Day 13, unlucky for some but now that we’ve reached the knockout stages, we’ll be waving goodbye to four more teams today as we try to wittle our last 16 down. For those in need of the maths help on that, we’ll see four last 16 games today and the other four tomorrow. We’ll be focusing on the top half of the draw, but let’s take a look at that draw to remind ourselves:
The good news is, if you can call it good news, every knockout stage game is being recorded. I’ve found some free software called FlashBack Express – I don’t work for them so if you try it and it’s crap, it’s not my idea. It’s just an easy way to record your screen. Anyway, let’s get on with it.
Brazil vs Chile
Chile have been dealt a rough hand here. After their last gasp qualification, their reward is not only a clash with Brazil but only two days of rest. It makes the scheduling all the more odd, given that Group H was being pushed forward for no reason in the early rounds of group matches…gah. I’ll never understand.
Mark Carruthers, non-league mogul by day, Brazil manager by night, is only missing the suspended Leonardo. When Mauro Silva is his replacement, you’ll probably be ok. It’s a strong team that will take some beating.
Chile, under the guidance of out 20 year champ Dan Williamson (@winkveron) had the world gripped by their last minute qualification. As somebody really hoping the game generates something interesting to talk about, the final minute of the final group game suited me just fine. If they can pull this one off, it’ll be the greatest miracle of all.
Here it is in video form, scroll down for a slower dissection of events.
If there was one thing Chile didn’t need, it was for their already overworked goalkeeper to get injured in the first minute. His 39 year old replacement is not up to much, plus you’ve got to remember that Tapia, the original number one, broke a pelvis before a ball was kicked. We’re down to the third choice and he gets battered. Ronaldo scores a minute later before completing a first half hat-trick on 31 minutes. Oh and a fourth on 39. That’s it really. The job is done.
Chile couldn’t gain a foothold as Ronaldo runs riot. There’s some sorry ratings on the Chile side. Brazil on the other hand, couldn’t be happier.
That is until one minute into the second half. Ronaldo is down. He looks in pain. He’s signalling to the bench. Edmundo replaces him and scores a 5th but this is like Neymar going off against Colombia (in the future, yes. Insert ‘what year is it’ gif here) but at least Sonny Anderson is here. He doesn’t score. It finishes 5-0.
That’s er, an odd choice of man of the match really given one player scored four goals and left on a stretcher. Nike will have a word. He’ll be back.
Here’s how it finished, stats fans:
Ronaldo has a torn calf and will miss the rest of the tournament. Wow.
That’s potentially good news for hosts France…or Russia.
France vs Russia
Paddy’s (or @90sfootball if your prefer) reward for topping Group B is a meeting with one of three computer managed side left in the draw. Russia lost to Jamaica last time out and drew 0-0 with Scotland. How do these things happen?
Paddy’s had the pen and paper out again
Flattery will get you everywhere, though there is little I can do in truth. I’ll just set them up as Paddy instructs. Djorkaeff is given his chance to shine whilst Vieira is in for the suspended Deschamps.
Russia are playing this bloody counter attack formation which is as restricting as it is dull. No wonder they couldn’t beat Jamaica or Scotland.
Video time. Do enjoy.
For those who prefer the written word, I hope you are familiar with the phrase “putting lipstick on a pig.” Because this was desperate.
Not necessarily from France mind you. They had a good go but their finishing let them down whilst Russia just sat in their own half, soaking up wave after wave of French attacks. They made it to half time without having a shot but only having to actually save one of France’s efforts.
Emmanuel Petit picked up a knock and it seemed unnecessary to rest him with Benarbia available and Russia not coming out to play.
The second half however…1 shot. ONE. If you’ve watched the video, please forgive me.
The only plus for France is that they managed to injure three of Russia’s team, plus one sub, so Russia are down to 10. With this looking awfully reminiscent of France vs Paraguay in the real life tournament, it’s time for golden goal extra time. Shout out to Valeri Karpin by the way, seemingly the pig with the lipstick if you’re following that metaphor.
Anyway, France introduced Papin and a sense of urgency to get this shit sorted out and with a couple of shots on target the crowd stirred. The clock ticked around to 119 minutes. Trezeguet, a 63rd minute sub, latched on to the ball and slipped a pass in to Papin. He might be ageing but he knows how to finish. I’ve never been so relieved to see that flashing blue text. France are through, Laurent Blanc has an out of body experience that this has already happened in his life and Russia depart without a shot on goal. Honestly.
Good grief. Ovtchinikov got man of the match against Scotland but he gets it here for making 3 saves. What a time to be alive.
As a neutral, I’m quite pleased to bring you France vs Brazil in the quarters.
Phew. Two more to come and our next game is probably the hardest to call on paper.
Holland vs Romania
Romania didn’t win their group but they thrashed two teams and lost to Italy. No shame in that, they racked up 10 goals and will be a handful for any team. We all know how good the Dutch can be but we also know they are prone to a lapse every now and again, so they can’t afford that here.
One such lapse came against Ireland last time out. Holland still topped the group and it would have taken a remarkable set of results for them not to, but it was still an alarming result. Ash Rose, 90s connoisseur and host of Alive & Kicking 90s Podcast, has kept a cool head through all this playing a no frills 4-4-2 and letting Bergkamp and Kluivert do the talking. Bogarde is in for the banned Stam, who you may remember did a whoops against Ireland.
Romania are managed by @CorinthiandHead who you may recall is MK who blogged his Brighton save for me last year. He’s struck gold with this formation that has freed Hagi and generally caused utter carnage. Except against Italy.
I’m on a roll with the videos, though as ever I’ve written stuff below.
It’s a decent game, both sides not holding back which is a ruddy relief after the Russia debacle. It’s Romania who take the lead though, Prodan being left unmarked from a free kick to strike just after the half hour. It’s tight and it sets up the second half nicely.
Cocu’s at Man Utd so his injury is probably a greater deal than I give it credit for. Aaron Winter is on, he’s barely been involved.
Holland keep plugging away but Romania are still looking for that killer second goal. Bergkamp hits the post, Ilie misses a wonderful chance from a rebound. Ash throws Hasselbaink on with 5 minutes to go and there’s just Blind at the back. It’s stoppage time and just when you think you’ve seen it all, Kluivert feeds Bergkamp who scores and forces extra time. MK can’t believe it. I can’t believe it. The Dutch look chilled.
There’s barely a cigarette paper between these two though the timing of the goal will be a kick in the tits for MK. An urgent reshuffle from Ash to stop Holland playing quite so many up front
Straight after the restart, Papura stops Hasselbaink’s march towards goal with his hand. Penalty and a red card. Kluivert converts and this is over very abruptly. Wow.
I think I’ve played this too much or I’m overtired, as I felt genuine sympathy for MK. Follow him @CorinthianHead to cheer him up. Ridiculous scenes but Holland go through to the last 8.
I guess they probably edged it on stats but it’s a cruel way to lose. Golden goal is not missed.
Who will the Dutch face?
England vs Japan
Dan Barker’s reward for England getting the better of Argentina in the group stage is a meeting with Japan, leaving Argentina to battle Spain tomorrow. Dan will fancy his chances here of setting up a memorable Euro 96 re-match. More of the same from Dan, with McManaman back in the fold after his ban. Michael Owen is injured (shocker).
It is refreshing for a computer team to play 4-4-2 rather than that silly counter attack bollocks. Remember, most of Japan’s squad is made up of fictional players.
Last video of the day…
It was going quite serenely for Dan and the expectant English, no doubt singing Vindaloo. Shearer gave his side the lead but the easy win never followed – it never does with England – and Japan took control of the tie and deservedly equalised just before half time.
Is a shock on the cards? Is it even a shock?
Paul Scholes has no time for this. He puts England ahead and it proves to be the winner. England are in the last 8 – let the hyperbole commence.
Just about deserved in the end but both shots on target were the only goals. Work to be done I think.
At least Teddy proved to be an able replacement for Owen. England will hope Shearer and Sheringham can put Holland to the sword as they did in Euro 96.
With that, this mega update comes to an end. The problem is 2 games wouldn’t be enough so it’s 4 games I’m afraid. I’ll be back tomorrow with the next 4, including Spain vs Argentina and Italy vs Republic of Ireland. I’m off to prepare Scotland to face China. Bye for now!