WC 2014 Column


Days 23 and 24 – The Krul Movement

By Gabriel Cazotto

    After the position of the goalkeeper, the player who always gets asked when your favourite team loses is the Central Defender. The defender who could have stopped the play with a free kick, who could have kicked the ball outbound rather than dominated. The Defender Always seem as villain.

    A position that made terrible players in quality, but who have also created Beckenbauers, Baresis, Scireas, Bobby Moores and Domingos da Guia.

The Central Defender.

    The Central Defender who Friday had its day in the World Cup. Actually three central defenders set the qualification of Germany and Brazil for a semi-final.

    Germany controlled the first game of such a facility against France that the game was almost monotonous, the only change was in the final of the game when Neuer stopped Valbuena and Benzema. Earlier, Hummels, one of the best of the tournament was the author's goal in a header that made Germany, eliminate for the third time France of a World Cup (82, 86 and 14).

    Germany, the efficient Germany, who always passed from first round since 1938, which reached three finals in a row between 82 and 90, and now coming for the first time in four straight semi-finals and faces the executioner of their last final they reached, the home team, Brazil.

    Brazil, which for the first time in the tournament (except for the match against the awful Cameroon) played dominant with the ball in the midfield with an almost non-existent Neymar, Oscar stole balls, and created chances to Hulk and Marcelo very well in the left because Maicon replaced Daniel Alves in an absurdly better way. A confidence that Brazil reached after an early goal by one of the villains of round of 16 (villain? But Brazil has passed), but Thiago Silva was severely criticized for lacking leadership, by crying, seeing in Brazilian society as something a man cant do, a leader can’t do. Crying is noble, it is a sign of nobility, and nobility in his touch to open the score and soothe what could be a nervous game.

    Brazil, finally playing at home, and well for the first time. When Colombia began to threaten, came the third cog of the day of central defenders, and perhaps one of the best player in the World Cup, the charismatic David Luiz (which would give further proof of his charisma in the end), in a perfect free-kick, as if it was volleyball tap in. Brazil 2x0. Colombia settled. James, the brilliant James still has a penalty for making 2x1.

    But it was already finished; Brazil and Germany face off for the second time in history for a place in Maracanã. David Luiz honoured James with the honour and nobility that a central defender must have; honour and nobility who Zuniga didn’t have, after violent fouling Neymar and taking him off the World Cup with a knee to his back. As I said, the world creates Baresis, but also creates the Zunigas.

    The next day, Holland played very well from the start, controlling the actions. Robben, van Persie and Sneijder again the Dutch "golden trio" dictated the game. With the speed of Robben, van Persie’s cunning or the genius of Sneijder, Netherlands could have won in the normal time, were three balls hit the bar and Navas made about 6 spectacular saves.

The brave Costa Rica, who arrived where nobody ever believed, took the game to penalties.

    But, there is a move in chess called the Marshall movement. Where the chess player sacrifices his queen to checkmate the opponent. Van Gaal did just that in the game against Costa Rica.

    Van Gaal, the chess player, move his piece, he took of the starter keeper Cillessen, sacrificing his “queen” and put the giant Krul, only to defend the penalties. He was severely criticized for some sort of “lacked confidence” in his starter goalkeeper. Not at all, Van Gaal doesn’t care, as in a Machiavellian methodology, for him the ends justify the means to the victory of the Dutch squad. If he can sacrifice a player for other and win the cup, he will do it, he has the guts. The guts that are essential for a Netherlands who wants to win its first World Cup.

    And the Krul movement did by van Gaal prove to be perfect; in 5 penalties he stopped two. For the second time then the Netherlands is in the semi-finals, as in the '70s. Faces and Argentina, 1978 executioner and whom the Dutch defeated in 1998, when they arrived, also in the semi-finals.

    Earlier that day, Argentina dominated an almost dull game and settled the match with Belgium in 8 minutes. Messi was the shade of himself of other games, Di Maria was injured and perhaps will miss the rest of the World Cup (some claim he might play the final) but Agüero is back. Belgium reached the quarterfinals, congratulations, but in a style that was not what everybody expected with the amount of talent the Red Devils has, especially in an easy group, as they were questionable seeded. Against Argentina they did not know when to defend and when to attack. They have a lot to improve.

    If the first phase was technically one of the best in history with everybody calling 2014 as the "Cup of Cups", in the further rounds the quality lost a lot, though the thrill of 5 overtime in the Round of 16 has been sensational, the quarter finals were awful at the very end, and as I said, for me the World Cup is more remembered for the knockout round rather than the group stage.

Sad, but that is expected to change with two fantastic semi-finals.

Man of the Matches:

Mats Hummels - GER
David Luiz - BRA
Gonzalo Higuaín - ARG
Tim Krul - NED



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