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Bravery goes unrewarded

Round of 16 games — some very brave teams went unrewarded. Soccer can be such a cruel game sometimes.

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Chile had a huge chance to make history. A crossbar and some bad luck did them in. Yes Brazil was a better side and had more dangerous chances, but Chile’s bravery went unrewarded.

He was this close to knocking out Brazil with 15 seconds left

Pinilla of Chile was this close to knocking out Brazil with 15 seconds left

Switzerland almost pulled a great upset against Argentina. No one gave them a chance (me included) but they took Argentina to the wire. Only a very inspired run from Lionel Messi separated them from a possible spot in the Quarterfinals.

Switzerland came this close against heavily favored Argentina

Switzerland came this close against heavily favored Argentina

Algeria were very brave against Germany, almost catching the sleeping giant for the second time in their world cup history. Manuel Neuer had to make many saving tackles to keep Germany in the game. In the end Algeria put up a good fight, but not good enough.

Mexico were one of the biggest surprises in the tournament. They barely qualified, and then almost beat Brazil — and almost beat the Netherlands in the round of 16. Mexico was very brave, but defended too deeply for too long in the second half. I hope that’s the last we see Rafael Marquez and his brand of “tackling” in the world cup. Good riddance.

The USA gave Belgium a scare too. I wouldn’t say that the USA put up such a brave display as Chile or Switzerland  — they hardly troubled Belgium for almost the entire game — but they did end with a flourish. And they could have stolen the game away from Belgium except for some poor finishing in the 90+ minute of regular time. See here.

The USA had this chance to win the game with 1 minute left, but we missed the goal completely

The USA had this chance to win the game with 1 minute left, but we missed the goal completely

 

Except for Costa Rica, all of the brave underdog teams with a chance to advance to the World Cup Quarterfinals failed at the last. For some teams it would have been their first quarterfinal appearance, and for others it was a chance to upset the status quo of quarterfinals full of European and South American giants. In the end, normal service was resumed.

 

Thoughts? What was your favorite “non-favored” team in World Cup 2014?

 

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  1. voltage
    July 14, 2014 at 3:28 am

    FIRST COMMENTER !!!

  2. mommadiane
    July 14, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    My heart and name belong to Switzerland and I lived there once a long time ago for nearly a year. Such a small nation in footprint, but hearts that abound. Perhaps someday….

    • July 14, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      Yeah, they got really close to making it to the quarterfinals! It does help to have such a great coach — they had Ottmar Hitzfeld. He seems to win wherever he goes. Thanks for reading!

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