The FIFA World Cup Halftime and Postgame Thread For 6/17/14: Day 6 Closing
Best XI of Day 6
The undisputed choices were Ochoa, Marquez, Vasquez, Moreno, Neymar, Fellaini.
Miguel Layun is the 4th member of that Mexican back wall today in this team, who while doing as best he could on Alves going forward made sure to also make the aggressive rightback defend him as well. In addition, neither Ramires nor Bernard could produce much against him and Andres Guardado, who with a few better final balls would have been in this lineup today.
Thiago Silva was the best Brazilian defender on the day, making key stops whenever Dos Santos got by Luiz and almost scored the game winner of the match, only for the outstanding Ochoa to deny him.
Ki was once again the key in the Korean midfield, as his invaluable work almost saw his country take a precious three points.
Aleksandr Kerzhakov showed why he should always be in the Russian starting lineup, providing some semblance of attack for Capello's side and almost making up for Akinfeev's awful moment.
And finally, the manager of the day is Miguel Herrera, who continues his fine transformation of a Mexico side back to their 2012 winning mentality and not their 2013 weak-minded calamitous actions.
(That's World Cup coverage for Day 6, tune back in for Day 7 before Australia/Netherlands)
Final: Russia 0-0 Korea Republic
Okay, FIFA, this is really getting painfully embarrassing. Do you even watch your own matches? My goodness gracious, another embarrassing Man of the Match choice:
Anyway, both sides will feel three points were thrown away, as what should have been the Group H second place decider now may comedown to whoever either gets a point off Belgium, doesn't lose badly enough to Belgium, defeats Algeria by the most goals, or fails to get all 3 points from Algeria.
Clearly the better performers in midfield were most of the match was Bo's side. Ki Sung-Yueng was the true man of the match, showcasing why he is such a valued commodity in the Premier League, while Koo Ja-Cheol showcased why he's become a reputable, rising force for Mainz in the Bundesliga.
Fabio Capello $12 million salary somehow couldn't figure out how to bring Aleksandr Kerzhakov (and Alan Dzagoev) on the field to start the match against a shaky Korean defense coming in, as Aleksandr Kokorin couldn't find any support until they arrived. Oleg Shatov looked lost out there with Kokorin the only person really forward throughout the match. And starting Denis Glushakov over Igor Denisov proved to be another wrong choice, as Glushakov wasn't a threat and was well handled in the midfield by Koo and Ki.
Simply put, Capello needs to not be stubborn and start at least Kerzhakov the next match with Kokorin to give Shatov a chance to have outlets up front.
And not much else needs to be said of Akinfeev's awful blunder, replacing Casillas as the top gaffe maker of the tournament. He was shaky even before that moment and will be under more pressure from Zenit star keeper Yuri Lodygin for the rest of the tournament.
(We'll return for the team of Day 6 when I come back)
HT: Korea Republic 0, Russia 0
Photo from FIFA.com
Capello simply needs to make changes and changes here after a dire first half. Kerzhakov and Dzagoev need to come on for Samedov and maybe Fayzulin. Either way, Kokorin badly needs help, and Russia require some kind of fluidity.
Bo can't be too displeased about the first half, as for once his centerback pairing looked competent. Also, Han has been very effective as a holder in the first half to allow Ki his forward passing mentality.
Son has been given the two half chances, but has failed immensely thus far.
(This thread will return after the game with a rapup of this one and the Day 6 Team of the Day)
FT: Mexico 0-0 Brazil
Photo from FIFA
The two big takeaways from that match were Memo Ochoa's brilliance and Brazil's real concern now at forward. Fred just isn't a world championship side starter, and that will make Scolari ponder if he can have him in the lineup anymore.
Preferably for Brazil, Hulk needs to be the #9 man when he comes back against Cameroon (hopefully) with Bernard coming in as the right midfielder. It is the only solution that will get this team's offense to really go up their current situation is not good enough to win a 6th world title.
But Miguel Herrera has done it again, a terrific team performance from his side to get back into being a real Brazil torn after being brushed aside at the Confederations Cup. Giovanni Dos Santos was electric for a second straight day, while Gio Vasquez was sensational in the midfield with his constant energy and disruption of many Brazil attacks.
Now the result puts intense pressure on Croatia, who realistically have to beat both Cameroon and Mexico tomorrow since their goal difference is -2 at the moment while Mexico's is a healthy +1.
FT: Belgium 2-1 Algeria (Fellaini 70', Mertens 80'; Feghouli 25' pen)
Photo from FIFA
It was the perfect character test for Marc Vilmots' side to undergo so early in the tournament, down 1-0 to an obstinate Algerian side and not playing well at all. And they passed it with fine colors.
Vilmots made the changes that should have arguably not had to be made at the start, as maybe Marouane Fellaini and especially Dries Mertens showed they were worthy of the first eleven. They clearly made the difference, as Fellaini became the extra formidable presence in the box and produced the firm header to equalize.
Mertens was a constant threat after coming on for the disappointing Nacer Chadli, who likely saw his first and only chance to start this tournament after a dreadful display. The Napoli man was superb in causing problems to Faouzi Gholam throughout and finished superbly for the winner after Eden Hazard's good final ball pass. It is truly neck for neck between them for who was the Man of the Match.
Of course, the idiots from FIFA gave the Man of the Match to neither of them:
Rough luck for Algeria, as Valid Halilhodzic had his team so organized throughout, but maybe should have tried to see if his side had a goal in them from open play. It's not like this team lacks attacking talent, but you would have barely known Saphir Tader has fine ability at Inter or Sofiane Feghouli causes massive headaches to defenders in La Liga throughout. Hopefully in their second game the Desert Foxes will show the underrated talent going forward that they do contain.
(More to come from this thread at halftime of Brazil-Mexico)