WC 2014 Column


 

Day 18 and 19 - The Pride of Porto Alegre



By Gabriel Cazotto

    Holland and Mexico clashed on the hottest day of the World Cup, that’s why the need for two technical stops during the game.

    Both teams had already made an epic game in France in 1998 with Luis Hernandez and Richard Pelaez putting the Aztecs backs in the game and sorting Mexico to the round of 16. Why remember this moment?

    Because in 1998 during the Round of 16 the Mexican National Team met with Germany, scored 1x0, dominated the match until 15 minutes from second half, when they decided to defend, and Germany, with goals from Klinsmann and Bierhoff turned the game upside for Germans. Sounds familiar?

    Well that's what happened in Fortaleza. The Evil of Montezuma. The evil of never passing to the quarterfinal. Once again, Mexico was afraid of winning. Made 1x0 ??with Giovani dos Santos, best player while on field, until retreated to defend too early.

    There appeared the Dutch duo of the infernal trio. Van Persie wasn’t well, while Kuyt played a fantastic match as both left-and right-back; and Robben was again fantastic, but alone could not tie the game, so the 2010 star reappeared, Sneijder, tied a game with a spectacular shot, right after a penalty conceded in Robben, Huntelaar scored and qualified the Dutch, as always Mexico played as ever, but lost as ever.

    At night, the most exotic game of the tournament, Costa Rica and Greece, which as the Greek philosopher Socrates said, "The beginning of wisdom is the admission of own ignorance. All my knowledge consists in knowing that I know nothing." Greece knows they have no technique or skill to play in the attack, so they play the only way they know, play over the opponent's mistake, and tried to repeat the miracle of 10 years ago.

    Costa Rica scored 1-0, Navas, the best goalkeeper in the World Cup stopped everything, when the Greek phalanx, attacking with their sarissas, swords and hoplons consecrated what they wanted with Sokratis, not the philosopher, but the defender, equalized in the final in an excellent play by Cholevas.

    The Greeks would later succumb on penalties, Navas, the best goalkeeper of the World Cup (redundancy is required) defended the only one need and sent the first Central American country to a quarter-final of the World Cup.

    The other day began with one of the few games in the second round (along with Colombia vs. Uruguay) in which an opponent was far superior to the other. France completely dominated the actions of the game against Nigeria. But Les Bleus where going nowhere with an uninspired Giroud and Benzema.

    In the second half, Deschamps changed the team, added Griezmann in place of Giroud, positioned Benzema as striker; let Valbuena control the match tempo and Pogba reborn as the excellent young player of Juventus. Neither this way the French could pass through Enyeama, who was making a miracle after another.... until he failed. And the failure was mortal, Pogba made 1x0. Enough to relax France to score the second goal in an own goal by Yobo.

    France goes through, and every time they passed the first round they reached at least the semi-finals. Now, they will face the mighty Germans.

    If the game of the afternoon was warm, we had to wait until nightfall for the most amazing game of the tournament so far and one of the most epic of all time (Stay tuned for the book I'm writing about the greatest World Cup matches). This will also enter together with the allusion they brought. Algeria and Germany faced each other in in 1982; Algeria stunned the world in her first World Cup and beat the European Champions of 1980, Germany.

    The result was so drastic, that the only other two times that Germany lost to a non-European team were two final matches one for Argentina and one for Brazil. But in 1982, after this game, Germany and Austria prompted what would be called the “Shame of Gijon”, knowing that a 1x0 to West Germany would qualify both and eliminate Algeria they played only for 10 minutes, until Hrubesch scored and both teams stayed at their own field Exchange dumb passes to each other. Eliminating the brave Algerian to a furious crowd.

    Then came 2014, Germany and Algeria would face again, but in a most amazing way. To show their vengeance Algeria dominated the first half, Lacen and Mostefa did an outstanding match stopping Schweinsteiger and Kroos. When Germany attacked, M'Bolhi was there to made a spectacular game. Play after play, Algeria attacked, Neuer saved, Müller attacked, Rais defended it for 90 minutes? No, no.... 120, 123 minutes, the entire overtime at full strength, at full speed at full bravery, enough for the 2x1 from Germany and their qualification to the quarter finals. But the bravery of both erased from history the "Shame of Gijon" and shows today, the world, the "Pride of Porto Alegre".

Man of the Matches:

Wesley Sneijder - NED
Keylor Navas - CRC
Mathieu Valbuena - FRA
Raïs M'Bolhi - ALG



 

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