World Cup 2014: The Story So Far

worldcup (easports)

With the World Cup group stages now having come to an end, we’re here to provide a full review of the action over the last week, as people get geared up for the knockout rounds. There have been plenty of twists and turns in this World Cup so far, and you can find out how all the groups ended right here.

Group A:

Brazil were in a strong position at the end of the first week, having beaten Croatia and earned a draw against Mexico. With their final group game this week, they put a tepid Cameroon side to the sword, winning 4-1. Neymar notched another two goals, adding to his claim to be the tournament’s star performer. Even more encouraging for the host side, the under-fire striker Fred notched his first goal of the tournament, easing the pressure a little. But Brazil will need big improvements, with the knockout rounds up next.

Mexico emerged victorious in their winner-takes-all game against Croatia, securing their passage to the first knockout round. In a tense, tight affair like this, the first goal was always likely to prove vital. That it didn’t come until the 72nd minute was perhaps disappointing, with both sides nullifying the other. Croatia couldn’t cut it offensively, and captain Rafael Marquez was able to break the deadlock, giving the Mexicans a lead they would not surrender, eventually winning out 3-1.

Group B:

With Chile facing the Netherlands in the final group game in Group B, the only thing left to decide was what order the two would take in qualifying from the group. Both knew ahead of time the difference in finishing first was avoiding playing Brazil, so a win was vital to both sides chances of going a long way in the tournament. Another game that went to the final quarter goalless, a Leroy Fer header opened the scoring for the Netherlands, before Memphis Depay added the securing second in injury time. The Dutch will go on to play Mexico in the next round,while Chile will have to battle it out with Brazil.

Group C:

Colombia stormed to the top of Group C, claiming victories over Ivory Coast and Japan in their final two group games. The Ivory Coast were second best for long spells in their game, only coming back into the reckoning after a Gervinho solo effort reduced the deficit to 2-1, but Colombia held on for the win, before decimating Japan 4-1 in their final game to secure top spot. Colombia really have been one of the tournament’s most impresssive teams so far.

The group’s second place came down to the final game between Greece and Ivory Coast. The Greek side had been average in the two opening games, but were headed for qualification after Andreas Samiris put them a goal up before half-time. Wilfried Bony equalised for the Ivory Coast in the 74th minute, and they looked to be heading through until Georgios Samaras earned his side an inury-time penalty, which he duly converted, sending Greece through to the last sixteen.

Group D:

Costa Rica shocked the footballing world by topping Group D,ahead of three former World Cup winners. They secured a deserved 1-0 victory over Italy in game two, with a Bryan Ruiz header and some capable defending securing the points. A goalless draw against an already-eliminated English side sent them through on top of the table, which sees them play Greece next time out.

Uruguay and Italy squared off to decide who would grab second place, and it promptly turned into an ugly affair for all concerned. Luis Suarez claimed the headlines for all the wrong reasons, with an apparent bite on Italy defender Georgio Chiellini. Diego Godin scored moments later to send Uruguay through, but Suarez (and his subsequent four month ban) is the big talking point. Uruguay’s prize for winning is a bout with Colombia.

Group E:

France effectiely conquered Group E in game two with total destruction of a Swiss side who capitulated early, conceding two goals in quick succession before eventually losing 5-2 to the French. A goalless draw against Ecuador guaranteed France top spot in the end.

The Swiss still managed to escape the group, despite the trouncing they received from France. They beat Honduras 3-0 in the final game, with a Xherdan Shaqiri hat-trick doing the damage. In the end though, it was the injury time winner in game one against Ecuador that made the difference for the Swiss.

Group F:

Argentina claimed all nine points in Group F, but not without a fight. After their struggles against Bosnia and Herzegovina first time out, Argentina had to wait for an inury time Lionel Messi wonderstrike to beat Iran 1-0, before only just overcoming Nigeria 3-2 in the final group match. Argentina are through to play Switzerland, but really need to improve, fast.

Second place came down to Bosnia and Herzegovina versus Nigeria in game two, effectively. Peter Odemwingie scored the game’s only goal, but Edin Dzeko had a seemingly good goal ruled out, and they never took their chances to snatch an equaliser, with the defeat knocking them out. Nigeria advance to play France in the next round.

Group G:

Germany ran out winners, but without any great comfort. Ghana held the Germans to a surprise 2-2 draw in game two, meaning they needed a result in the final game against USA to secure a top place finish. They achieved this through a 1-0 win via a Thomas Muller winner, but leaving the Germans with plenty to think about ahead of the knockout stages.

USA qualified second, despite defeat in the final game. The Americans  made it much tougher than it had to be, as they led Portugal 2-1 deep in stoppage time in game two, only to concede a sloppy equaliser after losing possession. Nonetheless, they qualified ahead of Portugal on goal difference.

Group H:

Belgium secured nine points and top spot in three one goal wins in Group H. Having come back to win 2-1 against Algeria, they edged out two one-nil wins against Russsia and South Korea.  Belgium top the group without a single strong performance, and face USA in a tough last sixteen game.

Algeria squeaked through in second place, having seen off the Koreans with a first-half onslaught in game two, eventually winning 4-2. They secured the necessary draw against a disappointing Russian side in the last game, and advance as a surprise package to face Germany in the knockout phase.

Second round fixtures:

Brazil V Chile

Colombia V Uruguay

Netherlands V Mexico

Costa Rica V Greece

France V Nigeria

Germany V Algeria

Argentina V Switzerland

Belgium V USA

Image courtesy of EA Sports

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: