Day 11 of the FIFA World Cup is behind us and clearly the group stage has delivered thus far.
Have we ever enjoyed 11 days of soccer more? Not in my memory and that includes some outrageous European Championships. Now it is gut-check time, an opportunity for teams to get to “the show.” Fingers crossed, high intensity matches still allow us to enjoy open, attacking footy.
My thoughts from Sunday.
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• Michael Bradley. I would not want to be anywhere near the Toronto FC star this evening. As intense an athlete as I have ever met, I envision him returning to his hotel room, and self-flagulating throughout the night. Bradley was superb against Portugal, but his giveaway that led to the tying goal at the death was… well, so un-Michael-Bradley-like. His earlier miss was understandable and was more about Costa’s brilliant block than being an error. But the giveaway, to Eder of all people, will haunt him for a long time.
• The USA are traditionally Canada’s rivals, of course, and we should try as hard as possible to dislike them. But how the hell do you dislike this team? If England had half their character and swagger, maybe I’d still be emotionally attached to Brazil 2014.
• Cristiano Ronaldo showed some glimpses of what he is, but sadly they were only glimpses. For all his faults, Ronaldo is as tough as they come. I presume he is playing through some serious pain at this World Cup which is a tragedy for the tournament. That being said, his cross for the final goal was absolutely world-class!
• Jermaine Jones may not speak much English, but boy can he curl the football with some serious English! It might be easy to question Beto or even Nani, but no one was going to stop that thing from bulging the back of the net.
• Jurgen Klinsmann looked more American than ever tonight. Wearing that Stars and Stripes t-shirt with the beige chino’s and running shoes; he stepped right out of some terrible 90s sit-com. Everybody Likes Jurgen?
• Russia needs to win their final match to advance. Snicker. Maybe Don Fabio will release Dzagoev and Kerzakhov for a full match? That would sure be nice of you Fabio. Playing for a draw in this tournament? Really? I get it, yeah, but how about you show some positivity, rather than over-thinking EVERYTHING! This is probably a great example of why I will never coach, and Capello has won a lot of trophies, but it just upsets me. Pretty sure a few million Russians agree with me.
• It is time for Marc Wilmots to start the boy Origi, right? Lukaku has looked out of sorts, while in two sub appearances the Lille youngster has been brilliant. Amazing that if not for Christian Benteke’s injury he wouldn’t even be in Brazil.
• Sportsnet enters the live-match fold on Monday! Bring on the drama!
Monday programming alert: Watch Australia vs. Spain (at 11:30 am ET) and Croatia vs. Mexico (at 3:45 pm ET) live on all four main Sportsnet channels. | TV schedule