By THE AFRICA BAZAAR Staff Writer
Can we have more time please?
Only one more day is left of the round of 16, and the only team that cruised to a 2- 0 win was Colombia over a toothless Uruguayan team (pardon the Suarez jab). James Rodriguez once again led the Columbian attack with two clinical goals, the first a contender for goal of the tournament and the latter a standard finish inside the box. No other team had it so easy.
The host nation and favorite to win the world cup, Brazil, needed two full periods of extra time and two unlucky shots off the post from Chile to advance into the final eight. The mighty Dutch, who cruised through their group with three wins were minutes away from being shocked by Mexico. However, talisman Sneijder equalized early into regular stoppage time with a sublime volley off of a poorly cleared corner kick and then Robben drew a controversial penalty that Huntelaar slotted home to turn the game completely on its head. Ten minutes earlier, Mexico looked like they were going to advance into the final eight for the first time in this century, but the Dutch (and some fans might say the ref) had other plans.
The Cinderella story of the world cup, Costa Rica, who went undefeated in their group against the likes of England, Italy and Uruguay were denied a regular time win when Sokratis Papastathopoulos equalized for the Greeks deep into stoppage time of the second half. Extra time was not enough as the game went to penalties. Neither team missed their first three shots on penalties or their next three. But Keylor Navas would come up big as he has so often in between the pipes for Costa Rica during this world cup campaign. Navas remarkably saved Theofanis Gekas’ shot and then it was up to Michael Umana to finish the Greeks off. And he did just that, adding another chapter in the Costa Rican Cinderella story.
Finally, we had the European giants, France and Germany, expected to roll through their African opponents. Nigeria and Algeria did not get the memo. The French attack was neutralized for majority of the game as they struggled to cope with the physicality and pace of the Super eagles but wonder boy Paul Pogba headed France into the final eight and then a late own goal by Joseph Yobo sealed the game for the French. The Algerians held the Germans scoreless until two minutes in extra time when Schurrle put the Germans up 1-0. Ozil punished the Algerians poor clearance and put Germany up 2-0 but the Algerians quickly pulled one back to make a tense finish but Germany won 2-1.
Six teams have advanced to the quarterfinals as America takes on the Belgians and Messi & Co take on the Swiss to close out the round of 16. Will extra time be necessary? Who knows. Will penalties be necessary to decide a match? Who knows. But one thing is certain: You either win or go home.
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