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: