Spain out, reckoning begins amid love and surprises in Brazil
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Five things we learned on day 7 ...
Devotion and dedication goes a long way: It’s true that over the years the daily review has been wantonly self-referential, cynical, aghast and outraged. But on day seven we venture into new territory with romance. Sitting, minding its own business at the Nigeria team hotel in Campinas, a man who’d been sitting next to a woman approached the review to ask a favour. “Would you mind taking a picture of us?” The man offered a very fruity looking tablet and obligingly the review rose to perform the honours with a quip: “We’re a very expensive international photographer … but you look like you can afford the price …” The couple laughed and they were snapped a few times. “It’s our honeymoon,” the lady said. Once the shoot was over, it was payback time. Out came the microphone – the daily review is a large multi-media platform you remember - and so did the story of how he organised the honeymoon to coincide with Nigeria’s progress at the world cup. She went along with the plan since it was Brazil. When the story is told to Brazilians, she said, they just coo. Brazil for a honeymoon? Logical. Brazil for the football world cup? Logical. This was a very sensible couple. But their story would not be known but for the incomparable charm and smarm of your ever inquiring daily review.
It’s tough this football thing:The media decided to run with the story that the boys from Brazil had been thwarted on day six by a human wall called Guillermo Ochoa. The yarn being that the Mexicans had crumbled apart from the last line of defence. It’s just as well there weren’t too many hysterics over the 0-0 draw because it’s going to leave little room for disapproval when Brazil actually lose. The inquisition will begin in Spain since they are out after going down 2-0 to the Chileans. They’re nicknamed the Spain of South America. Well flattery will get you everywhere, including the last 16
It’s tough being a defending champion: Only two teams have defended the world cup. Italy in 1934 and 1938 and Brazil in 1958 and 1962. Spain won’t be joining the gang. Global domination appears to be a transient thing these days. But we must not get sentimental. That might have been Spain’s problem. Iker Casillas shouldn’t have played in the second game against Chile after his blunder-laden outing against the Netherlands. He lifted the world cup four years ago. Now he’ll be following the knockout stages from his holiday venue.
We love a reality check: First there was Brazil 0 Mexico 0 and then came Spain 0 Chile 2. Netherlands 3 Australia 2 on day seven was just as significant. The Netherlands whipped Spain 5-1 in their first match in Group B. They struggled against Australia who led 2-1. But the Dutch found a way to succeed – the mark of champions.
You can try but you really cannot write the script: And this is why we keep coming back for the show. Back in the day, the Netherlands victory was seen as determining that they, rather than Spain, would come first in the group. But here we are on day seven looking forward. The Netherlands lead the way ahead of Chile on goal difference. The Dutch need a draw to proceed as group winners. Who’d have thought that Spain v Australia would be the game to decide who comes last.
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