First word that comes to mind when I think about this first 8 days of this tournament is “Fantastic”. The level of play by most of the teams have made these matches fun to watch. The fans from around the world have been fun to watch and you can feel the energy they bring to the game with their chants. After this full week and a day, I’m already familiar with how some of the chants are sung. There have been so many excellent games its hard to say which ones were the best so far but I’ve tried to make my own Top 5
5. Brazil vs Croatia: The opening match of the tournament showed the excitement of the Brazil (team and fans) to be hosting this event. The Brazilian XI fell behind early off of an own goal but recovered from the embarrassment. The Brazilians played beautiful soccer and defeated Croatia 3-1
4. Brazil vs Mexico: Brazil again? Yes because they’ve played their second match of their Group against Mexico but they’re not the reason I picked this match. I picked this match for the Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa for an outstanding game. There were many fantastic shots from Brazil that Ochoa magically saved including one headed shot from Neymar that everyone thought scored. However the goal was annulled using goal line technology as the ball did not fully pass over the line. Ochoa made a diving save from inside the goal that he managed to block the shot while avoiding hitting the post.
3. USA vs Ghana: Yes, USA made the list. Not trying to be biased but the game was really good and deserved making the list. USA faced Ghana in the last two world cups and faced them again this year with USA in the opening of group play. Clint Dempsey scored the first goal of the match in 32 seconds which was the 5th fastest goal in World Cup history. The USA lost star striker and fan favorite Jozy Altidore with a hamstring injury and the USA dug in defensively. Ghana scored late in the second half and the US made a stand to at least get a point due to being in the Group of Death to stand a chance to make it to the semifinals. On a free kick, USA substitute John Brooks headed in a goal at the 86th minute to lift the USA to victory in thrilling fashion
2. Germany vs Portugal: This match made it sole because of the shock of how poorly Portugal played. Germany kept Ronaldo in check not allowing him excellent shots that made him Ronaldo, and tortured the defense with an onslaught Germany mounted. Portugal looked shattered as a soccer powerhouse and Germany played beautiful soccer.
1. Spain vs the Netherlands: This is my #1 on the list because it had a massive high and a low in the same game. I will admit it: I at the beginning of the match, I picked Spain to win. I spent the 2nd half of the match wondering “Im glad i didn’t put money on this.”I could not believe how the Dutchmen absolutely abused Spain’s defense. The highlight goal of the game belonged to Arjen Robben scored a spectacular diving header to make it 2-1. After that goal, the Spaniards looked terrible and uninterested and gave up three more goals before the game ended.
This week is do or die for a lot of countries. We’ll talk about those that were sent packing early in our week 2 review.