We’re over one third of the way through the group stages, and I can certainly say that this tournament has had its fair share of surprises. Not sure if you’ve heard, but defending champions, Spain, have been eliminated from this year’s tournament only two matches in. Spain suffered a thorough 2-0 beat down from Chile in a match where they never really could put their best football on display.
Chile has this way to lulling teams into a sense of complacency while placing them under tremendous pressure and that’s exactly what happened yesterday. Twenty minutes into the match Chile turned this match on its head for Spain. Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sanchez, and Charles Aranguiz combined with some beautiful buildup play that allowed Eduardo Vargas to skip around Iker Casillas and slide home the finish. It was a great moment for Chile, another borderline howler for Casillas, and was a sign of things to come.
Then just before halftime, Alexis Sanchez hit a vicious free kick at Casillas who parried the ball away. Unfortunately for Iker, it fell right to Charles Aranguiz who smashed it past Casillas for Chile’s second goal. Following the halftime break, Vicente Del Bosque and Spain grew increasingly desperate. He put on Koke for Xabi Alonso at halftime and I think this was probably not the right decision. They needed somebody creative and instinctive like Cesc or Juan Mata and failed to include either of these with their substitutions. Sergio Busquets missed from point blank range and Spain were just doomed. I think that this match officially signals the death of Tiki Taka. RIP 2008-2014.
Upsets like Chile over Spain is what football is all about, but yesterday Australia expertly displayed why you really should catch all of these matches if you can. I had this one going out as Australia being on the receiving end of 4 or 5 goals, but they turned a lot of heads yesterday, despite bowing out of the tournament. Arjen Robben scored 20 minutes in for the Dutch and at that moment I tweeted that this was about to be a massacre. Australia responded by scoring less than 2 minutes later. Tim Cahill scoring one of the goals of the tournament, with a spectacular volley that rang in off the crossbar. Seriously, go watch that goal. The teams went into the locker rooms level.
After halftime Australia managed to get a handball decision which was converted by Mile Jedinak, and for a wonderful 90 seconds they were in control, doing the impossible. However, it was not meant to be. Robin Van Persie scored another spectacular goal to level things at 2 all. Memphis Depay then hit a ball from distance and hoped. Well it took a deflection and went into the goal, dooming Australia and elimination, but for one shining moment they looked to be on top of the football world. That’s what it’s all about really, these moments of brilliance that you can celebrate forever.
In our third match of the day, a moment of madness from Alex Song led to his dismissal and doom for Cameroon as they were hammered 4-0 by Croatia. Ivica Olic scored only 11 minutes into the match, but Cameroon were really enjoying the majority of the possession and attacking chances in the first half. Then at the 40 minute mark, Ivica Olic was leading a counter attack when behind the play Alex Song delivered a 12-6 elbow to the back of Mario Mandzukic and was sent off with the straight red for violent conduct.
It only took four minutes following the halftime break for Croatia to break through and then Ivan Perisic was the man who broke the deadlock. Mario Mandzukic added two goals later in the match to close things out for Croatia, getting a bit of retribution for that elbow from Song.
Before we get to our results from the weekend and upcoming matches for tonight, here’s a new trivia segment sponsored by Ruffneck Scarves and Who Are Ya Designs. They make a tons of great shirts and scarves and sent me their #Murica shirt, so you should check them out at www.ruffneckscarves.com orwww.whoareyadesigns.com . That brings us to our trivia question for the day which is: Who scored the fastest goal in World Cup history? If you think you know the answer, Tweet me @IamSchaffer, respond on the Full Time Football Facebook Page, or comment on the blog. We’ll select the winner from the correct responses and send them a gift card so they can pick up some new gear. If you don’t know the answer, still go to ruffneckscarves.com or whoareyadesigns.com and buy a shirt for yourself or the football fan in your life.
Goals 89 minute apart from Brittany Taylor and Samantha Kerr earned a win for the Flash in yesterday’s NWSL clash between the Western NY Flash and the Chicago Red Stars.
Russia and Croatia face FIFA sanctions for neo-Nazi banners, while Mexico and Brazil face penalties for homophobic chanting.
FIFA has banned Beats headphones from being worn by players in the stadium.
Ticketless Chileans that stormed the gates at their match yesterday have been given 72 hours to leave Brazil or be subjected to summary deportations. 85 were arrested yesterday.
Upcoming matches for today:
C’ote D’Ivoire will take on Colombia at Noon today.
Uruguay will meet England at 3PM in a very important match for Group D.
Japan will take on Greece.
In our one NWSL match of the day
The Boston Breakers take on the Seattle Reign.