World Cup kicks off with high-scoring, exciting matches

It's only five days into the tournament, and we've already been treated to some great matches and some brilliant individual performances.

A nuclear bomb could go off somewhere in the world and I probably wouldn’t notice.

Not with the FIFA World Cup going on in South America.

The CBC is live-streaming all the matches—every single one—which means I am completely booked for the next month.

I wouldn’t be as fervent a follower if I didn’t have access to each match so easily through the internet, but it’s hard to resist, especially when Brazil is in such as similar time zone.

It’s only five days into the tournament, and we’ve already been treated to some great matches and some brilliant individual performances.

I haven’t caught each and every match, but I’ve seen a lot of them, and it’s looking like a great start.

The host with the most (to lose)

It was quite the opening for the Brazilians when they kicked off the tournament late last week against the Croatians in Sao Paulo. The hosts, though charged by the home crowd, went down early off a Croatian cross that deflected off a Brazilian defender. A joke I heard on the broadcast was that the only team who can score on Brazil, is Brazil. Anyway, Neymar put the team on his back and scored in the first half to even up the game, and once again in the second on a penalty kick, while Oscar put it away in extra time. I’ll be keeping my eye on both players as the tournament goes on.

Dutch Blitz

I became a fan of the Netherlands based on the performance of Ruud van Nistelrooy in the 2006 World Cup and the 2008 UEFA Euro tournament. They made it into the 2010 World Cup final in South Africa, but fell to Spain. Fittingly, their first game in Brazil was a rematch of the 2010 final. The two teams held each other to 1-1 after the first half, but then it all went downhill for the defending champions in the second, as Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben eviscerated the Spanish defence and led the Dutch to a stunning 5-1 victory.

Hot in Chile

The Chileans drew the Australians for their first match, and pretty much dominated the first half, scoring twice to take the lead. However, Tim Cahill put the Socceroos within one with a signature header before the end of the half, but that was it for the scoring for both squads. Though the Chileans dominated at the start, the Aussies came on in the second half, but were unable to find that equalizer.

House of Cards

The first major upset of the tournament—aside from the 5-1 humiliation of the Spanish—was a 3-1 victory by the Costa Ricans, who came out on top of their match against Uruguay. The Uruguayans took the lead at the ’24 mark off a dot shot, but the Costa Ricans held on and came back to post the win. The first goal came off beautiful cross from the right while the second was a header that finished off a free kick. A poor challenge from the Uruguayan goalkeeper resulted in the third goal for Costa Rica. Though Uruguay maybe deserved their fate—they were’t playing inspired soccer—they were also undisciplined, taking three yellow cards and, two of which were awarded to Pereira—the second turning into a red card, meaning he will miss the next match against England. A second red card was awarded in Monday’s match between Germany and Portugal, as Portugal’s Pepe headbutted Germany’s Mueller, which you obviously just can’t do. The Portuguese, which includes worldwide superstar Cristiano Rinaldo, lost 4-0. And Mueller? He got a hat trick.

Messi with Argentina

Lionel Messi, widely considered to be the best player on the planet, certainly didn’t disappoint in Argentina’s debut against Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Barcelona FC superstar mishit a free kick, but later made up for it with a brilliant shot that went off the post and in after he cut into the half circle just outside the 18-yard box. The Bosnians got an unlucky deflection for an own goal three minutes into the match, but answered back at the 85th minute.

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