Whew. Just needed to take a breath. This has been a monumental World Cup. From the start of the tournament, the field was high in anticipation and intensity. I’m talking about soccer here, guys, the FIFA World Cup 2015. But more specifically on this, I’m going to be writing about our girls on the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT). The heroes, the motivators, the gladiators, oh, and, the winners. Congratulations to the United States Women’s National Team on beating Japan in the 2015 World Cup!!
One year ago, someone asked me who would hoist the World Cup in the Maracana. I said that Germany and Brazil would face off in the final and the Germans would raise the Cup. It was a straightforward question and I provided a clear answer but that was long before the groups were made and so much more has happened since that time. (I, personally, wish I wrong. France is my team and I wanted Ivory Coast to make it very far because Drogba is my favorite player.)
That same person of course asked a few other questions including who else would make the semi-finals and what impact it being in Brazil would have for the host nation. I answered Holland and Spain, and that if the tournament was not in Brazil, the hosts would not make it as far. Simply put. But again, a lot has transpired and it’s worth discussing some of the key points. Here are a few to wrap up the 2014 Brazil World Cup.
1. The Germans were the best balance of talent and teamwork throughout the whole tournament. That is why they won. Add a few fortunate events in their favor in the final and everything works out in their favor. You could easily argue that they earned those favorable happenings including some awful misses by the Argentine strikers.
2. Despite a poor performance, or rather effort, in the final, Messi was the best single player in the tournament. I’m not saying he deserved the Golden Ball, he wasn’t resilient enough in the final to cement the award, but he made the difference in the group stage and the first knockout stage to send Argentina through. I was shocked by how far Argentina made it, although their path was not the most challenging. Robben and James obviously were the clear contenders for that award. Robben, however, reflected a negative behavior of football by diving often, and James already received the Golden Boot, so the choice is not unreasonable.
3. Injuries had a major impact on results. Some teams were far less fortunate than others. I think France would have made the quarters and even semi finals with Ribery. I think the result of the Germany-Brazil match would have been different with Neymar (and Thiago Silva). With a healthy Aguero and Di Maria in the final, Argentina may very well be holding the World Cup. But the best part of the World Cup is that anything can happen and while we feel bad for those players, such is the nature of the game. I do wish Neymar a full recovery.
4. Some outstanding young players helped themselves get noticed on this grand stage. Alexis Sanchez was immediately signed to the Gunners after his explosive performances. Ochoa and Navas showed themselves to be competitive with some of the biggest names in keeping in the world. James, again, raised his stock immeasurably by carrying an average Colombian team into the knockout stages among a very challenging and potentially second group of death.
5. Finally, the former champions who I still see as the best team in the world failed miserably to defend their crown. While I did think Spain would make the semis, I was not surprised to see them exit early. Italy suffered a similar fate after winning in 2006 with an awful performance in South Africa. Every player on Spain has accomplished many great feats in the world of football and it really just seemed as if this World Cup did not mean much to them. We will see how they rebound.
In exciting news, my club team (Arsenal) has revealed some nice new Puma kits while Manchester United has revealed some hideous Nike/Chevrolet kits. I am anxious to see what Adidas has in store for Man U. Congratulations to Pogba, James, Neuer, Messi, and Germany! I hope everyone continues to watch football even though the World Cup is over. Don’t forget… the women’s World Cup will be in Canada next June so if you are planning on attending let us know because we will be there!
Playing football is an amazing way to build a strong lower back, and stay hungry and fit!
It was fun. It really was! But through poor playing and being outmatched, it’s finally time to go home. We made it out of the Group of Death, which is something to be proud of, but now we turn our tails before we get to Quarterfinals. I honestly didn’t believe we would get this far. We should all be proud of the team that they progressed to that point.
The American team is like no other. We are spontaneous, we are either there or we’re not. If we don’t score early, we’re in trouble. We’re either on or we’re off. There’s no medium, there’s no average for us. We play hard or show up late. There’s no half-way for the American team. And yesterday, they simply didn’t show up. For the most part, anyhow.
And for the “most part,” I mean Tim Howard was the absolute exception. What an inspiration. What a hero. This wall of a goalie saved the U.S. from suffering a more embarrassing defeat. He actually set a record. An American set a record in the World Cup! Tim Howard did the most saves in recorded World Cup history in one game. If you’re going to be proud of one player, it should be Tim Howard.
I can’t exactly figure out who I’m rooting for now. France, Germany, and Brazil run through my mind. I want to see some good games. We are excited for Friday, to see some high-quality futbol! I will restate how much I love the World Cup…all the countries together, leaving problems behind, and just playing a great sport. Cheers to all! As always, stay hungry and fit!
BONUS PUPPY PIC
Cute name, right?
So here we are over a week into the World Cup! Who else has been waiting four years for this moment? We most certainly have and we are also looking forward to the Women’s World Cup in Canada, which we will be attending. Come meet us in Vancouver as that is where we will be setting up base camp and watching games live in person.
Yesterday, four teams were sent home and four were sent to the round of 16. We were happy to see Brazil go through as the host country, but preferred Croatia advanced rather than Mexico. Mexico’s keeper has been one of the absolute stand-out players of the cup thus far. Spain, the defending champions and top team in the world, were sent home after some coaching decisions on older and tired players didn’t work out for the best. David Villa did end his WC career scoring a goal, which was great to see. We look forward to having him in New York. Netherlands asserted themselves once more as a dominant force and potentially the most impressive team thus far. Most people think they will win and it’s hard to argue with that. Chile is the other advancing team, who will face the hometown boys in the next round. That will be a good showdown.
In terms of teams that have not yet advanced or been eliminated… there are tons! We always pull for underdogs so African and Asian teams are our favorite. If Ghana and Cote d’ivoire make it to the final, we would be thrilled. Also, we are always rooting for the Koreans and Japanese, although both are as good as gone and the Koreans have been playing miserably and even worse have been very boring! The Japanese simply don’t have enough good players to take them through in their group. Furthermore, Hungry has always been a fan of France ever since he saw Zizou and Henry led them to glory over a decade ago. France in the final would give them the opportunity to make up for that horrendous showing in Germany in 2006. Also, of course, part of us wants the US to make it as far as they can. Unfortunately, in the Group of Death, an injured Cristiano Ronaldo and the Germans, who have one of the deepest benches in the history of the World Cup, will not let that happen easily.
Today, we get to see who advances out of Columbia, Cote d’ivoire, Japan, and Greece in Group C (we think Columbia and Cote d’ivoire will go through, but it could be easily not if Japan or Greece wins and Cote d’ivoire does not). We also get to see who of Group D gets to pass through. Unfortunately, England is at the bottom, which is just painful to see for us. Costa Rica leads Group D with Italy and Uruguay tied behind. Fit thinks Costa Rica and Italy are going to advance as Uruguay haven’t been doing great. But you never know–that’s what we love about the World Cup. It could be anyone’s game.
All in all, we’re just some ex-futbol/soccer players that are willing to put on our boots and play anytime and anywhere. We aren’t reliving the glory days but we recognize how great of an event the World Cup is for the world. Countries come together that usually don’t have diplomatic relationships with the rest of the world and participate as equals. It is a beautiful game and an opportunity for cultures and traditions to be shared. We’re not asking you to watch the event, but try to acknowledge what it means to so many people around the world. Futbol is the most popular sport in the world, factually, and in America it is not even one of the three most popular sports. This doesn’t have to change, and I know that some players and countries give the sport a bad name by flopping and acting so often, but it is a great way for countries that don’t get along to pick each other up and respect one another. We’re all in! As always, stay hungry and fit!