Sunday, July 06, 2014

The Fantas-Tico warriors are out

Nobody expected Costa Rica to get this close to a semifinal. It took penalty kicks for the Dutch to defeat the Ticos, who held on to 0-0 with hard fight and commitment. No teams have fought their hearts out like the Ticos. If teams like Spain, England or even Argentina fought just a fraction of what the Ticos do, they would be title contenders.
That said, Netherlands deserved to be in the semifinal from a purely football perspective. While Arjen Robben's antics and diving may be disgusting, he creates a lot, and is proving one of the best of the tournament. And this has nothing to do with him being dislikeable. Many people do unfortunately not distinguish.
At one point Costa Rica only had the great Keylor Navas and luck to not get behind in the face of Dutch attacks. At the same time the Dutch attack was poor in the sense that they did not know the off- side rule (the Netherlands has never in their World Cup history had so many off-sides called). Also the defense looked quite ordinary in the face of the few Costa Rican attacks.
Louis Van Gaal is perhaps one of the tactical geniuses of the tournament; he is surely a genius compared to Alejandro Sabella, whose only tactical order is "pass it to Messi". That is why the Netherlands are huge favorites against Argentina. On the other hands the Dutch have shown defensive vulnerabilities which a great team could exploit. 
But could Messi do that? (and the reason I don't mention any of the other Argentina players is because they could only if they fought like Costa Ricans, but they seem totally unable to do that).

But Costa Rica is out. No matter what, this tournament will be remembered for Costa Rica. The World Champions of Spirit, Commitment and Sportsmanship. 
And that is the only real World Champion. 

No comments: