Netherlands vs Mexico

Dutch Break Mexican

Dutch Break Mexican.

Netherlands pulls off a staggering late comeback to beat Mexico 2-1 and sneak into the Quarter Finals of the FIFA World Cup 2014 Brazil.

A stunning goal by Giovani Dos Santos and a string of saves from Mexico Keeper Guillermo Ochoa made it looked as if Mexico had sealed the deal to march into the Quarter Finals. They were set for the disappointment when Wesley Sneijder scored just 2 mins before 90 mins.

Louis van Gaal replaced Robin van Persie with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and was rewarded as Huntelaar was at the heart of the astonishing late comeback as Netherlands pulled off an unforgettable victory in the round of 16 knock out stages.

At the 88th minute, Huntelaar nodded down a corner for Galatasaray play maker Wesley Sneijder to drill in a stunning low shot into the bottom left corner of the goal post. The game then went into extra time and Arjen Robben won a penalty just 3 minutes into the additional 6 minutes.

wesley sneijder netherlands vs mexico

Huntelaar stepped up and sent Ochoa – whom have been nothing but impressive – the wrong way. Yet, there was much dispute over the penalty. Replays suggested that it was a highly theatrical dive from the Dutchman Arjen Robben, but he had been wrongly denied a clear penalty earlier in the game (45+2′ min) so justice was probably done in the end.

Mexico had controlled most of the matches and probably deserved to win. It was an especially bitter blow for Miguel Herrera’s spirited side, who have given their very best, especially Ochoa, whose brilliance has made him one of the heroes of the FIFA World Cup 2014 Brazil.

Netherlands VS Greece

Netherlands now face Costa Rica in the last eight, after 10-man Costa Rica held onto a 1-1 draw in extra time to beat Greece 5-3 in the penalty shootout.

Bryan Ruiz scored 7 minutes into the 2nd half when he spotted Greek goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis out of position and simply side-footed the ball into the bottom of the right corner from the edge of the box.

Oscar Duarte from Costa Rica was sent off 14 minutes later for a second yellow, leaving Costa Rica to play with 10-man for an hour. Costa Rica appeared to have held onto their 1-0 lead until Greek defender Sokratis chose the perfect moment to score his first international goal in injury time and equalised the game.

Fine saves from Navas in the penalty shoot out enabled Costa Rica to proceed to the Quarter Finals.

Catch more on the Netherlands Mexico & Costa Rica Greece games here!

Brazil Through To Quarter Finals

Brazil Through To Quarter Finals

Brazil Through To Quarter Finals

Brazil came through their last-16 match when they beat Chile 3-2 in a penalty shoot out. The teams were deadlocked at 1-1 after extra time, with Alexis Sanchez cancelling out David Luiz opening goal before the first half.

In the 54th minute, Hulk had a goal disallowed. It was a really controversial decision from Howard Webb as the ball looks to have come of Hulk’s shoulder from Marcelo’s ball before he slotted home. Instead, Hulk was booked for handling the ball.

Brazil then went ahead early on in the shoot out, but Chile levelled it at 2-2 after 4 spot kicks, only for Neymar tobury the 5th after a stuttering run-up to make it 3-2. Jara tasted horrible luck as his final spot kick for Brazil rattled against the left post to send Brazil through to the quarter finals.

Brazil have now qualified for the FIFA World Cup Quarter Finals for the 6th consecutive time. The last time they missed out the last eight was in 1990 when they were defeated 1-0 by Argentina.

In each of the 4 World Cups knock out stages which Chile reached (1962, 1998, 2010, 2014), they have been eliminated by Brazil. It was the first time Chile played a World Cup match that went into extra time.

Brazil have now scored 25 World Cup goals in the Round Of 16, most of all countries in World Cup history, in front of Germany with 23 goals.

julio cesar david luiz

Despite the win, Brazil have been unconvincing in their play, often losing the ball in their midfield. They would definitely have to improve their play if they want a chance to win against Colombia, whom they face next in the last eight, especially when they face Rodriguez who has been in top form.

Read more about the match between Brazil & Chile here.

Manchester United Signs Luke Shaw

Manchester United Signs Luke Shaw

Manchester United Signs Luke Shaw

Luke Shaw completes his move to Old Trafford for £30 million from Southampton and beomes the world’s most expensive teenager.

Shaw signed a 4-year deal worth £100,000 a week after United fought off late interest from chelsea to seal their second signing of Louis van Gaal. The first being the signing of Athletic Bilbao Ander Herrera for £28.5 million.

Initially, Southampton has rejected United’s bid of approximately £27 million but accepted Shaw’s sale when it became apparent that he wanted to leave SOuthampton. The fee rose to £31 million, with United having an option on his contract for a fifth year. The 18-year-old’s move to Old Trafford advanced after England’s early exit from the World Cup.

Luke Shaw’s move to United completes a remarkable rise for left-back, who became the youngest player to feature at the World Cup when he played the full 90 minutes against Costa Rica on Tuesday.

On completing his signing for United, Luke Shaw says, “I am thrilled and excited to be joining Manchester United. I have been at Southampton since I was eight years old and I would like to thank them and the fans for everything they have done for me. I want to continue to progress my career and joining United is the ideal place for me to do that.”

More about Luke Shaw:

Shaw joined the Southampton academy at the age of 8 and became a regular in the under-18 team from age 15. He made his Southampton debut at the age of 16 in an FA Cup tie and has since emerged as one of the most highly rated youngsters in Europe, with Real Madrid and Bayern Munich also tracking his progress.

On his 18th birthday, he signed a new 5-year deal with Southampton. He was named as one of the 6 players on the shortlist for the PFA Young Player of the Year award. Also, he was selected as left bak in the PFA Team of the Year.

Despite the Red Devils’ success in signing Shaw, former Manchester Unites Paul Scholes has criticised the move. Scholes felt that the club should have spent the money on a striker instead.

Writing in his Paddy Power blog, Scholes says, “For that money I want a centre-forward who’s going to score 30 goals a season.”

Will Luke Shaw be able to establish himself as a first choice left back ahead of experienced Manchester United Patrice Evra? Or will Scholes be proven correct in his criticism?

Stay in touch with Soccer Pitches Word Press Site from more updates on the 2014-15 English Premier League Season.

manchester united signs herrera

Manchester United Signs Herrera

Manchester United signs Herrera on 4-year deal.

Manchester United have signed Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera after the player bought out his contract with Athletic Bilbao.

United had a bid of £28.85 million for the 24 year-old rejected on Thursday but the deal was soon finalised before Athletic Bilbao revealed that Herrera had paid compensation to complete the transfer.

This is Louis van Gaal first signing as Manchester United manager with the acquisition of the Spanish midfielder. Herrera activated his £28m buy-out clause which would have risen to £32m after 1st July to facilitate the move.

Bilbao-born Ander Herrera moved to his hometown club from Real Zaragoza in 2011, making a total of 128 appearances and scoring 11 goals. On completing his transfer to Manchester United, Herrera said, “Signing for Manchester United is a dream come true. I have played at Old Trafford for Athletic Club in the UEFA Europa League and it was one of the highlights of my career so far.”

“I have joined United to do all I can to help the team reach the club’s objectives. Having arrived on Tuesday I’m excited to now be living in Manchester and I can’t wait for my first game in United’s famous red shirt.

“I will never forget my time with Athletic club and I’d like to thank the fans and staff for all their support and above all wish all my fantastic former team-mates all the best for the future.”

Herrera caught the eye at Old Trafford in March 2012 when Bilbao pulled off a shocking 3-2 victory in the first-leg of their last-16 Europa League tie. Manchester United have since attempted to sign the talented midfielder last summer but failed to complete the deal on the deadline day. Herrera has now signed a 4-year contract, with United holding an option to extend his stay by a further year.

Ryan Giggs has so far been impressed with the signing of Ander Herrera.

Giggs said: “Ander is a fantastic young player, with great energy and creativity. We believe him to be one of the brightest young prospects in Spain and I am certain he will be a big hit with the United fans.

“I’m delighted he has made the decision to come to Manchester and play his part in the club’s future. I’m looking forward to seeing him in action on our summer tour to America.”

Will Herrera indeed be able to add control into the Red Devils’ midfield? Well, we’ll have to wait for the season to find out.

Sergio Aguero Injured

Sergio Aguero Injured

Sergion Aguero Injured

Argentina striker Sergio Aguero is set to miss the remaining World Cup after suffering from a muscle tear in the 3-2 victory over Nigeria.

Though Aguero’s injury could not be confirmed immediately, his miss would be a major blow to the South American’s campaign to capture a third World Cup, this time, on the soil of their great rivals Brazil.

Argentina Newspaper Clarin stated on its website,”This morning the worst news was comfirmed. He has a tear and won’t be able to play any more in the World Cup.” Aguero was taken off during the first half of the match against Nigeria which gave them top spot in Group F.

Argentina next play in Sao Paulo on 1st July, a last 16 knock-out game against Switzerland. Fellow strikers Ezequiel Lavezzi or Rodrigo Palacio could take Aguero’s place. Will they be able to step up and lead Argentina to the quarter-finals?

In other news,

SUAREZ HAS BEEN BANNED FROM ALL FOOTBALL FOR 4 MOINTHS

This came after FIFA opened disciplinary proceedings against Suarez after he appeared to have bitten Italy’s defender Giorgio Chiellini. FIFA has announced that Luis Suarez will serve a 9-game ban for biting Chiellini. On top of this, Suarez has been banned for 4 months from any football-related activity, which means that he is unable to represent Liverpool until the end of October.

His 9-game international ban begins immediately, preventing him from playing against Colombia in Argentina’s last 16 tie and 8 more competitive games. Suarez will also miss Liverpool’s first 9 league games of the season. He also misses the Champion League group stages, which will already be 3 games old when he returns on 1st November.

Suarez has also been hit with a fine of £65,700.

What are your thoughts on the punishment? Do feel free to leave your comments about it. Read up more on the game between Italy and Uraguay here!

Luis Suaraz

Suarez Strikes Again

Luis Suarez strikes again.

And by this, I don’t mean Suarez scoring another World Cup goal. Suarez has bitten yet another player. And this time the victim is non other than Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini. In the match between Italy and Uruguay – where both teams have to win in order to qualify for the knock out stages – Uruguay has won 1-0 against 10-men Italy.

To refresh some of your minds, these are the scenes of the incident. The image above shows Suarez sinking his teeth into the shoulder of Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini and the image below shows Chiellini pulling down his shirt to display the bite marks on his shoulder.

Luis Suarez Bites Luis Suarez Bites Georgio Chiellini

The first sign that some form of clashing has occurred was the sight of Suarez holding his mouth. Not too far away on the floor from him was Chiellini holding his shoulder. The first impression one would make is ‘Had Suarez been elbowed in the mouth?’

As the replays were made, there was a collective look of disbelief amongst the viewers. Did the Dracula Suarez just strike again? Chiellini then got up and went to the Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez to protest, pulling down the neck of his shirt to expose what appeared to be a bite mark.

The referee had not seen the incident and could do nothing about it. Moments later Uruguay scored, knocking Italy out of the World Cup and almost certainly bringing the curtain down on the international careers of some of the great Italian players of their era – Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Pirlo, Daniele De Rossi.

Luis Suarez previous controversies:

2010 July – Handles the ball on the line to deny Ghana a winner in the last minute of extra time in the World Cup 2010 quarter-finals. Asamoah Gyan misses the resulting penalty and Uruguay won the shoot-out to reach the semi-finals.

2010 November – Given 7 match ban for biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal on the shoulder while Suarez was playing for Ajax.

2011 December – Given 8 match suspension and fined £40,000 for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra despite protesting vehemently.

2012 February – Refuses to shake hands with Patrice Evra at Old Trafford and is described as a “disgraced” by Sir Alex Ferguson.

2013 April – Receives a 10-game ban after biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.

This is certainty not the first time Suarez has used his mouth literally against opponents. As FIFA opened disciplinary proceedings against Luis Suarez, he could well be on a lengthy ban. But then again, the fact that Suarez would receive his punishment well after the game would do nothing to change the results of the game.

Needless to say, if the referee and seen what Suarez did and gave his disciplinary action, the results would come out differently. Suarez would no doubt be shown the red. The fact that Suarez have been escaped punishment during the match has cost the Italians badly. Suarez has been denying his involvement.

He was quoted telling Uruguayan media,”These things happen in the box. We were in contact, chest against shoulder, and I got a knock to the eye.” Yet, when Suarez fell, video replays clearly shows him holding onto his teeth in pain, as Chiellini showed a visible bite mark.

How can Suarez not feel any sense of shame at his behaviour? At the end of the day, it makes me wonder if Suarez deserves to be on the field at all? I question if Suarez actually respects the game. Certainly, for the ill-disciplined but lucky Suarez, he can be proud to announced that he had just achieved a hat trick of bites while the Italians pack their bag and head home with nothing but pride.

David Villa Retires

David Villa Retires

David Villa Retires From International Football

David Villa ends Spain’s career with 59th goal in Aussie Cruise, where Spain triumphed 3-0. Villa was able to sign off in his international career in style after he stuck a dagger into Australia’s heart after Australia’s fine start. Collecting the cutback from Juanfran, the departing legendary striker produced an elegant backheel to put the ball beyond keeper Mathew Ryan and open the floodgates for his side.

It was Villa’s 59th international goal in his 97th and final cap. But Villa couldn’t hide his emotions when substituted during Spain’s win against Australia.

The 32-year-old announced his retirement from playing for his country prior to the World Cup and is set to link-up with New York FC when the defending world champions fly back from Brazil.

And the raw feeling was plain for all to see when Villa was hooked by Vicente Del Bosque in the second half of the 3-0 win.Team-mates rushed to console the striker as he exited in the 57th minute.

Though he seemed to be holding it together as he trudged off, Villa appeared to burst into tears when he sat down on the bench. Pedro, Iker Casillas and Gerard Pique were up in appreciation as he came off.

More on David Villa’s International Career:

Villa made his international début for Spain in 2005. He has since became an integral member of Spain’s football team, participating in 4 major tournaments and winning the Euro 2008 and 2010 World Cup. He scored 3 goals in the 2006 World Cup, was the top scorer at the Euro 2008 and earned the Silver Boot at the 2010 World Cup. Villa is the first Spanish player ever to reach 50 international goals and is Spain’s all-time top goalscorer, having also scored more World Cup goals than any other Spanish Footballer. Villa scored 9 goals in 12 games at the World Cup, 4 more than any other Spanish Player. The goals-to-goals ratio Villa has achieved for Spain’s national team has not been matched by any player since Alfredo Di Stefano.

What’s even more amazing is that despite sustaining a serious injury to his right leg which jeopardised his chances of becoming a footballer when Villa was 4, Villa went on and built a stellar Football career, joining the likes of Sporting de Gijon, Real Zaragoza, Valencia CF, FC Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and eventually New York City FC.

Spain’s all time top scorer will be greatly missed as they search for younger blood to restock for the Euro 2016.

David Villa 7

*Featured image by Jon Super/Associated Press