“Thank you for the open invitation, Your kind applause and adulation.”
-Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, “So Long-Farewell-Goodbye”
Now that the odd pairings and cobwebs are out of the way, the closer games take stage in the second leg of the first round. It’s time for these countries to get out of their beach visiting and bikini viewing mentality and get down to business. Not much could have matched the Brazil-Mexico game Tuesday, but with mathematical elimination at stake, the intensity increased.
June 18th, 2014
Netherlands 3 Australia 2: What a game and what a start to the day. Cahill provided one of the most beautiful goals of the tournament, and the Aussies had some serious fight in them, obviously; plus, the inflatable kangaroo was back in the stands being passed around from fan to fan. However, the Dutchmen always had an answer or a raise for the underdogs, and Robben and Van Persie once again proved to be too much to handle for the opposition. This game mathematically eliminated Australia, but I’m sure they can find an underground bare-knuckle boxing match or wild animal to wrestle on their way out.
Chile 2 Spain 0: So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye, Spain. Another mathematical elimination, but this time the defending World Cup champions are the victim. It’s hard to believe that the number one (according to FIFA, but they suck at rankings) country in the world is out after just two games, but a flurry of missed opportunities and a great Chilean first half cursed the soccer kings. In South Africa, the Spanish coach forbade the players from any sort of intercourse during the 2010 tournament. This year, in a host country known for their promiscuous ways, it may have been the better to let the team give into temptation because they looked a little stressed out.
Croatia 4 Cameroon 0: Oh what a difference one player makes, and how convenient it was that he so happened to be suspended for the game against Brazil on opening day. Mario Mandzukic scored two goals and had plenty to do with the other two; he changed the dynamic of the game and Cameroon had no answer. That’s why they’re going home to wait another four years not to get out of group once again. Croatia and Mexico square off Monday in what should be an entertaining match with so much on the line. The pajama shirts are back in business.
Colombia vs. Ivory Coast: 12pm EST
Uruguay vs. England: 3pm EST
Japan vs. Greece: 6pm EST