13
Jul

David Luiz receives heartwarming letter from little girl after Brazil’s loss to Germany

Following Brazil’s humiliating 7-1 defeat to Germany at Belo Horizonte last Wednesday, it would have been easy to lambaste the players for their dreadful effort and performance.

However, one little girl showed maturity beyond her years by sending a letter of support to captain on the night David Luiz:

Translation, via ESPNFC:

“Hi David Luiz, My name is Analuz. I saw all of the Brazil games in the World Cup and I liked it a lot watching you play. I think that you don’t need to be sad because you played well and did the best you could. You were a great captain. Life is like this, sometimes people lose and sometimes people win but people only need to be happy.

David Luiz, you are my champion.

Analuz Penna Reale”

David Luiz had a response for the girl:

“Many thanks Princess Ana Luz, loved your letter! And I thank all Brazilians for all the support! I’ll never give up my dreams, and I will always strive to give back all that love I receive!

God bless you all!”

The Brazilian players are unlikely to get over their embarrassing defeat for a while, but forgiveness will help.

(H/T: NESN)

Image provided by Reuters.

12
Jul

World Cup Day 24: Best tweets from Brazil vs. Netherlands

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Oh, the dreaded third-place playoff match.

Dismissed by many and craved by few, the “consolation final” actually took on more importance this time around. It offered Brazil a chance to pick up the remnants of their dignity which was so brutally smashed into pieces by Germany in Belo Horizonte. An opportunity to apply some balm and gauze to the nation’s wound, and finish the World Cup with their heads held high.

It wasn’t to be. Instead, the Netherlands poured gasoline on the fire, beating the hosts 3-0. Brazil’s second capitulation in a week’s time — the first time they’ve lost consecutive home matches since 1940 — seemed all but a forgone conclusion by thetime Thiago Silva took down Arjen Robben in the second minute for a Dutch penalty (Silva was more than lucky not to be sent off, though he probably would have preferred watching the rest from the locker room).

If you have schadenfreude or no heart and would like to recount Brazil’s latest disaster, here are the best tweets from Saturday’s third-place match:

2nd minute:  Robin van Persie converts the penalty; Brazil’s defense picks up where it left off on Tuesday:

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16th minute: David Luiz with a “clearing” header back into the center of the eighteen. Daley Blind is there. 2-0 to the “bad guys.”

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Look away Brazil fans! Some halftime stats:

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Second half: Brazil should be awarded a penalty after a clear foul on Oscar. Instead, Algerian referee Djamel Haimoudi shows Oscar a yellow card for diving! 

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FT: Georginio Wijnaldum scores a third for the Dutch in injury time. Shortly after the referee puts Brazil out of their World Cup misery:

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Hey, we’ve gotta use Arsenal jokes while we still can!

Images provided by Getty and Action.

11
Jul

Brazil’s embarrassing World Cup exit provokes unexpected sympathy

Should old acquaintance be forgot? It was never going to be, but I hardly expected to be thinking of my friends from Copacabana so soon after landing back in England, and I certainly didn’t expect to be feeling so sorry for them.

The return home came just hours before the first semifinal and, like hundreds of millions of others across the planet, I watched incredulous as the team of the host nation, the greatest of all soccer nations, concede goals to Germany with a rapidity that would have been surprising in the NBA; let alone a sporting arena that had yielded just 1.25 goals per entire game in the previous round, as things became about as tight and tense as international soccer can get.

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After the magnificent Germans had eased off and started saving their energy for Sunday’s final, they stopped at seven, to which Brazil replied with a gesture that produced one in the closing seconds. I was watching in a riverside pub on the south-western fringes of London, slack-jawed like everyone around me, trying to think of precedents but being able to think only of the folks with whom I’d seen all the previous Brazil games.

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9
Jul

World Cup Day 23: Netherlands vs. Argentina

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In case you haven’t heard, the 2014 World Cup final is set: Germany vs. Argentina. Or, Lionel Messi vs. THE MACHINE, as Jon Champion so eloquently put it.

Mmm, tasty!

One thing immediately became clear: Just 24 hours after Germany handed Brazil its most humiliating defeat of all time, the hosts couldn’t jump on Germany’s bandwagon quick enough. Funny how this game goes sometimes:

Speaking of, Wednesday’s semifinal (or should I say, zzzzzz-emifinal) between Argentina and the Netherlands was NOTHING like Germany’s rout.

All you really need to know is that the Dutch and Albiceleste combined for five shots on goal for the entire 90 minutes and extra-time, the same number of goals Germany scored in 19 minutes of the first half on Tuesday. Yeah…

So how did we get to this World Cup final rematch of 1990 and 1986, the “rubber match” if you will between Germany and Argentina? Check out the best tweets:

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The big story of the first half was Javier Mascherano visibly seeing stars after a head-to-head collision, then being allowed to play on. Yet another concussion controversy in soccer. Ho-hum:

Somehow, that was literally the only talking point of the first half

Half time!

Alas, the second 45 minutes were much like the first:

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9
Jul

Germany fans told stay at stadium to avoid riots

Soccer can leave emotions running understandably high. Reports of riots in Brazil are likely wide of the mark, but the 7-1 World Cup semifinal thrashing at the hands of Germany has left the country shell-shocked.

As a result, German fans were asked to remain seated following the mauling, for fear of clashes with emotionally-charged Brazil fans.

 A photo from a reporter on the scene, depicting guards on stand-by in case of fan problems within the area.

It appears that the only things broken and hurt during the evening were Brazil’s hearts, but the possibility of fan unrest remained a very real and a very dangerous one.

Five Germany goals within 18 minutes of the first-half left Estadio Mineirao completely silenced, as Germany made safe passage into the World Cup final with an extra two goals in the next 45 minutes.

They will face the winner of the Argentina vs. the Netherlands semifinal later on today, with the final showpiece on Sunday. Meanwhile, the nation of Brazil remains stunned after a quite thrilling semifinal.

(H/T: NESN - Image from Instagram)

4
Jul

Tim Howard shows epic defense again as he blocks a hug from a fan

Tim Howard has become something of a national hero after his unbelievable string of saves ensured the USA came out of the World Cup with their heads held high.
Memes, a petition to the White House and phone calls from Barack Obama - just some of the hullabaloo surrounding Howard’s heroics.
The Everton and US keeper returned to Los Angeles to an excited mob of fans at LAX. He seemed happy to pose for photos and sign autographs, but one male fan decided to go too far and dive in for the hug. Just as at the World Cup, Howard denied the man access.
(H/T: NESN)