World Cup: Brazil defeats Chile on penalties

June 29, 2014

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“And so the carnival carries on. Brazil, the team which manages to thrill and frustrate almost simultaneously, clinched its place in the quarterfinal of the World Cup following a tension-fueled encounter with Chile. A 3-2 victory on penalties following a 1-1 draw in Belo Horizonte means Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side’s quest to win the World Cup on home soil remains alive. It will now turn its attention to a last eight contest with Colombia — a team which has thrilled so far in this tournament. While Brazil will take the plaudits, Chile should be commended for a performance which at times defied the ability of the human body to run and hustle as its players did.” CNN (Video)

Brazil 1-1 Chile: Brazil progress by the finest of margins
“Brazil won on penalties after an incredibly tense and tiring contest. Luiz Felipe Scolari selected Fernandinho following his good impact in the win over Cameroon, with Paulinho on the bench. Jorge Sampaoli brought back Arturo Vidal after he was rested for the defeat to the Netherlands. The first half was an extremely fast-paced battle of pressing, and that tired both teams for the final 75 minutes, with the quality of football declining rapidly after half-time.” Zonal Marking

World Cup 2014: Brazil Survives Shootout Against Chile
“With the pressure of an anxious nation bearing down on them with each passing minute, the Brazilian players teetered on the brink of a defeat that would have wounded a country’s soul. Brave Chile was refusing to back down, demonstrating to 57,714 howling fans at Estádio Mineirão and millions more watching at homes, restaurants and bars that the team had the nerve to stand up to the mighty host nation through 120 minutes of the most tense and exhilarating soccer seen so far at the 2014 World Cup. After 30 minutes, it looked like the most fast-paced, breathtaking game of the tournament. After 90 minutes, the teams were even, at 1-1, after Chile had controlled play through much of the second half, leaving the Brazilian fans nervous and agitated. Through 30 draining minutes of extra time — which included a thunderous Chilean shot that struck the crossbar in the 120th minute, inches from knocking Brazil out — neither team could take a lead.” NY Times

Brazil shootout hero Júlio César: I have won the country’s trust back
“Júlio César, Brazil’s hero in the penalty shootout win against Chile, reflected on the prize of a World Cup quarter-final and said he felt he had won back the country’s trust after being the scapegoat in South Africa four years ago. Júlio César saved Chile’s first two penalties and referred immediately to his mistake in the quarter-final against Holland at the last World Cup.” Guardian


World Cup 2014: Coaches praise Colombia’s James Rodriguez

June 29, 2014

“His name is James, but he pronounces it Hahm-ez, and that was the way the Colombian fans shouted it on Saturday night. They have been singing James Rodríguez’s praises all along, in fact, but in the flurry of goals and teams and story lines in this World Cup, there was a chance a few people had not yet noticed Rodríguez. Everyone knows him now. Rodríguez scored two more goals — giving him five at this World Cup — in a 2-0 victory over Uruguay that sent Colombia to the quarterfinals for the first time.” NY Times

World Cup Tactical Analysis: Colombia 2-0 Uruguay | Pekerman’s smart James plan
“In the second all-South American Round of 16 clash at the World Cup, the ever impressive Colombia took on Uruguay for a chance to face hosts Brazil. Colombia came into the game on the back of three comfortable wins in the group stage; Uruguay on the other hand, despite defeating both England & Italy, were yet to convince anyone of their proposed superiority and this was further thrown into doubt with Luis Suarez and his ‘behaviour’ once again.” Outside of the Boot


The Dazzle and the Desolation of Stadiums in World Cup Host Cities

June 29, 2014

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“NATAL, Brazil — From her crumbling house with the leaky roof, across a new highway from a new World Cup stadium, Maria Ivanilde Oliveira heard everything. Notes of the national anthems floated through the humid air into her living room, where her black vinyl couch was losing its stuffing and a metal bookshelf was secured by gnarly wire. A mix of loud cheers and moans from 40,000 soccer fans told her that a team had scored. With no job and little money, Oliveira, 62, could not afford a ticket to see one of the four games played at the $450 million Arena das Dunas, one of 12 stadiums hosting the World Cup in Brazil.” NY Times


Were the Billions Brazil Spent on World Cup Stadiums Worth It?

June 29, 2014

“Aside from some brilliant play by Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa that turned an expected victory for the Brazilian national team into a draw, so far the 2014 World Cup has gone well for host Brazil. The home team won its group and advanced to the Round of 16, and the widespread concerns about social unrest, street crime and stadium completion have faded as the games have largely gone off without a hitch. Of course, with a price tag estimated at $11.3 billion in public works spending alone, it will take more than just a trouble-free four-week tournament to justify Brazil’s heavy investment in hosting the World Cup.” fivethirtyeight


Viva El Piojo: How the fiery Herrera has revived once-rudderless Mexico

June 29, 2014

“Mexico’s national soccer team trains in a modern facility in a neighborhood where the vast sprawl of Mexico City begins to fade southward into the mountains of the state of Morelos. The setting is almost idyllic: golf carts, low-slung country-club architecture, wide soccer fields landscaped into the hills. Were it not for the hovering smog and the bare cinder-block apartments rising behind high fences, you could mistake this for Tucson. Miguel Herrera eases up to the complex’s gate in a black coupe with a 10‑cylinder engine.” SI