Monday kicked off the final round of group stage games in Brazil, which meant we all had to suddenly change the way we watch the World Cup.
Gone are the marvelous triple-headers that
distracted us from our work occupied us throughout each day. Arrived is carpal tunnel syndrome, a side-effect from the frantic remote-clicking that comes with the trouble of trying to watch two games simultaneously (If you’re not one of the lucky ones with two-monitor set-ups at home or in the office). Still worth it.
Though we have slightly less football to watch, Monday certainly didn’t disappoint. Here is “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” from Day 12:
With apologies to Neymar, Monday was all about one person: Mexico coach Miguel Herrera. If you’re not a fan of this contagiously passionate and charming, triple-chinned man, you most likely don’t have a soul.
Herrera, for those who don’t recall, became El Tri’s fourth manager in the span of just six weeks last October, after his three predecessors combined to put Mexico on the brink of failing to even qualify for this summer’s extravaganza.
Herrera stepped in and helped secure El Tri’s ticket to Brazil in a playoff against New Zealand, and the team has never looked back since. On Monday, Herrera led his country to its sixth straight World Cup knockout stage, fist-pumping and player-hugging and shouting all the way. It was glorious. There is no discussion he is the most exciting manager in all of sports, today:
Miguel Herrera the greatest coach cutaway shots ever.— MikeTirico (@miketirico)June 23, 2014
Mexico’s coach: essentially Diego Simeone without a neck. Incredible emotion.— Matteo Bonetti (@TheCalcioGuy)June 23, 2014
PLEASE Mexico, score again and again… just for Miguel Herrera celebrations. #cantgetenough— Julie Foudy (@JulieFoudy)June 23, 2014
Loving Herrera. It took them four tries, but I think Mexico finally found a coach we can all get behind.— Andrew Das (@AndrewDasNYT)June 23, 2014
Herrera. Wet, Dry or Hot Herrera. Give us Herrera or give us Death— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers)June 23, 2014
If you needed any more reason to love Herrera, this is what he looked like as a player for El Tri:
The Young mulletted Miguel Herrera » pic.twitter.com/YOIe0JnoNr— Football’s a Country (@FutbolsaCountry)June 23, 2014
— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan)June 23, 2014
We can all count ourselves lucky that Mexico remains in the tournament.
Unlike Mexico, Spain will not be playing come this weekend, and that is bad, or should we say, sad, for one big reason: It marked the end of David Villa’s stellar international career.
Spain’s all-time leading scorer announced his retirement from playing for his country prior to the World Cup, but left us with a little reminder of all his quality with a nifty back-heel goal for a 1-0 lead over Australia. It was the 32-year-old’s 59th and final goal for Spain:
David Villa in tears, kissing Spanish crest as he comes off and goes to the bench. He is, of course, headed to MLS— FOX Soccer Trax (@FOXSoccerTrax)June 23, 2014
Villa in tears as he walks off.— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan)June 23, 2014
Villa exit ends #ESP career. Integral part in this wonderful side. Fitting to call time with a clever goal in his last World Cup game.— Kyle McCarthy (@kylejmccarthy)June 23, 2014
Very sad moment for Villa-watchers. The end— Graham Hunter (@BumperGraham)June 23, 2014
Villa: “I would like to play with Spain until I’m 55, but that’s impossible. The most normal thing is for it to end here.”— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan)June 23, 2014
— Liviu Bird (@liviubird)June 23, 2014
On the other side, Australia’s Tim Cahill, a legend in his own right, also bid adieu to the world stage on Monday:
— Tim Cahill (@Tim_Cahill)June 23, 2014
Thanks for the memories, guys. We’re sad now, but looking forward to watching you guys still light it up in MLS.
Neymar stole the show for Brazil once again on Monday, scoring two goals to take the lead in the Golden Boot race (with four) and pass Rivaldo for sixth on the Selecao’s all-time scoring charts — incredibly, at just 22 years old (The guy is pretty good, huh?).
But lost in Brazil’s 4-1 over Cameroon was the fact that the hosts Number 9 — the fabled number worn by the likes of Ronaldo and Ademir - finally scored, too.
We’re talking about Fred, of course. “Graced” with perhaps the most boring name of any member of the Brazilian national team, past or present, he also sports a terrible mustache now:
Is that some scant handlebar action we see there? Clean it up, Fred. Just clean it up:
Fred must have been inspired by “Boogie Nights” for that moustache— David Amoyal (@DavidAmoyal)June 23, 2014
Now that he’s finally scored, Fred can take off that fake mustache.— Andrew Das (@AndrewDasNYT)June 23, 2014
— 8bit-Football.com (@8bitfootball)June 23, 2014
Images provided by Getty and Reuters.