The FIFA World Cup Halftime and Post-Game Show Thread For 6/15/14: 11 Games, No Draws
The Day 4 Team of The Day
Undisputed that Benzema, Messi, Rodriguez, and Misimovic got the nods for me. Seferovic, for being clutch to score that massive goal in his young career for his country, also deserving of first team honors.
Debuchy was the best right back on a day where Lichtsteiner and Zabaleta underperformed. Valbuena and Griezmann had quality throughout the day and will be encouraged by their play. Lloris didn't have to do anything and wins by default with good organization for his young centerback pairing.
And the last choice was hard to comeby, as Djourou's marking was so terrible in Enner Valencia's goal for Ecuador. But he made so many timely tackles today, where no other centerback in the other two games had as many quality, important moments for his team as he did.
(That's it for Day 4 coverage of this World Cup, the first of four crucial Sundays for this competition that ends with the final on June 13th. Come back tomorrow for Day 5. Peace for now).
FT: Argentina 2-1 Bosnia & Herzegovina
Photo from Getty Images
That change that Sabella had to make happen immediately, and credit for him on seeing how Messi will need Higuain and Aguero up front to get the best of him. The same can be said of Aguero, who showed life with the fact that he wasn't going to be the only man consistently in the box for his side.
Bosnia & Herzegovina have nothing to be shamed of in their first World Cup performance, particularly the young players. Besic's one moment of not staying directly on Messi like you have to for all 90 minutes was the difference in the game, but otherwise it was an impressive first effort from him at a World Cup. He definitely has to play somewhere other than in Hungary next year.
Kolasinac may have led in the own goal, but he did well today to help in containing Aguero in the first half and even in the onslaught in the second half. And Hajrovic came into the game after a quiet start and showed his left foot quality. For Susic, he will feel content with his team's performance, particularly the impressive Misimovic who showcased why he was a star in the Bundesliga for several years. They are still firm favorites to go through past Nigeria for second in this group.
For Sabella, there will be the same corners with his backline, as Garay couldn't bring Fernandez up to a top class centerback level (and Fernandez brought down Garay to his "ok" level). They got split by the great Misimovic-Dzeko combination and then saw Ibisevic get through them at the end of the match (particular Fernandez there). Even Zabaleta had to do better there, as he allowed a lot of space for Lulic to find the former St. Louis Billiken man and provide a great moment for him and his nation.
But at least Sabella saw that Messi got a goal and a big moment already out of him for the first game, where annoying questions about whether he will score this World Cup won't surface at all.
(More to come here, including the team of Day 4.....)
Halftime: Argentina 1, Bosnia & Herzegovina 0
Messi is always at his best when he has two men in front of him to operate and help give him that key extra space he needs. With Sabella only putting Aguero ahead, it makes it so much harder for him and "the Kun" to produce any creativity or threat consistently to Spahic and company.
Besic, with help from Spahic, is getting help from there to disrupt the #10.
Also, it hasn't been a steady first half for Garay and Fernandez, who allowed Dzeko to get through on Misimovic's wonderful pass.
FT: France 3-0 Honduras
Annoyingly and predictably enough, FIFA get it wrong again, robbing Benzema of a hat trick. Hopefully that changes.
Otherwise, as expected, especially after Push-lacios did his business.
Honestly, no much need to talk about the second half and what both managers need to do after Palacios' dumb second yellow.
It's all about how many goals France should score and whether Varane and Sakho can go 90 minutes without mistake.
FT: Switzerland 2-1 Ecuador
That was a play that spoke to not only the heart and competitor that Valon Behrami is, and also a reason why for a referee to play an advantage. If Referee Ravshan Irmatov calls the foul there on Gruezo, that magical moment would have never happened.
What total devastation for Ecuador, who played about as well as they could, only to have two poor switch offs at the wrong time. That result will likely see them not advance and end their tournament.
For Switzerland to play so poorly and get three points for that is something that they need to thank the heavens above. Moreover, if Arroyo showed a good finisher's instinct, they would have lost that game. Hitzfeld has got to see better performances from his key men, Behrami especially after his otherwise terrible game, along with seeing better clarity for him. Djourou played okay with a lot of good moments, but him being in the lineup led to Valencia's first goal off awful markings.
(More to come in this thread, at halftime with France and
Halftime: Ecuador 1, Switzerland 0
1) Hitzfeld made the mistake to have Djourou in the lineup. Despite a few timely blocks at the end of the half, he was caught napping on Enner Valencia's goal.
2) Hiztfeld must also ponder replacing Behrami if he continues to make first grade mistakes. It was ugly his touches and decision making by him, and Dzemaili will have to come in if he doesn't significantly improve.
3) The same can be said of Xherdan Shaqiri, who if he does not improve, may have to lead to Tranquilo Barnetta and his experience coming in. Josip Drmic has had nothing to do in the half and will have to come back for the ball in the second half.
4) For Ecuador, as sound as it can go, but they will need more from Noboa, as Gruezo seemed to wake up at the end of the half. They are not giving enough resistance back to Inler and Behrami, and have been aided by the latter's poor half.
5) Antonio Valencia has had to do a lot with most of the attack going down Jefferson Montero's side, but Rodriguez at times got into those spots that make him dangerous. He will have to stay alert there for sure at all times.