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 – Goal-line technology
Yes, it was vital to the psyche of France to get off to a winning start at this World Cup, however many questioned whether or not goal-line technology would work in the game of soccer. In its first use of the tournament it was a huge success. Sure, the second French goal was very close to the naked eye, but the ref called it a goal and the technology backed up what he saw. It avoided further controversy in a tournament that’s already had its fair share of it.
Goal-Line Technology. It works. pic.twitter.com/3zfnRXBmCh
— ESPN (@espn) June 15, 2014
We’ll show you further proof of just how not-close this was later on.
2) Standout Performer – Karim Benzema
I don’t care what the FIFA folks say, Benzema is an owner of a hattrick (the first of this World Cup) in my book and by the rulebook FIFA made and apparently can’t read. While Messi got an eight-year World Cup goal-scoring drought over with, Benzema was the class of the day thanks to his goals and his overall dominance of attack against Honduras. The final scoreline read Benzema 3, Honduras 0 – enough said.
3) Biggest Loser – FIFA rule book
Who needs a rulebook when you’ve got a corrupt organization to begin with, right? FIFA laws states:
“Shots that are on-target, goal-bound and touch a defender or rebound from the goal frame and rebound off a defender or goalkeeper shall not be an own-goal.”
Now, take a look at said goal…
…and you tell me how the hell that isn’t the clearest example of the definition given above?
4) Best Tweet – Proof positive that goal-line technology matches up with real life
Best I can get the still shot. pic.twitter.com/i16PANUIbP
— Andy Glockner (@AndyGlockner) June 15, 2014
FIFA put goal-line technology in to use for the first time at the World Cup and guess what, real life footage confirmed what the technology also saw. While it’s nice to have the technology in use, it was also nice to know that the ref had the call right with his naked eye.
5) Biggest Surprise – Still no ties
Switzerland made sure that the 2014 World Cup wouldn’t have it’s first tie, scoring with literally seconds left in the game to give them a massive 2-1 win over Ecuador in Group E play. The goal was amazing, but so is the fact that we’ve gone four days and 11 matches and not a single match has ended in a tie. This World Cup is on pace to be one of the highest scoring in history because of the lack of ties. A grand total of 37 goals have been scored for an average of 3.4 goals per match—a blistering pace indeed.
In fact, The Wire pretty much sums it up best here.
6) Best Moment – Switzerland’s last-second game-winning goal
You can’t ask for much better than that moment, unless it was say…a game winner that also put you through to the next round, #amiright
7) Best Goal – MESSI, MESSI, MESSI
Arguably the world’s best player at the club level, Messi got a huge monkey off his back by scoring just his second-ever World Cup goal early on in the tournament. It also just so happened to be classic Messi, and by that I mean pure class.
8) Extra Time – Skullet anyone?
— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) June 15, 2014
There’s no way in hell you can let this game day go without perhaps the best quaff of the tournament making an appearance. You’ve gotta give this guy props for commitment to the mullet even when the business in the front is gone, right?
Germany vs. Portugal 12PM, ESPN
Of all the group stage games, this is the best matchup of them all. Two of the top teams in international soccer going at it and the loser (cause we haven’t seen a single tie yet…jinks) is putting themselves in a very difficult situation. There are a lot of subplots to this one, like the health of Portugal striker Cristiano Ronaldo and Germany’s lack of an out-and-out striker on its roster. If either of those subplots play out badly, look for the other team to capitalize in a big way. What a way to start out day five, huh?
Nigeria vs. Iran 3PM, ESPN
No offense to either of these two squads, but considering the matches that surround this one—is anyone even thinking of this game? United States fans saw Nigeria get destroyed in Jacksonville leading up to this World Cup and Iran didn’t look much better in its preparation for this event. Ultimately, this could be the battle for who is or isn’t worst at this World Cup. So, my advice…stay at work, finish up whatever you need to for the day and then get your asses to the local watch party early for the USMNT game cause this one isn’t worth skipping out of work for.
United States vs. Ghana 6PM, ESPN
There isn’t a more important game for the United States or Ghana than this opener. Win it outright and the chances for qualification to the round of 16 jump dramatically, but tie it and that means having to likely win both games against Germany and Portugal (good luck with that). This matchup is steeped in bad history for the USMNT, as they’ve been bounced from the World Cup by Ghana in three straight World Cup’s. Avenging those losses in the “Group of Death” would be the best possible start for the Yanks.