Battle for the Cup
After nearly a month of exciting goals, defensive stands and heartbreaking upsets, the 2014 World Cup of soccer is about to come to an end. Only four teams remain: Argentina and Brazil from South America, and Germany and the Netherlands from the European continent. And on Sunday, a champion will be crowned.
Before a team and its adoring nation can raise that trophy into the air in triumph, though, some serious battles remain, beginning with home country Brazil and European powerhouse Germany facing off in just a few hours. Unfortunately, high expectations for the Brazilians have been more-or-less dashed as this talented team struggled to survive the group stage and now face Germany without some of their key players.
Star striker Neymar was injured in his last match and now will be watching the game from home, where he is recuperating from a back injury. Of course, this isn’t the only challenge facing Brazil today. They also lost team captain and key defender Thiago Silva, who was suspended after collecting a second yellow card in the same match that sidelined Neymar.
In other words, Brazil’s odds of taking home the trophy have faded, but they’re not out of it yet. They just have to play their best game ever if they hope to survive the likes of Thomas Muller and Miroslav Klose, who could become the most prolific goal scorer in World Cup history if he sends one into the net today. Klose has scored at least one goal in the last four World Cup tournaments, so expect him to play “balls out” today.
Tomorrow’s match pits my favorite—the Lionel Messi-led Argentineans—against the orange-laden Dutch and soccer stars like Robin van Persie and Wesley Sneijders. Unlike the Brazilians—who I also love despite being Argentina’s arch-rivals—the Dutch have been a nearly unstoppable force on the pitch. Argentina will have their work cut out for them, in other words, and could struggle after losing Angel Di Maria to a thigh injury in their recent win against Belgium.
Needless to say, I am still pulling for my South American teams and would love for them to face off in the final match. This isn’t very likely to happen, but if I’ve learned anything from the World Cup, it’s that there is no such thing as a predictable outcome. Anyone can win on any given day. I only hope that on this day—and tomorrow, as well—it’s the South American teams celebrating and rejoicing.
¡Viva Brasil y Argentina!
Posted on July 8, 2014, in Perspectives and tagged Argentina, Brazil, commentary, current-events, entertainment, Messi, news, Neymar, perspectives, soccer, sports, World Cup. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.