Tuesday, 15 July 2014
The End of the Affair - A Last Bit of World Cup Spoofery
SUN 13th July
Germany 0-0 Argentina (1-0 aet) (PREDICTION 1-0)
So Germany went and did it, won their first World Cup in 24 years and typically the German player who infuriated the most over the tournament, Goetze, goes and bags the winner. Unusually for a World Cup final it actually started well with an excellent first half of football but unfortunately the second half stank, only for a few sparks of excitement to re-emerge in extra time. As you may remember I cautiously predicted either Spain, Germany, Brazil or Argentina would win the World Cup so I'm sitting pretty (3 of the semi-finalists at least) and to be fair to Germany they were consistently the best team throughout the month and deserved it. Doubts about a future domination by them persist but when you realise Reus, Gondogan, Badstuber and at a stretch Mario Gomez can come back into the squad you never know, just need to find someone good in beside Hummels and they're set.
SAT 12th July
Brazil 0-3 Netherlands (PREDICTION 1-3)
Brazil were found to be lacking again but luckily for them the Netherlands proved to be nowhere near as clinical as Germany were in the semi final,which kind of suggests as poor as Brazil were in the last game Germany were outstanding. Also in fairness to the Dutch, they were completely written off by most including myself before the tournament, but finishing in third place and unbeaten while all the while playing Dirk Kuyt as a wing back says they've overachieved.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TOURNAMENT (anything in blue is a youtube link btw)
Goal Line Technology - The fun little graphic they persisted in showing in the early games did its job in the France/Honduras game but seemed to confuse most commentators and even the coaches.
11pm Kick-offs - Produced the best games more often than not and made for some fun bleary-eyed water cooler conversation the next morning.
Costa Rica - The serendipitous pick of Costa Rica in the work pool led to a small scale re-living of Italia 90. Costa Rica were excellent throughout, they showed that with a bit of organisation, a small bit of talent and a bit of luck you can do some good in these things. The same can be said for Algeria, Mexico and the USA as well. They also did Tony Adams proud by showing the offside trap ain't dead just yet.
USA - Klinsmann's positive energy rubbed off on, let's face it, an average enough bunch of players to turn USA into one of the most fun teams to watch in the tournament. They had a go in every game, Clint Dempsey was in goal scoring form, their midfield and defence were heroic at times as was Tim Howard, particularly against Belgium which had most of the world pulling for them to get through.
James Rodriguez - Had an amazing tournament, scored the most goals, even the best one and helped elevate the players around him.
Loads of goals/high scoring matches - Germany 7-1 Brazil, Australia 2-3 Netherlands, Nigeria 2-3 Argentina, Japan 1-4 Colombia, Cameroon 1-4 Brazil, South Korea 2-4 Algeria, Spain 1-5 Netherlands to name a few.
Gordon Strachan - telling it like it is after Suarez ban, never truer words spoken.
Kenny Cunningham/Apres Match - Kenny's performance as the spark of debate was excellent in the RTE Studios, pissing off Eamonn Dunphy at every turn, his view on Lavezzi's water bottle leading Richy Sadlier to tell him to relax and telling Brad Friedel, with a straight face, that Tim Howard was making nothing saves. Only outdone by his Apres Match impersonation, the lads were on top form again this World Cup culminating in their typically excellent third place playoff coverage.
Pepe getting sent off - beautiful
LOWLIGHTS OF THE TOURNAMENT
Spain being spent - Absolutely heart breaking watching this best team in the world disintegrate before my eyes, particularly sad to see David Villa retiring.
Suarez - not the fun villain this time round, just stupid and annoying this time around.
Brazil, Cameroon, Russia - All very very poor, Russia unbelievably poor and Capello blaming referees for no reason, Cameroon headbutting each other and fighting over money and Brazil really, really poor at least Neymar aqcuited himself well under ridiculous pressure.
Anyway that's the end of that......