Rob’s World Cup Wire
Johan Not Happy, Mexico a Tough Nut to Crack + Miguel a Real Tweet

by Rob Shepherd.

Johan Not Satisfied

Cruyff is unimpressed by Dutch performances

Holland have under Louis Van Gaal developed a style more like Power Football than the fabled Total Football which came to the fore in the Seventies with Johan Cruyff the inspiration.

It’s highly effective with Holland having won all their group games with 10 goals, but Cruyff is critical and wants to see the Dutch turn on the style against Mexcio and ironically be more German! The Germans have turned their old power game into a more attractive style, as Cruyff observed;

“The Oranje has qualified but the football isn’t that good. I liked the way that Germany kept playing in their own style – even during the moments when things weren’t going well against Ghana.

“That’s the way Netherlands should be playing as well. The results are good, now we have to start playing good football.”


Mexican or Mexican’t..?

Mexico will test just how good Holland’s counter attacking really is given they have proved to have one of the toughest defences so far.

Along with Belgium and Costa Rica, Mexico are the only team to have conceded only one goal.

The stats back it up as well; They have made 42 tackles compared to a tournament average of 36.7, have achieved 121 recovered balls compared to 88.8 and there have been 9 off-sides given in their favour against an average of 4.9.


Miguel Tweets ‘Em Right!

He is hardly the best known but Mexico coach Miguel Herrara has become a cult hero.

His impassioned touchline antics plus the generous way he treats fans has seen him gather nearly 800,000 Twitter followers – which is the most of any coach at the World Cup.


Did You Know…

Colombian Jorge Luis Pinto is Costa Rica’s coach, but just after World War Two they had an Englishman in charge. Randolph Galloway, a pre-War striker for Derby and Nottingham Forest, managed several clubs in Europe – including Valencia and Racing Santander – and briefly took charge of Costa Rica in 1946.

Oh, and the last time they made the round of 16 was on their World Cup debut in 1990, memorably beating Scotland 1-0 on their way to qualifying behind Brazil in their group.

But despite a fine equaliser from Costa Rica’s Ronald Gonzalez they were beaten 4-1 by Czechoslovakia in the last 16, with Tomáš Skuhravý scoring an impressive hat-trick (see below).


Greek Toffee..?

Georgiois Samaras is a familiar face after spending two years at Manchester City then six at Celtic.

He will be the focal point of the Greece attack tonight and the player Costa Rica need stop having ended a goal drought 1,478 minutes old with his last minute penalty winner against Ivory Coast.

Now 29, his contract has expired with Celtic and could move back to the PL. Everton have expressed interested but Sevilla of Spain are also looking at him.


Who’s The Victim Here..?

A young Luis Suarez (in blue) and brother Maxi Miliana with grannie Lile Rene.

There is an old newspaper saying; Dog bites man, no story. Man bites dog, big story.

But far from losing his livelihood or even liberty, Luis Suarez arrived back in Uruguay following his ban after an unprovoked assault on Italian Giorgio Cheillini hailed as a national hero. He has even had the backing of the country’s president.

Indeed he can look forward to a pay rise if a move to Barcelona goes through. Leaving Liverpool was always the plan this summer, this unseemly incident makes the parting of ways easier.

Sometimes justice and morality around modern football seems to be upside down.

After all his grandmother has been quoted as saying the FIFA ban was “barbaric” and he has been treated like a, er, “dog” as if HE has been the victim of rough, rough justice.

And Suarez himself has, well, lied through his teeth by denying what he clearly did in his formal response to the FIFA charge.

Talk about barking…



Brazil are still favourites to win the World Cup but I say they are there for the taking when they face Columbia in the quarter finals on Friday.

It was not a surprise they were taken all the way by Chile and only scrambled over the line on penalties on Saturday.

With the exception of Neymar they have been distinctly lacking in Samba skills upfront and ironically for them have been indebted to a pretty tough defence.

Hulk and Fred don’t seem up to it and Oscar hasn’t clicked.

It’s as if they have been carried through on the wave of emotion and support that surrounds them.

It could still see them through but Columbia, familiar opponents in the Copa America, won’t be fazed and with James Rodriguez upfront could well deny Brazil’s dream of winning the World Cup on home soil – just as Uruguay did back in 1950.


One to Watch:

Georgious Karagounis is a modern day Greek god.

He was an inspiration when Greece won the 2004 Euros and is still going strong at the age of 37.

He will retire from international football after the tournament and is out of contract at Fulham.

But in what is dubbed the clash of the underdogs he still has the energy and passion to drive Greece, who like Costa Rica are seeking to reach the QF for the first time.


World Cup Bet:

Holland to win and both teams to score is 4/1.

The Dutch to beat Mexico 3-1 is a tempting 18/1.

Costa Rica v Greece could be a slog so a draw at 90 minutes at 2/1 is prudent;  1-1 is 11/2  and 2-2 20/1.


World Cup moment:

It’s argued that Holland’s 1974 team were the best side never to win a World Cup.

They couldn’t have got off to a better start though when English referee Jack Taylor awarded them a penalty in the first minute of the final. It was converted by Neeskens but Germany, led by Frank Beckenbauer, bounced back to win 2-1.

The Dutch also lost the 1978 final but perhaps now is the time to show they can at last be champions…



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