World Cup Daily: June 29
A daily update on the action in Brazil
By Nick Barbaro,
9:50AM, Sun. Jun. 29, 2014
There were no surprises in the first day of the knockout round, as Chile took host Brazil to the limit before losing in a penalty kick shootout, and Colombia swept away Uruguay with relative ease. Today CONCACAF gets into the action, as Mexico takes on Holland, and surprising Costa Rica plays Greece.
Saturday ResultsBrazil 1, Chile 1; Colombia 2, Uruguay 0
Brazil is the host and favorite, but they didn’t get any favors in the knockout round draw, battling a very tough Chile in the opener, and now set to go up against one of the hottest teams in the tournament in Colombia on July 4. The selecao still looks tight, and largely unfocused in the attacking third; they need to find their mojo quickly, because Colombia is for real. James (pronounced Hames; learn it, because you’re going to be hearing it a lot) Rodriguez is making everyone forget about Falcao. He had both goals yesterday, and now leads all WC scorers with five, but the rest of the squad is crazy strong as well: resilient in defense, amazingly fast in starting attacks, clever in combinations, deadly in finishing. Damn, why didn’t I pick these guys in my office pool?
Sunday’s Games:11am: Netherlands-Mexico
3pm: Costa Rica Greece
If Mexico and Costa Rica win today, it would set up only the second meeting ever between CONCACAF teams at the World Cup. It’s already been a stellar WC for our home confederation, with three teams advanced to the round of 16 in impressive fashion: the U.S. surviving the group of death, and the other two finishing undefeated, with Costa Rica knocking out England and Italy, and Mexico tying host Brazil. Add that to South America’s five teams advanced out of six entries, and the Americas got 8 of 10 teams into the round of 16, with only Honduras and Ecuador falling in the first round. The rest of the world went 8 for 22.
So, can that happen? Costa Rica should get there; I’m completely unimpressed with the lucky Greeks. But Mexico has a big uphill battle against Arjen Robben, Robin Van Persie, and one of the powerhouses of the first round – they make it through only if Memo Ochoa plays out of his mind again in goal. It’s never a good sign when your goalkeeper is your best player in a game, but today, that’s the way it has to go.