Sorry for the delay, been drinking fairly heavily up here at the lake. No time for updates and such. Anyway, it all went pretty much to plan for all the favourites the last couple days, except maybe for how hard they had to work. Every game looked like it could go either way for quite a while but in the end the teams that were supposed to win, won. Lukaku getting benched then finally getting on the board as a sub was probably the most shocking development of the day. So it’s on to the quarterfinals with the only real surprise team still being, of course, Costa Rica.
A bit of a sloppy game by the French but thanks to a commanding performance from Pogba they live to see another day. Germany is a far cry from Nigeria, though, so they are going to need Benzema to be a lot more clinical next time around.
Even though all along I’ve been touting the Germans as the team to beat I have to say I’m sad to see the Algerians knocked out. They were great to watch, and had all sorts of funky names like Slimani and Brahimi and Mehjani. Not as good at soccer, though. But they sure had the Germans sweating it until Ozil took things into his own hands. Great game to watch.
Heartbreaker for the Swiss. 118 minutes of hard-fought pressing and desperate defending all undone by one turnover 70 yards away from their own net. That’s what the magic of Messi can do for you. In my opinion, him and Di Maria have overtaken Robben and Van Persie as the World Cup’s most dangerous duo.
The Belgians best game by far, and an unbelievable showing by Tim Howard. 29 shots on goal! It’s not too often a soccer keeper can allow 2 goals and still be player of the game. Then an incredible save by Courtois at the other end kept it level when the Americans suddenly looked on the verge of overturning a 2 goal deficit in the final 10 minutes. A feat that seemed impossible to fathom for the first 110 minutes. Tough decision for Wilmots now, since Origi looked good up front and then Lukaku comes in as a sub and finally shows a pulse. Strange development, but a good one for Belgium.
I’ve gotten to depend on spending at least 4 hours glued to the TV every day, so I’m not sure how I’m going to handle these next couple days off. Then some great quarterfinal matchups to look forward to, although in a couple of them I have picked both teams so will be guaranteed to lose a few more picks, and my improbable first-place tie with myself promises to be short-lived.