World Cup

Friday World Cup Quarterfinal Recap

So, many of us like the footy. A few don’t. Cool. Those of us who watched today, let’s discuss. There’s some video at the end for those who don’t like to read lots of words.

Brazil v. The Netherlands:

Brazil played a beautiful first half which displayed their fantastic footskills. While the lone goal occurred on a brilliant through ball to Robinho, the entire first half was a steady wave of Brazilian offense, occasionally broken up by a dive by a Dutch player. Going into the half, the Dutch looked broken.

In the second half, the Dutch came out a bit flat but began to build pressure on Brazil. The Dutch got on the board off of a long centering ball from Wesley Sneijder that glanced off of Brazilian defender Melo and into the back of the net. With that, the game changed.

In the 67th minute the Dutch hit one of the prettier set pieces of the Cup, a near-post corner kick that was flicked on by Dirk Kuyt and buried into the top of the net by Sneijder. Suddenly, Brazil was down a goal.

The Brazilian team had steadily descended into a state of panic prior to the second Dutch goal, but its arrival all but solidified the maddened state. Brazilian frustrations boiled over in response to Dutch dives, resulting in a red card for Melo, who stomped on a Dutch player after a foul. The Brazilians never *really* had any good chances towards the end of the game – though they had the talent on the pitch, they never separated themselves from their emotions and ended the game in a shocked state.

Ghana v. Uruguay

I didn’t catch all of this game, so I can’t speak for the ebb and flow of all of it. Ghana hit a brilliant long ball just before the end of the first half to go up 1-0. Uruguay scored on a free kick from Forlan early in the second half. Then some soccer was played for a while.

Then, the game went into overtime. And for those who watched the final ten minutes, you’re probably still as excited as I am about it. Those that didn’t see it, I feel for you.

The final ten minutes of overtime were marked by a significant push by Ghana. The majority of play was in Uruguay’s backfield, with Ghana forcing corners and generally controlling the flow of the game. With three or so minutes left, Ghana had a string of corners.

In the 121st minute, Ghana was awarded a free kick outside of the box, which they curled in. The ball was flicked on, Uruguay’s keeper punched it away, only to have the ball land at the feet of a Ghanian forward, who kicked the ball into the Uruguayan defender Suarez. The ball caromed off of Suarez’ leg to another Ghanian attacker, who headed the ball seemingly into the net. Suarez swatted the ball back with his hands, and the ball ended up in the hands of Uruguay’s keeper, with time running out.

The referee gave Suarez a red card, sending him off, and awarded Ghana a penalty kick with essentially no time on the clock. Ghana then proceeded to put the ball over the bar.

After we all reset our pacemakers, the game went to penalties. Ghana was the first to miss, with the Uruguayan keeper making a stop. The next Uruguayan kicker then skied his kick about 5 feet over the bar. Ghana’s next kicker was blocked on a weak attempt, bringing up some dude from Uruguay who looked like he’s a professional hitman. Abreu then made one of the ballsiest penalty kicks I’ve ever seen, chipping the ball straight away and letting the keeper miss. With that, Uruguay is through to the semis, and the continent of Africa is out of the Copa.

So, tomorrow’s games have a lot to live up to. Something kind of like this sequence:

  • Eli

    That last few seconds of the Ghana match were killer.

  • I was laying in bed with a bad headache with the Ghana match on and when the handball occurred I sat up and yelled “no way” and freaked my cat who was on me out. I pretty much sat up on my elbow from that point on.

  • Rich

    Brilliant play by Suarez. You have to take the red card there and use the hands. Can’t even risk it even if you have a “chance” to get it with your head, gotta just go ahead and use the hands and make sure that ball doesn’t cross the line. He saved the game for his team.

    Melo should have stomped on Robben’s face. Robben is maybe the worst diver in soccer, and if I was a brazilian I would have had about enough of it too. So, if your blood boils over and you can’t contain the emotion, then go ahead and just kick the dude in the head instead of some harmless stomp to the stomach. Get your money’s worth.

  • RoversRugby

    Hup Holland! Love to see them eliminate the Brazilians. Holland has always had trouble with Brazil, and playing to their weaknesses and getting them out of their heads was great. Great overall game by the Oranje.

    That Ghana loss was heartbreaking. I felt awful for the guy who missed that penalty shot in the last minute. Great game though! Feel bad for Uruguay though because they are about to run into a buzzsaw.

  • jimkanicki

    suarez did the right thing with the hand sure. but the first block of his was HEROIC.

    the goalie for URU whiffed on the clear of the free kick. that’s #1. then. you cannot believe the space #10 appiah has from 5′ in front of the center of the goal. but while appiah is waiting for ball to come down, suarez slides right in to the center of the goal. appiah nails it … right into suarez’ left leg. by himself. watching the replay and suarez was far post at the time of the goalie whiff and it’s like he saw the whiff coming and was in place before appiah could get a foot on the ball.

    [he couldn’t have been more bro if he was re-netting his lax stick sporting his pinny and sperrys while swilling a natty and having his chick make him a sandwich while listening to dave matthews.]

    feel sick sick sick for GHA.

    as for NED, they surprised. they’re always respected, but never close the deal. this game was a closer. they will factor. gotta like them over URU.

    tomorrow’s ARG/GER game should be epic. and ESP seems to have hit their stride. villa’s been the class of the tourney. but how classic would it be if PAR winds up in the semis out of the south americans who made the quarters – URU/BRA/ARG? the Larissa Riquelme factor has my rooting for them. (just google her so the admins don’t have to edit my link.)

    loving world cup. nice write up denny.

  • jimkanicki

    @rich3 – diving just seems to be part of the game (kinda like fighting in hockey). until FIFA instructs the refs to issue mandatory yellow cards it’ll continue.

    karma takes care of some of it. italy and brazil come to mind. brazil was spectacularly offensive against ivory coast … they’re talented enough without cheating.

    watch spain tomorrow. the worst offenders. but why shouldn’t they do it if they’re not getting yellows?

  • Rich

    I understand diving is a part of the game and I’m used to it. But my god, Robben at every single chance was going down like he was hit by a truck. If I was Melo I would have been upset enough to do what he did..except I wouuld have gotten my money’s worth.

  • jimkanicki

    you know… if mike brown or romeo crennel or eric wedge had the same level of focus as Jogi Low… maybe we wouldn’t still be waiting.