By Joma Ablay
After four years, football’s greatest event is here again.
The 20th edition of the FIFA World Cup has begun in Brazil. The 32 best teams in the world, lead by the 2010 World Champions Spain, are once again fighting for that elusive golden trophy. The whole tournament will be held in Brazil and it started last June 12. Hundreds of thousands of fans flocked to Brazil just to witness this legendary tournament.
Even protesters in Brazil can’t stop the opening ceremonies.
But enough about that, as football fans, you already know that. Let’s get down to business.
Opening Match: Brazil vs Croatia
The first match featured the hosts Brazil lead by their captain Thiago Silva and the “poster-boy” of the tournament, Neymar. Coming out of their big time win against Spain in the FIFA Confederations cup, Brazil is looking like the favorite to win it all.
On to the match.
Although the first goal of the match came from the Brazilian Marcelo, the home crowd was unhappy because Marcelo scored an own goal and Croatia went up 1-0 in the early moments of the match. What happens next? Neymar. Neymar happend. Not to mention the outstanding play of Oscar and the solid defence of David Luiz. Brazil looked stronger than ever.
There were some controversy floating around after the game wherein the fans of Croatia was blaming the bad officiating of the Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura.
Brazil won, 3-1.
The Early Surprise: Spain vs Netherlands
This match featured the 2 teams that competed in the Finals of the World Cup in 2010. Spain vs Netherlands. This is the first time that the two teams who played each other in the finals of the previous World Cup will be on the same group, playing each other for their opening match.
In the early goings of the match, Spain was aggressive and controlled the pace very well. Xavi Alonso got inside the box and got fouled. He then converted the penalty and the defending champions are up 1-o. But it all went downhill from there for the Spaniards. The Dutch came out wanting to tie things up and the Man U player, Robin Van Persie had an answer. An immaculate diving header from outside the box. He timed his run perfectly, caught a lovely cross and dove for the beautiful header. Moreover, the great display of skills and intensity by Arjen Robben was enough to get him 2 goals for himself. Robben had 2 superb finishes against the Spanish defense. Also, the 26-year old half-Filipino midfielder Jonathan De Guzman played very well for the Netherlands. At the end, the only thing Iker Casillas can do is stare in disbelief.
Casillas had a very bad game committing mistakes that led to more goals for Netherlands. The Spaniards need a reliable goal scorer and for Sergio Ramos, Pique and the rest of the team to step up their defence.
The Dutch won, 5-1.
Still, the champs will be a tough contender in this World Cup.
Rest of The Pack
There are still a lot of teams that can surely compete with Brazil and Spain for the World Cup. There’s Argentina who is led by arguably the best player in the game today, Lionel Messi and the outstanding scorer Gonzalo Higuain. Also, there is Germany that is led by Miroslav Klose who is looking to pass Ronaldo’s 15 goals for the all-time FIFA World Cup finals goalscoring list. There is Italy, the 2008 World Cup champions, led by Mario Balotelli. As for Uruguay, they’re looking to be the dark horses in this tournament and Luis Suarez will lead them along the way.
I’m sure all of you football die hards can’t wait for the World Cup to progress but don’t forget to savour the whole tournament because we’ll be waiting for another 4 years to get a taste of football’s greatest event.
Take Your Pick