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When I last left you, we were preparing for the United States’ crucial match against Germany. Well things didn’t turn out the way we had hoped, with Ze Germans defeating the United States 1-0 thanks to a Thomas Muller blast off of a corner kick. Although we suffered defeat in this match, we were rescued from our doom by Cristiano Ronaldo, who broke a 1-1 deadlock with Ghana by blasting in a shot in the 83rd minute to give Portugal a 2-1 win. That result meant both Portugal and Ghana would crash out of the World Cup.
They were soon joined in the ranks of the eliminated teams by Russia and South Korea, who were knocked out in Thursday’s 4pm matches. Belgium managed to steal a 1-0 win thanks to a late goal from Jan Vertonghen. Once again, Belgium did not look their best, and never made it out of second gear, but have earned three wins in their World Cup matches. Russia and Algeria drew 1-1, with Algeria getting a goal from Islam Slimani to get them the result that sends them to the knockout stages for the first time in the history of their footballing nation. They also became the second African team to move to the knockout stages in this tournament.
Friday was mercifully an off day, but on Saturday the drama continued with Brazil squeaking by Chile on penalties. David Luiz pounced on a ball in the box in the 18th minute and sent in the game’s opening goal, while Twitter critics around the world clamored for it to be ruled an own goal. Their lead only lasted 14 minutes before Eduardo Vargas pounced on a turnover by Hulk, passed to Alexis Sanchez who made no mistake with the finish. The match then settled into a contentious affair, which lasted through the rest of regulation and extra time, sending the match to penalties. It was then when Julio Cesar showed up with two spectacular saves, making up for some questionable penalty taking from Willian and Hulk. His performance gave Brazil the 3-2 win on penalties and sent them through to the quarterfinals.
Later that afternoon, two spectacular goals from James Rodriguez earned Colombia a 2-0 win over a Luis Suarez-less Uruguay. His first goal was really a thing of beauty, he chested the ball and smashed a left footed volley off the underside of the crossbar and into the goal. It was the goal of the tournament, I’ve watched it hundreds of time and I will probably be trying to replicate that goal for the rest of my life. His second goal was a simpler smash from the center of the penalty area. Colombia really is a team to watch in this tournament and James Rodriguez is becoming one of the most searched men in the world.
Yesterday in the early match, the Netherlands snatched a victory away from Mexico in the final moments of the match. Mexico jumped out to a lead thanks to a beautiful goal from Giovanni Dos Santos, who muscled through Dutch defenders before smashing a left footed finish across his body and into the net. Wesley Sneijder equalized in the 88th minute after El Tri grew increasingly defensive through the second half. He smashed in a shot off a corner kick to level things up, really spoiling another spectacular performance from Guillermo Ochoa, who became a free agent today. The Netherlands then snatched a victory before the end of regular time, thanks to a bit of a flop from Arjen Robben who capitalized on a stupid, stupid foul by Mexico captain Rafa Marquez. Klaas Jan Huntelaar, the Hunter, then smashed in the penalty, karate kicked the corner flag and sent all of Holland into babymaking mode as they advanced to the quarterfinals.
In yesterday’s final match, Costa Rica managed to escape in penalties after falling to 10 men and conceding to the Greeks in the 91st minute. In the 52nd minute, Bryan Ruiz rolled a perfectly placed shot into the right side of the net. The Ticos then dropped to 10 men after Oscar Duarte earned his second yellow card of the match, I must say that both of them were deserved, but the referees were truly awful in this match. Missing a crucial handball in the box among other dubious decisions. Then in second half stoppage time in the 91st minute, Sokratis Papastathopoulos smashed home the crucial tying goal for the Greeks. I kept thinking throughout extra time that the Greeks were going to steal another result, but their offensive efforts in extra time were absolutely awful. They didn’t capitalize on their advantage and the match went to penalties, where Costa Rica were perfect. They smashed in five consecutive penalties and goalkeeper Keylor Navas continued his spectacular performances in this tournament with a crucial save on Theofanis Gekas to earn the Ticos their spot in the quarterfinal. Giorgios Karagounis retired from international football following the match.
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 is the most capped player in USMNT 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.
I promise that we will get to the restart of MLS action and NWSL results from the weekend during tomorrow’s episode, but here are our headlines from over the weekend:
Adam Lallana has completed a medical examination and will complete a £25 million move to Liverpool later this week.
Southampton will also have to deal with the departure of Luke Shaw, who completed a £30 million move to
Manchester United over the weekend. I will be really interested to see how Southampton spend this transfer money after issuing hands off warnings for their young talents. It looks like they really only meant, you better meet our asking prices. In my Southampton Football Manager save, I bought Axel Witsel and Andre Ayew with the proceeds from Lallana, I am curious to see what happens at St. Mary’s.
Kevin Prince Boateng has taken his dismissal from the Ghana squad by calling the FA, shambolic. He claims that he was dismissed from the squad for asking where the money went. They were forced to fly economy, making multiple stops in their preparation for the World Cup. Forced to fly from Miami to Washington DC for 24 hours before returning to Miami, just to shake the hands of “important people.” Their flight to Brazil was 12 hours, with players sitting in economy class. The airport also lost his bags which contained his football boots. Then the squad stayed in a motel in Natal, which flooded.
Chicharito has submitted a transfer request to Manchester United.