The final day of group matches revealed the complete fixture list for the round-of-sixteen of this World Cup. A day that can be remembered for footballing indecents rather than incidents. Two important clashes in group G and H became the scrappiest games of this world cup. Lets take a listen to some of the keynotes of the last day’s orchestra.
Hand of God (?) Moment Of The Day: Juan(Brazil)
The perfect long ball was destined to reach an unmarked Cristiano Ronaldo on the right flank, but Juan had some other plans. Knowing very well that if he doesn’t intervene between the ball and Ronaldo, it can prove to be dangerous for Brazil. Along came his masterpiece – sticking out his left hand deliberately to stop it from reaching Ronaldo. He earned a booking which was far lesser punishment than what he truly deserved.
After being set up by David Villa inside the penalty box, Iniesta did not make any mistakes and his neat right footed drive was enough to give Spain a two goal cushion against Chile in their final group match. The play for setting up this goal was one of the moments of the day and the cool finish made it look even better.
Save Of The Day: Diego Benaglio(Switzerland)
Switzerland’s chance of qualifying for the knockout stage could have taken a knockout punch well before the mandated time. On 71st minute, an unmarked Edgar Alvarez of Honduras had to tap in the ball to score Honduras’s first goal of this tournament. But Benaglio, who orchestrated the Swiss defense throughout the tournament, pulled off a remarkable one-handed save to keep Switzerland’s chances alive, though only for a few more minutes.
Harakiri Of The Day: Claudio Bravo(Chile)
In a moment of sheer madness Bravo came running out of the penalty box to put in a fine sliding tackle to dispossess Fernando Torres. But the clearance went straight to David Villa who acknowledged the gift with left footed ‘wink’ and gave Spain their all important goal out of nowhere. That goal set up the outcome of the match and surely Bravo must be thinking what possessed him to make that run.
Dictators Of The Day: Benito Archundia and Marco Rodriguez (Mexico)
No, they did not dictate anything by playing for their country; however, they dictated two of the most important matches of the night, the way they wanted to. Portugal and their cousins Brazil, have met previously and the tension between the sides has never failed to come to the fore. In order to curb all the ill-intended aggression, Mr. Archundia started flashing the yellow card as if it’s a guard of honor, but majority of the bookings could have been avoided. Amidst all this, Archundia‘s mania of law and order went for a toss when he only cautioned Juan for a deliberate handball, in a last ditch attempt to stop Cristiano Ronaldo to run away with the ball, an act for which Juan should have been sent off. Seven cards were shown in the first half and quite surprisingly none in the second half! Mr. Rodriguez, on the other hand, started off rationally but a card flashing spree for a period of 22 minutes in the first half left the Chileans riling with two goals and one man down. Simply put, the second yellow card shown to Estrada was way over the top.
The final day completed the fixtures for the knockout stage – Brazil topped group G, followed by Portugal; whereas Spain topped group H, followed by Chile. Brazil will meet known foes Chile in a Latino Battle Royal, whereas the Iberian neighbors – Spain and Portugal – will fight it out in a bid to reach the last eight.