“Very late night in India, but worth watching a great World Cup.”
The football World Cup reached the knockout stages, with the losers returning home and the winners progressing to the quarter-finals. All the pressure was on hosts, Brazil in the first of eight matches.
Brazil beat Chile 3-2 via a penalty shoot-out in their round 16 clash at the FIFA World Cup 2014. Both Brazil and Chile were level at 1-1 after extra time.
James Rodriquez bagged a brace as Colombia defeated Uruguay 2-0 in their round 16 match in Rio de Janeiro. Wesley Sneijder and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored in the dying minutes to give Netherlands a 2-1 victory against Mexico.
Costa Rica beat Greece 5-3 on penalties to reach their first ever World Cup quarter-finals
Brazil 1 Chile 1 [BRA won 3-2 on penalties] – 5pm (BST) KO, Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte – Saturday
Brazil progressing to the quarter-finals on penalties was not predicted as a plucky Chile side showed the world what they were made of.
Brazilian defender, David Luiz set the pace with an opening 18th minute goal, before Alexis Sanchez equalised just after the half hour mark.
Hulk had a goal disallowed for handball as the teams went in level at the end of an exciting first half.
The second half did not live up to the same standards with the players appearing tired as they started thinking of extra time. During extra time, both teams approached the halves cautiously, inevitably leading to a dramatic penalty shoot-out.
Penalties always bring out heroes and villains. Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar became the hero of the hour as he saved from Chile’s Mauricio Pinilla and Alexis Sanchez.
The all-important deciding kick fell to that man Neymar who converted coolly to give Brazil a 3-2 win on penalties.
Enthusiastically tweeting throughout the tournament, Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan again tweeted: “Poetic justice – Hulk’s goal was not hand ball !!”
Colombia 2 Uruguay 0 – 9pm (BST) KO, Estadio do Marcana, Rio de Janeiro – Saturday
Uruguay’s talisman Luis Suarez was missing for Uruguay as he started the first of his nine match international ban for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini. This left Uruguay significantly weak from the start.
The Uruguayan team did their best to use Suarez as a motivation, but were toothless without him.
A tame start exploded into action just before the half hour as James Rodriguez chested and struck home a superb twenty-five yard volley to put the Colombians 1-0 up.
The second half started as exciting as the first ended. Rodriguez again popped up to complete a sumptuous team move. Uruguay responded with a couple of efforts, but could not muster much of a threat.
The match ended with Colombia wining 2-0 as they advanced to the last eight of the competition.
Netherlands 2 Mexico 1 – 5pm (BST) KO, Estadio Castelao, Fortaleza – Sunday
Netherlands produced a sensational comeback to beat Mexico 2-1. The energy sapping heat of Fortaleza affected both teams as they struggled through the first half despite regular cooling breaks.
Giovani dos Santos broke the deadlock three minutes into the second half giving Mexico a deserved lead. A quick change in formation by the Dutch made a difference as they notched up a gear.
Time was running out for the Dutch as the Mexicans held firm. Two minutes from time however, a lapse in concentration allowed a Dutch corner to find an unmarked Wesley Sneijder to power an equaliser home.
With their tails in the air, Netherlands won a penalty for a foul on Arjen Robben in the 4th minute of injury time. Substitute, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar slotted home as Netherlands entered the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
Speaking of the conditions, Dutch manager, Louis van Gaal said at full time: “I knew we were going to have this cooling break. We trained for this.”
Costa Rica 1 Greece 1 [CRC won 5-3 on penalties] – 9pm (BST) KO, Arena Pernambuco, Recife – Sunday
Costa Rica advanced to their first ever quarter-finals after beating Greece 5-3 on penalties. Despite passages of good play from both sides, a defensive rear guard meant the first half ended on a quiet note.
The second half started much the same way, before the match came alive. Costa Rican skipper and Shahid Khan’s Fulham player Bryan Ruiz broke the deadlock seven minutes into the second half, stroking the ball neatly into the net.
It was advantage Costa Rica until Oscar Duarte was given his marching orders for a second yellow card.
The Greek pressure finally told when they snatched a last minute equaliser through Sokratis Papastathopoulos to take the game into extra time.
Going into extra time, both teams were lacking in energy, particularly Costa Rica. Chances were created by both teams, but there were no goals, thanks largely to some brilliant goalkeeping by Costa Rican, Keylor Navas.
The match went to penalties where the world saw an exhibition in technique, bravery and mental strength as only one spot-kick was missed, by Greece. Costa Rica scored their last penalty to heroically continue their dream run at the World Cup.
A keen fan from India posted on Facebook: “Very late night in India, but worth watching a great World Cup”
Two quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup 2014 have now been decided. Hosts, Brazil will face Colombia on 04 July 2014, whilst Netherlands will take on Costa Rica on 05 July 2014.
The winners from these matches will go on to play in the semi-finals of the competition.