Throughout the World Cup, we at 32 Flags will be giving you a complete recap of the action at the end of the day in our World Cup Roundup. Not only will we run down the biggest winners and losers, but the highlights and most talked about moments of each day and a look ahead to tomorrow.
1) Biggest Winner – Mexico
Everyone knew their group stage fate except for two teams, Mexico and Croatia. Mexico and Croatia essentially had a playoff to determine who would enter the knockout stage. There would be an outside chance that either of these teams could top Group A but there was nothing either team could really do to help Cameroon defeat or draw Brazil to make that happen. Mexico, with the 3-1 win, were the clear winners of the day.
2) Standout Performer – Neymar
Neymar continued his scoring prowess for Brazil as they beat Cameroon 4-1 today. Neymar took the lead in the Golden Boot race, scoring another brace and currently has four goals in the tournament. The important thing to remember about Neymar is that in both games where he scored goals in, he scored the first two Brazilian goals in each game. A player like that can be dangerous in the knockout stage. Neymar can get Brazil out to an early lead and will be the man to lead Brazil if they are to lift the trophy in a few weeks.
3) Biggest Loser – Croatia
And on the flipside to our biggest winners, Croatia becomes our biggest losers as they lost against Mexico and were eliminated in the group stage.
4) Best Tweet
— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) June 23, 2014
5) Biggest Surprise – Fernando Torres
For once, Fernando Torres didn’t screw up a scoring chance so there’s that. There weren’t really any surprises that took place today.
6) Best Moment – David Villa David Villa ended his international career with class on and off the field. His goal in the 36th minute was superb and you had to feel for him as he was in tears after being subbed off in the 55th minute. David Villa will play for the new MLS team, NYCFC next year.
7) Best Goal – David Villa Neymar’s goals were great but you can’t argue with a back heel. Way to cap off an international career David Villa.
8) Extra Time –
If I was a professional soccer player, I would love to play for a manager like Miguel Herrera. The man wears his emotions on his sleeve, he kind of looks like a cross between Rudy and Chris Farley and the man can rock a Hall of Fame mullet. What’s not to love about him?
— SportsNation (@SportsNation) June 23, 2014
Group D: Uruguay vs Italy (11:30 AM, ESPN), Natal
The big game of the day. One of these top teams in the world will be knocked out in the group stage. This has the makings of a classic and there really is no favorite in this game. Uruguay must win the game in order to advance because Italy has the tiebreaker. Not only are these teams fighting for survival, but if England beats Costa Rica, the winner can potentially be top of the group depending on goal differential. More than likely, Costa Rica will still take the group. My advice is to sit back and enjoy this game.
Group D: England vs Costa Rica (11:30 AM, ESPN2), Belo Horizonte
If I were to tell you that one of these teams was going to be 1st in the group and had already clinched a knockout round spot and the other team was going to be 4th and eliminated, you would have said England was going to be 1st and Costa Rica 4th. Okay, no one would’ve said England was going to be 1st but everyone thought Costa Rica was going to be 4th. Yeah, just like the rest of the World Cup, Costa Rica is going for the top of the group and England is trying not to completely embarrass themselves. Belo Horizonte is the same place where the United States defeated England in the “Miracle on Grass” during the 1950 World Cup. Can history repeat itself and England loses to a CONCACAF team for the second time in the World Cup.
Group C: Japan vs Colombia (3:30 PM, ESPN), Cuiabá
Barring an Ivory Coast beatdown on Greece and/or Japan dominating Colombia, Colombia will win the group regardless of result. You can bet Japan will be fighting and clawing to get that 2nd spot. Japan needs to win and 2nd place in Group C means that they will likely play Costa Rica in the Round of 16. Even though Costa Rica has been a dangerous team in this World Cup, I think I would take my chances going against Costa Rica than Uruguay or Italy.
Group C: Greece vs Ivory Coast (3:30 PM, ESPN2), Fortaleza
Ivory Coast and Greece fall under a similar predicament. Both teams are fighting for the 2nd spot and the possible date with Costa Rica. While they have a mathematical possibility to get 2nd, I can’t see Greece making up the goal differential to get the spot. They need to score, at minimum, two goals and it doesn’t seem like they even want to score one, much less two at the very least.