Day 12 brings us our first spin at finishing off the group stages. Group’s A and B saw their final matches, and some furious multitasking was par for the course. Despite Group B being pretty much done and dusted there were a couple of treats still in store as Chile took on the Netherlands in a seeding battle, and Spain faced Australia trying to avoid the wooden spoon. While Group A had everything to play for unless you happened to be an Indomitable Lion!
So let’s dive right in with the twelfth edition of the World Cup Boot Recap, and a day which saw 14 goals scored adding to the current goal fiesta!
DAVID VILLA BOWS OUT WITH A CHEEKY BACKHEEL GOAL
Spain’s World Cup campaign has been a
bit lot of a damp squib, so they went into their final match of the World Cup looking to avoid the ignominy of dropping all three matches and following up their success four years prior with a staggering wooden spoon. Spain’s coach the 1st Marquis of Del Bosque (that’s right he has a royal title), decided to install Spain’s all-time leading goalscorer David Villa into the match day XI for one more spin around the sun.
Many people (myself included) have been confused about the tactical decision to effectively freeze out the 32 year old forward, with the Marquis opting to use blank shooting extraordinaire Fernando Torres off the bench when chasing a goal, instead of the nations ALL TIME LEADING GOALSCORER IN INTERNATIONAL PLAY (take a second to let that sink in, it’s okay I can wait).
Despite the slight Villa was a force during his 57 minute World Cup cameo, popping up with a cracking little goal to open the scoring for the outgoing World Champions. With Juanfran causing havoc on the right flank, Villa made a run to the six yard box, and although the pass to him wasn’t great the finish was as Villa let the ball roll between his legs before backheeling the ball into the far corner, which had me saying “nine ball corner pocket” as the ball nestled home.
Shortly into the second half Villa was subbed out for Manchester United man Juan Mata, marking the final time we’ll see the Adidas adiZero F50 man on the international stage, however, football fans in New York City will get to see a cracking player at Yankee Stadium. The situation seemed a little too much for the mercurial talent who was spotted openly weeping on the bench, having finished up his international career. Villa was the easy and correct pick for Man of the Match.
Spain’s final 2 goals in the 3-nil win over the Socceroos (awful nickname by the way) were scored by a pair of Adidas Predator Instinct wearers as Fernando Torres shockingly turned up with a well placed goal, and substitute Juan Mata killed off the match with a close shot which cheekily nutmegged Aussie keeper Mathew Ryan, to save the Spanish a couple of blushes.
ORANJE CRUSH – DUTCH TAKE FIRST PLACE IN GROUP B WITH TWO LATE GOALS
Holland and Chile have easily been two of the best sides in the whole tournament. The way they both handled the reigning champions was special to see, so I was hoping that the battle for the one seed in Group B would have been a classic. It was a nervy tactical affair, the Dutch were without suspended captain Robin van Persie, and Arjen Robben turned up surprising in a pair of Battle Pack F50’s having opted for the Earth Pack edition in the opening two matches.
La Roja, dominated the possession game having 65% of the ball, however, it only amounted to 1 shot. There was however, a nervy moment in the second half for the Dutch; as Alexis Sanchez broke free of the defense and flicked the ball over Jasper Cillessen who brought the Barca man down in the box, the referee had none of it and he definitely should have, as it was a stonewall penalty, and you have to like Sanchez’s chances from the spot.
Despite having only 35% possession the Oranje were making life busy for Chilean keeper Claudio Bravo firing 8 shots on target and forcing a couple of classy saves. However, he would eventually be beaten, two minutes after replacing Wesley Sneijder, Leroy Fer leapt like a fish to get his head to the ball and beat Bravo for his first ever international goal, and adding another tally for the Tiempo Legend. Late on in injury time the Dutch were able to add a second to ensure the Group B top spot as F50 sporting youngster Memphis Depay put the tie beyond doubt.
EL TRI: BUSINESS AS USUAL
It was a banner day for supporters of the Mexican national side, following Memo Ochoa’s otherworldly performance against Brasil, El Tri went into their match versus Croatia knowing that a draw would be good enough to qualify them for yet another Round of 16 appearance, whereas, the Croatian’s very much needed a win, or a whole slew of help from Cameroon in the other Group A finale to ensure they could move on with only a draw.
The second half saw the Mexican’s take the play to the Croatian’s, following an inauspicious first hour. El Tri exploded for 3 goals in 10 minutes as skipper (ancient gladiator and Nike Magista Obra wearer) Rafa Marquez headed home to start the goal scoring for the CONCACAF powerhouse. Five minutes passed before the Predator Instinct of Andres Guardado doubled the Mexican lead, and Nike Tiempo Legend man Chicharito headed home a lovely Marquez knock on from a corner to very briefly give the Mexicans a shot at winning the group outright. It was a shot which only lasted five minutes, as three minutes from time Ivan Perisic and his Mercurial Vapor X‘s beat Memo Ochoa for the first goal conceded by the flamboyantly haired shot stopper.
The win meant a lot to El Tri, I mean here’s manager Miguel Herrera’s reaction to going 2 goals up:
If any player is under pressure to deliver at this World Cup it is the number 10 of the host Brasilian side, however, the face of the Hypervenom range has been electric in the opening matches in his homeland. 2 goals in the tournament opener sent a message to the world that Neymar was here to deliver on the expectations, versus Mexico he was denied only thanks to an outrageous performance from Memo Ochoa.
The Group A finale versus Cameroon saw Neymar back to his old tricks as he potted another brace for the Seleção, who also got a headed goal from F50 man Fred, and a fourth from the Predator Instinct‘s of Fernandinho. Cameroon were able to muster a solitary reply through the Predator Instinct wearing Joel Matip, in a thoroughly underwhelming performance at this World Cup.
Big day for the Predator Instinct in todays boot table as they were on the feet of 35% of the days goal getters, so lets take a look at how the table sits after a dozen days of matches.
Adidas adiZero F50: 27 goals, -1 own goal (6 Headers)
Nike Mercurial Superfly: 16 goals (3 Headers)
Adidas Predator Instinct: 13 goals (2 Headers)
Nike Hypervenom: 10 goals (1 Header) (1 Chest)
Nike Mercurial Vapor X: 6 goals (3 Headers)
Nike Magista Obra: 6 goals (1 Header)
Nike Tiempo Legend: 5 goals, -2 own goals (4 Headers)
Puma evoPOWER: 4 goals (2 Headers)
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
Nike CTR 360 Maestri III: 1 goal
Adidas Predator LZ: 1 goal