World Cup Quarter Finals Roundup

Germany vs. France

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German coach Joachim Lowe did not take any chances with his quarter final line up against France, he put Klose, Schweinsteiger and Lahm on the pitch from the start. That, to me, sent a clear message. The Mannschaft came to win.

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Les Bleus began the game aggressively, giving the impression that this would be a great game, however, the wind was knocked out of their sails by Mats Hummels’ header in the 13th minute. From then on, Germany took the reins and controlled the flow of the game.

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France only managed to scrape by the Mannschaft a couple of times but all shots and attempts were futile. Basically, what I am trying to say is: The match was extremely boring. Although now the World Cup is nearly wrapping up with the Final not too far away, if you’re wanting to try and win yourself some money it may be an idea to have a look at sites like https://8betting.co.uk/ for gambling guides.

The early first half goal put the Germans in the lead and they squashed any offensive efforts by the French right up until the full time whistle blew. Valbuena could have scored, leveling the two teams in the 33rd minute, but Manuel Neur leapt at the ball, denying any chance of a first half draw.

tumblr_n8795qgq0Q1rjev45o1_500After half time, the French came out determined and focused. Evra and Benzema were in the right place at the right time, but were unable to capitalize on their respective opportunities. Germany began to dominate towards the end of the second half but their efforts were denied by Lloris, and as the final minutes of the game approached, it was France that had the last chance to score.

Benzema and Giroud played a beautiful one-two only to be disheartened when Neur made a one-handed save, effectively ending France’s World Cup campaign.

As the French consoled sobbing number 11 Griezmann, the Germans celebrated their qualification to the semi0-finals, Lowe and his men will travel to Belo Horizonte to face host nation Brazil.

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Brazil vs. Colombia

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Fresh off of their 2-0 win over Uruguay, Los Cafeteros faced host nation and tournament favorites Brazil in Fortaleza last night.

The Seleção finally showed up and played like they wanted to win, not like they deserved to win. Their previous appearances in the 2014 World Cup have been rather lackluster, with other lesser known squads flashing fantastic teamwork and terrific goals.

That being said, the hosts came out fighting from the start, enough to restrict Colombia through most of the first half. Captain Thiago Silva sent his side into the lead with a goal in the 7th minute, then resumed his position in front of Julio Cesar to thwart any oncoming Colombian offenses.

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The Colombians struggled to approach Cesar, and with half time approaching Brazil nearly doubled their lead, but were denied by a brilliant double save by Ospina.

Los Cafeteros came out of the half time break energized and geared up to turn the game around. They netted the ball, only to have the linesman claim that Yepes’ effort was offside (it clearly was NOT).

The minutes that followed witnessed perhaps the best goal of the entire 2014 World Cup. David Luiz scored a 35-yard free kick, leaving the Colombians, the fans and indeed most of his teammates awestruck.

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The penalty awarded to Colombia served as little consolation to Los Cafeteros quickly approaching their World Cup exit. Star player Rodriguez stepped up and shot the penalty low and left, while Cesar shifted right.

Luis Felipe Scolari’s squad held on to their 2-1 lead over the defeated Colombians to book their spot in the semi-finals against Germany.

* Neymar is officially out of the World Cup, after a tackle by a Colombian defender left him with a broken third vertebrae. Neymar has done his fair share for the Seleção, scoring four goals in the tournament this far. He will have to watch from the sidelines as his team faces Germany in Belo Horizonte.

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Argentina vs. Belgium

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I assumed Belgium would fight its way to a goal or maybe two against Argentina, I was very wrong.

After Higuain’s goal early on in the first half, Argentina made it difficult from Belgium to get into their area, whilst consistently applying pressure in the form of Messi, Di Maria and Higuain. Di Maria clamoured to net the ball but it just wasn’t his day, he came off just before half time with a thigh injury.

After half time, Argentina almost doubled their lead, but Higuain’s effort nudged the crossbar, allowing the Belgians to breathe a short sigh of relief.

Lukaku and Mertens came on for Origi and Mirallas, giving Les Diables Rouges a fresh set of legs up front. It was, however, a combination from their starting lineup that allowed them to have a brief encounter with the Argentinian goal. Marouane Fellaini (the dude with the large afro) headed Vertonghen’s cross just wide of the post.

Argentina almost screwed themselves when Ezequeil Garay tapped a Belgian shot on goal into his own right, lucky for him goalkeeper Romero was right behind him and immediately stopped the ball.

A quick break by Messi rallied Argentina, Messi was alone in front of the goal and Courtois stood out to meet him, the second goal for Argentina was imminent.

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“Wait what?!?!?! He blocked it!?!?!” was the reaction of several million people around the world as Courtois took on the miniature magician, denying him a scoring opportunity.

The Beglians began to unravel as they frantically tried to approach the Argentinian goal, but it was not to be. Higuain’s early goal was enough to send the Belgians home, and Argentina through to the semifinals.

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Netherlands vs. Costa Rica

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Of all the remaining countries in the tournament, Costa Rica by far are the underdogs. Some would argue Belgium also have the odds stacked against them, but any learned football fan will remember that Belgium finished an astonishing 4th place at the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico. Costa Rica has participated in the World Cup before, but never has it emerged from the group stage and made it through to the quarter-finals.

Arjen Robben began the game pretty much, having constant contact with the ball. Navas made short work of Robben’s attempts, though. Shortly after, Robben called in reinforcements, with Kuyt, Memphis and Van Persie in the vicinity, a goal seemed imminent, but Navas did not allow the Dutch an advantage.

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Most of the first and second halves saw the Oranje dominate, creating fruitless opportunities every so often. But the Costa Rican goalposts and crossbar, and indeed the Costa Rican goalkeeper, simply repelled all Dutch efforts.

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Costa Rica tried to pressure Dutch goalkeeper Cillessen, but both serious attempts were just shy of the goal. The Netherlands resumed possession, and in the 82nd minute were painfully close to a goal, when Sneijder’s free-kick came off the back off the crossbar. Another opportunity followed just minutes later, but unmarked Van Persie failed to meet Sneijder’s cross.

Superb goalkeeping allowed Costa Rica to hold on to a goalless draw right through full and extra time to land themselves in a penalty shootout (they probably wish they had tried harder now). Dutch coach substituted goalkeeper Cillessen for Krul, a decisive choice for the Oranje, and thus began the shootout.

Hard luck, Costa Rica.

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WE SAID THIS: Almost there! What are your predictions for the finals?

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