The World Cup provided some big time surprises today. Unfortunately for Africa, they have no participants left with 6 teams remaining in the prestigious event. Ghana put up a valiant effort, but a missed penalty kick by their star player and a poor showing in the shootout proved to be their demise. It appeared that nerves got the best of a very strong Ghana squad.
And in the other game, the team that everyone thought was invincible. The team that spent over half of its matches toying with opponents. The team that was 35-0-2 in games where they led heading into halftime was beaten. The Netherlands knocked out the mighty Brazilians. And who is to say that this team cannot take home the Cup?
The Netherlands are playing a Uruguay team in the semifinals, whom nobody expected to make noise in this tourney. They will be heavily favored and look ready to make their first finals appearance since 1978. There will be quite a celebration tonight in the Red Light District and I can only imagine the party if this team wins their next 2 matches. July 11th will be a day forever remembered in Dutch history if they can continue this improbable run.
It was really just shocking to see the mighty Brazilians lose. Kaka, who is Brazil’s form of Derek Jeter, was unable to deliver on this day. The Brazilians had never lost a match with both Kaka and Robinho in the lineup (they were 30-0-4 before today). I will admit I enjoyed watching the Brazilians play. They are the Yankees of soccer. Many people from around the world either love or hate these guys. But everyone has an opinion.
But I will also say this. They are one of the most cocky group of guys I have ever seen. These dudes were really good, and believe me, they knew it. Who doesn’t like to watch basketball players put on fancy moves and no look passes? Well Brazil plays a fancy brand of soccer that people enjoy to watch. And you know what, this may have proved to be what killed them in the end. No Brazilian player completed 40 passes in the entire tournament. And the team struggled with passing accuracy. How about we get back to the fundamentals?
The Brazilians had made a mockery of most of their opponents up to this point. Well it appeared things were going to be that way today when Robinho scored in the 10th minute. This was the mighty Brazilians. A team that was ranked number one in the world and had cruised into the quarterfinals.
Not sure what was said in the locker room at halftime to the Dutch players, but it had to have been a Knute Rockne like speech. Because these guys came out ready to play. They scored 8 minutes into the 2nd half and then scored again at the 68 minute mark. The Netherlands probably felt like the 1980 US Hockey team trying to hold the lead over the mighty Russians after Eruzione scored at the 10 minute marker.
This was no miracle on ice. This was no Muhammad Ali knockout of Joe Frazier.
But it was a big time victory in Dutch history that will not soon be forgotten.
Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.