One by one they fall as the usual suspects line up. And extra time is the new black..

As good as it gets.. Lionel Messi stakes his claim for immortality in Brazil.

As good as it gets.. Lionel Messi stakes his claim for immortality in Brazil.

1. If anyone can win this World Cup off their own boot, it is Lionel Messi.

Argentina's diminutive wizard is the one player who has stood head and shoulders above all others in every game he has played in at this World Cup.

Not literally, that would require a ladder. I think you get my drift.

 

2. Give it up for the goalkeepers.

The men between the sticks are to football what drummers are to rock n roll. They may sit up the back and often be the subjected to derision, but there is no show without them.

At this tournament Tim Howard has saved The USA's bacon more times than Captain America. Germany's Manuel Neuer has brought the crazy with his impulsive frolics outside the box.

Julio Cesar, fresh from his exile from Queens Park Rangers ( I mean, who gets loaned out by QPR and then plays at The World Cup??) put on an heroic penalty shoot out performance which means he won't have to buy a Capirinha in Brazil ever again.

 And what's more satisfying than a 'Keeper venturing uptown for a last desperate stab at it like Switzerland's Diego Benaglio did in the dying moments against Argentina?

When the ball fell at his feet during those chaotic last moments it was like watching an elephant dance in roller skates.

 

 I
Brazil's greatest fear. Argentina.. Or Phil Collins. or both??

Brazil's greatest fear. Argentina.. Or Phil Collins. or both??

3. Brazilians tell you they fear no one at this World Cup.

Of course they're lying.

The thought of facing Argentina in the final at The Maracana fills them with the kind of fear one usually reserves for wallowing in a bath filled with spiders or being forced to listen to a Phil Collins album. 

Last time Brazil lost a World Cup at home, they ditched the white shirts they wore that day and replaced it with their legendary yellow strip. Their colourst was onto something, as yellow seems have worked for them.  

Losing to Argentina at home would be a whole new world of pain though. Think a Mike and The Mechanics music marathon. Yes, that bad. 

 

4. Nigeria's exit against France leaves Costa Rica one out with the usual suspects - The South Americans and The Europeans - to sort out this year's World Cup winner.

It's a problem for the game that despite it's incredible appeal and reach across the globe, the established confederations remain so dominant at the tournament. 

Is a country's success related directly to national wealth and Gross Domestic Product? 

Increasingly I think so.

It's not a perfect theory, as Brazil won in 1994 and 2002, but Brazilian football defies laws of physics and economics. As for the USA, up until this week the country treated football as an illegal alien, so they don't count.

However, there's no denying the dynamic of Soccernomics. Just like at clubland, the greater your resources, the stronger your institutions, the higher your spend, the better your outcomes. 

5. Now that the USA has been eliminated we have to brace ourselves for Clint Dempsey's promised Hip-Hop album. America's loss is now also ours.

Thanks for nothing, Belgium. 

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