Greetings , the morning after Portugal’s heaviest ever defeat in the Finals of a major competition 🙁 , but more of that a little later. Its been a fresh positive start to the World Cup 2014 Finals and goals galore , 42 have been scored in 14 games thus far , averaging exactly 3 goals a game. Long may it continue…
Host nation and tournament favorites Brazil kicked it all off on Thursday versus Croatia , where a Neymar double contributed to a 3-1 win. The following day in Salvador , produced the result of the tournament thus far , where defending champions Spain were on the receiving end of a 5-1 rout versus the Netherlands. A brace each by Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben led to Spain’s heaviest competitive defeat since 1950.Saturday’s main fixture between Italy and England in Group D was settled by a 50th minute header from Mario Balotelli in a 2-1 win. On Sunday , France were impressive in a 3-0 win versus Honduras , while a better second half performance from Messi and Argentina ensured a winning start ( 2-1 versus Bosnia and Herzegovina ) .
Now back to yesterdays clash in Salvador versus Germany and Portugal , number 2 versus 4th ranked nation in world football , where it all went wrong for Portugal as early as the tenth minute. A Joao Pereira foul in the penalty area led to Thomas Müller scoring from the penalty spot , and it did not stop there with Müller scoring again in the 45th and 78th minute ( the first hat-trick of the tournament ) and a Mats Hummels header completed the scoring in a 4-0 thrashing. It did not end there for Portugal , and more complications have risen after losing Pepe for the next couple of matches after receiving a straight red card in the first half of the encounter , and serious injuries to Hugo Almeida and Fabio Coentrão have limited Paulo Bento options in the remaining group fixtures versus U.S.A. and Ghana. Like with Spain , nothing less than 2 wins from the remaining fixtures will prevent an early exit home.
Lets look ahead to the key matches in week two –
Tuesday 17th – Brazil v Mexico
Wednesday 18th – Spain v Chile
Thursday 19th – Uruguay v England
Friday 20th – Switzerland v France
Saturday 21st – Germany v Ghana
Sunday 22nd – Belgium v Russia and USA v Portugal
Monday 23rd – Netherlands v Chile and Croatia v Mexico
Finally, some interesting facts from the host cities and venues:
Sao Paulo – Brazil’s financial powerhouse is fuelled by pizza: a million are sold each day.
Salvador – Salvador has more than one church for each day of the year: 372
Recife – Nicknamed ‘the Brazilian Venice’ for its dependence on 39 bridges connecting everyone above its two rivers.
Wishing you all a fine week of World Cup action.