With the final 4 of this year’s World cup only moments away the decibels and excitement will witness no pause, we have had goals, saves and thrills since the start of the tournament in the sacred home of Football, But not without the occasional drama on and off the pitch which makes for good icing on the modern game.
After all that nerve racking during the quarter finals now may be a good time to count our losses. A certain sense ponders if any have been incurred with the recent duels of the last 8 and quite rightly so they have been cruel and unexpected.
The news of Neymar’s injury still evokes tears and emotion of many home supporters of the Selecao. It is the major topic on television here in Brazil and touches the hearts of both the young and old that their talisman, the poster boy and crowned prince would no longer feature in the tournament; having no part to play in the finals in Rio if Scolari’s team scale through the German opposition in Belo Horizonte.
A fractured vertebrae for the Pele ordained wonder kid of Brazil at this stage of the world cup was totally unwelcomed by many and sure is a heavy price to pay for the fans, pundits, a nation and the tournament.
Brazil will also have to be without their inspirational captain Thiago Silva in the semifinals, the PSG center back scored the opening goal against Colombia but picked up a second yellow that rules him out of the clash with Germany, Perhaps more worries for Scolari and his back-room staff.
Another obvious loss for the World Cup is the ouster of our golden boot front runner – James Rodriguez, the 22 year old had already found the back of the net on six occasions making him the tournaments leading scorer so far, but with Colombia losing 2-1 to the hosts in Fortaleza it meant the exit of one of the outstanding players of the tournament and dashed hopes for the bookies.
Our count doesn’t stop at those who grab the headlines with their goal scoring abilities but painfully includes those who have been valiant in their line of trade on the pitch.
France lost 1-0 to Germany taking out Paul Pogba in the process, the Juventus midfielder was an influential figure for Le Blue with strength and balance on the center of the park while also showing his attacking prowess with some neat passes and scoring the first goal against Nigeria in the second round.
Belgium arguably came with the best squad of players many of them quite popular and talented but Argentina had them pack their bags with a 1-0 win in Brasilia but not without losing Angel Di Maria to injury with no chance of a quick return for the Real Madrid winger.
Finally we can’t forget bravery in goal and non-other than Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas who forced the Dutch into extra time and penalty shootout in Salvador after pulling off some heart wrenching saves.
There have been 4 matches in the quarterfinals bringing one damage or two but the Footballing carnival in Brazil and the world waits to see which teams from the final four will grace the magnificent Estadio Maracana in Rio de Janiero come the 13th of July.