spain vs. russia
tomorrow's matches

today's matches

First, I should note that overall I've been enjoying this World Cup. I told myself ahead of time to try not to bitch and moan constantly, but I needn't have bothered ... the matches have been fine, and occasionally great.

Today, though, I felt like I was experiencing the past.

Let's talk about goals, although I know there is more to appreciating soccer than actually scoring. Yesterday, there were 10 goals in 180 minutes. Today, there were 4 goals in 240 minutes, and one of those was an own-goal and another was a penalty. (That both of those came in Spain-Russia says a lot about the entertainment value of that match.) The "better" match of the two suggested better things, with two goals in the first four minutes. Unfortunately, they played another 116 minutes without scoring another, although there was a missed penalty.

To finish what little I have to say about Spain-Russia, I point to an article on ESPN. The title says it all: "Spain's shocking exit - 1056 passes, 1013 touches, 0 chemistry". Or, to go to The Simpsons well again:

I predicted Isco and Golovin would be the best players for their respective teams, and I was right about Isco (Golovin played well, too, but their keeper, Igor Akinfeev, was the Man of the Match).

As for Croatia-Denmark, I tabbed some good players for that match, as well. I had Rakitic leading Croatia, and he had a good game and scored the final, winning, penalty. And I singled out Kasper Schmeichel, which was easy ... he had a great World Cup, and was the best player in this match. For the rest, I go to Twitter. First, there was the great Jennifer Doyle, who tweeted, "I am just gonna go to France and wait for the Women’s World Cup. Because watching this is work!" To which I replied, "Hopefully by the time you get to France, this match will be over." Even better was Jeff VanderMeer, who tweeted, "I've come here from a week in the future to tell you the Denmark / Croatia match is still going on -- and it's glorious and surreal and a lot of us now need a shower quite desperately, but we'll keep staring into the sun. Oh god. Send help. Help. Help. ".

I was glad Luka Modric had a chance to take a second shot at a penalty ... I've been a fan of his for a long time. And I'm glad Croatia advances ... nothing against Denmark, but in four matches, they scored 3 goals and allowed 2. Almost as boring as what we saw from Spain today.

Still, I remain optimistic. Brazil-Mexico should be a good one.