Where has the past week gone? Last Thursday a ball had not even been kicked in Brazil as the hosts got ready to invite the rest of the world to their party and indulge in a feast of football. The selecao came out winners in the opening game with a 3-1 victory over Croatia which set the precedent for what has been one of the most exhilarating starts to a FIFA World Cup.
The following afternoon the torch paper was well and truly lit as the Netherlands blew the reigning world champions Spain to smithereens with a 5-1 hammering. Chile landed the knockout blow to Vicente Del Bosque’s men last night which ended their defence before it even began. England succumbed to a 2-1 defeat to Italy and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal were put to the sword by the Germans. It has been an eventful past seven days that has involved the majority of the PSG contingent.
The skipper Thiago Silva was an absolute colossal in Brazil’s 0-0 draw with Mexico on Tuesday night. Although the impetus from the favourites was lacking in an attacking sense, Silva and his PSG teammate David Luiz were pivotal in denying Mexico a victory. Had it not been for some staunch defending, Luiz Felipe Scolari may have been picking up the pieces right now. Silva however demonstrated his world class ability. Vital interceptions, well timed challenges, first-class leadership. Traits we are accustomed to at the Parc des Princes.
David Luiz has not across as the over expansive centre-back who goes on surging runs as yet (as the media over exaggerates at times). Partly because of the class of opposition he has been up against in the Croats and Mexicans who provided a stern test. But, he too, with his partner in crime at the back has been more than steady.
Les Bleus! France put on a well-polished performance against a physical Honduras team. Didier Deschamps’ men ran out 3-0 winners with goals coming from Karim Benzema and an OG from Noel Valladares. Blaise Matuidi and Yohan Cabaye were accustomed as ever in the French midfield. The latter had to come off during the second-half with a groin injury. Hopefully he will be fit for the Switzerland game. Nevertheless, despite a few bumps and bruises, France kicked off their World Cup in style.
Then there is the Azzurri. Marco Verratti was in the Italian midfield against England as they held on for a 2-1 win against a much more attacking Three Lions who can count themselves unlucky not to get a draw. Verratti had an impressive outing and was eventually replaced by Thiago Motta in the second-half. Salvatore Sirigu made only his second consecutive appearance as Gigi Buffon was ruled out before kick-off. The UNFP goalkeeper of the year made a number of vital saves.
In the same group (D), Edinson Cavani scored from the spot for Uruguay but the 2010 semi-finalists were shocked to the core as Costa Rica fought back to win 3-1. Their game tonight against England is now a must win otherwise Cavani faces an early flight home.
Ezequiel Lavezzi and Lucas Digne are yet to make their bow at this World Cup but you will feel El Pocho will come into the fray sooner rather than later. His Argentine side ran out 2-1 winners against a stubborn Bosnia side.
Les Parisiens are being well represented at this World Cup. Good luck to the boys and long may it continue.