World Cup 2014 – Group E – A Belated Wrap-Up

28 Jun
PHOTO 18

Gulliver Valbuena celebrates his goal among the Brobdingnag people. (@ICEViral)

My sincerest apologies, gang. I’ve been quite remiss in keeping up with my blogging duties. It’s been a bit messy around these here parts lately, so I hope you’ll forgive the delay. That said, here’s a quick recap of all the good stuff you may have missed!

Round 2
France 5 – 2 Switzerland
Honduras 1 – 2 Ecuador

Five different players made their way onto the scoreboard for France in what was a cracking goal-a-palooza. The bulk of chances for France, 22 shots!!!, came from the wings. Valbuena continued to be dominant on the right, Matuidi & Cabaye terrorized the Swiss midfield and kitty Karim was excellent out wide on the left, cutting incisive passes into the box and making a nuisance of himself among the Swiss defense. He was awarded MOTM, rightly so for two assists and this brilliant strike.

Kitty finds the back of the net for France's fourth goal in their 5-2 romp over Switzerland (AP)

MEOW! Kitty finds the back of the net for France’s fourth goal in their 5-2 romp over Switzerland (AP)

Carlos Costly got on the board early on for Honduras, but the Conacafers weren’t able to keep their lead. Enner Valencia continued to shine for Ecuador, netting both the equalizer and the winner in this highly physical match. Honestly, most of what I recall from this match is a lot of heavy tackles and yellow cards.

PHOTO 19

Honduras’ Maynor Figueroa subscribes to the motto: If you can’t beat ’em, sit on ’em (Matthias Hangst/Getty)

Ecuador & Man Utd's Antonio Valencia was splendid in this match - but he's no Enner Valencia (Matthias Hangst/Getty).

Ecuador & Man Utd’s Antonio Valencia was splendid in this match – but he’s no Enner Valencia (Matthias Hangst/Getty).

Round 3
France 0 – 0 Ecuador
Switzerland 3 – 0 Honduras

France took it somewhat easy their final match. Cabaye was suspended, while Valbuena, Evra and Debuchy were rested. Despite creating a number of chances, they weren’t able to find the back of the net. Ecuador can thank their goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez for that – what a match he had! Ecuador looked determined to push their way through to the next round by whatever means possible, but it just wasn’t their day. Antonio Valencia was sent off with a red in the 51st minute. Despite Enner Valencia having another showstopper of a match, and Michael Arroyo particularly strong in midfield, Ecuador was sent packing.

Shame that, as they were surprisingly exciting to watch play.

Not to mention, they introduced us to this memorable piece of medically-inspired fashion:

Cristhian Noboa knows how to werk a piece of gauze (Shaun Botterill/Getty).

Cristhian Noboa knows how to werk a piece of gauze (Shaun Botterill/Getty).

We surely haven't seen the last of Enner Valencia, double-teamed here by France's Sakho and Digne. Will he be coming soon to a league near you (Jamie Squire/Getty)?

We surely haven’t seen the last of Enner Valencia, double-teamed here by France’s Sakho and Digne. Will he be coming soon to a league near you (Jamie Squire/Getty)?

HELLO HAT-TRICK! The tournament’s second, after Germany’s Thomas Mueller hammered one home in their opener against Portugal, came compliments of Xherdan Shaqiri. Shaqiri, long a Liverpool transfer target, had been relatively quiet this tournament until the final game of the group stage. Honduras were pretty dismal in the first half, and although they started off strong at the beginning of the second, the Hondurans were  no match for the Swiss. Ricardo Rodriguez was excellent again, and featured in denying Jerry Bengston and Honduras their strongest chance with a wicked goal-line clearance.

Look who came to play! Xherdan Shaqiri waves to fans after his hat-trick against Honduras that took the Swiss to the knockout stages (Stu Forster/Getty).

Look who came to play! Xherdan Shaqiri waves to fans after his hat-trick against Honduras that took the Swiss to the knockout stages (Stu Forster/Getty).

Heroics from Switzerland's Ricardo Rodriguez ensure the Europeans a clean sheet (Matthew Lewis/Getty).

Heroics from Switzerland’s Ricardo Rodriguez ensure the Europeans a clean sheet (Matthew Lewis/Getty).

So long Honduras and so long to manager Luis Fernando Suarez, who tendered his resignation after the squad’s loss to Switzerland.

OTHER BITS & BOBS:

* Debuchy makes a mighty fine foosball table.

* An interesting read on why Le Coq is the national symbol of France.

* Honduran media slammed the team’s performance in Brazil as “shameful,” and several players – in addition to the manager – resigned from national duty.

*The Wall Street Journal compiled a list of the World Cup’s biggest floppers. Any surprises?

PHOTO 26

More soon!

xoxoxoxoxox
karo

One Response to “World Cup 2014 – Group E – A Belated Wrap-Up”

  1. hopechaser June 29, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

    That opening photo is priceless. One of my fav moments, with Giroud just standing there waiting for him to jump on.

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