Greetings , another fine week of World Cup action, and the goals have not stopped. An average of 3 goals a game is maintained , with 108 goals in 36 matches thus far. Below a group-by-group update –
GROUP A – Brazil followed their 0-0 draw versus Mexico , with a 4-1 rout over Cameroon yesterday and with that finished top of the group. Mexico finished second also on 7 points ( but inferior GD ) and were full value for the 3-1 victory over Croatia. Neymar’s double versus Cameroon has put him top of the Golden Boot with 4 goals scored.
GROUP B – Netherland’s maintained their 100% record with a 2-0 win over Chile yesterday in Sao Paulo and topped the group with 9 points followed by Chile on 6 points. Defending champions , Spain restored some pride with a 3-0 win over Australia , but still depart the competition before the knock-out stages.
At the time of writing , Group A and B were the only completed groups , which confirms the following clashes in the 2nd round knock-outs :
Brazil versus Chile – Saturday 28th in Belo Horizonte
Netherlands versus Mexico – Sunday 29th in Fortaleza
GROUP C – Colombia are already through to the next round , and who will join them will be settled this evening once Ivory Coast versus Greece and Japan versus Colombia are completed.
GROUP D – While Costa Rica ( qualified for next round ) and England ( going home ) have been settled , todays clash in Natal betweek Uruguay and Italy is certainly one to look out for. For Italy a draw is sufficient to advance , while only a win for a Luis Suarez inspired Uruguay will see them in round two.
GROUP E – A positive goal difference ( of plus 6 ) seems enough for France to finish as group winners , even if they are defeated by Ecuador in the final group match. Switzerland shall require maximum points versus Honduras for them to leap frog Ecuador and advance to the next round.
GROUP F – Argentina with two wins from from two will advance , with either Nigeria or Iran joining them from Group F. A point from their final fixture versus Argentina will be enough for Nigeria to advance , however a defeat for the African nation together with Iran beating Bosnia and Herzegovina , will mean an historic achievement for the team led by Carlo Queiroz.
GROUP G – Group G with one round of fixtures left , has still all to play for. Depending on the result of Germany versus USA , even Portugal currently bottom of the group can advance . A draw however in the Germany – USA match , will ensure both these nations advance , while Portugal and Ghana will exit the competition. ( Brief match report of Portugal – USA below )
GROUP H – Belgium have qualified from Group H , while the remaining spot will be filled by either Algeria or Russia who meet in Curitiba on Thursday. A point is all that Algeria require to advance.
Portugal met USA on Sunday in Manaus with the fixture ending 2-2. The man-of-the-match award went to USA goalkeeper , Tim Howard which tells a story in it all. Portugal started the match brightly and took the lead in the 5th minute with a strike from Nani , who also later in the half struck the post. The common curse of this campaign struck again in the 1st half with forced substitutions through injury were made. Eder replacing Postiga after only 15 minutes and then again at half-time with William Carvalho replacing Andre Almeida. I felt this changed the game , and shape of Portugal , who till this stage looked comfortable, as Miguel Veloso was moved to left-back and suffered in that position. Two goals from the USA in the space of fifteen minutes mid-way through the half had Portugal out of the tourney until a Silvestre Varela header in stoppage time gave the Selecao a point and a glimmer of hope to extend their stay In Brazil. Nothing but a convincing ( by 3 goals or more ) win over Ghana will suffice.
To end off , couple more facts from the host cities and venues :
Brasilia – Brasilia was named capital city in 1960 after Rio was deemed too susceptible to riots and foreign navy attack.
Manaus – The Amazon River pours the same amount of water into the Atlantic Ocean in a day as London’s River Thames flows into the North Sea in a year.
Till next time , enjoy the futebol 🙂