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Monday, July 7, 2014
World Cup Goes to Semi-finals: Once Again it is South America vs Europe
Tomorrow we enter into the deep phase of World Cup 2014, the Semi-finals. Having lived in America for some time, one is tempted to call it the "Soccer World Cup," as Americans do, but truly it is simply the World Cup; the most coveted trophy in the history of sports, bringing history,honor, respect and awe to whoever manages to clinch it and the enviable title, "world champions!"
Neymar Will be Missed
My prayer is to live long enough to one day see either USA or Sierra Leone clinch that cup! Some may call me a dreamer, but I prefer being called an optimist with a little dose of fantasy.
Oh and guess what? Once again the usual suspects are lined up to capture the trophy and take it home. The world cup will not go to Africa, North America, Asia or Australia. It will go once again to Either Europe or South America and that's final.
I could be wrong, but I think only Europe and South America has ever won the world cup and it is not funny, considering the amount of time, money and other preparations the other areas of the world put into trying to capture this coveted prize. Somehow the cup always manages to go to either Europe or South America, and this year will be no different.
On a more optimistic note however, this world cup will be remembered for the quality of the representation, as all the teams came prepared, even our African representatives. It was definitely not easy. The Spanish who came with the aura and confidence of being world champions quickly had their feathers trimmed and dispatched back home in a jiffy, barely managing to unpack their bags before they had to pack them again for an early flight home.
The Quarter finals saw the Colombians put up a spirited defense against perennial World Cup winners Brazil, but were edged out 2-1 after desperately trying to force extra time. The referee totally lost control of the match and the Brazilians decided it was foul season. This time going back home the Colombian team were not welcomed by vengeful drug lords, but by a grateful country celebrating a team that had shown the world that Colombian soccer had finally come of age.
A Team Affair
Well now comes the tough part, the semi-finals. Tomorrow Brazil faces Germany. If the quality of play over the past two weeks is anything to go by, Germany should be able to dispatch a fractured Brazilian team that will be without their star play and goal maker Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior and their captain Thiago Silva.
Thiago Silva will be unable to report for duty, as he is suspended for the semi-final match for an unnecessary yellow card infraction against the Colombian goalkeeper during the waning minutes of the spirited match. The Brazilian Football Federation appealed Thiago's yellow card, but Fifa’s disciplinary committee refused to lift the suspension and Brazil will have to do without a major workhorse.
Neymar had to be taken out of the field in pain and taken straight to the hospital due to an outrageous foul by Colombia’s Juan Zúñiga who jumped into the back of the gifted player and kneed him right between the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, automatically taking him out of the world cup.
The Brazil Football Federation lodged a complaint against Juan Zúñiga, but Fifa has decided against disciplining the player further as there was no conclusive evidence that it was intentional like the Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez's now infamous bite.
The German team has been solid throughout the tournament and if they continue playing as they have, only the advantage of playing at home with massive support will give the Brazilians a fighting chance. My prediction is a German victory probably with a 2-1 scoreline, though I will be supporting Brazil and hope they upset the strong but boring Germans.