Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Football is going Home

Today, the World Cup says goodbye to En Ger Land, as they play in their last match against Costa Rica (16.00 GMT) before they go home. Costa Rica have already qualified and are undoubtedly the surprise of the tournament so far. England have made 9 changes for this game from the team that started against Uruguay and Costa Rica are also resting some of their "star players".

The other game in group D, features Italy against Uruguay (16.00 GMT). The sides are level on points with each have beaten England but lost to Costa Rica. However Italy are in pole position at the moment as they have scored 2 and conceded 2 giving them a 0 goal difference and Uruguay have scored 3 but conceded 4 giving them -1 goal difference. This means a draw would suffice for Italy to go through to the last 16.

Italy and Uruguay, between them, won the first 4 World Cup tournaments. Uruguay in the inaugural event in 1930,  then Italy in 1934 and 1938. In 1950 after a 12 year hiatus after the nations of the world had indulged in their second favourite pastime after football, i.e. war, Uruguay won it again. The last time of course it was held in Brazil.

Italy played Uruguay in Italia 90 and took the lead through this great goal by Toto Schillachi


The Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez was also in charge on that day, now aged 67 he is looking for revenge.

The Italians are past masters at obtaining a draw when they need it. The style was known as Catenaccio which translates into door-bolt. It implied a highly effective defence focused on nullifying opponents attacks and preventing goal scoring opportunities from being created by any means, some of which would make Mafia enforcers flinch. It could be brutal and did not make for pleasant viewing.

I didn't do very well yesterday with my predictions, but Italy will do what they need to progress.

2 to watch for. Cavani for Uruguay and Buffon for Italy.

For dessert, we have the 2 remaining games in group C, Colombia V Japan and Ivory Coast V Greece (20.00 GMT). This group is very open, Colombia are already through and Ivory Coast probably only need a draw to join them. Greece have to win which is unlikely because as I mentioned in an earlier post, they don't score very often.  Ivory Coast to go through and Gervinho to shine for Ivory Coast

The Japanese have been very disappointing, I blame the fact that so many of their team have bad haircuts and some have even bleached hair (why I ask)

They still have a slim chance if they can manage to beat Colombia, but I fear that we may be witnessing a mass hara-kiri by the fans and the coach committing Seppuku (ritual Suicide) on the sidelines after this game. At least that would be interesting.

Colombia to go through with a win

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