Day 9 of the World Cup treated us to a fiesta of goals and three absolutely cracking matches. From Italy and Costa Rica in the opener right through to Ecuador and Honduras in today’s finale. There’s quite a few pairs to cover in today’s edition of the World Cup Boot Recap, so let’s put the kettle on brew a cup of tea and dive right on into the thick of it.
LOS TICOS STUN ITALY THROUGH RUIZ’S PREDATORY STRIKE
The day began with England supporters watching, waiting, and hoping that their longtime rivals Italy could do them a solid and beat Los Ticos who were looking to continue CONCACAF’s coming out party at this edition of the World Cup. Despite Italian striker Mario Balotelli missing several first half chances, I got the feeling from my viewing that it was a match which was very much for the taking from Costa Rica’s point of view. They seemed to come into the match well prepped for the Italian style, most importantly they were always quick to move onto Italy’s talisman Andrea Pirlo, barely allowing the Tiempo sporting craftsman a chance to make one of his trademark defense scything passes.
Credit to Costa Rica though, as they looked very good moving forward, and SHOULD have been awarded a penalty (and potentially been a man up) after 40 minutes when Giorgio Chiellini fouled Joel Campbell, however, the Chilean referee was evidently on Mars in his assessment of the incident and allowed play to move on. There as vindication for Los Ticos as right before the half time whistle left back Junior Diaz pinged a peach of a cross into the Italy box towards the perfect run of Adidas Predator Instinct wearing Bryan Ruiz who duly headed home from a tight angle past returning keeper Gigi Buffon.
The second half saw the Italians make several attacking substitutions in an attempt to get back into the match including bringing on Diadora DD-NA2 wearing striker Antonio Cassano, who went close a few times late on in the match. However, manager Jorge Pinto’s Tico’s were still frustratingly impossible to break down, and easily held the Azzurri at bay to secure their first second round appearance since Italia ’90, and ensuring that Tuesday’s Uruguay v Italy match will be a “Loser Goes Home” classic!
FIVE STAR FRANCE TURN SWISS INTO CHEESE
Having barely survived their encounter with Honduras (in the physical sense as opposed to the football sense), France came into their tie with the Swiss eager to prove that this is a different side to the sulky 2010 edition, and boy did they. The were all over Switzerland from the off. Olivier Giroud found the net with a stellar placed header after only 17 minutes to take the Puma evoSPEED‘s tournament goals tally to two (shockingly low). Right from the kick off France intercepted the ball and Karim Benzema played a lovely ball to Blaise Matuidi who slotted home with a nice left footed finish in his Nike Magista Obra‘s.
On the half hour mark things seemed to go from bad to worse for the Swiss as Karim Benzema won a penalty, however, Swiss goalkeeper Diego Benaglio was more than equal making a lovely save and Yohan Cabaye smashed the bar with the rebound. France wouldn’t be denied 10 minutes later as Giroud made an incredible run from his own penalty area to latch onto a Benzema through ball and played a lovely little ball right onto the right foot of tiny Mercurial Superfly wearing Mathieu Valbuena who made it 3-nil.
France added two more in the second half through Adidas F50 wearers Karim Benzema and Moussa Sissoko to make it an unbelievable 5-nil over the notoriously stingy Swiss defense which resembled Swiss Cheese by the time they decided to net two late consolation goals through Blerim Dzemaili and Granit Xhaka who were wearing the Nike Mercurial Superfly and Magista Obra respectively as the match finished 5-2 for the tournaments biggest goal feast so far!
ENNER VALENCIA VAPORIZES HONDURAS
This World Cup has been a boon for the smaller South American sides, Ecuador ran Switzerland right up until the last play last week before the Swiss snuck a last gasp winner. However, a match against arguably the weakest side in the World Cup in Honduras was just what they needed to get back into gear. It was a hard tackling affair, which considering one of the sides involved was Honduras should not have been surprising at all. What was surprising however was that the Hondurans opened the scoring through a defensive error, as Carlo Costly made sure the Ecuadorian error was indeed costly, firing home in his Adidas Nitrocharge. Three minutes later Enner Valencia equalized for the Ecuadorians to add to the tournament tally for the Mercurial Vapor X.
On the stroke of half time Honduras’ Jerry Bengtson rightfully had a goal ruled out for a handball, much to the consternation of the Hondurans who for some reason were sure that it had been called offside, despite the linesman not flagging. The tie was settled shortly after the hour mark as Valencia got his head to a ball and scored his third of the tournament to rank as pretty much the surprise package player so far in this tournament. His winner also sees Ecuador still in with a big shout going into the final match, although I feel that they will probably need a bit of help from the virtually eliminated Hondurans.
We welcome another new entry to the Boot Table in this edition of the World Cup Boot Recap as Carlo Costly’s goal sees the Adidas Nitrocharge notch it’s first goal of the tournament. Here are the updated numbers as we head into day ten:
Adidas adiZero F50: 21 goals, -1 own goal (4 headers)
Nike Mercurial Superfly: 13 goals (3 headers)
Adidas Predator Instinct: 8 goals (2 headers)
Nike Hypervenom Phantom: 6 goals(1 header)
Nike Mercurial Vapor X: 5 goals (3 headers)
Nike Magista Obra: 3 goals
Puma evoPOWER: 2 goals (1 header)
Nike Tiempo Legend: 2 goals, -2 own goals (1 header)
Puma evoSPEED: 2 goals (1 header)
Warrior Superheat: 2 goals (1 header)
Mizuno Wave Ignitus: 1 goal
Nike Magista Opus: 1 goal
Mizuno Morelia Neo: 1 goal
Warrior Gambler: 1 goal (1 header)
Adidas Nitrocharge: 1 goal