32 matches have been played! And now comes the best part of the Group Stage, yes, it's The Group Deciders! For the next four days the winners and runner ups of each group are going to set their destiny, so four matches per day, tears of joy and sorrow will be shed and who knows, maybe a couple of surprises too!
But first, Day 11, not too shabby, eh? Goalfest at Algeria vs S. Korea, a Snoozefest courtesy of Belgium and Russia, and a Thriller of a match between USA and Portugal! I would like to elaborate on these matches a bit more, but time is running out so... off to the Group B Deciders preview!
It is set in stone that Netherlands and Chile have qualified for the Knockout Stage, but their place as winners of the group is still up in the air. And what better way to decide who's winning the group than a direct match between these two behemoths!
Yes, today at noon La Roja against Des Oranjes! Both teams have been raucous through their first two matches, both have vociferous and intelligent managers in Jorge Sampaoli and Louis van Gaal respectively, both have humiliated Spain, and both have stumbled against Australia, they are tied in points with Netherlands having a slight advantage thanks to their superior goal difference. There's almost no way to separate these two, which means we'll have an exciting match!
The other decider (?) is Australia vs Spain... ummm I guess Spain will want to win this game and grab three points to take on their trip back home, call it a bittersweet souvenir of their experience in Brazil. But Australia won't go down without a fight!
Group A is a bit more complicated than Group B. Cameroon is the only team who has no chance to go through, and Brazil are dead favorites to go through, but there's a caveat, FIFA, let's say fixed the schedule to the Canarinha's convenience. You see before Brazil plays their game against Cameroon, they will know who they could face in the Knockout Stage, so they could play for a victory or a draw depending, if they want to avoid Netherlands or Chile, hence the incertitude regarding the result in the Cameroon v Brazil game.
Also on Group A is a classic in the making, Croatia have to take the victory against Mexico if they want to qualify for the next round, they demonstrated their qualities on the humbling of Cameroon four days ago. Mexico are happy to go for a draw, but should they really aim for that? They don't have much to offer up front, but for what they lack in attack, they have it in heart and wit, plus their talisman Guillermo Ochoa is between the posts, Can Memo rise to the status of demi-God by giving his team a spot in the knockout stages? Or will the incisive Croatia cut through the Mexican defense?
Matches for today:
- 12:00 PM EST: Netherlands vs Chile @ Arena Corinthians, São Paulo.
Netherlands 3 - 2 Chile
- 12:00 PM EST: Australia vs Spain @ Arena da Baixada, Curitiba.
Australia 1 - 2 Spain
- 4:00 PM EST: Cameroon vs Brazil @ Estádio Nacional de Brasilia, Brasília.
Cameroon 0 - 3 Brazil
- 4:00 PM EST: Croatia vs Mexico @ Arena Pernambuco, Recife.
Croatia 1 - 1 Mexico
To make things a bit more interesting... a point will be awarded to those who get the results right and two extra points for each correct scoreline. Feeling lucky? Then make a bold prediction and win an extra point for each one you get right, like Memo Ochoa becomes the new Jesus in the eyes of the Mexicans or Louis van Gaal gets into a brawl agains Jorge Sampaoli!
So TAY what are your predictions for today's matches?
I took the liberty to create a spreadsheet (still on the early stages) to make it easier to keep track of our records... anyway, if you want to access it, just click here.