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So you can pretend you watched the games ( spoiler ).
Argentina and Nigeria both qualified while Iran and Bosnia head home.
France will meet Nigeria after a draw with Ecuador saw them top their group. Switzerland complete a European double in this group as they beat Honduras to take second spot and a meeting with Argentina lies ahead.
The Main News .
Sadly the main news is still about Hannibal or Dracula. FIFA have confirmed they are investigating and both the team and player had until 3am Thai time to respond. If the mood amongst the general public, twitter followers and football pundits is a barometer then it looks more than likely that Mr Suarez will be on his way home shortly with a very hefty ban in which to contemplate his teething issues!!
To be honest as I sat down to watch Day 14 unravel, I contemplated the effect that the Suarez incident had had on the tournament and I actually think it was probably positive. OK, hold on a minute let me be clear.
I am not condoning the temper tantrums and the sinking of the gnashers into a nice tasty Italian, well actually yes why not, but only if sitting at a table with a knife and fork some red wine and friends ! No my point is that I was starting to wane , starting to slouch in my bar chair , slump into my beer . I needed a pick me up and this controversy has been the tonic. I know feel we are approaching the knock out stages at lightening pace where as it was dare I say it just starting to drag a little.
So “thank you Luis Suarez” , I said as I settled down to watch and report on last nights games for you.
The Argentina game was my early choice , the chance to again watch the little Barcelona gem , Messi. He didn’t disappoint with two goals helping Argentina to defeat the Nigerians , but spare a thought for Ahmed Musa who tried his hardest to upset the show by not once but twice equalizing Messi’s efforts and dragging the Nigerians back into the game .
it only took three minutes for the deadlock to be broken as Messi smashed home after Angel Di Maria’s effort came off a post.
Di Maria like every other player of any worth was linked yesterday to the ever growing Manchester United transfer target list and again on this display then he would surely be a great signing. But back to the World cup.
The celebrations had barely died down when Nigeria levelled. Midfielder Babatunde played a simple little ball out to the left side of the area for Musa, who shifted it to his right and then curled it in. And only 5 minutes gone.
However, it was not until stoppage time in the first half that the next goal arrived.
Messi, who moments earlier had forced Enyeama into a truly top class save from a free-kick, then struck another set-piece over the wall and this time beyond the reach of the Lille goalkeeper.
It was Messi’s fourth goal in three matches so far at Brazil 2014.
Credit to Nigeria at this point because even though they knew Bosnia had taken an early lead against Iran, they did not sit back and they were level again within two minutes of the restart.
Musa showing anything Messi can do he could try as well played a one-two before slotting the ball past Romero.
Argentina pressed again and Di Maria twice forced Enyeama to make very good saves. The Nigeria goalkeeper was finally beaten when defender Rojo used his knee to convert a corner from the left. There was still time for Di Maria to be thwarted again by Enyeama in the closing moments, as the match ended in the same thrilling manner in which it began.
Griezmann, Pogba, Benzema and Loic Remy went close as the much-changed French side were frustrated by a well organised but static Ecuador side.
Deschamps made six changes to the French starting line-up and, while they lacked a finishing touch, they looked no less organised or physically imposing than in their previous two games.
They seemed to be playing within themselves and clear-cut openings were scarce. Pogba’s header was tipped over the bar and Sissoko volleyed straight at the goalkeeper, before Enner Valencia drew a sharp save from Hugo Lloris at the other end.
The match became more open and a little stretched after half-time when Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia was dismissed for a late challenge on Lucas Digne, but still the French seemed to be holding a little back although they were clearly giving some valuable play time to the fringe players in the squad who will be needed if they can keep winning. On this performance, les bleus are certainly a good contender to keep progressing. They are organised and possess a real danger when going forward as they interchange and press high up the pitch, with the strength in depth shown early this morning they will not be a team that many will want to face.
Results from last night
Nigeria 2 – 3 Argentina
Bosnia-H 3 – 1 Iran
Ecuador 0 – 0 France
Honduras 0 – 3 Switzerland
So what to expect from Day 15 …….
Today is all about the USA v Germany. The conspiracy theorists are already out there. Has there been a cheeky deal done between Klinsmann and his fellow countrymen? A draw will see both teams progress while Ronaldo and his Portugese buddies would be sulking off home.
This is a very intriguing evening and I for one cannot wait! So pick your local bar, grab a beer and if you haven’t got one choose your team. My pick for tonight is USA for a cheeky surprise. As for Ronaldo, I am not so sure he will be winking and smiling much in this competition. (Karma?)