Are we there yet? Nearly son.
Just four team are left and we have a couple of potential classic semi-finals in store for us during the week. Yep, there’s that ‘P’ word. Now the stakes are so high I’d be very surprised if we see an open end-to-ender in either of the semis, but you never know. This World Cup has had a few surprises for us so maybe that’s something else we have to look forward to.
Today was all about Louis Van Gaal and Tim Krul (and all the shocking puns and headlines Krul’s heroics generated). If you haven’t heard yet, Dutch coach Lois Van Gaal subbed in his reserve keeper, Tim Krul, 30 seconds before the end of extra time so he could jump in nets for the shoot-out. He did, he saved a couple of spot kicks and we had another story from a World Cup full of stories.
I reckon Van Gaal convinced even Krul that he was the ninja saver. He certainly convinced the Costa Ricans because a couple of their kicks were pretty poor while the Dutch potted theirs like Phil Mickelson in his prime. There’s nothing in Krul’s career at Newcastle that suggests he’s what he was made out to be. But it worked…so chalk one of for the quirky Dutch manager.
Before that, the Dutch should have wrapped it up during normal time. They did everything but score, but sometimes that happens in this infuriating game. The Costa Ricans had a good run, were the fairy tale side, etc, etc, but they didn’t really come to win this one. Not surprisingly, of course, because they didn’t have the ammo, so instead they did a great job with what they had. Top eight is a mighty fine effort.
The Dutch will meet Argentina in the semis after the South American giants scored early and held on pretty comfortably. They’re not here to win friends with their style of football, but it’s clear they’re here to win the World Cup and at this stage of the tournament they’re looking pretty good. Messi hasn’t been a star in their two knock-out games, so if he steps it back up against the Dutch then I think we could have one half of the final the World wants to see.
Unfortunately I don’t think the other half – Brazil – will live up to their half of the bargain. I’ve been bagging them all tournament and I’m convinced the Germans will be a step too far. As they will be for Argentina or Holland in the final.
Half-baked predictions aside, I’m genuinely looking forward to getting back to a normal wake-up time and resuming a normal schedule, and maybe even getting some work done!
I’m buggered and I’ve left it a bit late on a Sunday evening to put this to bed so I’m off now. See you in a couple of days.