day fifteen and si(cks)teen

day seventeen

After Spain put up seven goals against Costa Rica, I wrote, "Before they won a World Cup, I used to bristle when people said Spain's soccer team was boring. Post-championship, I don't listen to those people any more. Of course, they're right most of the time. But not much was boring about this match for a Spain fan." From that point on, Spain scored two goals in 300 minutes, went winless in three games, and crapped out in a penalty shootout to end their Cup. They dominated possession (64/36 vs. Germany, 82!/18 vs. Japan, 77/23 vs. Morocco). They passed efficiently (91% success rate over the course of the tournament). They got excellent performances from individuals (especially Rodri). And they were boring.

Meanwhile, Portugal scored six against Switzerland with Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench for most of the match. His replacement, young Gonçalo Ramos, became an instant World Cup legend with three great goals and an assist. A bit of "beware what you ask for" ... Morocco-Spain was dull, so here comes seven goals, but in a match that was pretty much decided by halftime.

Two days off now before the quarter-finals begin: Croatia-Brazil, Netherland-Argentina, Morocco-Portugal, and England-France.

A continuation of a theme: players I mentioned at the beginning of the competition ... did I know what I was talking about?

Spain: Pedri and Gavi (one goal) were OK. Ansu Fati only played 45 minutes.

Switzerland: Xherdan Shaqiri. I'm a longtime fan of Shaqiri's, and he had a decent tournament, with a goal and an assist in the two Swiss wins, although he only played in three of their four games.