- Slovakia – They lost to Netherlands and are out of the competition. But they’ve done so well. This was their first appearance at the World Cup finals. And they sent the defending champions, Italy, home and they got to the round of 16. Simply fantastic! I hope to see more of them and their coach in future Euro and World Cup tourneys.
- Netherlands – Okay, they are playing really well. Arlen Robben’s goal was spectacular. And all that orange. What’s not to love. The Dutch face Brazil next and what a game that will be!
- Brazil – This team basically snuffed out the Chileans, who came second to Brazil in their World Cup qualifications. I still think that Brazil has not really been tested in this World Cup. One can only imagine what they are capable of, kinda scary. They, like the Argentinians, are very relaxed. If they are feeling pressured, it’s certainly not showing. Yesterday, I predicted that Netherlands would beat Brazil in their quarterfinal match. Who am I kidding, Brazil looks unstoppable. The beautiful game is back 🙂
- Which brings me to the teams of the Americas – A total of 8 countries represented the two continents of North and South America. All but Honduras made it to the round of 16 – a phenomenal record. This World Cup, although on African soil, may turn out to be the World Cup of the Americas.
- FIFA Referees – I was going to rant about the inconsistent refereeing across the tournament, the wrong calls in (dis)allowing goals, the need for FIFA to adopt goal line technology etc. But Sepp Blatter apologized this morning and FIFA has promised to revisit the adoption of tech issue. Ordinarily this apology would not be enough to appease me. I mean, we are fed up the state of refereeing in football. But, I’m laying off Mr. Blatter while this World Cup is going on. He’s been such a champion of African soccer of late. Once the World Cup is over, I revert to my critical side re: Blatter and his unending reign at FIFA.
- It’s been reported that the five cleaners have been jailed for stealing underwear from the England players. All the items were apparently recovered. I know South Africa means business and has vowed to crack down on crime during the World Cup. The country has even set up a special World Cup court. I bet the locals are wondering why it takes a world event for their authorities to get this tough on crime. Prison sentences are crazy long and can be quite ridiculous on this continent. One can be jailed for 2 years for stealing a chicken. But really, three years and a monetary fine for underwear. A bit excessive no? 😯 I could crack any number of jokes given England’s humiliating loss. But I shall lay off this one as well 😉 .
Well, that’s all for today. The two remaining matches of the round of 16 will be played today. Japan is playing Paraguay and I’m rooting for Japan. I’m loving Honda, the Japanese midfielder. Spain is up against Portugal; two favorites are mine, but I pick Portugal over Spain in honor of Jose Saramago. See, there is a reference to books and reading in the post after all.