Monday, 30 June 2014

Netherlands 2-1 Mexico (Round of 16)

It wasn't an ideal match in the Fortaleza. Both the Dutch and Mexicans started the match rather cautiously. We get to see for the first time an official cooling break take place after 30 minutes of play in order to enable the players and officials to rehydrate themselves under the scorching heat of 38'C.

The cooling break somehow could break the momentum of a certain team. Although it is vital to enable players to rehydrate, but it would bring nightmares to coaches if it occur when their team had their opposition on their back foot.

3 minutes after the start of the second half, the Fortaleza erupts with jubilation as Giovanni Dos Santos puts the Mexican in front. Giovanni hits a vicious left foot strike from 20 yards, to elude Daley Blind's block and Jasper Cillessen at his far post.

Giovanni Dos Santos finally scores after being robbed
of two goals in their opening match against Cameroon

After conceding the goal, the Dutch started to play more positively. Quick ball movements and a more direct attack to goal were displayed. Unfortunately, the Mexicans managed to weather the storm due to their discipline defending.

Guillermo Ochoa, who single-handedly prevent Brazil from scoring in the group matches almost pull out the same performance again. His reaction save from Stefan de Vrij effort from just 3 yards out was nothing but magic. He later then won a one-on-one battle against Arjen Robben and managed to pull out a couple of saves after that.

Gillermo Ochoa

The Mexicans were just three minutes away from a quarter final berth when Wesley Sneijder, who has been anonymous through out the match, struck a volley from outside the penalty area to finally beat Ochoa who was rooted to the ground and could only watch as the ball hits his back of the net.

Wesley Sneijder

 With the pendulum swinging on their side, the Dutch continued to pressure the Mexicans. Robben runs down the left flank and beats his man into the penalty area. He then was brought down clumsily by Rafael Marquez in the 93rd minute and the referee awarded a penalty. 

Klaas Jan Huntelaar easily slots in a perfect spot kick to bring the Dutch into the quarter finals. 

Klaas Jan Huntelaar scored the winning goal

The Mexicans may feel hard done by but the effort and passion that they showed through out this World Cup was a joy to watch. The Dutch awaits the winner between Greece and Costa Rica in the quarter finals.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Brazil 1-1 Chile [Brazil wins 3-2 on penalties] (Round of 16)

This was football at its best. At least from a neutral point of view. I bet the Brazilians would not want to went through a match like this ever again.

The host and 5 time world champions started the match strong. They dominated possession and the match. Neymar and Hulk were causing trouble for the Chile's defenders but not quite able to get the ball into the back of the Chile's goal.

After earning a corner in the 18th minute which was taken by Neymar, Tiago Silva managed to get a flick on it to guide the ball to David Luiz who was lurking at the far post. Having a better position than his marker, Luiz managed to get a touch on the ball to guide it into the empty net and giving them the lead and caused Bela Horizonte to erupt in pure jubilation.

David Luiz

The lead however just lasted for 14 minutes. After receiving a throw in from Marcelo, Hulk's attempted return pass was stolen by Eduardo Vargas and quickly crosses the ball into the penalty box. Alexis Sanchez picked up the pass and just pass the ball into the net to beat Julio Cesar. There were pure silence in the stadium except for a small portion in red.

Alexis Sanchez

If Akira Toriyama created Super Saiyans character, the Chileans were definitely super human. They hassled Brazil in the second half relentlessly. There were no display of the Samba football, there were no display of Neymar's brilliance, and there were almost none possession for the Brazilians. This was how dominating the Chileans were. They were running almost non-stop for about 80 minutes.

The Chileans flow of football was disrupted when Arturo Vidal was brought off believed due to his knee injury that did not allow him to see through the match. As the final 10 minutes of normal time left, the Chileans did looked a little out of breath. Brazil took the chance to torment their opponent for the final 10 minutes in search for a winner but to no avail. Chile did have a few chances to gave Brazil a scare in the dying minutes as well but could not find the winning goal.

At the end of extra time, Chilean substitute Mauricio Pinilla almost put Brazil to the sword. His long range effort managed to beat Cesar but unfortunately did not beat the crossbar, hence bringing the match to penalties.

Mauricio Pinilla almost eliminating the host nation.

Cesar turned out to be the hero of his nation by saving two penalties to put the score at 2-2 after 4 penalties each for both teams. Neymar converted his kick while Gonzalo Jara smashes his kick into the post to allow the host to advance into the last eight.

Julio Cesar

Chile had the Brazilians number for the most part of the match. Unfortunately for them, they could not finish the job in normal time. Going into extra time, I knew Chile would struggle after playing aggressively for 90 minutes. As the match progressed to penalties, Chile were always going to be second best. The host barely managed to squeeze themselves into the quarter finals.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Switzerland 2-1 Ecuador (Group E - Matchday 4)

Both team started the match rather cautiously. Neither one of them wanted to make a mistake, hence a quite dull opening 20 minutes.

Switzerland had plenty of possession. Anchored by Valon Behrami and Gokhan Inler in the heart of their midfield enable them to control possession. Unfortunately, they did not have the aggressive attitude to break the deadlock. Their attacking midfielder who was supposed to link up the play between midfield and striker failed to execute his duty.

Half way through the first half, Ecuador managed to launch a counter attack down the left flank. Jefferson Montero was wrestled down by Lichsteiner and was awarded a free kick. The resulting free kick produced the opening goal of the match. Enner Valencia was unmarked right in the 6-yard box to head home his fifth consecutive international goal.

Enner Valencia

Switzerland who has never won against a southern american opponent in five attempts look to bounce back. Unfortunately, Xherdan Shaqiri  crosses could have been better for his teammates to finish.

3 minutes after the restart, Switzerland was awarded a corner kick. Ricardo Rodriguez delivered a perfect cross for Admir Mehmedi who replaces Stocker at half time to head home for an equalizer as Dominguez was out of position.

Admir Mehmedi

Both teams exchanged attacks but to no avail until the second minute of stoppage time. Antonio Valencia sprints down the right flank with the ball and puts in a perfect low cross for Michael Arroyo to finish. Instead, Arroyo dallied on the ball and loses possession. Behrami then picked up the ball rides a rough tackle and passes it to Haris Seferovic who came on as a sub in the 75th minute. Seferovic then spreads the ball to the left flank for Mehmedi. Mehmedi sends a low cross into the 6 yard box for simple tap in for Seferovic to win the match for Switzerland in dramatic fashion.

Haris Seferovic won the match for Switzerland

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Colombia 3-0 Greece (Group C - Matchday 3)

Another south american nation, Colombia opened their World Cup campaign with their largest win ever in a World Cup Finals even without their injured talisman, Radamel Falcao. Facing Greece in Belo Horizonte, the Colombians did not take long to break the deadlock in the 6th minute through Pablo Armero. Armero hits a grounder after receiving a Cuadrado cross from the right flank.

Pablo Armero

Greece stepped into another gear in search of an equalizer. Kone had their best chance before half time with a side footed curler from outside the penalty box only to see David Ospina to push the effort out for a corner acrobatically.

Colombia doubled their lead in the second half from a set piece. James Rodriguez corner kick was flicked on by the Colombian skipper Yepes and was finished by Teofilo Guttierez from inside the 6 yard box.

Teofilo Guttierez

Greece's golden opportunity to get back in the match fell to Theofanis Gekas. He was unmarked in the penalty box but his header could only rattle the Colombian crossbar.

James Rodriguez who put on a man of the match performance, puts the icing on the cake for Colombia in the 92nd minute. Receiving a pass inside the penalty box from Cuadrado's back heel, Rodriguez sets himself up and places his shot to the bottom corner beating Karnezis and completing Colombia's route.

James Rodriguez 

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Spain 1-5 Netherlands (Group B, Matchday 2)

This is a result that will shook the world of football to its very foundation. Shock waves has been sent across the globe by the Dutch to declare that they really mean business in this edition of the World Cup. What a match! What a story! It was just simply magical!


Started the game well by keeping possession like they always did. Had a few chances as well but their finishing was poor. It was not that poor, but it seems that the Spanish team wanted to score 'pretty' goals instead of just scoring. David Silva had a few chances himself and wasted it.

Xabi Alonso scored from the spot from a 'foul' on Diego Costa. How many times are the officials are going to get these vital decisions wrong? Although it does add an extra element of 'drama' in the match itself but the other team would feel hard done by.

The defending world champions seems to lose their way when they conceded the third goal. Although their 'tiki-taka' was visible, but there were not really making meaningful passes nor penetration compared to their opening half.

To make matters worse, their trusted goalkeeper Iker Casillas made a school boy error and conceded the fourth goal.

And things just got worse for the defending champions as they conceded another goal later on.


Where do we start? They started the match very passively. Letting the Spanish dominating possession and toying them around. I really think that when they conceded the penalty, (which was not really a penalty) that woke them up and the Dutch started playing football.

Daley Blind

This is the man responsible for the Dutch's comeback. At only 24 years of age, playing at left back, he showed to the world what he is capable of. Providing two exquisite crosses to put Netherlands in front was the highlight of his night. He first provided Van Persie who finished the cross with a diving header to beat Casillas. The second was almost similar but it was to Robben who then skinned two defenders before slotting the ball in to the empty net.

The Spanish just could not find a way back nor the confidence to get back in the match. Sneijder than assisted the next two goals for the Dutch. His free kick was finished off by the Feyenoord skipper Stefan De Vrij. Sneijder than provided a through ball for Robben to scored the final goal of the match his second of the game.

In between these two goals, Van Persie capitalized on a schoolboy error from Casillas to make it 4-1 to the Dutch and completing his brace.

Louis Van Gaal was successful in exposing the weakness of the Spanish central defense. Lack of pace and strength. Van Gaal also had his tactics spot on by beating Spain's offside trap and having his fast pace strikers and wingers having a go at the Spain defenders.

It totally paid off! I am pretty sure that not even Van Gaal could have dreamt of this scoreline. Beating the defending world champions 5-1.

But let's not jump on the Dutch's bandwagon too fast. They are also known to pass the group stage with flying colors only to throw it all away during the knockout stages. That aside, the Dutch deserved to celebrate their performance and thumping victory against the Spanish side!

Friday, 13 June 2014

Brazil 3-1 Croatia (Group A - Matchday 1)

Memandangkan demam Piala Dunia terlalu kuat melanda diri, sey ingin mengupas serba sedikit tentang perlawanan pembukaan pagi tadi. In shaa Allah jika diizinkan dan berkeupayaan, setiap perlawanan akan cuba dikupas secara ringkas untuk mengalihkan perhatian diri ini daripada prestasi merudum skuad kesayangan iaitu Nismilan.

Kupasan untuk perlawanan Piala Dunia ini juga akan dikupas dalam bahasa Inggeris untuk memantapkan lagi keupayaan bahasa Inggeris sey sendiri.


Niko Kovac, the Croatian manager vowed to wow the fans with his teams' footballing display and he did just that in my humble opinion. The Croatians came into the match with a game plan. Absorb the Brazilians offense before launching a counter attack of themselves.

I have to say this plan worked perfectly well until Neymar equalized for the host. Even though the Croatians had very little possession in the opening half, but they made it count when they had possession. There are two individuals that I would like to highlight for the Croatian national team.

Ivica Olic
Luka Modric

These two individuals worked their socks off in the game. Trying to catch the five time world champions on the break, Luka played his part exceptionally well. Dictating his team's tempo and releasing his wingers and strikers with perfect timing.

Ivica played a big role in his team goal. The own goal that Marcelo scored was from his initial cross. Although Jelavic did had the slightest touch on the ball, but full credit should be given to Ivica.

Croatia did create enough chances to put them comfortably in the driving seat but could not convert any of those chances that was created. They even had a goal disallowed in the second half. If only Mandzukic was not banned for this World Cup opener.


As the five time world champions, I personally thought that Brazil did not reach their full potential in the match. But I'll give the benefit of the doubt since it was just the opening match.

This young man who would be 23 years old this September played a monumental role in Brazil's victory. He was a constant threat for the Croatian defenders through out the match. His dribbling ability and pace was put out for the world to see (as if we haven't seen enough from him) and at his young age, he's yet to reach his full potential. At least that's my opinion.

His goal, Brazil's third, was pure magic! Dispossessed the defender in middle of the field, ran for 30 yards at full speed with his defenders backing down, toe poked the ball from outside the penalty box to beat Pletikosa at his near post. It was special.


Scored two goals. One from outside of the penalty box with his left foot and the other was with his right from the spot. Was he 'that' good in the match? I personally think he wasn't. Labelled as the man who would carry Brazil to win the World Cup, I personally think his contribution was not enough.

He did scored two, yes I do admit it. I just thought that he miss kicked his first goal. His second goal was from a controversial decision by the referee. Was it really a penalty? If u asked me, I'd say no.

He still needs to prove more in this World Cup for him to carry his nation to the 6th championship. At least that's my opinion.

Don't get me wrong. He is one heck of a player, but I just don't think he influenced the match that much despite scoring a brace.

Nonetheless, Brazil did get what they needed in the opener. The interesting part is to see whether Niko Kovac will change his approach and style of play in Croatia's next game since they lost. 

The question for Kovac is, "is it worth it to risk 4 years of preparation to play attractive football or to get the result needed by playing a more conservative style?"

P/S : Nismilan lawan JDT II di STAR, Paroi. Tapi sey boikot tak maun poie stadium laie dah musim ni. Dah cukup dah patah hati untuk musim ni. Kalau nak patah kan laie hati sey, tunggu musim dopan. Walau apo pun, sey totap doakan yang terbaik untuk Nismilan!