We've seen horrible penalties awarded. We've seen the defending champions embarrassed. We've seen heroic, late-game winners. We've seen a hat trick. We've seen a head-butt.
In a tournament that has already given us a little bit of everything, what else could we see on Day 6?
More brilliance, that's what. From the full spectrum of goalkeeping to second-half substitutes stepping up in the biggest way possible, Tuesday's action continued this year's breathtaking World Cup in style. Let's take a look back at those results, the latest odds, the current standings and preview Day 7.
Here's hoping it can measure up to the first six days.
Day 6 Results
|Group||Team 1||Score||Team 2|
For World Cup odds, check out Odds Shark.
|World Cup Tables|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||1||0||0||1||-1||0|
Day 6 Recap
The match of the day just so happened to be the only one that didn't feature a goal. But that's how intense Brazil vs. Mexico ended up being, as the draw was one of the most captivating matches of the World Cup thus far.
Keeper Guillermo Ochoa was the hero for Mexico, as he regularly stymied all of Brazil's advances. Take a look at his performance for yourselves, via ESPN FC:
Suffice to say, it was a historically good match, as ESPN Stats & Information tweeted:
“It was the game of my life,” Ochoa told TV Azteca, according to Tom Marshall of Goal.com, before describing his save of the match, a brilliant stop on Neymar's header:
'It was the most difficult because at first I didn’t think he was going to win the header and then he got it off quickly,' continued Ochoa. 'But in that moment, you don’t think, you react.'
Ochoa said that the process of only knowing who would be Mexico’s starting ‘keeper the week of El Tri’s Cameroon opener wasn’t ideal, but he never questioned he could make a difference.
'I never doubted my ability,' he said. 'I always knew I could help the national team. I kept working and there are the results.'
Indeed, there are the results. That vital point for Mexico ensured that they will advance in this tournament with a draw against Croatia. And they have Ochoa to thank for it.
That was the only game that didn't feature any goals. Belgium got both of their tallies after the 70th minute and from second-half substitutes, as Marouane Fellaini and Dries Mertens came on in the second half and erased a one-goal deficit against Algeria.
Here's the winner, via ESPN FC:
That bailed out Jan Vertonghen, who fouled Sofiane Feghouli in the box in the first half, allowing the Valencia man to step up to the spot and bury his penalty, giving Algeria the shocking 1-0 lead. But Belgium made three key substitutions in the second half, which seemed to snap the side to life and propel them to the top of Group H with three points.
They remained atop the group after Russia and South Korea played to a 1-1 draw. Russia nearly gave this one away, however, as keeper Igor Akinfeev played hot potato with Lee Keun-ho's long-range shot in the 68th minute and shockingly saw it bounce into the net. Akinfeev had been shaky all game long, but this mistake was hard to believe.
Here's the groan-inducing replay from ESPN FC:
As you might guess, Twitter had its jokes after the howler. Juan Arango of The Telegraph made the comparison we all immediately thought of after:
Robert Green, of course, was the English keeper that infamously allowed the softest of soft goals to Clint Dempsey in the 2010 World Cup during the group stages, costing England the win in the process (that game finished as a 1-1 draw).
If it's any consolation to Akinfeev, England made it out of the group.
And six minutes later he could breathe again, as Aleksandr Kerzhakov latched onto the ball amidst a scramble in the box and buried the equaliser, salvaging the point for Russia. It was a game the Russians would have wanted and expected to win, but after Akinfeev's astonishing blunder, the point was certainly a relief.
Day 7 Preview
Wednesday will open with one of the most impressive teams of the tournament thus far, the Dutch, taking on Australia. Already blessed with a goal differential of four, the Netherlands will virtually guarantee their place in the knockout phase with a win against Australia.
That won't be a walk in the park, however—despite the 3-1 scoreline suggesting otherwise, the Australians played Chile tough in their opening game. Take away Chile's blistering start, and the Aussies made them sweat. The Dutch would be wise to take their opponents from Down Under seriously.
The second game of the day is also the match to see, as Spain take on Chile. If the Spanish are to have any measure of control of their own destiny in this tournament, they must beat the Chileans. A loss would all but end their tournament, while a draw would mean they would need a positive result from the final match between the Dutch and Chile to advance.
Spain haven't won the past two European titles and the 2010 World Cup by chance, of course, so expect a better performance than they offered against Chile. On the other hand, the Chileans will be aggressive and buzzing from the open, so the Spanish back line will once again be tested.
It should be fun.
The late game will feature Croatia taking on Cameroon in a must-win match for both countries. With Mexico and Brazil drawing and each sitting at four points, a draw would make either country's shot of advancing very difficult, while a loss would eliminate the loser from the knockout phase.
Croatia played better than the 3-1 scoreline against Brazil suggested—that horrible penalty awarded to Flopping Fred had a lot to do with that—so the Croatians should win and set up a huge match against the Mexicans.
But if this tournament has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected. Wednesday's action should be compelling.
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