2014 World Cup Match Day 14: Recap

On day 14 we watched the final matches for groups E & F, let us recap all the action.

Game 38: Argentina 3-2 Nigeria

Argentina, looking to come out with a perfect record out of their group, started strong against Nigeria after a Vincent Enyeama save from Di Maria’s shot, none other than Lionel Messi put in the rebound in just the 3rd minute; his third goal in as many matches. But just one minute later Nigerian Ahmed Musa showed everyone that his squad did not show up just for the sake of letting the South Americans run circles around them, putting a nice curled shot into the back of the Argentinian goal. Needless to say, this match got off to a flying start.

Argentina did look more dangerous in the first 10 minutes, with Higuain just missing a good scoring chance. But the match seemed to dull down a bit after the first two goals, with both squads seem to be quite content to play out the draw, as this result would see both Argentina and Nigeria through to the round of 16.

Without much interesting action to write home about for just about the remainder of the first-half, Lionel Messi would again provide the entertainment right before the half-time whistle. The Argentine star-man was called upon to take a free kick from just outside the Nigerian box, and in the first-half stoppage-time the Messi put the ball into the top-right corner, with Vincent Enyeama looking on helplessly.

The second-half started almost in the same fashion as the first, only this time it was Nigeria who were on target early in just the 47th minute, as Ahmed Musa received a ball into the box and slotted his second of the match. Di Maria tried to answer quickly with a good shot on goal about a minute later, but Enyeama made yet another good save. But on the ensuing corner-kick Argentina would repeat the display of the Super Eagles in the first-half and would tie the match up with Marcos Rojo putting his head on the high-ball and into the goal.

The match did open up as the Argentines kept pressing and Nigeria using this opportunity to counter-attack. Both squads had their chances, but on most Argentinian attacks Nigerian keeper Enyeama was coming up big and at the other end of the pitch the Argentinian defense was looking too strong for the not so creative Nigerian attack.

Nigeria would not be able to tie things up as the match ended with a 3-2 final score. This result gave Argentina a perfect record with 9 points in the group, and Nigeria finishes with 4 points which is enough for them to qualify to the round of 16.

Game 39: Bosnia & Herzegovina 3-1 Iran

Iran went into this match with an opportunity grab second spot in the their group, but would require a few goals to progress at Nigeria's expense.

Bosnia & Herzegovina, after two decent performances that unfortunately both ended in defeats, had other ideas though and took the lead through the excellent Edin Dzeko in the first half.

In desperate need of a quick response, Iran pushed bodies forward and came agonizingly close to equalizing Dzeko's strike when Masoud Shojaei crashed a shot off the bar.

As they demonstrated against Argentina, the Carlos Queiroz led Iranian's are a very difficult side to breakdown, but they simply do not have enough quality in the final third and when Miralem Pjanic potted a second goal for Bosnia, there was no way back for Iran.

Reza Ghoochannejhad, who had worked his socks off against Argentina and again here, finally opened their World Cup account with eight minutes of the competition remaining. Bosnia's Avdija Vrsajevic hit back within a minute to restore a two-goal winning margin and give the final score a more accurate look.

Game 40: Ecuador 0-0 France

France had already qualified so this game was of little impact to them. This explains why they rested most of the regulars from the previous two matches.

Ecuador coming in on 3 points needed a win to guarantee themselves a spot in the round of 16, so this should give them some purpose and confidence to attack and look for an early goal. What we had was two teams playing very open looking for a goal that would give them a chance to lead and control the game.

France never really threatens Ecuador’s net with any dangerous plays in the first 45 minutes. Ecuador always seemed closer to scoring than France. Not that Ecuador created plenty of dangerous plays, but they always seemed very poised to go up a goal and perhaps put themselves in first place in the group.

France was sitting back, observing the pressure and looking at moving forward in quick counter attacks. This gave us an open, fluid game, with both teams moving up and down the field with purpose and consistency.

Second half was barely underway and a stud out tackle by Manchester United’s Valencia and that was it for him. Straight red card and Ecuador down to 10 men with still 40 minutes left to play in the second half.

This was the turning point, after that moment it was obvious that would take a miracle to turn this game around for Ecuador. France was inclined to not provide them with such miracle. The real miracle of this second half was how did France did not score a single goal. In any other day, they would have been able to score perhaps 10 goals in those 40 minutes, but today Benzema, Pogba and Giroud missed chances after chances of putting France up on the scoreboard and once and for all putting this game to bed.

It wasn’t meant to be and as the clocked ticked away so did their missed chances. In the end the final result was 0-0 and France advances in first place of the group with Ecuador being the first South American team to be eliminated during group stage.

Game 41: Honduras 0-3 Switzerland

The Swiss needed a win and so did Honduras, but was the Swiss that came out to a flying start with Shaqiri scoring in the first five minutes of the game an incredible goal. A left foot shot from outside the box that curled in the left top corner. No chances for the Honduran keeper.

Switzerland had an early lead and this could not be any better for them, but Honduras responded well and started to apply pressure and pushing the Swiss back lines closer to their penalty area.

Honduras was on a mission to get a quick equalizer, and kept pushing bodies forward, but their passing was not always the best, and that affected their ability to create danger in the last third of the field.

At the 31st minute mark a quick counter attack by Switzerland and Shaqiri with a nice left foot finish. Just like that the Swiss were up 2-0 and looking at locking the 2nd place in the group.

Honduras struggled to mount a response to this 2-0 deficit and it looked like it had conceded the game and result. At halftime the Swiss were leading 2-0 and in control of the game.

The second half started with continued dominance from the Swiss, against a Honduran team incapable of mounting any sort of attack or show that they could even compete with the Swiss side. It was a game played in midfield with Honduras trying to move the ball forward but never finding a rhythm or a passing lane that would allow them to create danger.

The few times they approached the net, they barely caused any sort of trouble to the Swiss defenders that had a fairly easy day.

This wasn’t Honduras day, it was Shaqiri’s day. The Bayern Munich man would score his third goal at the 71st minute completing his hat trick. He was a one man show today, in a game that his team needed him to finally come through he did with flying colors.

After the 3-0, the Swiss just controlled the ball and possession waiting for the minutes on the clock to pass away. In the end it was 3-0 for Switzerland, a well-deserved victory against a very poor Honduran side.

Match Day 14 - Staff Picks

Iain: Nigeria 1-2 Argentina, Bosnia Herzegovina 1-0 Iran, Honduras 0-2 Switzerland, Ecuador 1-3 France
Pedro: Nigeria 0-1 Argentina, Bosnia Herzegovina 1-1 Iran, Honduras 0-2 Switzerland, Ecuador 1-3 France
Kon: Nigeria 0-2 Argentina, Bosnia Herzegovina 2-0 Iran, Honduras 1-3 Switzerland, Ecuador 0-2 France

Iain guessed 3 correct games but not the exact scoreline, missing the Swiss game by 1 goal. Pedro had 2 games right but not the exact score also missing the Swiss game by 1 goal. Kon also with three games right but not the exact score. Kon and Iain with a tie and Pedro a half point behind.



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