The goal average may have dropped, but the Round of 16 still continued the 2014 World Cup's narrative of scintillating football. Richard Hall recalls the knockout action.
Brazil bring to every World Cup, a special passion, a special colour but perhaps this time not such a special team? The debate over Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side continued when they played the Coach’s most feared opponents Chile. La Roja once again did not disappoint but were unlucky to fall by the horrors of penalty taking. This said, the Brazilian pressure cooker looked ready to blow.
June 28 - 17:00 Brazil 1-1 Chile (3-2 on pens) (Belo Horizonte)
Scorers: David Luiz 18 (B), Alexis Sanchez 32 (C)
Penalties: David Luiz (goal, B), Pinilla (saved, C), Willian (wide, B), Alexis Sanchez (saved, C), Marcelo (goal, B), Aranguiz (goal, C), Hulk (saved, B), Diaz (goal, C), Neymar (goal, B)
Brazil: Julio Cesar; Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo; Fernandinho (Ramires 73), Luiz Gustavo; Hulk, Oscar (Willian 106), Neymar; Fred (Jo 64)
Chile: Bravo; Jara, Medel (Rojas 108), Silva; Isla, Aranguiz, Diaz, Mena; Vidal (Pinilla 87); Vargas (Gutierrez 57), Alexis Sanchez
Ref: Webb (ENG)
Uruguay faced in-form Colombia without their talisman Luis Suarez. With most people seeing their chances written - or rather bitten - off, they duly succumbed. Colombia continued to keep their new found fans in awe of their quality, with James Rodriguez scoring one of the goals of the tournament. The competing country with the second biggest population convincingly progressed to the quarters for the first time in their history.
June 28 - 21:00 Colombia 2-0 Uruguay (Rio De Janeiro)
Scorers: J Rodriguez 28, 50 (C)
Colombia: Ospina; C Zuniga, C Zapata, Yepes, Armero; Aguilar, C Sanchez; Cuadrado (Guarin 80), J Rodriguez (Ramos 84), Jackson Martinez; Gutierrez (Mejia 67)
Uruguay: Muslera; Caceres, Godin, Gimenez, A Pereira (Ramirez 53); Gonzalez (Hernandez 66), Arevalo Rios, C Rodriguez, Maxi Pereira; Cavani, Forlan (Stuani 53)
Ref: Kuipers (NED)
So hot was it in Fortaleza that fans in the stadium ran for the shade. The Mexicans were unlucky to take their final bow in the competition against the Dutch as late goals ended their campaign. As the Mexicans rued the Netherlands’ late, late comeback, it was not the first time in the tournament Louis van Gaal’s team more earned victory after first falling behind.
June 29 - 17:00 Netherlands 2-1 Mexico (Fortaleza)
Scorers: Dos Santos 48 (M), Sneijder 87 (N), Huntelaar pen 94 (N)
Netherlands: Cillessen; Verghaegh (Depay 56), De Vrij, Vlaar; Kuyt, Wijnaldum, De Jong (Martins Indi 9), Blind; Sneijder; Van Persie (Huntelaar 76), Robben
Mexico: Ochoa; Rodriguez, Marquez, Moreno (Reyes 46); Aguilar, Herrera, Salcido, Guardado, Layun; Dos Santos (Aquino 61), Peralta (J Hernandez 74)
Ref: Proenca (POR)
Costa Rica faced Greece in Recife in the surprise tie of the round. Tacticians watched in bemusement as Greece sat back and allowed their opponents to attack. This in turn, bamboozled Bryan Ruiz and company, as they had been playing solely on the counter attack. In the end one of the finest penalty shoot-outs saw Costa Rica win through in a game of attrition.
June 29 - 21:00 Costa Rica 1-1 Greece (5-3 on pens) (Recife)
Scorers: Ruiz 52 (C), Papasthatopoulos 91 (G)
Penalties: Borges (goal, C), Mitroglu (goal, G), Ruiz (goal, C), Christodoulopoulos (goal, G), Gonzalez (goal, C), Cholevas (goal, G), Campbell (goal, C), Gekas (saved, G), Umana (goal, C)
Costa Rica: Navas; Duarte, Gonzalez, Umana; Gamboa (Acosta 76), Ruiz, Borges, Tejeda (Cubero 65), Bolanos (Brenes 83), Diaz; Campbell
Greece: Karnezis; Torosidis, Manolas, Papasthatopoulos, Cholevas; Maniatis (Katsouranis 77), Karagounis; Salpingidis (Gekas 68), Samaris (Mitroglu 57), Christodoulopoulos; Samaras
Ref: Williams (AUS)
Sent off: Duarte 66 (C)
The 2-0 result suggested that France had continued to march on in devastating style against Nigeria, but the game told a different story. Nigeria had chances but took none of them, whilst the French looked stronger when Karim Benzema was moved into the centre. Perhaps Nigeria’s internal disputes over bonuses had hampered preparations, but they were ultimately left regretting mistakes made on both goals conceded.
June 30 - 17:00 France 2-0 Nigeria (Brasilia)
Scorers: Pogba 79 (F), Yobo og 90+2 (F)
France: Lloris (c), Debuchy, Evra, Varane, Cabaye, Valbuena (Sissoko 90), Giroud (Griezmann 62), Benzema, Matuidi, Pogba, Koscielny
Nigeria: Enyeama, Yobo (c), Ambrose, Musa, Odemwingie, Emenike, Mikel, Moses (Nwofo 89), Oshaniwa, Onazi (Gabriel 59), Omeruo
Ref: Geiger (USA)
The Algerians went to Porto Alegre to face the Germans with revenge in mind. The infamous ‘Anschluss’ of 1982 still hurt the North Africans and they wanted the win. For 90 minutes they kept the Germans on their toes with some nifty counter-attacks and forced the game into extra time before losing 2-1. It was an underwhelming German side who, contrary to previous World Cups, looked weaker as the tournament progressed.
June 30 - 21:00 Germany 2-1 Algeria (aet) (Porto Alegre)
Scorers: Schurrle 92 (G), Ozil 119 (G), Djabou 120 (A)
Germany: Neuer; Mustafi (Khedira 70), Mertesacker, Boateng, Howedes; Lahm, Schweinsteiger (Kramer 109); Ozil, Kroos, Gotze (Schurrle 45); Muller
Algeria: Mbolhi, Ghoulam, Belkalem, Halliche (c) (Bougherra 97), Lacen, Feghouli, Slimani, Soudani (Djabou 100), Taider, Mandi, Mostefa
Ref: Ricci (BRA)
Argentina had been many people’s favourites to win the competition before the start, but were proving an enigma. The hot and cold Angel di Maria and the effervescent Lionel Messi were perhaps the only reason they had progressed. Switzerland were unlucky to lose 1-0 in extra time, they were the width of the post from saving themselves and delaying Ottmar Hitzeld’s retirement.
July 01 - 17:00 Argentina 1-0 Switzerland (aet) (Sao Paulo)
Scorers: Di Maria 118 (A)
Argentina: Romero; Zabaleta, Fernandez, Garay, Rojo (Basanta 105); Gago (Biglia 106), Mascherano, Di Maria; Messi; Lavezzi (Palacio 74), Higuain
Switzerland: Benaglio; Lichtsteiner, Schaer, Djourou, Rodriguez; Inler, Behrami; Xhaka (Gelson Fernandes 66), Shaqiri, Mehmedi (Dzemaili 113); Drmic (Seferovic 82)
Ref: Eriksson (SWE)
The USA had undergone a cultural revolution during this World Cup and their new found passion resonated with the team. However, the plucky Americans fell in extra time, 2-1 to Belgium. It could have been worse if Tim Howard had not produced 15 saves, a record in World Cup history. Belgium continued to show their heart and ability to grind out results come what may.
July 01 - 21:00 Belgium 2-1 USA (aet) (Salvador)
Scorers: De Bruyne 93 (B), Lukaku 105 (B), Green 107 (U)
Belgium: Courtois; Alderweireld, Van Buyten, Kompany, Vertonghen; Fellaini, Witsel; Mertens (Mirallas 60), De Bruyne, E Hazard (Chadli 111); Origi (Lukaku 91)
USA: Howard; Johnson (Yedlin 32), Besler, Gonzalez, Beasley; Bedoya (Green 106), Cameron, Bradley, Jones, Zusi (Wondolowski 73); Dempsey
Ref: Haimoudi (ALG)
For a complete review of the 2014 World Cup, check out the next issue of Soccer Italia, written by the team at Football Italia and available on worldwide subscription.