Match Notes – Brazil vs. Germany


No offense.

Worse yet, no defense. Portugal had C-Ron holding back on almost every ball downfield against the US. Yesterday, David Luiz and Hulk couldn’t be arsed to play defense. Marcelo was a hot mess, all over the field. Germans going unmarked from left to right. Seven goals in that environment? Not a big surprise.

My pre-match prediction was Brazil 1-2 Germany, and that Brazil had to score in the first 30′ to hold the home crowd. By 27′, they were down five.

That’s enough. Onward to the final for the Germans.


Match Notes – Netherlands v. Costa Rica


The Dutch were aggressive, but had no sense of urgency throughout the match. After all, they’ve got Robben and Van Perse. From beginning to end, Arjen Robben attacked. And attacked. He created opportunities that the Ticos shut down. Every single time. Costa Rica had a few opportunities, with youngster Joel Campbell creating several of them. (It’s hard to call Campbell an “Arsenal man,” even though the side owns him, since he’s never played for them, having been loaned out to several clubs. We’ll see if Wenger brings him to Emirates this year.)h

Dutch attack, Navas saves. Dutch attack, the back line clears. Van Persie gets a ball, but the Ticos stepped up on him, offside. And again. Then Lens. Back to RVP. Robben still feeding balls in via corner kicks and crosses, only for them to be punched out or to have a Tico step up and clear.

Still, 60′ no urgency among the Dutch. 70′, still the same. Costa Rica began to run out of gas. Ruiz made a few breaks, only to get chopped down by an incredibly tough defense.

And so it went, up to 90′ and stoppage. Then 105′ and stoppage. At 111′, Dutch striker Klass Jan Huntelaar entered play. He couldn’t repeat the magic he created against Mexico. Then, at 120′, just before stoppage after the second extra time period, Dutch goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen was replaced by his backup, Tim Krul. Stoppage runs out and the match goes to kicks from the penalty spot.

But here’s the thing. Instead of having their starting goalkeeper, who’s played 120′ on the pitch, the Dutch put in a ringer, a specialist. Barring a major catastrophe, a backup keeper warms the bench. Not just for a single match, but for the entire tournament. Even when you’re beating the crap out of a team, you leave in the keeper, so they can get the “clean sheet,” the shutout. For kicks, though, is a guy who’s given it all for regulation plus extra time a good idea?

Not when you’ve got a specialist.

In the Women’s World Cup Final, 2011, Japan’s keeper, Ayumi Kaihori, blocked THREE kicks by USA players. All I could think while watching her performance was, “She’s studied them. She’s watched a lot of tape.” She knew where the Americans would kick. So did Krul.

And the Dutch go on to take on Argentina.

Match notes, Argentina v Belgium #ARGvBEL


The takeaway from this match is simple: Argentina scored because Belgium worried too much about Messi. After that, Belgium couldn’t make the most of a lot of opportunities. Argentina didn’t park the bus, but they played a very deliberate game after the goal. Messi still went after the ball and the net, when given the chance.

Had Belgium been in a “group of death,” it’s quite possible they would not have even made the knockout stage.

Brazil v. Colombia – match notes #BRAvCOL

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7′ – Fred is awful, but Thiago Silva isn’t!

The other takeaway of the first half is the lack of law enforcement. A tremendous number of fouls, but the Spanish referee, Velasco, kept his cards in his pocket.

In the second half, things got stupid. Brazil’s diving led to Neymar just getting creamed. Colombia makes up for Marcelo’s horrible tackles when Cuadrado gets his revenge on Neymar. If you’re going to get back at Brazil for Marcelo, take down Neymar, who left the game injured. Not sure if it’s something he can shake off by the semi-final.

64′ Thiago Silva is stupid, taking down Ospina as the Colombian keeper started to punt out. Now Silva misses the Germany match.

66′ It’s not just the referee, as the AR on the side of the Brazil goal makes the first of three horrible offside calls. Should be a goal for Colombia, but still 1-nil.

69′ Can’t argue with David Luiz’s goal, but it should be 2-1, not 2-nil.

78′ Any other referee would have sent Julio Cesar off, rather than just a yellow. At least Rodriguez scores on the penalty kick, 2-1. That has incredible significance beyond the match, since no Julio Cesar agains Germany would have been a catastrophe.

Still, Colombia had several opportunities and they failed to convert them. Hard to say they were robbed, even though there’s a stain on the match.


Disappointment for the Bit O’Red in Lithuania

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Sligo Rovers drew FC Banga, nil-nil, in Gargždai, Lithuania, yesterday, in the first round of Europa League play. While not as bad a result as a loss, a scoreless draw means Rovers must win the home leg of the round. An away goal would’ve been nice!

Match report here.


Happy July 4th!

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YatSoccer returns to active duty today! This was the plan for several months now, but the hope was that Team USA (known by the hashtag #USMNT for US Men’s National Team) would still be playing in Brazil. Soccer goes on outside of Brazil, of course, with Europa League already under way, and the top-flight leagues in Europe not far behind. Major League Soccer (MLS) here in the US never stopped.

Our local side here in New Orleans, the New Orleans Jesters, just wrapped up their season, but you’ll see us sharing club news until the Jesters return next summer. Same goes for #USMNT and American Outlaws.

In terms of other content, you’ll find I’ll be talking about MLS in the US, the Barcalay’s Premier League in England, Airtricity League (Ireland), the UEFA Champions League, and the UEFA Europa League.

My teams: Arsenal, San Jose Earthquakes, and Sligo Rovers (FAI). Want more? Contact me, I’ll fix you up so you can write about your team(s).

So, Germany have just advanced to the semi finals. Let’s see if Brazil can do the same.