Wheels and Goals

News, updates, features and opinions on football and motor sport

World Cup 2014 opening fixtures are complete

All of the 32 teams involved of the World Cup have now played their opening matches in Brazil and there have been some great ones so far.

In the first lot of matches their were 49 goals scored, with only two matches ending in a draw, one of which was 0-0 (Nigeria Vs Iran). The World Cup has been very entraining so far and has been much better than four years ago in South Africa.

For me the stand-out team so far has to be Holland. Before the tournament began not many people considered them to be a serious contender, with many suggesting that the current squad was one of the worst ever.

Van Persie's header was one of the best ever

Van Persie’s header was one of the best ever

They soon shut the doubters up though as they DESTROYED the reigning European and World Champions, Spain, 5-1 in their opening match… and that was after going 1-0 down in the first-half.

The Dutch ripped Spain’s defence to pieces on the counter, with Arjen Robben being just too quick to handle. Robin Van Persie also scored what has to be thee greatest header ever scored. I still don’t quite know how he managed to score that goal, it was truly outstanding.

It seems that Spain, just like Barcelona, have been worked out by the other top teams. Tika-Taka is no longer working for them and they don’t seem to have a plan B right now.

As for the hosts, Brazil, I have to be honest and say that I have not been impressed. Yes they won their opening match and drew with Mexico last night but they looked fragile at the back in both, especially against Mexico.

Mexico had plenty of opportunities last night and could have easily won the game. Júlio César was constantly shouting at his defence as more and more shots were made against his goal. Croatia also threatened down the left-wing on more than one occasion.

Neymar and Oscar are the only two Brazilians that have stood out for me. Oscar has been excellent down the right-hand-side… possibly an option for Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho to take on next season.

Oscar has been one of Brazil's stand-out players

Oscar has been one of Brazil’s stand-out players

Elsewhere, the Germans once again looked like a very strong team after thrashing Portugal 4-0 and will no doubt be one of the favourites to win the competition… they are certainly overdue and currently have their ‘Golden Generation’.

Argentina, much like Brazil, were not that impressive in their opening match against Bosnia-Herzagovina. The only positive from their game was the excellent goal from Lionel Messi. That goal will give him the biggest confidence boost of his career so far, which means that the defences of the other nations in his group should now be very afraid.

Of course I can’t end this piece without mentioning England. I felt that Roy Hodgson’s men were really unlucky against Italy, who despite having a lot of the possession, did not look that impressive to me. Going forward we were great and showed a lot of flare, which was a nice change to past World Cup performances.

It was just a shame that once again we were weak at the back with both Glen Johnson and Leighton Baines having poor matches. Wayne Rooney being placed on the left-hand-side certainly did not help Baines’ cause. This is something that must be changed for the Uruguay match.

The opening matches of the World Cup have been great…. Lets hope that the rest of the competition is as entraining.


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