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    Showing posts with label World Cup 2014. Show all posts

    Ronaldo, Varela make last minute magic to keep Portugal's World Cup alive

    A superb header by Silvestre Varela deep into extra time saved world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal from crashing out of the World Cup finals on Sunday as it secured a 2-2 draw with the United States.

    The Americans had looked to be safely into the last 16 after second-half goals by Jermaine Jones and Clint Dempsey saw them come back from 1-0 down -- a goal by Nani -- to gallop into the lead.

    However, with only seconds remaining, one sublime cross from a pretty anonymous Ronaldo was met by Varela and it soared past Tim Howard to give Portugal a lifeline as a further defeat after thire 4-0 hammering by Germany in the opening game would have seen them out.

    The United States -- who reached the last 16 in 2010 only to lose to Ghana -- are on four points along with Germany, who they play in their final group game, and who their coach Jurgen Klinsmann led at the 2006 finals.

    Klinsmann, who was also within seconds of being the first coach to guide the USA to two successive wins at a finals since 1930, was phlegmatic about the dramatic dashing of their hopes.

    "Obviously the last second is unfortunate but my guys were magnificent," said Klinsmann, who won the 1990 World Cup as a player.

    "We just have to get a result against Germany. Obviously the Germans have a day more to recover and we have had further to travel for our game but then the big guys are the ones that get the favourite treatment.

    "My guys went to the limit but now they have to pick themselves up and despite this result we will go into the game with a lot of confidence."

    The Portuguese got just the start they needed to settle their nerves as a terrible defensive error by Stoke City's Geoff Cameron -- the ball flying off his boot to Nani -- saw the Manchester United winger wait for Howard to commit himself before rifling the ball into the net.

    It had been preempted by an outrageous piece of skill by Ronaldo down the left side, completely bewitching three American players as they tried to corral him out on the touchline, only for a series of step overs and a backheel to see him squirm through the three of them.

    Conditions even in the evening were so draining that five minutes from the break, when Jermaine Jones received some treatment, the referee allowed both sides to rehydrate with a drinks break.

    Howard, who was earning his 102nd cap, kept his side in the game on the stroke of half-time as he somehow managed to stick a hand out as he dived the wrong way to tip a pointblank shot by Eder over the bar.

    World Cup 2014 : All about Mexican 'Jesus' Ochoa who did not let Brazil through

    Guillermo Ochoa. Remember this name because you will hear it for some time to come in football World Cup season. The Mexico goalkeeper turned an overnight sensation after throwing up an impenetrable shield around his post against Brazil.

    Mexico frustrated World Cup hosts and five-time champions Brazil and held them to a 0-0 draw at the Estadio Castelao on Tuesday. Brazil had no answers to the brilliance of Ochoa, nicknamed Memo.

    He pulled off an incredible diving stop from a Neymar header and seven more extraordinary saves to deny the pedigreed Brazil an easy march toward qualification from Group A.

    Such was his showing that experts suddenly brought up references to the saves of legendary (USSR) goalkeeper Lev Yashin. 

    Not one of football’s superstars, not even in his own team, Ochoa played his club football for AC Ajaccio in France.

    The 28-year-old is looking for a new club after quitting Ajaccio following their relegation from Ligue 1. He has been linked with move to Olympique Marseille. This performance will send his ratings soaring.

    The social media sphere buzzed with mention of Ochoa after his spectacular show. There were almost 2 million mentions of Ochoa on Twitter during the match, according to Twitter Reverb. The numbers are guaranteed to swell.

    Basketball hero Kobe Bryant hailed "OCHOA!! Incredible" in a tweet within minutes of the game ending. Ochoa's Wikipedia page was hacked to hail him as “the Mexican Jesus after his performance against Brazil”.

    Ochoa did a lap of honour around the Fortaleza Castelao Stadium after one of the great World Cup goalkeeping performances.

    He remained poised in his moment of glory. "I believe this was the best match of my life because this was a World Cup game and this is very important," Ochoa said.

    "We have to move on, celebrate with my teammates and my family, but move on because the path is still long.

    “Thank God I made those saves and now it's time to keep on working."

    Ochoa is the most capped of the three Mexican keepers chosen for this World Cup.

    He is finding his place in the sun after heartbreak in 2010. He was expected to be first choice at 2010 World Cup in South Africa before then-coach Javier Aguirre opted for veteran Oscar Perez.

    Ochoa won a league title with Mexico City side America in 2005 before moving to France in 2011.

    A very proud Mexico coach Miguel Herrera put things in perspective after the match. “In my memory, I can’t remember a goalkeeper performing like that in a World Cup.”

    "I don't know whether I can think of another goalkeeper in memory... someone who has done what Memo did today," Herrera told a news conference.

     "Memo today had high-level saves, gave the certainty to the team that we needed and gave confidence that we're well covered."

    Ochoa came in for praise from Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. "I didn't like the Mexican goalie," Big Phil joked to reporters. "He did very well, he was spectacular. The defences he did were spectacular. Calm, tranquil, he knows how to play, is well positioned.

    "I think he really was the best player in the match and Mexico has a very good quality team."

    World Cup 2014 : Netherlands crushes Spain with a stunning 5-1 victory in a rollercoaster game

    Stunning goals from Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben fired the Netherlands to a 5-1 demolition of Spain who endured a miserable start to their World Cup defence in a pulsating Group B game on Friday.

    In complete contrast to the tetchy World Cup final between the sides in 2010 which Spain won 1-0, the Dutch took sweet revenge with a vibrant display capped off by two goals each for Van Persie and Robben and one by defender Stefan de Vrij.

    "I certainly didn't expect this result but I did expect us to score in the way we did," Dutch coach Louis van Gaal told reporters.

    "Spain were always going to come at us and we catch them on the counter. My players did it perfectly. It's far better than we ever expected," Dutch coach Louis van Gaal told reporters.

    Only once before had Spain conceded five times in a World Cup game, on Brazilian turf in 1950 in a 6-1 loss to the hosts. The Dutch mauling at Salvador's Fonte Nova arena was also the worst ever start for defending world champions.
    "I can't find words to explain five goals," Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said.

    "We have never been a very defensive side but always coped well defending. Today we've been very weak.

    "We kept on fighting but they were physically stronger as the game went on and that made a difference... It is now a delicate situation for us which we will and try and overcome in our next game against Chile and then see what happens."

    Spain, also 2008 and 2012 European champions, had been expected to dictate proceedings with their slick passing style and normal service looked to be established when a coolly converted 27th-minute Xabi Alonso penalty gave them the lead.

    Van Gaal had set his Dutch side up to press and look for the quick ball and it paid dividends just before the break in spectacular fashion when Van Persie equalised superbly.

    Diving header
    The Netherlands' key man sneaked in between defenders Sergio Ramos and Jordi Alba in the 44th minute to meet a searching Daley Blind cross with a powerful diving header that left goalkeeper Iker Casillas rooted to the spot.

    Moments before Van Persie's goal Spain missed a glorious chance to double their lead when midfielder David Silva's cheeky chip was pushed wide for a corner.

    It was a wasted opportunity they came to rue.

    After the break the Dutch hurried Spain in possession, pouring forward at every opportunity, and went ahead after 53 minutes when Robben got on the end of another superb Blind lobbed pass before turning Gerard Pique and holding off Ramos to fire home from seven metres.

    Del Bosque reacted by swapping Alonso for the more attack-minded Pedro and Brazilian-born striker Diego Costa, booed with every touch by the locals, went off for Fernando Torres.

    The match opened up but in the Netherlands' favour.

    Van Persie rattled the crossbar with a ferocious right-foot volley before De Vrij, whose tackle on Costa had led to the penalty, stole in on 64 minutes at the back post to convert a free kick after Casillas who was pressurised by Van Persie.

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