Day twenty-three of the 2014 Brazil World Cup , fifty-six matches completed and we are down to the final eight. In the eight matches played in round of 16 , seventeen goals were scored of which four were in extra-time. Here a summary of the second round fixtures –
Brazil 1 – 1 Chile ( Brazil win 3-2 on penalties AET ) – The hosts advanced to the quarter finals over a plucky Chile after a penalty shoot out in Belo Horizonte. Hero on the day for Brazil was goalkeeper Julio Cesar who saved two penalties.
Colombia 2 – 0 Uruguay – Colombia were full value for their win over Uruguay. A James Rodriguez double was the difference and also put him top of the Golden Boot award with 5 goals in the tournament. James , one of the stand out players of the tournament is no stranger to followers of Portugese football as he played 3 seasons at FC Porto before his transfer to current club , AS Monaco.
Netherlands 2-1 Mexico – Netherlands over turned a one goal deficit with five minutes remaining against Mexico , with a Wesley Sneijder strike in the 88th minute and a Klaas-Jan Huntelaar penalty in injury time and guaranteed the first European nation into the quarter-finals.
Costa Rica 1 – 1 Greece ( Cotsa Rica win 5-3 on penalties AET ) – Goalkeeper Keylor Navas emerged as the hero as Costa Rica beat Greece on penalties to reach the World Cup quarter-finals for the very first time.
France 2-0 Nigeria – A Paul Pogba header ( 79th minute ) and an injury-time own goal by Joseph Yobo have taken France through with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Nigeria in Brasilia.
Germany 2-1 Algeria ( AET ) – Ninety minutes of football could not separate Germany and Africa’s remaining participant , Algeria in Porto Alegre. Germany prevailed in extra-time with goals from Schürrle and Özil , but the spirited North Africans departed with their heads held high.
Argentina 1 – 0 Switzerland – Again ninety minutes could not deliver a winner in this tie in Sao Paulo. Heart-ache for the Swiss in the 118th minute , after a wonderful run by Messi who set up Angel Di Maria with the solitary goal that booked a place for Argentina in the last eight.
Belgium 2 – 1 USA ( AET ) – After a goalless but enrapturing 90 minutes, Belgium emerged 2-1 winners over USA. Man of the Match deservedly went to Tim Howard , the USA goalkeeper who broke the record for the most saves in a single World Cup match ( 16! Wow ).
So all of the above leaves us with the following quarter-final match ups –
QF 1 – France versus Germany ( Yum ) in Rio – 4 July @ 18h00 ( SA time )
QF 2 – Brazil versus Colombia ( yum-yum ) in Fortaleza – 4 July @ 22h00
QF 3 – Argentina versus Belgium in Brasilia – 5 July @ 18h00
QF 4 – Netherlands versus Costa Rica in Salvador – 5 July @ 22h00
Finally , some more facts from the host cities & venues:
Rio De Janeiro – The state has more than 50kn of beaches and is the main destination for tourists in the Southern Hemisphere.
Natal – Where Coca-Cola was first tasted in Brazil, in 1942. A strategic city in World War Two, it was crowded with American troops who brought the new drink to locals.
Porto Alegre – It has the best quality of life and highest literary rate in Brazil.
Enjoy the quarter-finals and till next time,