WORLD CUP TODAY: SATURDAY, JUNE 28
How is everyone today? Did you enjoy a bit of time off yesterday, perhaps by lying in a darkened room with your eyes closed, trying to recover from over two weeks of glorious madness? Or did you suffer soccer withdrawals, and need to resort to watching World Cup highlights on a loop?
Well, good news. The World Cup is back in action today, with the first games of the knockout stage. The bad news is, by the end of the afternoon, there will be two fewer teams left in the tournament.
Chile were overcome by Netherlands in their final group stage game, losing 2-0 to take second in the group. But they’d previously beat Australia 3-1 and Spain 2-0, and their attacking prowess is not to be underestimated.
What they’re saying
Arturo Vidal is quite confident about Chile’s chances: “This is the best generation in the history of Chilean football. Beating Brazil? That’s our dream. Chile can create a surprise. We’ve beaten the champions, so we can beat Brazil. We’re good enough to win the World Cup.”
Chile and Brazil have faced off numerous times, as they’re both part of CONMEBOL, which rather requires them to see a lot of one another. Of the 68 matches played, Brazil have won an astonishing 48; Chile, just 7. The good news is that 217 goals were scored in those matches, giving us an average of 3.19 per game. This should be fun!
When it comes to the World Cup, Chile have experienced heavy defeat each of the three times the two sides have met. When Chile and Brazil met in this stage in 2010, Brazil won 3-0.
Premier League Players
Brazil: Oscar, Ramires, Willian (Chelsea); Fernandinho (Manchester City); Paulinho (Tottenham)
Brazil: Júlio César of Toronto FC
Colombia are perfect through three, the only side in today’s games that can boast such a feat. They beat Greece 3-0 and Ivory Coast 2-1, then finished up with a 4-1 thrashing of Japan.
Uruguay, well, they haven’t been quite as lucky. Their first game was a 3-1 loss to Costa Rica, which they followed by beating England 2-1 thanks to a brace from Luis Suárez. Suárez, of course, struck again in Uruguay’s final match, biting Giorgio Chiellini just before Diego Godín scored the only goal in the 1-0 victory.
What they’re saying
Uruguay forward Christian Stuani on his side’s historical edge: “Statistics are just numbers. The game has to be played. World Cups are very complicated tournaments and matches are settled by small details.”
Uruguay have the edge, with 18 wins from 38 games played, while Colombia have won 11 times. But, as Stuani said…
Premier League players
Uruguay: Luis Suárez, Sebastián Coates (Liverpool); Gastón Ramírez (Southampton)
In general, if you’re looking to watch players from either Uruguay or Colombia, your best bet is to pay attention to Italian football: Uruguay have five players in Serie A, Colombia have seven.