Day 6 of the FIFA World Cup is in the can, and try as certain teams might, this tournament keeps getting shinier. We have now seen every nation in action and two teams twice… before we had even seen two other teams play once, which was a little odd.
Some thoughts on the day…
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• As Sid Seixeiro said on Tuesday’s Tim & Sid show, if you are a Manchester United fan you likely vomited while watching Marouane Fellaini look like Marouane Fellaini for Belgium against Algeria. The big man was brought on and played in his preferred advanced role where he caused all sorts of problems for the Africans. I am still not sure whether he is a Champions League quality player, but I suppose that will not be a problem while Louis Van Gaal figures out exactly what he is next season at Old Trafford.
• Finally it hit me! I have been troubled for years whenever watching Thiago Silva play. Just who does he look like? Then bang, today, there it is! Milos Raonic! I know Milos is an FC Barcelona fan and spends much of the year in the Catalan capital, and there were serious rumours that Thiago might one day end up there. Now Barca can play the “long lost brother” card.
• There are nil-nil matches, and then there are nil-nil matches! Brazil vs. Mexico was a nil-nil that resembled nothing of the Iran vs. Nigeria nil-nil from Monday. This was a good match and once again Mexico resembles nothing of the shambolic side that struggled through qualifying. Manager Miguel Herrera has worked some weird kind of magic since taking over just prior to the playoff win over New Zealand. He has had such little time with this team but they are as organized as we have seen in Brazil. Assuming Croatia beats Cameroon on Wednesday, Mexico vs. Croatia is going to be must watch TV.
• So what if it is hyperbole, it is the damn World Cup after all—Guillermo Ochoa’s first half save on Neymar was as close to the Gordon Banks stop on Pele in 1970 as I have seen at a World Cup. Irresistible and to think this guy is out of contract at Ajaccio. You know those players who ink silly deals after strong World Cups? Ochoa could be one of them.
• First it was Robert Green, and now Igor Akinfeev with brutal howlers in back to back World Cups! The common denominator? Fabio Capello! The Italian was at the helm of England four years ago and is now cashing one enormous pay cheque with Russia, so clearly it is his fault. Likely his goalkeepers operate under such intense fear that they are prone to breaking. In all seriousness, Capello is reportedly as stern and old school now as he was with England, one of a dying breed. Athletes in modern sport just do not thrive under such stewardship.
• At least we are not blaming the ball this year. The Jabulani is a thing of the past. That being said isn’t it about time we get to see a piece of dead ball brilliance? I promise I am not complaining, I am still as happy as a dog in muck!