WC 2014 Column


Day 9 - Viva Costa

By Gabriel Cazotto

    It was the Group of Death, 3 were World Champions that together totaled 7 titles in a total of 19. The fourth team was ... ah Costa Rica. "Well it will be like that 2010 Group, which had Brazil, Portugal and Ivory Coast who managed to destroy North Korea" was one of the phrases I heard during the draw period. But today, only Costa Viva, sorry Costa Rica is alive.

    For all the predictions made before the tournament Costa Rica would be the team that would be the one where the three champions would manage to get the goal difference need to qualify.

    Well, if that was the script to follow ... someone forgot to tell Costa Rica. Accustomed to being surprised, as I said before, Costa Rica surprised again, beat Italy 1-0, playing better, and this time if Campbell was not so great, Bryan Ruiz took the reins of the team in a fantastic header, the team captain and icon managed to command the squad perfectly during the match; along with the excellent goalkeeper Keylor Navas who is making a flawless tournament.

    Costa Rica today killed the first champion of the group even without face them, England; and automatically eliminated one of the two champions whom they already beat, since only one will survive from the clash between Uruguay and Italy o next Tuesday, with Azzurri playing for a draw.

    Not only that, but Costa Rica, if not thrashed by England, and this seems very unlikely, qualifying in first position will put in the road of Brazil, the ghost of Maracanazo of the ghost of Sarriá. Keep watching Costa Rica: Slayer of Champions.

    Who really behaved as champion, however, was France. After the failure of 2010 and the full reconstruction in four years, the team that depended exclusively on Ribéry learned to play without him, and very well. With "Le petit enfant" Valbuena setting the plays, supported by the three defensive midfielders Cabaye, Matuidi and Pogba; Griezmann or Giroud with Benzema in attack has shown the most beautiful football so far in the competition, and Benzema would have 5 goals in the World Cup if FIFA would not assign an own goal to Valladares and the referee today finishing the game in the instant Benzema made the 6th to France.

    Switzerland known for conceding only 1 goal in the last two World Cups, today conceded 5; Hitzfeld relied on a more technical team, undid the “bolt”, but was that so beneficial to the team? We'll see in a possible second round with Argentina, because even with Ecuador beating Honduras today in a game with more will than technique. (And that had an interesting fact, the Hondurans managed to not reach the bad record of being the country that took the most time to score in World Cups since they did in 1982 - for the record, Bolivia holds the record stood from 1930 to 1994), the Ecuadorian need to beat the reserve team of France (probable scenario), because a draw will not be enough if Switzerland beat Honduras.

Man of the Matches:

Bryan Ruiz - CRC
Karim Benzema - FRA
Enner Valencia - ECU



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