After Saturday’s awesome slate of World Cup games, Sunday’s were a lot more cagey, more defensive play and fewer good attacking moves. In the end both games went to penalties. And Spain, despite dominating possession and completing a record number of passes in a World Cup game, lost in penalties to Russia. Spain kept the ball for the majority of the game, but they lacked a cutting edge to make all that possession count. The second game started off tremendously, with two goals in the first five minutes, one for Denmark and one for Croatia. However after that, the game because a tight affair, neither team finding all that many good chances. Croatia did have a chance to win the game late in extra time, as Ante Rebic was taken out in the box on a breakaway. But Kasper Schmeichel denied Luka Modric from the spot to keep the game tied. This would be a foreshadowing of things to come, as Schmeichel made two saves in the shootout, and Danjiel Subasic, the Croatia goalie, made three saves as Croatia edged out Denmark on penalty kicks. Croatia struggled to create much in this game, but with Spain losing to Russia, they might still be fancied to reach the World Cup final with all of the talent that they have.
Brazil-Mexico is a huge game on Monday morning, and the Brazil squad had some bad news over the weekend, they found out that star fullback Marcelo is not fit and will miss out on the game. Marcelo picked up the injury last week, and was not able to recover in time for Monday’s game. In his place Filipe Luis will start, and as far as backup’s go, you will find few better than Filipe Luis. Still, Brazil will miss Marcelo’s presence and creative ability. The favorites in this tournament are dropping like flies. With Marcelo out against a dangerous Mexico team, Brazil just might be next.
Maybe it’s the summer heat, maybe its the crowd of 50,000 at Stanford Stadium. Maybe it’s the fireworks show after. I’m not sure how to explain it, but the San Jose Earthquakes-LA Galaxy games at Stanford Stadium always seem to be wild back and forth affairs. Saturday’s was no different, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored 1 minute into the game, and later scored on a free kick for the Galaxy to give them a 3-1 lead only 25 minutes into the game. But the Earthquakes rallied, with Vako scoring just before halftime and Chris Wondolowski scoring a penalty, his second of the game, and a goal that brought him within 5 of Landon Donovan’s record for all time MLS goals. The games at Stanford have been known for their dramatic endings, and this game almost had one of it’s own, with Wondo hitting the post on a shot in the 90th minute. Though this game missed the storybook ending, it was still a very entertaining game, and the Cali Clasico excited yet again.
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