Before you start crying, “World Cup soccer on an American football blog on the Fourth of July?” you can go ahead and cram it. It’s this, baseball (Hooray! Angels-Astros!) or watching Fedrererererer. Would it kill NASCAR to have a race today, or would it take away from all their hard-earned drinking Miller Lite heavies by the swimming hole next to the Bass Pro Shop while they go noodling time?
First up Germany-France, which surprising, is their first competitive match up since German reunification. (Can you really count France-West Germany? Well, the French do because they’re still mad about this foul 32 years later.) German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer from the dominate Bayern Munich team has been playing beautifully so far in the tourney, allowing only three goals to slip by him so far and posting two shutouts. France has been equally strong on defense, giving up only two goals in the entire tourney to Switzerland late in the match when the Les Bleus were already up 5-3. Paul Pogba is the big news for the French an side, becoming one the biggest stars of this World Cup. (HA HA UNITED, AND NOW YOU WANT HIM BACK.) The French style so far this year has been to attack early and often while the Germany squad has been content to play a controlled game running down the clock as much as they can. The contrast should make for an interesting match, even if it seems like the French are running smack into an unmovable wall.
In the afternoon, another battle of neighboring countries as Colombia takes on host nation Brazil, each with their own heroes leading the way. Superstar Neymar though will be without his back up Luiz Gustavo who sits out this match for earning too many yellow cards early in the tourney. Colombia has the young James Rodríguez breaking out into international fame; scoring against all three teams in the group stage and then scoring twice against Uruguay in the first round of knockouts. Very quickly Colombia has become everyone’s favorite underdog, but in reality they’re simply playing better soccer up and down the field than pretty much the entire table. Brazil has been sloppy, undisciplined and now thanks to a shootout with Chile, exhausted. It should be fun to see if Brazil makes one last final push before finally withering away.