FIFA World Cup 2014 – Saturday 28 June 2014
100 years ago today shots in Sarajevo killed Archduke Ferdinand which proved to be the catalyst that led to the carnage that was to become the First World War. 100 years later we still haven’t learned and conflict and killing still exists in certain countries across the globe today.
It says much about the modern world though that the most significant shots for many on the planet today will take place in Brazil as the knock-out phase of the World Cup begins. Sixteen teams have departed and sixteen remain. Gone is the safety of the group games and second chances, this is winner takes all, whether in ninety minutes, extra-time or penalties.
The group stages have for the most part seen very open games, with plenty of goals and drama to match. England’s inability to escape the group stages was hardly a surprise, but the demise of Italy and Spain is something not many predicted. Whilst Spanish domination of World football had to end at some point, the like of Casillas, David Villa ad Xavi couldn’t have foreseen demolition at the hands of Netherlands and Chile being amongst their last memories of World Cup tournaments.
Others to have disappointed include 2018 hosts Russia (but then Capello is in charge of them) and Portugal who showed that without a fit Ronaldo, they badly struggle. Given both Japan and South Korea went well in the 2012 Olympic football tournament, it was a surprise that neither made much impression in Brazil. It’s been a mixed bag for the African teams, with Algeria and Nigeria making it through, but Cameroon, Ghana and Ivory Coast deeply disappointing.
Today’s games are all about Latin America as Brazil take on Chile and Colombia face Uruguay. How would the tournament be affected if Brazil lost to Chile? This game you would hope could be a bit special as Chile have proved to be a more than capable outfit and Brazil will be under immense pressure. In the other game, well we all know what the sub-text to this fixture is whatever the result.