With the first semi-final on today we take a look back at the highlights so far...
Up until the last Saturday in June I was sure we wouldn't see a better goal than Tim Cahill's volley against the Dutch but James Rodriquez’s first goal against Uruguay must go down as the best goal scored so far in this World Cup. Glancing over his shoulder to check the positioning of Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, James Rodriguez cushioned the ball expertly on his chest and, in one smooth, elegant movement, dispatched an immaculate volley that crashed in off the bar.
I don't think there has been an outstanding team so far but I have really enjoyed the way Costa Rica have gone about their business and who were unfiortunate to go out to Holland over the weekend. Colombia too have impressed me. But now that we are at the business end of the World Cup and down to the last 4, my money is on Argentina to go all the way and lift the trophy next Sunday. Brazil will struggle against the Germans without their main talisman, Neymar and I think they will bow out tonight. With the return of Sergio Aguero to fitness and Messi pulling the strings, I see Argentina having a little bit more of a threat than Holland who struggled to break down Costa Rica on Sat night.
BEST TOUCHLINE MANAGER
No real contest here. Mexico’s manager Miguel Herrera has certainly been the most colourful manager at this years tournament.
There cannot be any bigger a disappointment than England. They were just not good enough. There were little flashes of promise from the forwards, but not much else.
Costa Rica have been the big surprise. They were everybody's tip to finish rock-bottom of the group and they came top and it finally took a penalty shoot out against the Netherlands to send them home. You can see they have a really good team spirit. So have the French, which is such a change to last time. Didier Deschamps has done really well with them but unfortunately it wasn’t enough against Germany.
So far I have to say the Belgium v USA match had me on the edge of my seat more than any other game. From the kick-off it looked only a matter of time before Belgium scored but America's heart and fighting spirit held them out for 90 minutes. Even with Belgium going 2-0 up in extra time the US still came back to grab what ultimately proved to be a consolation goal but still looked like they could grab the equalizer to bring the game to penalties
Guillermo Ochoa put on a superb performance for Mexico against Brazil, with the pick being his stop from Neymar. It had shades of Gordon Banks save from Pele back in 1970.
Neymar. There is so much expectation on him but he has delivered. He seems to carry the weight of a nation on his shoulders but up until his injury against Colombia he had proved up to the challenge. If Brazil are to go all the way and win the tournament, they will have Neymar to thank, his goals have taken the pressure off Brazil at just the right time. It’s now time for some of the other stars step up to the plate.
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