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What We’ve Learned from World Cup… So Far

After four days of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, we have witnessed and learned quite a few things.  We have learned that while full of talent, Brazil has yet to begin playing like a team.  They were lucky to have scored the victory over Croatia.  The penalty that was called that led to Brazil getting on the board was a horrible, phantom call.  Even if Brazil did earn the 3-1 victory, they were still quite lucky to get the win.  If anything, Brazil only played well enough to tie Croatia.  Since Croatia’s goal was scored by Brazil, the major question of their defense has become even bigger.  Can they hold up against what seems like very good Mexican offense?

True, Mexico only earned a 1-0 win over Cameroon.  But there were a couple of occasions that Giovanni Dos Santos was called offside when he wasn’t that disallowed what should have been his two goals.  Add to that, Oribe Peralta’s goal and Mexico would walked away with a 3-0 victory.  If Mexico either ties or beats Brazil, it would be the first time since the 1982 World Cup that Brazil needs all three games to qualify into the knockout stage.

We know that Spain– and Iker Casillas, mostly– looked old in their 5-1 defeat at the hands of the Netherlands.  The Netherlands showed the world that were still a squad to be reckoned with.  The Dutch’s passes were precise and perfectly timed.  They seemed like the only selection that had complete chemistry in the tournament.  Chile wasn’t able to take complete control of the situation, only winning 3-1 over Australia.  While Spain is at -4 in goal differential,  that will take a huge turn after they face Australia.  Netherlands will be able to take care of business against Chile.  But first, Spain should be able to defeat Chile to set up the race for the final qualifying spot in the next phase.

After five and a half groups have played, we have yet to witness any ties.  Uruguay looked completely lost without Luis Suarez in the lineup.  They now have a must-win game against England– who is in the same predicament– and hope that Suarez will provide the spark they need to bounce back.  Italy also showed plenty of chemistry, and  Andrea Pirlo showed his great playmaking ability throughout the game against England– a 2-1 win.

Colombia showed that they will be fine without Radamel Falcao (at least through group play).  After Japan jumped out to a 1-0 lead, they showed a lead isn’t safe as Ivory Coast scored a 2-1 victory.  Japan was one of five teams to jump out to a 1-0 lead only to lose the match.  The others were Croatia, Spain, Uruguay, and Ecuador.

With two and a half groups left to play these next two days, it will be interesting to see if there will be any ties and how many more teams will lose after jumping out to a 1-0 lead.  This World Cup is shaping up to be a fun, exciting ride for the next month.

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