In The Headlines
France made hard work of a second round clash with Nigeria, helped in no small part by a statue-like performance from the suitably statuesque Olivier Giroud that recalled the glory days of 1998 World Cup-winning passenger Stephane Guivarc’h – Newcastle may want to consider making a bid!
The “striker” that made this Arsenal fan cry was eventually replaced by Antoine Griezmann, though in the end it was Nigeria who sort of took the initiative as a blunder from goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama and an own goal from Joseph Yobo gifted Les Bleus a 2-0 win.
They will meet Germany, a team that appears to be getting worse with every passing game – something that no doubt provides solace to many a glum England fan.
Die Mannschaft toiled for long periods of the game against Algeria who more than held their own – something Adrian Chiles, Clive Tyldesley and the rest of the patronising posse at ITV were keen to reiterate every two minutes.
A lively game throughout, at one point Germany opted to use a free-kick in a promising position to try out their new clown routine involving a Thomas Muller fall and Mezut Ozil flick both so crap, we wonder whether they were trying to prompt a laughing fit amongst the Algerian team.
While reportedly planned, the routine did help alleviate some of the tension, with three goals scored in extra time and Germany through 2-1 on the night.
Elsewhere the World Cup was awash with scandal following claims that a match involving the Cameroon team was rigged.
According to a report from German publication Der Spiegel, as many as “seven bad apples” in the Indomitable Lions squad may have been involved in a plot to rig their 4-0 loss to Croatia – a game that included a first half red card for Alex Song.
The allegations centre on infamous football match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal who reportedly forecast the result of the game and a first half sending off during a discussion with Der Spiegel.
Either he should be doing my job, or something is amiss.
The non-England Camp
Gene Hackman-lookalike Phil Scolari attempted to take the pressure off his young Brazil squad by telling the press his young Brazil squad are feeling the pressure – a statement as obvious as saying Selecao great Ronaldo isn’t in the best of shape these days.
“Of course it’s a concern, we have a young team,” he said.
“Hopefully, in the next matches we will be making fewer mistakes because of this lack of experience. We can’t lose anymore.”
Neymar in a race to be fit and Scolari on the warpath – no pressure then boys!
Big Phil also took time out to give a shout out to our very own Howard Webb – or was it more of just a plain old shouting at? – after he failed to book any of Chile’s players despite the battering handed out to dear old Neymar.
“We always see how hesitant referees are when it comes to Brazil. If we are going to be champions it can’t be like this, it has to be the same for everyone. We’re starting to doubt that.”
Shkodran Mustafi’s bid to show Everton what they missed out on is over after the 22-year-old was ruled out of the rest of the World Cup after picking up an injury for Germany.
Costa Rica will be without Roy Miller for their quarter-final clash with Holland after the defender picked up an injury, while Belgium are facing a crocked-player crisis with Thomas Vermaelen definitely out and Vincent Kompany a major doubt.
Korea Republic suffered at the hands of their supporters earlier today after arriving back from the World Cup in Brazil winless.
A heavy defeat to Algeria was a particularly low point for the team but things got a whole lot worse upon their arrival at an airport near Seoul with angry fans waiting to pelt the squad with handfuls of toffees.
Something for the players to chew over I guess!
In Other News
Mauricio Pinilla is clearly a glutton for punishment if the images available online are correct.
Not satisfied with coming so close to scoring the winner for Chile against Brazil when his thunderous shot late in extra time struck the bar, or going on to miss from the spot in the shootout, the former Hearts striker has now opted to commemorate the occasion with a special series of tattoos sure to make you wince!
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