The World Cup 2014 is about to hit a climax as we enter the semifinal stage of the competition and trust me the four teams left were made to work hard to get to this level. I am sure football lovers are not happy the World Cup is drawing to a close but we can’t also wait to know what team would be crowned World Champions for another 4 years at the least. When the World Cup ends we would be bored for a while but I think the already on going transfer buzz should keep us busy and wondering what the new season will look like. And as we all know the new season kicks off next month so we can try to endure and wait till then. While some Managers are busy spotting their transfer targets some are having fun in Brazil touring the beaches and the one that always come to mind is the elder whose pictures have gone viral in his outdated Speedos #OkBye.
Back to the World Cup gist. We have 5 time World Champs and hosts Brazil and they are also the team to have won the World Cup the most, there is Germany the 3 time winners and the most consistent side over the last 4 tournaments with this being their 4th straight semifinal appearance (Germany have always made the semifinal of all the World Cups they have participated in except on these occasions; 1994 and 1998), we also have 2 time winners Argentina whom are just gracing the semifinal for the first time in 24 years and finally The Netherlands who were runners up in 2010 and have been also been runners up on two other occasions (1974 and 1978) making up the Semifinalists. So there you have it Brazil, Germany, Argentina and Netherlands are into the last four stage with only 3 countries assured of medals, though 1st position is the ultimate. Good grief.
Brazil take on Germany in the first semifinal on Tuesday night with scores to settle obviously. Remember Brazil beat the Mannschaft of Germany to the trophy in 2002 and they haven’t met at the World Cup ever since. I would ordinarily have tipped Brazil to nick this but it’s a tough call for me. I will still have to do it though. Brazil would be without their Golden Boy Neymar Junior which is surely a big blow to the Selecao judging by his string of good performances. Not a big a Neymar fan but I have noticed he plays extremely well whenever he dons the Brazilian jersey. Neymar was injured during the quarter final clash against Colombia with a fractured bone injury at his back. The Brazilian skipper Thiago Silva too is going to be another big name set to miss out of this clash due to suspension.
It doesn’t look like the Germans have any injury worries and this could be their year. There isn’t much to say about this German team other than to be wary of them. A good squad, fantastic manager and most importantly they have got experience in depth. Phillip Lahm always comes to mind whenever this team is mentioned. This is his 3rd World Cup appearance and in each of the 3 appearances he has played as a left back, right back and most recently as a midfielder. A very industrious player you say? I figured too.
I can’t conclude this post without mentioning the name Louis Van Gaal, the Dutch coach. I see him as a Manager who takes nothing for granted. It was clear he prepared for penalty shoot outs against Costa Rica when he decided not to make all 3 substitution in regulation time reserving goalkeeper Tim Krul for the occasion. For me it simply meant he respected Costa Rica. Tactical nous is what I call it but Nigerians be like Kadiri Ikhana/Okey Imordi did same when Enyimba won the African Champions League always bringing on Dele Aiyenugba for Vincent Enyeama whenever it looked like penalties were in the offing. I see Brazil beating Germany by the odd goal (1-0). There wouldn’t be too much goals at this stage of the competition with all teams expected to approach the games cautiously. I see the Netherlands versus Argentina game ending in a draw (0-0) after regulation time but what happens afterwards I cannot guarantee.
Before today’s game Brazil have played 102 World Cup matches with Germany playing two games more (104) but both teams have met only once at the World Cup which was in the 2002 final in South Korea/Japan. Will the Germans be fooled twice? We shall see.
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Thanks guys and have a fabulous week ahead.