Day 20 – The Home of the Brave
By Gabriel Cazotto
Two spectacular games, the essence of the World Cup defines this 1st of July.
In the afternoon, in a Sao Paulo crowded with almost 10,000 Argentines everywhere inside the financial heart of
the country, saw Hitzfeld set a trap for Argentina; while Di Maria, Higuaín and Messi attacked; Djourou and Schär pitched a line behind
Shaqiri, Xhaka and Mehmedi, where they delivered the ball to Shaqiri, the most skilled one, that quickly created counterattacks by the
weak Argentine sidelines. One was almost deadly, when Romero defended a ball from Shaqiri to Mehmedi.
The Swiss ran incessantly under the heat of São Paulo, strange for a city known for the rain. Argentina came
hard in the second half to decide without overtime, without penalties, to avoid what Brazil suffered two days before. The crowd chanted,
Messi was inefficient, who dictated the game was Di Maria, and when Di Maria appeared, Benaglio also appeared on a day that would be
spectacular for goalkeepers.
Benaglio, Djourou and Schär held as they could Di Maria after Higuaín and Palacio also failed their attempts.
There comes the 4th overtime of the Round of 16 (which would become 5 at night). Over 120 minutes in the heat of 2 pm, Shaqiri ran on
the pitch as if he was running through a Marathon, almost 12 Km 12 Km! Benaglio was defending everything.
The clock ticked 127 minutes when Messi, disappeared through the entire game, Appeared! And Messi is that,
he just needs three minutes, dribbled, and passed the ball for Di Maria, to Angel Di Maria, the Argentine Angel who put in the corner
of Benaglio’s goal. Argentina 1x0.
Switzerland was dead? No. An aerial ball and Dzemaili hit the post with a header, the rebound face to face the
ball goes wide. If God is Brazilian, as they say, and Angel Di Maria was a true Angel, this ball had the hand of the Pope, the Argentine
The night came and again another fantastic game decided in overtime. Belgium, a more technical side dominated
the match, the more tactical U.S. counter-attacked well down the left with Beasley. Bradley was the brain; even with the 4 in his back
Michael Bradley is a typical number 10 of the 70/80 of Brazilian football. He stopped, thinking the play, arming, time stops for moments
for him to create, to him the field was a landed estate, and he put Wondolowski in front of the goal in the injury time of the second
half who would qualify the Americans. Wondolowski failed.
But if the attack was ineffective, Howard did the impossible.... and yes, really the impossible. Tim Howard
defended incredible 16 shots. 16 Shots, a record in World Cup history. Belgium won in overtime when the American Physical condition
relented, and Lukaku, a monster physically killed the U.S. at the beginning of the overtime. Nothing to let the Americans retreat
(as Always), they continued to try, and almost scored another, in a well-rehearsed move made ??the in a foul. Howard and the U.S.
honored the American Anthem; they were truly the "Home of the Brave".
Man of the Matches:
Angel di Maria - ARG
Tim Howard - USA
My World Cup team so far (4-2-1-3):
Coach: Louis van Gaal
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