Daily Archives: June 30, 2014

World Cup Tactical Analysis | Costa Rica 1–1 Greece (5-3 pens): Keylor Navas hands glory to the Los Ticos

“A second-half sending off, a last-minute Greece equalizer and an extra-time fusillade to go on to penalties were not enough to hinder Costa Rica’s dream run to the quarter finals. Backed by five turbulent spot-kicks from his team-mates, Levante stopper, Keylor Navas ensured his tiny Central American nation will take part in their first ever World Cup quarter-final, despite playing for virtually an hour with a man down. They retorted to misery having been seconds from victory before Sokratis Papastathopoulos emerged unmarked to keep the Greeks in the contest with an injury time goal which nullified the opener scored by Bryan Ruiz. Greece seemed sure to win from this point but Costa Rica dug in, rode their luck it has to be said, relied on their brilliant goalkeeper to play out extra time and triumphed on penalties.” Outside of the Boot

Costa Rica 1 Greece 1
“Costa Rica are into the quarter-finals of the World Cup for the first time in their history after beating Greece 5-3 in a penalty shootout in Recife. Sokratis Papastathopoulos’s injury-time equaliser for Greece had cancelled out Bryan Ruiz’s side-footed opener and sent the game into extra time. Costa Rica, down to 10 men for almost an hour after Oscar Duarte’s dismissal, scored their first four spot-kicks. Theofanis Gekas missed for Greece, and Michael Umana settled the tie. It means the Central American side – surprise qualifiers from a group containing England, Italy and Uruguay – go through to face the Netherlands on Saturday for a place in the semi-finals as their unlikely run at the World Cup continues.” BBC

World Cup 2014: Costa Rica Defeats Greece on Penalty Kicks, 1-1
“For the first time in its history, Costa Rica will play in the quarterfinal of the World Cup after defeating a dour, defensive Greece team in a penalty shootout. The Round of 16 match in Recife, Brazil, was tied 1-1 after regulation. Greece scored a late goal in stoppage time to even the score. Costa Rica was playing with only 10 men after one of its defenders, Oscar Duarte, was ejected in the 66th minute.” NY Times

World Cup: Costa Rica sets up Dutch quarterfinal
“Nobody gave them a chance — nobody. Perhaps nobody was listening. Perhaps they didn’t want to. For all of the joking and laughing that Costa Rica would simply turn up in Brazil to make up the numbers, there were those who knew the reality would be different. ‘Think big’ is the motto that Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto has always subscribed to.” CNN


Middle Class Brazilians Watch from Afar

“The Country’s Classe C is the engine of Brazil’s Fan Culture, but You Won’t See Them in the Stadiums. Even after the sun has sunk beneath the horizon, the city of Fortaleza in the northeast of Brazil remains as warm as a steam bath. On a narrow, poorly lit street in the bairro of Mucuripe, the soft breeze coming off the Atlantic whips the hundreds of cheap yellow and green streamers hung between the cramped houses back and forth. It lifts up dust and sand too, covering the plastic tables and chairs of the Bar do Amiguinho (‘the Little Friend Bar’) in a thin layer of silt.” Fusion

A New York Odyssey Through World Cup Fandom

“Interest in the World Cup is surging in the United States, with record television ratings, outdoor viewing parties and midday breaks for workers to watch the United States battle its way into the second round. Here, in an extremely diverse New York City, where soccer has long been popular in some neighborhoods but is now gaining wider traction, just about every team has its fans. A random survey was attempted during the first round of the tournament. The games were on across the city. Some places were crowded and boisterous but others were, well, pretty empty. Some fans yelled together, while others commented about the games in virtual solitude. But it was hard to find a place where the games were being ignored.” NY Times

Nigeria’s Coach Makes History

“Stephen Keshi is the first African to lead an African team to the second round. Progress in African soccer should not be measured only by how the continent’s teams progress through the World Cup brackets. You can also judge the pace of evolution by looking at who’s standing in the technical area. On Monday in Brasilia, Stephen Keshi will be inside the dotted white lines as his Nigeria side face France for a place in the quarterfinals. Even this early in the tournament, Keshi is a pioneer: the first African head coach to lead a team into the round of 16.” Fusion

Algeria Looks for Revenge, 32 Years Later

“At the 1982 World Cup, West Germany and Austria colluded to eliminate the upstart North Africans—or did they? Algeria has been waiting 32 years for Monday’s match against Germany, which is one year more than the age of the oldest member of its national team. But even if most of them weren’t around for the ‘Game of Shame,’ it has been ingrained in the collective consciousness of Algerians, who do not tend to easily forget injustices.” Fusion

Netherlands 2-1 Mexico: Mexico dominate the start, but Van Gaal changes help the Dutch back into the game

“The Netherlands produced a dramatic late turnaround, meaning Mexico were eliminated in the second round for the sixth consecutive World Cup. Louis van Gaal welcomed back Robin van Persie after suspension, while Paul Verhaegh came into the side as the right-wing-back. Miguel Herrera was forced to cope without Jose Vazquez, who had been excellent throughout the group stage, so Carlos Salcido played the holding role. Mexico were clearly superior until they went ahead, then became too passive and the Dutch rallied to create a number of goalscoring chances.” Zonal Marking

This Time, the Dutch Did Not Capitulate in Fortaleza
“Before it was Fortaleza, it was the Dutch stronghold of Schoonenborch—the beautiful city. This was, it’s true, three hundred and seventy-odd years ago when the West India Company took north-east Brazil from the Portuguese, renamed it New Holland and then lost it again to the original colonialists in 1650s. Not much remains of the Dutch tropical moment in South America—the weirdly hallucinatory paintings of Frans Post, complete with sultry stillness and the occasional tapir. Even the old Pernambuco synagogue, survivors of the Inquisition finding a Dutch refuge in Brazil, got torn down in the last century. For the Dutch there was an acclimatization problem; the Company hard-pressed, over-stretched. And disinclined to put a hand on New Spain to the north. And so it was for much of today’s game: the Dutch battle plan, such as it was, wilting in the brutal heat. Both managers sported ties of their respective colors, though van Gaal’s is more a peach than an orange and as the game went on he wore it with increasing discomfort.” New Republic

Dutch Mount Dramatic Rally With Theatrical Fall
“Mexico’s coach, Miguel Herrera, has become an icon during this World Cup for his impassioned exhortations in front of the team bench. Herrera has stomped and stamped, whirled and whipped, flailed and frothed over everything from referee decisions to near misses to, most notably, goals scored by his players. Among the countless Internet tributes to Herrera is one delightful concoction in which Herrera’s wild gesticulations result in a violent thunderstorm.” NY Times

Colombia 2-0 Uruguay: James Rodriguez steals the show

“Colombia took a while to get going, but never looked in trouble after James Rodriguez’s astonishing strike. Jose Pekerman selected Jackson Martinez, though he played from the left rather than alongside Teo Gutierrez upfront. Oscar Tabarez was without Luis Suarez, as you might have heard…Edinson Cavani moved upfront, and Diego Forlan played the support role. Tabarez stuck with the 3-5-2, so Maxi Pereira returned with Alvaro Gonzalez shifting inside and Nicolas Lodeiro dropped. This was a pretty simple victory – Colombia are a far superior side to Uruguay, and demonstrated that for the first 50 minutes before sitting back.” Zonal Marking

James Rodriguez Is the Best Player of This World Cup

“When James Rodriguez was four years old, he wanted to be a footballer, and so his mother bought him his first football. At the time, however, his hero wasn’t Freddy Rincón or Pibe Valderrama, the heroes of the 1990s Colombian team, but Oliver Atom, the protagonist of Japanese TV series Supercampeones (originally Captain Tsubasa), an anime chronicling the adventures of a youth football team. Now, 18 years later, James Rodriguez has far eclipsed Oliver Atom, sitting alone at the top of the World Cup scoring charts with five goals and two assists in four games, above global superstars such as Neymar and Messi.” New Republic