Neymar celebrates scoring a goal against Cameroon with teammates Dani Alves and David Luiz. :: AFP
Argentina have topped their group with two wins this week, the first of which being a tight fought 1-0 victory over Iran and the second another close encounter against Nigeria, beating the Africans 3-2.
Lionel Messi had a major part to play in both of Argentina’s games as he scored three time. The first goal came in the 90th minute against Iran seal the three points and the other two came in an end to end match against Nigeria.
Messi is now joint top goal scorer of the World Cup alongside Neymar - Brazil’s prodigal son.
Germany didn’t look like the same side that demolished Portugal in their game against Ghana. The first 45 minutes saw Germany go 1-0 down until the 50th minute when the team came alive to score two goals in 20 minutes from Mario Götze and Miroslav Klose. Ghana equalised late on in the game to leave group G open for any team to qualify in last night’s matches.
Miroslav Klose has now equalled Ronaldo Luís Nazário’s goal-scoring record at all world cup tournaments with a total of 15 goals throughout his career.
Colombia continued to look extremely threatening in their final group stage game against Japan. They started the game without James Rodríguez on the field which proved to be a bad move as they went in at the break tied at 1-1.
James came off the bench in the second half to create both of Jackson Martínez’s goals and score one beautiful chip of his own. The score ended up 4-1 to Colombia and they finished top of their group with nine points.
England were once again disappointing in both of their remaining group games. The first game saw England knocked out of the group-stage by Uruguay following a 2-1 loss thanks to Luis Suárez and his two goals.
Costa Rica were England’s next opponents and had already won the group and; England had been knocked out of the competition. Consequently, the game provided little entertainment and ended 0-0 - meaning England left with a single point out of a possible nine.
Luis Suárez was also in the news this week for biting Italian centre back, Georgio Chiellini. The incident occurred late on in the second half as there appeared to be a collision in the area between the two players. Replays showed clear intent from Suárez and FIFA have now given him a four month ban.
Costa Rica qualified top of group D and Uruguay followed in second place as they beat Italy 1-0 thanks to a Diego Godín header.
David Villa’s last ever Spain appearance couldn’t have gone much better for the veteran. Spain won 3-0 against Australia with a very capable performance that proved to the world they weren’t done. Villa scored an audacious back-heel shot to end his career. Although Spain left the competition early, they showed some promise for the next international tournament in 2016.
Holland put in another promising display, their third in three games. During the first 45 minutes of their match up against Chile they were kept under control, but in the second half Holland came out fighting and shocked the Chilean’s as Leroy Fer scored a header. This was swiftly followed by an Arjen Robben run and assist to the new boy, Memphis Depay. The score ended 2-0 to Holland and they won the group with Chile finishing runners up.
Neymar was the player on everyone’s lips as he scored twice in Brazil’s massive 4-1 victory over Cameroon. This win meant that Brazil qualified for the last 16 as top of their group. Mexico finished in second place after beating Croatia 3-1.
France should be considered as serious contenders for the title if their group stage performance is anything to go by. They destroyed Switzerland 5-2 in a game that could have easily provided seven or eight for Didier Deschamps’s side. Even though their final group game against Ecuador ended in a disappointing 0-0 draw, the French were playing in no higher than third gear.