I'll be missing you, Spain.
We've killed Spain (or, by extension, Barcelona) a gratuitous amount of times over the years, but this one feels real. As is painfully obvious, today's Spain 0-2 Chile moves this era of La Furia Roja even further toward extinction. Vincente del Bosque sat Xavi and Gerard Pique in efforts to regroup after the 5-1 against the Dutch, but the effects were minimal: the uninspired Spanish side looked like they were playing a different sport than the Chileans.
City's David Silva managed five key passes in the game, and one of the higher ratings according to WhoScored.com, but the Spanish couldn't find a goal. It had the look of a game where Jesus Navas and his pace could be useful in opening up the game, but alas, del Bosque gave him a nice vacation this summer.
Games like today's against Chile's are sad in the same vein as the despair you feel as the family dog's quality of life gradually decreases right in front of your eyes. He possesses 63% of your attention, yet won't muster enough energy to do the only tennis ball tricks the whole family grew to love.
Who would have predicted that Spain, and not Australia, would be the most depressing member of Group B at this moment? I almost feel dirty watching when Iker Casillas served up an assist for Charles Aranguiz or when Sergio Busquets waste a bicycle kick cross from Diego Costa. Santi Cazorla literally tripping over the ball was not quite as painful to watch, mainly because the game descended into pure comedy the moment Fernando Torres stepped onto the pitch down two goals.
As sad as the admittedly brilliant era's culmination may be, nothing we can do now can bring it back--not even hours spent in the short passing FIFA mini-games can bring back the Spanish glory now. Check out Zac MacPhee on the death of tiki-taka, and maybe hit play on the YouTube clip below while you read.
Tim Cahill scored the goal of the day--and perhaps the tournament so far.
Even on with a numerical advantage on the counterattack, Arjen Robben has this magnificent way of turning every time he possesses the ball into Arjen v. the World. It worked for him on Wednesday, as he opened the scoring against Australia in the 20th minute in Porto Alregre. After posting five goals on the Spanish, it seemed like the Robben goal was the catalyst the Dutch needed to begin another scoring rampage.
Tim Cahill had other ideas, though, and his superb left-footed volley just a minute later let us know exactly what kind of game this would become.
Watching that goal while sitting in class and not being able to react was definitely a challenge, but fortunately it was just one moment in a surprisingly exciting match. Despite going ahead on a Mile Jedinak penalty kick, the Australians gave up two more goals to lose 3-2.
For Cahill, the loss, which eliminated any Australian hopes for advancing, combined with a yellow card suspension for the final group stage game means his World Cup days are finished. His comments to the Syndey Morning Herald, however, did not paint the picture of a man riddled with sadness, but rather a man proud of what he and his teammates have achieved in the face if such strong competition.
After two games, the Socceroos don't have any points in Group B, but their performance thus far outweighs what was expected in a difficult group. A result against Spain seems almost likely at this point, with the Spaniards looking deflated.
Group A will have a down-to-the-wire finish on Monday.
Croatia blasted a dejected Cameroon side 4-0 in the late game, setting up a final day in Group A where Brazil, Mexico, and Croatia all have opportunities to finish anywhere in the top three. One would expect Brazil to beat an Alex Song-less Cameroon, so Croatia will have to beat Mexico to find themselves in the round of 16.
After watching Mexico stumble--enjoyably, I must admit--throughout CONCACAF qualifying, seeing them in such good position is a bit surprising. Miguel Herrera has El Tri playing better than they have in quite some time, though, and they will just need a draw against Croatia to advance. If this means we end up seeing another draw like the one Mexico had against Brazil, well, I am surely not complaining.
Cameroon does not fight very efficiently.
First, Alex Song would like to take the first shower, and he does not care how many times he has to punch Mario Mandzukic in the back. (Spoiler: The answer was one)
Fine, Alex. But if you go first, we're going to have to fight each other for who goes second.
Such was the disappointment for the Cameroon team during the 4-0 drubbing from Croatia, which also eliminated them from knockout contention. With players like David Luiz and Ramires lurking around the corner, I can't imagine Brazil-Cameroon goes over without some extracurricular activities to tempt the already on-edge World Cup refereeing contingent
Besides Greece, Thursday's schedule looks entertaining.
Colombia and the Ivory Coast kick things off in the first game in Brasilia. Both teams find themselves on three points in Group C and would find the final day a lot easier with a win on Thursday. As City fans, we're obligated at the behest of his agent to wish Yaya the best of luck, so go out there and be the best Yaya Toure you can be, buddy.
In Sao Paulo, England and Uruguay look for redemption after both dropping their first game, against Italy and Costa Rica respectively. Elimination from knockout round consideration meets the losing team, so both squads have the added motivation of not wanting to join Cameroon, Spain, and Australia as dead men walking.
As I probably cannot help ourselves, I'm sure I'll watch the entirety of Japan-Greece, but it certainly won't be a good feeling. With three games a day, though, we really can't complain if the last game provides a chance to sneak out of World Cup duty a little early.