So you can pretend you watched the games ( spoiler ).
The Main News.
Wow ! With 15 seconds to go, it was so nearly good bye to Portugal and hello to the USA as day 11 continued the spectacular show in Brazil.
Belgium qualified for the knockout stages with a game to spare Sunday evening, defeating Russia 1-0 in a relatively drab encounter.
Algeria made some new friends with some great attacking and entertaining football as they defeated a lack lustre South Korea.
The Main Match
The last game proved the most interesting of day 11, as Ronaldo, clearly still not fully recovered and nowhere near his best, with virtually the last kick of the game curled a cross onto the head of the diving Silvestre Varela.
Football can be a cruel sport, it lifts the hearts, raises passions to the rafters, fills your every muscle with a blood pumping that makes you dare to dream ( well it does if your English).
Then in a split second (15 seconds left for the USA) its brought crashing to earth, your dreams suddenly lying in the gutter, being stamped on by a giant wet boot ! Most English fans will be able to recount to you their horrible experiences with penalties over the years, the fear and dread can become a complex . The USA will talk about these 15 seconds for a very long time if they fail to qualify for the knock out stages.
This was their chance, for 94 minutes and 45 seconds the USA held the most dangerous player on the planet in check. They had fought back through a wonder strike from Jones , after Nani had scored an early goal. They not only tied the match but they had pushed on to get what seemed like a sure and deserved winner, by Clint Dempsey, in the 81st minute. Then with only 15 seconds to the final whistle to go they lost the ball in midfield, it was swept out to Ronaldo and boom the killer cross was delivered. The USA will be talking and they will be asking and they will be discussing why? Why? Why? When all they had to do was hold on to the ball for just 15 more seconds. Why?
A win that should have been a loss, against Ghana and now a draw that should have been a win, against Portugal. That’s the World Cup experience for you right there.
Now the true cliff hanger is upon us, as the great ex German forward Klinsmann has to figure out a way to motivate his group again when they face his home country Germany in a huge final match. One thing is for sure the great American public are getting a taste of the excitement and heartache that is involved in “Soccer !!” and that’s a positive that will help their still new leagues develop and expand.
The Belgium game was very drab and disappointing unless you are supporting Belgium. Simply they have won two games and done their job by qualifying for the next stage. The haven’t yet lived up to the pre tournament feeling that they could be the dark horses, not yet anyway.
Russia offered very little and they must be very relieved they have won the right to stage the next world cup and get automatic qualification because on this display they would struggle. They played most of this game at snails pace and seemed devoid of much creativity or imagination. They never really looked like they would threaten the Belgium teams advance to the knock out stages and in the end they didn’t. Divock Origi played the part of Belgian hero, coming off the bench to win it late on after sublime work from Eden Hazard. The Belgium’s will be very pleased with their result if a little disappointed with the performance and they still have the wonder kid Januzaj to introduce and let loose.
Russia will now face the rampant Algerians who will be boosted by their thrashing of South Korea and I don’t think many will be surprised if it’s the Algerians who progress.
Algeria destroyed South Korea, 4-2, with a first-half-goal blitz sealing the result early on.
Slimani opened the scoring after a direct route-one ball over the top. Then, Halliche doubled the lead with a bullet header from a corner. Djabou slotted home the third home just before half time which was essentially the end of any match as a true contest. Early in the second half Heung-Min scored for Korea and then Brahimi 12 minutes later restored the Algerians 3 goal cushion. Koo grabbed a consolation after 72 minutes but there was no comeback from the Asians who simply couldn’t recover from the early hammering. South Korea had stood in shock as the Desert Foxes passed the ball quickly from side to side, pushed their full-backs all the way up and created chance after chance around the box. Algeria, on the other hand, excited the crowd, entertained the neutrals and scored a great variety of goals. Anyone who did decide to give this match a go will be tuning in to see them try to Qualify when they play Russia next week.
Results from last night
Belgium 1 – 0 Russia
South Korea 2 – 4 Algeria
USA 2 – 2 Portugal
In this reporters opinion, you should be pulling up a bar stool and settling down to watch the Dutch take on Chile tonight , Both teams have played some great football so far and I expect this to be an attacking swashbuckling affair even though both have qualified. If however you just fancy a nice game without any pressure and two teams who have nothing to play for then the Spain Australia match probably wont disappoint. The Aussies hate to loose any sports match and lets be fair the World Champions (for the next couple of weeks) Spain, have some very badly bruised egos that need to be treated quickly, This could be the game to do it.
If your are still out and about for the later games then don’t forget the Hosts will be partying against the Cameroons! While Mexico and Croatia battle it out for the other qualification spot from group A.
Philip SpaceStay updated with Samui Times by following us on Facebook.
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