“I took all the strength I had not to fall apart.”
Gloria Gaynor, “I Will Survive”
Tension is apparent in the knockout stage. Five out of the eight games reached extra time or penalty kicks, and history proves that none of those teams will win the World Cup. History smistory, it’s obvious that anything can happen at any time in this exciting World Cup so far; just ask Argentina and Belgium. All teams are fighting to survive.
July 1st, 2014
Argentina 1 Switzerland 0 (ET): This game was dominated by the Argentines; they doubled the amount of shots the Swiss took, nearly tripled the corner attempts, and the possession was far in their favor. With that being said, Argentina should have scored well before Di Maria’s goal in the 118th minute. This seems to be the trend though; maybe it’s nerves or maybe other countries are becoming better at soccer, but the power nations are struggling to advance. Yet, they still do and the quarterfinals are shaping up to be what everyone originally thought (except for those pesky Costa Ricans). The Swiss fought hard, even until the last minute where a flurry of attempts nearly sent the game into penalty kicks. The Europeans were just outmatched, but returning to their money, alpine activities, and overall joy in life must be heartbreaking. Or is it? Maybe. Who knows what they’re thinking up there; they’re so on the fence.
Belgium 2 United States 1 (ET): It’s hard to fathom working so hard with and not receiving the ideal result, but the US should be proud of what they accomplished. Revenge on Ghana, surviving and moving on from the “group of death”, and taking the dark horse of the tournament to the cusp of elimination. Winning the World Cup is extremely difficult, and Klinsmann was right when he said those expectations were unrealistic, but the US took another step in the right direction. As for the Belgians, they survived once again relying on late strikes from De Bruyne and Lukaku during extra time. Maybe it’s their forte, but they should stick to waffles, chocolate, and beer because something has to give against Argentina. Two teams that wait until the very end. We may see the entire roster take penalty kicks in their match next week if that’s the case.
No games until Friday! See you then, try to find something else to do with your time.