.
Finally, a minor after-thought I should mention, you know, if I must. I’m now tied for the lead. Praise and congratulations are welcome, and will be accepted with smugly feigned graciousness throughout the night (which is probably about as long as the lead is expected to last). Also, some big news for Kiley Dyck, congratulations to Kiley for…. moving into third place! Well done. And on his new big-ass son who was born this past weekend.