Just like you, but different
4 Games ! the thick end of the wedge where they start to sort out the group lacings and so the draw in the knock-out part of the comp, and to avoid shenanigans they play the matches at the same time.
Go to fancy Australia over a defeated and humiliated Spain, Netherlands look imperious, Brazil of course and Mexico.
Australia – Spain – Bright start by both teams, but neither look convincing at the final pass.
20 minutes. Spain get a clear open chance and from 6 yards fail to connect.
30 minutes. Spain possibly having the best of the game so far. Neither side want to lose for different reasons.
35 minutes though an Spain set up the Australian defence and a ball from the right finds the unmarked striker to make it 1-0. Clever if not showy finish. Spain get a goal from open play! Frantic minute after that Australia have their best opportunity that is not taken.
In the minutes before the half-tim Spain appear to have found their old mojo and are looking the deal. 1-0 at the half though, probably fair.
Second half. It appears mostly Spain in the opening period, Australia look well organised.
68 minutes, and Spain again set up the defence who appear flat-footed and a delicate pass in toe the path of the striker, Torres, and it’s a classy 2-0
10 to go. Australia don’t have an answer to the Spain defence and don’t look likely to score here, which is a shame, but today Spain are organised and seem to have this.
3-0 to Spain with another goal that cracks the Aussie back line, a chi[ over and Mata makes no drama to finish well.
3-0 Spain at the end of a game where Spain didn’t look like they were enjoying it and where Australia will be disappointed not to have done better.
Netherland – Chile – At the same time then the other deciding game. on demand TV becomes important. Game to decide top spot in the group. Opening 10 and Chile have the most of the game.
Scrappy game though that is not opening out. Set piece moves by both teams are not well executed. 25 minutes or arm wrestle then. AT 35 minutes possession is all Chile (66%), and they’re ahead in passing and accuracy as well,
Fine chance in the closing moments for Chile that is headed wide, but 0-0 at the whistle.
Second half. Both teams might be happy to advance tot he next round, not picking up yellow cards will be important for some players. Netherlands coach looks like he’s going to burst – someone wasn’t listening at the half-time talk.
An hour in to this match and the crowd are getting restless.
15 to go – more set piece moves not converted into goals, long range shot well saved, the save will make the highlights reel, and from the resulting corner, the substitute Dutch player, Leroy Fer, gets on the end of a cross and it’s 1-0 Well worked move that found the player unmarked.
More substitutions and calls for handball on the line, but that was ball to arm rather than the other way round, desperation in the appeal more than anything.
10 to go – Chile can’t make the set piece moves work. 3 minutes of added time. Chile have a corner 90:43, bit of ping-pong and at 90:55 it’s a surge from the defensive line by the Netherlands – Pass from de Jong to Robben who is shepherded to the outside, but gets a fine cross into the path of a freight truing, de Puy, who lunges at the ball, and at 91:05 it’s 2-0 Netherlands ! It was a lovely goal as Chile pressed hard for the equaliser only to see it all go wrong.
That would be goal 99 of the tournament and 2-0 it finished.
Cameroon – Brazil – Could have flair and action, or drama as row case returned out as Brazil make a drama in the opening seconds. First free kick within a minute. Cleared, ping pong back into the penalty area and Brazil can’t finish. they’ve started at 110% percent and have the crowd with them.
Cameroon settle into this and are not cowered, and are keeping possession and have a few nice combinations worked out. They are testing Brazil who may have thought this was going to be a festival match.
You suspect that this game will boil over into something as bad temper and somewhat acting show their heads. Furious opening 15 minutes
16:07 Neymar effectively taps one in, unmarked in the middle from a really delicate simple pass, Cameroon midfield dis-possessed and pay the price. 1-0 Brazil (goal 100 of the tournament)
20 minutes – No let up and Brazil are still hard on attack, goalkeeper called to make a fine save from a folly from the 18 yard line. Fred conspires not to score from some fumbling in front of the goal and it remains 1-0
Cameroon have a shot denied by the crossbar, they’re not done yet. And then…. at 25:38 it’s 1-1 !!!! The crowd goes silent, I mean really silent, like the mute button has been applied.
34:00 and individual play from Neymar and slots one in from the edge of the box 2-1 Brazil, crowd dials up to 11 again.
5 to go this half, in a game that has settled for a while. 2-1 at the half
Brazil get a quick goal at the start of the half and FRED gets a goal – so its 3-1 now.
Full forward 5 rolls and and double ankle clutch there from the Cameroon player
10 to go in this game that Brazil have settled on, and Cameroon can’t make headway in, couple of cheap fouls meaning Brazil might be a player short in the last minutes.
Brazil take a 4th goal from a well worked play, the substitution, and again disposed Cameroon in midfield, and a fine finish
4-1 with just a few minutes to play. On this Brazil finish top of their group.
Croatia – Mexico – This the final watch of today. Much more measured start to this game. Croatia with the early chances and play.
I might have watched too much football but this game appears to have settled into that uncomfortable middle-field battle, more a chess-match than cut and thrust that we saw in some of the opening matches. But there is a lot to play for and that’s to be expected. One mistake could be the end of the tournament.
40 minutes into the game I don’t have a lot to add, Croatia get a free kick on a breakaway, it is a long way out, and rather speculative.
Handbags on the line after a Mexico corner and the goalkeeper impeded, all hand waving and gestures though. I might have been unkind the game is engaging but it’s not exciting and at the half time 0-0
As it stands Croatia will be going home if they don’t win. Croatia didn’t make the most of the 56% possession advantage and only a total of 10 shots, and only 1 shot each ‘on target’
Second half. Mexico have to be in the box seat here and Croatia will need to press to score and win this to have any chance at all.
63 minute and Mexico attack down the flank, two offences missed in the penalty area at first glance, the push for the forward and the handball from the defender. Referee then needs to sort out the bickering that follows.
Mexico closest to scoring at the moment. Corner kick ball whipped in and 71:13 it is 1-0 Mexico, goalkeeper fails to cover the header. Galvanised the Croatia team surge an with players lining up in the middle the cross is poor.
76 minutes – Change to 3 forwards for Croatia, but on the break Mexico have a moment of brilliance and a simple set of passes makes it 2-0 and should secure this for Mexico to advance. Croatia need 3
Last 10. Crowd shots show teams of anguish from some supporters. Seems familiar to an Englishman.
81:15 It’s 3-0 from a simple and farcical goal, nod in at the far post from a soft cross from a corner kick.
86 minutes and Croatia would love a goal to finis h this on a high and they have it from a fine finish and Mexico finally let goal in their first in the tournament, Mexico now need 2 goals to advance as top of the pool, they might settle for second.
Shocker of a tackle from the Croatia forward -Rebic – and he’s shown the red card, studs up and just nasty.
3-1 it ends a rousing second half.