Daily Archives: June 18, 2014

Accept All Substitutes

FellainiDay Six was not the most scintillating day of football that we’ve seen in this World Cup, although after only a week, the bar has been set pretty high.  Today featured two games that likely would not have been close, had the managers of the favourites put out more dominant sides.

Mertens hearts something...

Mertens hearts something…

Algeria decided they would put 10 men behind the ball against Belgium, only making a serious break about 20 minutes in.  Jan Vertonghen took out Sofiane Feghouli, the referee gave the penalty and Feghouli put it away.   Then the Desert Foxes really started playing defensive.  After the break, Marc Wilmots put on Dries Mertens  — who probably should have started in the first place.  Romelu Lukaku’s performance was a shadow of his Premier League form… so off he came in the 58th.  Then Marouane Fellaini came on for Moussa Dembélé.  Five minutes later, Wilmots’ substitutions paid off.  Fellaini scored one of his trademark headers (where has that been all year?) and then Martens scored off Eden Hazard’s pass off the counter. It was a game that was exciting for 15 minutes… and that was enough for Belgium’s nervy World Cup return.  Belgium 2-1 Algeria

Uh-oh...

Uh-oh…

Meanwhile, the Russia-South Korea clash was less than satisfying… exactly as expected.  The South Koreans were quick, but the Russians played Fabio Capello’s cautious defensive tactics.    The South Koreans scored because of a clanger by Igor Akinfeev, probably the goalkeeper gaffe of the tournament.   It’s also interesting that Igor Denisov, Alan Dzagoev, and Aleksandr Kerzhakov — three of the better players on a dour Russian side — started on the bench, and that the goal came after their substitution.   Either side will fancy their chances of progressing.  Russia 1-1 South Korea

Brent P. Lanthier

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Street party in Sao Paulo

Intrepid World Cup traveller Simon Hagens and his band of merry men have moved on from Manaus to Sao Paulo, where they await England’s pivotal clash with Uruguay on Thursday. In between cultural outreach sessions at various bars and eateries, the lads took time out on Tuesday to watch the host nation fight to a goalless standoff with Mexico.


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Game day yesterday was insane.  Anyone who was working, which was almost no one, knocked off at 1:00 p.m. (a tidy three hours before kickoff) and streamed toward the bars to watch the game.  We set up in a window seat at a bar in the Vila Madalena neighbourhood.  The bar filled up, and soon the street behind the window filled up as well.  Soccer and a huge party appear to be the same thing.

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I want YOU to come drinking in Brazil. Stephen of @the_handbags models the latest in Cursor & Threat neckwear.

I want YOU to come drinking in Brazil. Stephen of @the_handbags models the latest in Cursor & Thread neckwear.

brazil_mexico1

The crowd was disappointed by the draw with Mexico, but it did nothing to dampen the mood.  The street next to our bar was filled with revelry.  Fifty metres up the hill , the crowd was a full on writhing mass,  fuelled by guys with monster car speakers and street beer vendors.  A good night.  We’re beginning to wonder if we should just come to Brazil for every World Cup from now on.

Simon Hagens

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