The quarter finals began today, and eight countries held their breath as their hopes were pinned on eleven players on a pitch.
And we have our first semi-final fixture decided.
Uruguay played France in the earlier kick off in what turned out to be quite a drab match. Having only conceded one goal in the entire tournament, Uruguay looked strong, but without Cavani playing (he was injured in their last match) even Suarez didn’t look to have enough going forward.
And even a Christian Rodriguez substitution couldn’t fix that.
They went out to a superbly headed in goal toward the end of the first half, and a goalkeeper blunder in the hour mark. Uruguay’s experience man-between-the-posts hit a powerful shot from Griezman with his fists, only for it to rebound into the net.
France’s two goal margin puts them through to Tuesday’s game.
I had money on Brazil, and wanted them to win.
By the end of the match I was happy to lose that money to see them eliminated.
For a group of talented, remarkable players and superstars worth millions and millions, they chucked themselves around the pitch like their ears were carrying weights.
In particular, I am focussing on Neymar. For a man worth £200 million we want to be talking about his superb run into the box, not the jump over a non-existent foot he did to leap to the ground in the box.
I mean, Neymar, mate – there’s VAR, and your reputation stinks. You ain’t going to get away with it!
De Bruyne was in an advance position playing alongside Hazard and Lukkaku for Belgium. That’s a front three of the most powerful strikers from Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City. Yet it wass an own goal that put them in front in the twelfth minute. And, despite Lukkaku having an excellent game hassling the opponents, it was the Prince Harry look-a-like, De Bruyne, who fires in a stunner on the half hour mark.
I mean, this shot was so fast you barely realised it was in the net.
Brazil push on in the second half and I will them and will them to do well – then get sick of the world’s most expensive player choosing to flaunt his body to the ground instead of flaunt his talent.
Their substitute heads one back with ten minutes to go, but even five minutes stoppage time doesn’t prevent them from missing certain goals.
Goodbye, Neymar. You have disappointed us all.
So owe’re hours away from the one we’ve been waiting for.
Come three o’clock I will be stood in my living room, hand on my heart, decorated in the three lions, singing God Save the Queen with the players (despite being an atheist who cares little for the monarchy… still, it’s our anthem, right?)
I’d love to make a prediction, but whatever it is, it would probably be wrong. So I won’t.
But just remember – at the beginning of the tournament we asked, “what would be success for England?” Most people’s answer was the quarter final.
Most people have changed their mind.
I can’t seem to move without someone telling me it’s coming home.
And, do you know what, it just might be.
But there’s still a long way to go yet…