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 – Soccer in America
This World Cup has been one of the most competitive, high scoring and exciting World Cups and it couldn’t come at a better time for soccer fans in the United States. The USA/Ghana game may not have been the most beautiful but it did its job. The US got the win and in very dramatic fashion. Like a Hollywood action movie, you had the opening sequence (Dempsey’s goal), the plot development and conflict for the protagonist (injuries and Ghana’s goal) and then the climax (Brooks’ goal). More and more people are getting behind the US team and watching the sport. I have personally seen fewer “soccer is boring” and “soccer sucks” comments than in previous years. I believe this is the year soccer is no longer a “taboo” for Americans to follow and soccer finally makes it as a mainstream sport in the United States.
2) Standout Performer – Thomas Müller
Thomas Müller is 24 years old. In seven World Cup games, Müller has eight goals. The FIFA World Cup record for goals in a career is 15 by Brazil’s Ronaldo. I don’t know why he isn’t considered one of the best players in the world because he certainly loves to score on the big stage but he seems to not mind. A hat trick today puts him half way to the record and if he plays his cards right, Müller has at least two more World Cups in order to destroy that record.
3) Biggest Loser – Everyone who watched all 90 minutes of Iran vs. Nigeria Yeah I’m not going to lie, that game was tough to get through. Maybe we’re just all spoiled now when compared to the rest of the games but it was a whole lot of nothing. Well enough talk about that game.
4) Best Tweet – This is the first game of the Group Stage
5) Biggest Surprise – The evisceration of Portugal Many people will look at the Pepe red card as the tipping point for Germany and that was what got them over the hump to beat Portugal. Quite honestly, Germany was already up 2-0 before the red and were well on their way to winning anyway. Portugal relied way too heavily on Ronaldo and he didn’t go back on defense, leaving wide open spaces for the Germans to take advantage. I don’t know where Portugal should be placed in the FIFA rankings but they definitely shouldn’t be 4th in the world. I would put them closer to where the USA is in 13th.
6) Best Moment – John Brooks Oh to be a 21 year old making your debut for the US Men’s National Team in the World Cup and scoring the game winning goal. I’ll admit that I have criticized the man for not being ready but he definitely proved me and a lot of others wrong.
7) Best Goal – Clint Dempsey
It was a toss up between Mats Hummels, John Brooks or Clint Dempsey but Dempsey’s won due to the individual setup of the play. Dempsey weaves in and out and clinically finishes in the first 30 seconds. Simply stunning goal and it set the course of the game.
8) Extra Time – Easily the best dressed at the World Cup
General Patton is alive pic.twitter.com/GHmn9UY7ua
— jake bouldien (@superBowl_dien) June 16, 2014
Belgium vs. Algeria 12PM, ESPN
The first game of the day begins Group H as Belgium faces Algeria. Belgium is the concensus favorite so Algeria will be hoping to limit the damage. After Belgium, it becomes a wide open group so all three teams (along with Russia and South Korea) will be looking to at least get a draw against Belgium and then fight it out among themselves for the 2nd spot. If Algeria can park the bus and somehow sneak in a goal, you may see another upset. Just don’t be shocked if this becomes a slow paced, defensive game.
Brazil vs. Mexico 3 PM, ESPN
The beginning of the second round of the group stage pits Brazil and Mexico. Both teams won in their first game so if there is a winner in this game, they will be the first team to clinch the knockout stage in this World Cup. Brazil looked like they needed a little help from the refs to get the win against Croatia while on the flipside, it seemed like Mexico was on the wrong side of the refs, though they still beat Cameroon. Will we see more of the same?
Russia vs. South Korea 6 PM, ESPN
The final game of the first round of the group stage concludes with Russia going against South Korea. Russia is the favorite for the 2nd spot in the group but I have always been hesitant to pencil them in for that position. I believe Russia will struggle and leave the door open for Algeria and South Korea. Points will be so valuable in these games as Belgium pulls away with the group stage win.