And what a thrilling Group Stage it was. Colombia, Chile and Costa Rica surprised. Luis Suarez showed both the positive and negative sides of himself. Team USA survived the Group of Death (thanks again, CR7!) And Algeria made history.
Among the things that stood out for me
John Brooks’ game winning header vs. Ghana: I’ll never forget the look of shock/disbelief on the 21-year-old American defender’s face. Priceless.
Concacaf REPRESENTIN’: The red-headed stepchild of confederations has three teams in the knockout round. We Concacafians have to stick together!
Mark Geiger: The New Jersey native has refereed two games at this World Cup. Go Jersey!
Knockout stages here we come!
For the past four days, I have hated Cristiano Ronaldo. I generally like CR7, both for his talent and skill and for the hypocritical pearl-clutching he induces in fans and pundits alike.
But last Sunday evening, he and Silvestre Varela combined to break my heart. With the U.S. a mere 30 seconds away from victory and advancement out of the Group of Death, Ronaldo – who’d done nothing all game – chose that moment to loft an excruciatingly beautiful cross onto Varela’s head. “Damn that Ronaldo” was the contents of a text I sent to my sister who was traveling but eagerly awaiting game updates. For the past few days, I’ve cursed the reigning World Player of the Year for putting that particular hurt on my team.
Today, I could kiss CR7 – even with the 12 layers of bronzer he’s no doubt wearing. His 81st minute goal against Ghana helped My USMNT move on to the round of 16. We survived the Group of Death, even though we lost 1-0 to Germany.
This Tweet from me summed up my feelings at the end of this wild group stage.
You strange, frightening, nauseating, crazy-making, thrilling thing.
And thank you for not waiting more than a match to give us our first controversy.
Back home, I’m all ready for Ghana vs. USA.