The second day of the 2014 World Cup is behind us. Let's recap today's action.
Game 2: Mexico 1-0 Cameroon
Mexico’s approach to this game surprised me and I think it surprised Cameroon. They came out of the gate looking for a goal and with the determination to dominate the match. Playing on a field that was very wet due to the heavy rain that was coming down before and during the game it was surprising how well they were able to control the ball and pass it between their players.
Cameroon looked distant and unable to really control the possession or even do much with the ball when they did get it. From the start it was obvious that Cameroon were going to have a difficult time against this very aggressive Mexico side.
Mexico’s superiority in the first half was demonstrated by the two goals that Dos Santos scored but the referee invalidated them by calling offside on both plays.
At halftime the teams were tied 0-0 but Mexico had plenty of reasons to complain.
The second half started in the same fashion as the first, with Mexico looking for an early goal that would allow them to control the game and not having to push forward as much as they were doing up to that point. Mexico finally broke the deadlock at the 61st minute mark by Peralta. A goal that Mexico had justified since the first half and that finally had them in the lead.
Mexico continued to control the game and could have scored more goals if it wasn’t for the inefficiency of their forwards. Cameroon was very fragile in their defensive line and it reflected across the rest of the team. There was no doubt that once Mexico took the lead they would not let it go. Cameroon was unable to really create any serious problems to Mexico and in the end the better team won. Mexico was able to get the win that they needed to go second of the group tied with Brazil on points.
Mexico looked very strong; they will be in the fight for second place in this group with Croatia. They have put their name in the hat and are now in the conversation for advancing to the next round.
Game 3: Spain 1-5 Netherlands
This was the key matchup of the day, the one game most neutral fans were looking forward to. This was a rematch of the 2010 World Cup final.
Spain looked very different from the usual Spanish side we are used to see. In large part that difference came from Spain using Diego Costa in the striker role instead of a fake number 9, which in the last Euro 2012 was Fabregas. This Spanish side is not really built to play for a fixed forward; they perform better when they have a moving piece up front instead of a more fixed position player.
The game started on the right foot for Spain, with the referee calling a dubious penalty on a foul on Diego Costa halfway through the first half. Xabi Alonso scored for Spain and put his country up 1-0 at that point. Netherlands were unaffected by the goal and continue to push forward looking for an equalizer, and the goal would come in the most incredible fashion that you can imagine. Van Persie scored what will be one of the best goals in World Cup history.
At halftime the teams were tied at 1’s. Spain had more ball possession and passing accuracy and the Dutch team with incredible efficiency by scoring on their best chance of the half.
The second half started the same way the first one ended, with Netherlands scoring a goal. This second half was a one way highway. Netherlands controlled the second half, ball control, attacking, defending with high lines and a complete display of what Total Football is. The question at this point was, how many goals will they score against this unrecognizable Spanish side? Netherlands went on to score 4 goals in the second half, two of them came from defensive lapses and a huge mistake from Casillas that was unable to play a ball that was passed back to him.
The best chance for Spain to score in the second half came to the feet of Torres but he was unable to do anything with, almost looking foolish in how he approach the play. That moment describes how Spain looked in this game for most of the first half and the entire second half.
Netherlands won 5-1 but it could have been more, but Casillas made some saves that helped the score line be a bit more respectable if you can call it that, than what it could have been.
Netherlands surprised everybody by the positive way they approached the game and Spain surprised everybody by how poorly they played. Netherlands looks destined to finish first in this group, and now Spain is now in the same boat they were in 2010 when they lost the opener to the Swiss. Spain has a huge hill to climb.
Game 4: Chile 3-1 Australia
Chile started the match in the best way possible, with two goals in the first 15 minutes of the match. They were able to come out strong, looking at putting this game away early and cruise for the rest of the match. They were able to achieve 50% of what they wanted to do, which was to score early. Two goals with 2 minutes apart from each other gave them a lead that at the time looked to be just the beginning of route.
Australia wasn’t done yet, and who else but Tim Cahill. His header gave new life to the game and to his country. Australia was back in it, and for the rest of the first half Australia looked dangerous and caused a lot of problems to the Chile defense.
The result at halftime was 2-1 for Chile and it was a fair result for what both teams did, but if the game was tied nobody would have been surprise either.
The second half showed us an Australian side that looked like they could find an equalizer. They kept pushing forward looking for a goal and at the 56th minute Claudio Bravo had a very difficult save that helped Chile remain in the lead.
As time progressed, Australia was getting less dangerous and Chile was able to regain control of the game. Chile would finally put the match away in the 90th minute when they scored for the third time. The match ended in a 3-1 victory for Chile, but Australia showed that they can take points away in this group from some of the favorite teams. They won’t be a cake walk.
Match Day 2 - Staff Picks
These were the staff picks for these games:
Pedro: Mexico 0-1 Cameroon, Spain 2-1 Netherlands, Chile 4-0 Australia
Kon: Mexico 1-0 Cameroon, Spain 2-2 Netherlands, Chile 3-0 Australia
Iain: Mexico 2-0 Cameroon, Spain 1-1 Netherlands, Chile 3-1 Australia
Kon had the correct score for the Mexico game and was only missing one Australia goal to have 2 perfect scores.
Iain had the perfect result for the Chile game, was off by one goal in the Mexico match.
Pedro proved once more why he should not visit any online gambling sites.