Brazil versus Chile and Netherlands versus Mexico - How many of you felt the wrong teams went through?
First of all, Brazil versus Chile - the first match of the Round of 16 was bloody long but entertaining at the same time. Those of you who watch English Football regularly will immediately recognize the familiar faces – David Luiz, Oscar, Ramirez and Willian from Chelsea, Fernandinho from Manchester City, Gonzalo Jara from Nottingham Forest, Gary Medel from Cardiff City, and Howard Webb from Manchester United.
However, Webb played surprisingly well, and that decision to disallow Hulk’s goal in a split second, at such a crucial point, for such an important match, amidst the immense pressure from home crowd, was one of the ballsiest move I’ve ever seen, and new found #RESPECT to him for that.
Both goalkeepers Julio Cesar and Claudio Bravo played excellently. Neymar was shit. And you know what I really hated about that Brazilian victory? I look at Facebook after the match and my timeline was flooded with women screaming, “Neymar Neymar Neymar! I love you”, “Well played Neymar ♥”, “Forever Neymar. #TheBest”… I mean, WTF did Neymar do??? If anyone should be credited with that win, then it should clearly be Cesar.
See, that is one of the many things I find so ironic during every World Cup. We reduce the talent and sheer awesomeness of the players to mere objectification. If a bunch of men were watching a women’s sports, say beach volleyball, and we passed comments like, “hehe, nice ass”, “wow, sexy ompalompas”, “I’d tap that” etc, then we would immediately be branded as male chauvinist pigs, sexists, stare-rapists, with a long sermon from women about how such athletes worked hard to be appreciated of their talent and not be a feast for the eyes. And then the same women then go on to watch the World Cup and scream out, “OMG, CR7 is soooo hot”, “Sergio Ramos, marry me”, “Look at those thighs. #orgasm”, “I wanna have Falcao’s kids”, “I snuck his photo inside my panties #hotforNeymar” and suddenly those statements are considered normal. Nothing double standard about them, I guess.
Neymar is overhyped. Yes I’m not denying he is a great player, but then again, it’s really hard to admire a player who has a habit of diving. I’m not a fan of Messi either, but the video below is quite hilarious. It’s a compilation of Messi’s best tackles and Neymar’s most obvious dives (it’s not as if Messi never dives either, the video below was obviously made by a Messi fan, but still it is quite funny watching the comparison)
Coming back to the topic, as I mentioned in my previous post, I was going to cheer for Chile because of my association with Start-Up Chile Accelerator Program, even though a part of me felt Brazil was going to win. And then I watched the match and realized I made the right choice of supporting Chile. They didn’t get that many chances, but the few they got were executed perfectly. The goal-post shot by Pinilla towards the end of extra time was heart-breaking.
Alexis Sanchez, Charles Aranguiz, Marcelo Diaz, Gary Medel, Claudio Bravo, Arturo Vidal, you guys are da real MVP.
And then there was the late drama at the Netherlands Mexico match. That too had such a tragic ending. Mexico was leading 1-0 thanks to an awesome goal by Dos Santos and just when sweet victory was so close to taste, Wesley Sneijder scored an uncontested goal in the 88th minute, and Arjen Robben went down for a controversial penalty on the 4th minute of injury time and Huntelaar converted that penalty kick. And suddenly, it was all over for Mexico.
Somebody compared that match to the fight between The Red Viper and The Mountain, Game of Thrones 4x08 and made a comic strip out of it. The similarity is uncanny!
Even though Robben over-reacted with such a theatrical dive, there was indeed a tiny contact (whether he was baiting the defender and trying to draw a foul is a different question), and like it or not, that’s a penalty. But overall, apart from that incident and another dive earlier in the game, Robben played well, and so did the others like Sneijder, Huntelaar, Kuyt, De Vrij and Ron Vlaar. RVP was shit. And yet after the match, all my Facebook friends (mainly females) cheering for Netherlands were like “RVP! RVP! RVP! What would Holland do without you?”, “#bestplayer RVP”, “love you RVP!” etc etc. Seriously???? #facepalm
Anyway, it was weird seeing such a thing as “cooling break” for the first time on TV. It kinda made the game feel a bit more like basketball with its numerous time-outs. But then again, playing under a harsh condition where the temperature’s above 38 °C must be torturous. One can really feel sorry not just for the players sweating it out, but for the referees as well who, mind you, have to run as much as the players under the same boisterous heat and humidity (and yet we are so quick to curse and abuse them for the slightest wrong call).
My only thought about the #CoolingBreak is that, yes, players and officials under such extreme condition may have such a break, after all, they’re humans too. But does this take away the advantage teams from such countries used to playing under such conditions have? And also, I really feel coaches should not be allowed to speak to the players during this break. Because now it’s becoming more like a tactical break that we see regularly in many other sporting events.
Anyhoo, to end this post, the four teams from the first half of the round of 16 that went through to the Quarter Finals are Brazil vs Colombia and Netherlands vs Costa Rica. Let’s see who the other four teams are going to be. Comonnn Germany! :)