My World Cup coverage continues on Fashion, Food & The Fortress of Solitude with this preview of the quarterfinal matches on Friday and Saturday. This past few days we have witnessed absolutely amazing Round of 16 matches. I wasn’t a soccer fan when I started watching the World Cup but last night’s USA vs BEL match converted me without a doubt. If this sport can inspire this kind of intense feelings in me that normally only a good book, TV show or movie can, then sign me up! And if watching a game doesn’t do it for you, then maybe this and this will.
Now, enough about lamenting the US Men’s Soccer Team’s loss, let’s take a look at the teams that are still in the running to lift that golden trophy. On Friday, the 4th of July, four teams will play the beautiful game but only two will move on to the semis:
France vs Germany, 12 PM EST
This match-up is definitely one of the most anticipated ones in the whole tournament. It’s an understatement to say that this will be a good game. Both “Les Bleus” and “Die Mannschaft” have been playing extremely well and it would’ve been a great semi-final or even final had the brackets been made differently but we’ll have to settle for an intense quarterfinal. They’re pretty evenly matched so I’m not sure who to give the advantage to. My heart says France but my head says Germany.
Brazil vs Colombia, 4 PM EST
We truly are spoiled in this World Cup with one juicy match-up after another. Host nation Brazil will face the 2014 World Cup favorite Colombia. All throughout the tournament, “Los Cafeteros” won the hearts of the world with their great gameplay and their celebration dances. While still the favorite, “A Seleção” has not been as dominant as everyone thought they would be. The heart-stopping penalty kicks against Chile is proof that Brazil’s World Cup dreams are vulnerable. Throw in Colombia’s convincing performances during the group stage and against Uruguay and we got ourselves a game. I’m gonna have to give Colombia the edge because if it came down to it, I think James Rodriguez will put on a better show than Neymar.
On Saturday, July 5th, two powerhouses will face an underdog that wasn’t supposed to have gotten this far and a dark horse fighting its way to the top:
Argentina vs Belgium, 12 PM EST
This will be…an interesting match. I’m sorry but except for their first group stage match, Argentina has put me to sleep, literally. I actually took a nap when they faced Switzerland and woke up to the same score of 0-0. In every one of their performances, Messi the Messiah swoops to the rescue seemingly always at the last minute, much to the relief of their fans and the chagrin of their opponents. But this is precisely the kind of mentality they’ll have to let go of when they face this World Cup’s dark horse, the Red Devils (insert angel vs devil reference here). Belgium has proven that they definitely belong in the final eight with their performance against the Americans. I was cheering for the USA but I’ll admit it. Can Messi pull off another miracle against the entire Belgian national team? For Argentina’s sake, I hope so. But if Belgium can pull off the upset, well, wouldn’t that be a sight to behold.
Netherlands vs Costa Rica, 4 PM EST
If there ever was a Cinderella story at the 2014 World Cup, it would have to be Costa Rica. They were immediately dismissed as the odd team out in their group of death that included Uruguay, Italy and England. But apparently they didn’t get the memo that they weren’t supposed to get out of the group stage let alone reach the final eight but here they are. If I hadn’t been cheering for the Netherlands since the start of this World Cup, then I would’ve made a David vs Goliath comparison. But as much as I want “Los Ticos” to prove everyone wrong once more, I have a feeling the “Oranje” will pull off the win. And if they don’t? Then I’ll gladly cheer for Costa Rica to reach the final and face Colombia.
Like I’ve already said, this has been a terrific first World Cup for me. I’ve been enthralled from Day 1. My heart has been broken, put back together then broken again. After years of trying to ignore the world’s most popular sport, I finally understand what the fuss is all about. I’ve discovered a wonderful new thing to become a fan of and can’t wait to see what the final matches have in store for us. Happy Wednesday!