Kaká, Robinho and Luis Fabiano; Godín, Forlán and Suarez; Messi, Tevez and Higuain. I would walk into a dark room and randomly pick any of these players for my team on any given day. They are arguably the main reasons and hopes for their countries to succeed in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Playing for Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina respectively, these power-trios have led their teams into a spot among the eight best football nations in the world but they certainly want more.
Let’s start by saying that Uruguay didn’t play their best against South Korea. After a dangerous attempt by the Koreans in the 4th minute, Luís Suarez scored the opening goal of the night and led us all to believe that La Celeste would cruise past the Red Devils. But the expected domination lasted only a few minutes.
Uruguay defended as they could but at the 68th minute the Koreans finally broke the South American’s defense and got the equalizer. It was the first goal allowed by Uruguay in the tournament.
But it was Suarez’s night. The 23-year old striker put Uruguay ahead again in the 80th minute sending La Celeste to the quarter-finals for the first time since 1970.
Suarez and his teammates will now face Ghana who is the only African nation still alive in the World Cup. Ghana will have the crowd support but Uruguay has the momentum and will place all their bets in the Godin-Forlán-Suarez trio to earn a place in the semis.
No goals for Messi yet. But that doesn’t mean that La Pulga (The Flea) hasn’t been causing all sorts of trouble for his opponents’ defenses. And it wasn’t different against Mexico.
One can argue that Tevez’s opener in the 26th minute should have been disallowed and I agree, but once the (bad) decision was made by the referee and the linesman it was up to Mexico to keep their composure and find the equalizer. They didn’t. They lost their heads for a few minutes and seven minutes later Gonzalo Higuain got his fourth goal in the tournament.
Argentina continued to dominate the actions of the match. Mexico played all they could with passion, speed and talent but it was not enough.
Tevez scored again at the 52nd to crown a brilliant exhibition by the Argie trio. Messi tried to get his goal but it didn’t come and he didn’t seem to care that much. He knows he was directly responsible for the team’s great performance.
Not even Javier “El Chicharito” Hernandez’s well-deserved goal in the 71st could stain Argentina’s superiority and first class football.
If anybody thought Brazil would have any trouble cruising past Chile in the round of 16, it’s probably because that person didn’t bother to do a little bit of research.
Since Dunga took charge of Brazil in 2007 his side played Chile in five opportunities. Brazil won all of them. And the Seleção did not only win all of those matches but they won in great fashion, outscoring the Chileans 20-3. Robinho picked up six of those 20 goals himself.
So, for this match I honestly just sat and relaxed with a cold drink and with my mind on how to stop the Dutch and Robben’s left foot in the quarter-finals.
Kaká looked comfortable, fully recovered from his groin injury and he really wanted to prove that by doing his well-known forward runs with the ball. His touch to Luis Fabiano’s goal (Brazil’s second of the evening – Juan scored the opener from a header) was magical. No offside, no controversy here, just pure Joga Bonito.
Robinho also proved something tonight. He proved that he’s Chile’s worst nightmare. After a great running play by Ramires through the middle Robinho picks up the lose ball and curves it p-e-r-f-e-c-t-l-y into the the net.
The magical trio Kaká-Robinho-Fabiano was on fire tonight. Can they keep the flame alive against the Dutch? I and other 190 million Brazilians hope so.
PARAGUAY – Preview
Los Guaranis have a tricky challenge against Japan in a few hours. They will have to be careful with Japan’s fast forward runs and at the same time capitalize in every opportunity they have up front.
This match represents a lot for both nations. One of these squads will carve their names in their nation’s football history as the players who got their country for the first time to a FIFA World Cup quarter-final.
It will be a very even match this one between Paraguay and Japan. La Albi-Roja has to stay focused, play the usual solid defense and whoever plays upfront (Santa Cruz, Benitez or Cardozo – or the three of them) must be clinical in the final third and find the net.
So far my prediction of a World Cup dominated by the South Americans has been spot on. However, now that we’re reaching the final stages of the competition, we can more clearly judge each nations chances and performances and we’ll be able to watch some very expected top class and decisive clashes.
I dare to say that if Argentina beat Germany and Brazil beat the Netherlands we might really be heading for a historical Brazil v Argentina world cup final. It sends chills down my spine just thinking about that.