World Cup Day 21: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

July 5th, 2014

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Netherlands. Argentina. Brazil. Germany.

These four juggernauts, who’ve reached 21 World Cup finals between them and won 10 of the 19 previous titles, make up the semifinal field in Brazil. Even without the injured Neymar in the fold, this has all the makings to be one of the greatest “final fours” in World Cup history.

Oh, and we’ve got an absolute cracker of a final promised for next Sunday.

Getting excited? Us too.

So, how did we get here? Skim through Saturday’s top storylines in our latest World Cup social media roundup:

THE GOOD
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First up on Saturday was Lionel Messi and the Albiceleste taking on Belgium, a rematch of the 1986 semifinals. All tournament long it’s been Messi who carried his side from win to win (his back must be killing him!), but on this day he got a little help from his friend Gonzalo Higuain:

Too soon, Men in Blazers, too soon…

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After Argentina’s narrow win, it was time for a goalkeeper duel (sorry, truel) between the Netherlands and Costa Rica. Actually, it was mostly just 120 minutes of Keylor Navas making save after save, rescuing the Ticos to their second straight penalty shootout …

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… at which point Dutch manager Louis van Gaal pulled out a brilliant move, taking off starting goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen, who made a huge save late in extra time, for backup Tim Krul, who’s had more success stopping penalties than the former. As we all know, the switch paid off in spades:

THE BAD

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This World Cup may have come a bit too soon for Belgium’s golden generation, but you just wonder what might have been had key man Eden Hazard played on Saturday.

What’s that? Hazard did play against Argentina?! Get out of town! 

No matter how you slice it, the Chelsea star and reigning Premier League Young Player of the Year simply didn’t show up against the Albiceleste. In fact, Hazard barely showed any flashes of brilliance in Brazil that he’s become known for at club level. For that, he got a good hiding on Twitter:

It’s obviously unfair to blame Belgium’s disappointing end to the World Cup on just one guy, and this team will almost certainly make much more noise at the next few tournaments. Still, they will need their best player to step his game up in order to do so.

THE UGLY

We couldn’t come up with anything that really stood out as “ugly” on Saturday, so we’ll just leave you with this haunting image of Rodrigo Palacio’s haircut:

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Woof!

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    I am rooting for Brazil.
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