World Cup Day 23: Netherlands vs. Argentina

foxsoccer:

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In case you haven’t heard, the 2014 World Cup final is set: Germany vs. Argentina. Or, Lionel Messi vs. THE MACHINE, as Jon Champion so eloquently put it.

Mmm, tasty!

One thing immediately became clear: Just 24 hours after Germany handed Brazil its most humiliating defeat of all time, the hosts couldn’t jump on Germany’s bandwagon quick enough. Funny how this game goes sometimes:

Speaking of, Wednesday’s semifinal (or should I say, zzzzzz-emifinal) between Argentina and the Netherlands was NOTHING like Germany’s rout.

All you really need to know is that the Dutch and Albiceleste combined for five shots on goal for the entire 90 minutes and extra-time, the same number of goals Germany scored in 19 minutes of the first half on Tuesday. Yeah…

So how did we get to this World Cup final rematch of 1990 and 1986, the “rubber match” if you will between Germany and Argentina? Check out the best tweets:

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The big story of the first half was Javier Mascherano visibly seeing stars after a head-to-head collision, then being allowed to play on. Yet another concussion controversy in soccer. Ho-hum:

Somehow, that was literally the only talking point of the first half

Half time!

Alas, the second 45 minutes were much like the first:

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World Cup Day 21: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

foxsoccer:

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Netherlands. Argentina. Brazil. Germany.

These four juggernauts, who’ve reached 21 World Cup finals between them and won 10 of the 19 previous titles, make up the semifinal field in Brazil. Even without the injured Neymar in the fold, this has all the makings to be one of the greatest “final fours” in World Cup history.

Oh, and we’ve got an absolute cracker of a final promised for next Sunday.

Getting excited? Us too.

So, how did we get here? Skim through Saturday’s top storylines in our latest World Cup social media roundup:

THE GOOD
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First up on Saturday was Lionel Messi and the Albiceleste taking on Belgium, a rematch of the 1986 semifinals. All tournament long it’s been Messi who carried his side from win to win (his back must be killing him!), but on this day he got a little help from his friend Gonzalo Higuain:

Too soon, Men in Blazers, too soon…

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After Argentina’s narrow win, it was time for a goalkeeper duel (sorry, truel) between the Netherlands and Costa Rica. Actually, it was mostly just 120 minutes of Keylor Navas making save after save, rescuing the Ticos to their second straight penalty shootout …

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World Cup Day 20: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

foxsoccer:

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Tuesday was a day of mixed emotions at the World Cup, to put it lightly.

First, we watched a snooze-fest of a quarterfinal between European foes Germany and France. Hours later, we took in an absolute thriller between Brazil and Colombia. On the one hand, we got the dream semifinal match we hoped for; on the other, we lost arguably the two best players of the World Cup to get there. 

Fourth of July provided plenty of fireworks, albeit in Brazil. To recap what you may have missed, check out our “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” from Day 20:

THE GOODimage

Brazil vs. Germany for the right to play in the World Cup final. Do we need to say more?

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How did we get to this tasty treat of a semifinal?

First, Germany toppled rival France on Mats Hummels’ textbook header in the first half. And when we say textbook, we mean Germany literally wrote the book on headers. “Fact of the Day:”

So Germany, again, “head” to the semifinals. In fact, it is the first country to reach four straight World Cup semis:

Oh yeah, and this is still happening:

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Later, Brazil and Colombia collided (literally) in what was one of the most wide-open, free-flowing games of football we’ve seen thus far. It was chaos, it was physical, and it was A LOT of fun:

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Diego Costa is now in Chelsea

Diego Costa, 25, the Brazil born Spain International, is now moving to Stamford Bridge after the Blues met the 40 million euro (£32m) buy-out clause in his contract with Atletico Madrid.

Chelsea, the Premier League club, announced the news in a short statement on their official website published on Tuesday night.

The statement read: “Chelsea Football Club can confirm an agreement has been reached with Atletico Madrid for the transfer of Diego Costa, with Chelsea meeting the buy-out clause for the Spanish international.”

He lead Atletico’s attack in a memorable 2013/14 campaign in which they won La Liga after 1996 and reached the Champions League final under Argentine manager Diego Simeone.

Costa scored 36 goals in all competitions before heading to his native Brazil for the World Cup with Spain, although he failed to make an impact and called as “FLOPPED” as the defending champions made an early exit from the tournament.

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