We reached the business end of the group stage last night with Holland piping Chile to top spot in Group B while Brazil qualified alongside Cameroon in their pool.
In the Headlines
Chile huffed and puffed for all their might against Holland, hoping to beat the Oranje to top spot in their group but in the end it wasn’t enough with the Dutch scoring twice late on to finish with a perfect nine points.
Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo wasn’t happy though, telling a Dutch news agency that conspiracy had been afoot among the officials as La Roja prepares to meet perennial World Cup conquerors Brazil.
Elsewhere Spain signed off with a flourish, putting three past Australia, while David Villa said goodbye to the World Cup with a goal before Vicente Del Bosque – who was seemingly unaware of his impending international retirement – subbed him off.
In the evening, Neymar scored twice in a 4-1 win over Cameroon with the fans in Brasilia also treated to a rarely seen natural phenomenon known as a Fred goal – though he was clearly offside.
Elsewhere, Mexico put in a classy display to see off Croatia, with Mexico manager Miguel Herrara managing to contain his excitement after El Tri’s opener for all of two seconds. They meet Holland as they look to avoid a sixth consecutive World Cup exit in the second round.
The England Camp
Roy Hodgson and co will be put out of their misery later with their final group fixture against Costa Rica taking on the feel of a friendly with nine changes made to the team that flopped against Italy and Uruguay in the previous two games.
The Neville brothers have been talking with Euro 2000 whipping boy Phil admitting that there is no scapegoat for the mess that has been made in Brazil, which is a shame when you consider the candidates of yesteryear – Gareth Southgate, David Batty and David Beckham.
Meanwhile Roy Hodgson has identified his successor and the bad news is he works for Sky Sports, with the England boss backing Gary Neville to succeed him. Hmmm.
Luis Suarez is still struggling with knee problems but is expected to play in Uruguay’s crunch game with Italy later today. The Azzurri have their own problems with Daniele De Rossi expected to be out of this crucial encounter.
Arturo Vidal is still struggling for Chile and could yet miss their second round clash, while there was a small scare for the Selecao after a hefty challenge on Neymar saw the Barcelona man limping, though he eventually shook off the knock to score a second goal.
Brazil took centre stage in the celebrations with Selecao fans out in force to mark their team’s safe passage to the knockout stages.
There was also a good show from Holland fans after their fine win over Chile, though Mexico’s supporters were planted firmly on the naughty step after some unruly behaviour in the wake of their victory over Croatia.
In Other News
Australia fans probably didn’t enjoy their 3-0 loss to Spain but they are likely to be far less happy with the comments of Jamie Redknapp who used the Socceroos as an example in his scathing analysis of the England team at this World Cup.
“There is too much acceptance, too much tolerance, there are too many people shrugging their shoulders. They seem to be saying: England are out, but we didn’t expect much from them anyway.
“Have England become the equivalent of Australia or South Korea — a country just happy to be here? Home before the bit with the penalty shootouts.”
In an online poll with the Courier Mail, when asked whether they would prefer to be an England fan, 6.15% of voters said yes, 53.89% said no and 39.96% said c’mon Costa Rica.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £100 in free bets.