World Cup Tactical Analysis | Cameroon 1-4 Brazil: Neymar guides the Selecao to the Round of 16

June 24, 2014

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“Neymar netted twice to help put Brazil into the last 16 of the World Cup as his side flounced aside Cameroon on Monday night. The Barcelona star was at the crux of every move and scored once either side of a Joel Matip strike to ensure the Selecao would continue their World Cup campaign on home soil. Brazil No. 9, Fred finally got off the mark with his first World Cup goal in eight years, and although it should have been ruled offside, it stood and will give the Fluminense striker a major uplift. His goal gave Brazil some extra cushion, only to be topped by Fernandinho, who came on for Paulinho and added the clincher late to give Brazil an extra boost on its way out of the group stage.” Outside of the Boot

We Went There: Mexico Qualifies for the Round of 16 in a Green Sea
“The ‘Meh-he-co’ chants drowned out the AC/DC blaring from the speakers at Arena Pernambuco as the kickoff of El Tri’s match against Croatia drew closer. When the 15-by-25-foot LCD screens showed the starting lineups, the Mexican fans hurled their favorite FIFA-sanctioned slur at the head shots of their opponents.” Grantland (Video>

Mexico Finds Itself Knee-Deep in Victory
“When Andrés Guardado of Mexico finally freed himself from a swarm of teammates Monday and emerged back under the floodlights of the crammed stadium here, he crouched along the sideline, pointed a finger down to his knees as he comically wiggled his legs, and vigorously shook his head from side to side. A smile stretched across his face as he soaked in the deafening cheers. The night before Mexico and Croatia met in this Group A game, with a spot in the World Cup’s knockout round very much up for grabs, Croatia Coach Niko Kovac suggested that his team had nothing to fear, that if anyone’s knees were to tremble, it should be the players of Mexico.” NY Times

Brazil Romps Past Cameroon and Into Knockout Rounds
“An anxious nation and its capital exhaled on Monday. Their beloved national soccer team, which has not played with the precision and dominance that many had hoped for in the World Cup, nevertheless moved on to the next round with a convincing win. Playing in front of a pulsating record crowd at Estádio Nacional, Brazil beat Cameroon, 4-1, behind two goals from Neymar to win Group A. On Saturday it will play Chile, the runner-up in Group B, in the Round of 16.” NY Times


Group A – ESPN

June 24, 2014
Group A Overall
POS TEAM PTS GD P W D L F A
1 Brazil 7 5 3 2 1 0 7 2
2 Mexico 7 3 3 2 1 0 4 1
3 Croatia 3 0 3 1 0 2 6 6
4 Cameroon 0 -8 3 0 0 3 1 9

ESPN


World Cup 2014: group stage, day 12. NETHERLANDS 2-0 CHILE. SPAIN 3-0 AUSTRALIA. MEXICO 3-1 CROATIA. BRAZIL 4-1 CAMEROON.

June 24, 2014

“… Mexico would have been happy with the draw – but were the better side for long periods, and deserved the victory. Croatia wingers v Mexican wing-backs. This was always likely to be the key battle, considering both Mexico’s previous opponents had problems containing their wing-backs. But the Croatian wingers had been extremely impressive in terms of their work rate and discipline in this tournament, and had constantly looked the most likely players to find the target. Could they pin back the Mexico wing-backs, or find space in behind them?” Zonal Marking


A Cruel Match in an Unforgiving Jungle

June 24, 2014

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“The US team was in a stadium in the middle of a city in the middle of a jungle, getting ready to take the field to play Portugal. The sun had dropped behind the arena and it was getting darker. And hotter. Manaus was built into the Amazon. Fly in on a plane or go out on a boat and you get a sense of the enormity of the uninhabited world surrounding it. Unlike other parts of Brazil, where the natural landscape—the stunning beaches, the looming mountains—seems as much a part of the city as the buildings, Manaus is a clearing in a forest. It feels like an intrusion on nature. The jungle hangs all around city, stifling heat and huge bugs reclaiming its streets and the people living in a place they don’t belong.” 8By8

Heartbroken, but Hardly Hopeless
“Forget about that last goal. Pretend it never happened, as if that soccer ball never ricocheted off the head of a perfectly positioned Portuguese player and into the United States’ net. Do not dwell on those last 30 seconds of that game on Sunday night in the Amazon that stomped on the throat of an otherwise sublime night. Emotions are hard to temper at a time like this — when a surprising American victory seemed all but guaranteed, until that header suddenly proved that it wasn’t — but the broader picture is not at all bleak. Even after tying Portugal, 2-2, the United States remains on a trajector.” NY Times

In Time Warp of Soccer, It Ain’t Over Till … Who Knows?
“… Such situations would be unthinkable in other sports, but vagaries of time are the norm in soccer. Games do not end when a clock expires, but only when the referee decides they are over. In a world where quantities as varied as footsteps and mouse clicks can be measured with scientific precision, soccer is a land where time remains a mirage. The most recent example came in the World Cup game here Sunday night, when the United States scored to take the lead in the 81st minute of a 90-minute match only to see the advantage slip away when Portugal scored — wait for it — 14 minutes later.” NY Times


World Cup Tactical Analysis | Netherlands 2 – 0 Chile: Dutch successful on counter

June 24, 2014

“With both teams already qualified for the knockout stages, this match would decide which team would finish top and which team would have to be content with second. While the winner would gain first place outright, a draw would be enough for the Dutch to qualify first on goal difference. Both teams knew the importance of first place, with the second placed team most likely facing the daunting possibility of a round of 16 match-up with hosts Brazil. Even though the Netherlands beat Brazil in the quarter-finals in 2010, Brazil at home are a different proposition. Chile, of course, are well acquainted with their South American counterparts; in their last two World Cups (1998 and 2010), Chile were knocked out in the Round of 16 by Brazil. Neither team wanted to lose, setting up a cagey, tactical battle.” Outside of the Boot

World Cup 2014: Netherlands Defeats Chile, 2-0, to Win Group B
“Both the Netherlands and Chile entered the final match of group play knowing they were through to the knockout stage, but the Dutch are moving on as the champions of Group B thanks to 2-0 victory. The Chileans had their chances, controlling much of the possession and play early in the first half, but after the 35th minute it felt very much like the Netherlands’ game. The first goal didn’t come until the 76th minute, on a header by Leroy Fer. The Dutch offered a final exclamation point in stoppage time, when Arjen Robben raced up the left side and sent a cross to Memphis Depay.” NY Times


Group B – ESPN

June 24, 2014
Group B Overall
POS TEAM PTS GD P W D L F A
1 Netherlands 9 7 3 3 0 0 10 3
2 Chile 6 2 3 2 0 1 5 3
3 Spain 3 -3 3 1 0 2 4 7
4 Australia 0 -6 3 0 0 3 3 9

 ESPN