The two games played today most definitely rank among the best so far this Copa Mundial.
Other than the Ukraine actually getting to where they were today, there haven't been a tremendous number of upsets. There have certainly been a few close challenges, namely from Mexico and Ecuador in my opinion, but so far things are pretty ho-hum. Not to say that these matches aren't spectacular!
Every World Cup since 1938 has involved either Brasil or Germany in the final (except for 1978 when Argentina beat Holland). Will the two face each other on July 9th?
Even though Argentina beat Brasil last June in a qualifier, it's been twenty years since Argentina won its last World Cup, in Mexico in 1986, with Maradona. I guess it will be at least another four years now.
Brasil has a team of champions this year, with a group not too dissimilar from four years ago. Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Cafu, Roberto Carlos, Adriano, and Emerson are back. And, they're supplanted by Kaka and Robinho who have only performed extraordinarily well so far.
England won the World Cup once, in 1966, at home. Fortunately for this year's team, Rooney recovered quickly from his April foot injury and seems to be handling the field well along-side Beckham. It's hard to predict this team; after all they're banking on a 20 year-old to win it for them.
I think that France has had it fairly easy so far, and they're about to meet their match. They played well against a solid Spanish team, but are going to have a hard time repeating 1998 tomorrow. This is a team that's still thriving off of the days of Platini, Giresse, and Tigana. I'm not sure if Zidane, with a groin injury, and Henry, not playing his best, can pull it off.
I amazed at Germany so far in this World Cup. They haven't played all that well to date, but do have the home field advantage, which has proven to be useful in past finals (if they can get there). I would be happy for Klinsmann if his team can bowl on through to play Brasil in the finals.
Italy doesn't even deserve to be playing in this World Cup. Juventus have for many years been accused by their rivals of lining the pockets of referees to influence results, and this latest scandal was the icing on the cake. Italy has won the World Cup three times in the past, and they look like a solid contender if they can get past Germany on Tuesday.
Can the Portuguese saudade help them play like they did in the 2004 European Championship? A Brasil v Portugal match would be spectacular, but I'm not sure that Cristiano Ronaldo could lead his team past their former colony.
These are the greatest times!
Vamo BRASIL, vamo BRASIL, vamo ser CAMPEÃO !!!