1st Round Matches at Brazil 2014.
Sunday, 22nd June
Group Match - Almost Stalemate But Belgium Slip Through
Belgium vs Russia in Rio de Janeiro.
A win for Belgium and they will qualify for the Second Round.
Belgium have a number of players who play in the English Premier League and Russia have a former England manager, Fabio Capello, out with a point to prove.
The early initiative came from Belgium; Kevin De Bruyne looking good in particular.
Russia's Igor Akinfeev wasn't feeling confident about catching the ball after the hash in his last game and resorted to punching away any danger.
Just before half-time, a lack of concentration in the middle of the Belgium defence almost allowed Russia to sneak a goal; Aleksandr Kokorin heading wide.
Not a great forty-five minutes at the Maracana. Maybe we expected too much from Belgium. Russia counter-attacked well but then faded when it came to thinking about how to finish.
Half-time: Belgium 0 - Russia 0
The second-half went from bad to worse; even the fans in the stadium were falling asleep.
Substitute Kevin Mirallas hit the post for Belgium as desperation set in during the final ten minutes.
Then Mirallas poked the ball through to Eden Hazard; deflected for a corner.
So that was the game plan: conserve energy for a surge towards the end of the game. Not a great plan for the fans though.
Eden Hazard finally helped to break the deadlock, cutting the ball back to another Belgian substitute, Divock Origi.
Hazard and Mirallas combined to almost double the lead for Belgium, in the last minute of stoppage time.
They left it late, but key substitutions have taken Belgium through to the Second Round and Fabio Capello thinking about where he'll be managing next.
Final Score: Belgium 1 - Russia 0
1:0 - Divock Origi (88 mins)
1-Thibaut Courtois; 2-Toby Alderweireld, 15-Daniel Van Buyten, 4-Vincent Kompany, 3-Thomas Vermaelen; 6-Axel Witsel, 8-Marouane Fellaini, 7-Kevin De Bruyne, 10-Eden Hazard; 14-Dries Mertens, 9-Romelu Lukaku.
1-Igor Akinfeev; 2-Aleksei Kozlov, 14-Vasili Berezutski, 4-Sergei Ignashevich, 23-Dmitri Kombarov; 8-Denis Glushakov, 20-Viktor Fayzulin, 19-Alexander Samedov, 17-Oleg Shatov; 6-Maksim Kanunnikov, 9-Aleksandr Kokorin.
3 yellow cards:
37 mins - Denis Glushakov (Russia)
53 mins - Axel Witsel (Belgium)
72 mins - Toby Alderweireld (Belgium)
The Road to Rio
Thursday, 12th June
Brazil vs Croatia
World Cup Finals
Uruguay trailed Argentina at half-time (1:2) but replied with three goals in the second half; to win the first ever World Cup Final (4-2) on July 30th, 1930.
Italy were one of the countries who missed out on the vote to host the first World Cup but managed to win the prestigious golden trophy for the home fans.
The third World Cup was held in Europe for a second time, although Germany had annexed Austria, and Spain was in civil turmoil.
Although no cup-final as such, Uruguay and Brazil went into their final game with the winner guaranteed to be champions; a draw would be enough for Brazil.
The fifth World Cup tournament produced a record number of goals, including a 7:5 encounter between Austria and Switzerland in Lausanne.
Brazil presented a 17 year-old Pele to the world; who went on to claim a hat-trick in Brazil's 5:2 semi-final win over France and bag another two in the final.
Czechoslovakia overcame Hungary in the quarter-finals and Yugoslavia in the semis, while Brazil took care of England and the host nation, Chile.
Geoff Hurst scored a hat-trick, in the final against West Germany, as England triumphed in a thrilling game watched by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
1970 belonged to Pelé, who earned his third World Cup winners' medal when Brazil got their hands on the Jules Rimet Cup.... for keeps.
W. Germany 1974:
Johan Cruyff was the player of the tournament as total football became the buzzword of the day, even though Holland lost to West Germany in the 1974 final.
Holland contested the 1978 World Cup Final, in Argentina, for the second time in a row. As in West Germany, they again finished runners-up; to the hosts.
The Spain 82 World Cup finals increased to 24 teams and the format was changed to have two group stages, with four second-round groups of three.
In 1986, Mexico became the first nation to stage the World Cup Finals for a second time; having only staged the competition sixteen years previously.
In 1990, Italy became the World Cup of stalemates. Both semi-finals were drawn out through penalty kicks. In the final itself, the only goal came from the spot.
Once Team US had played a few games most of the nation began to understand they were hosting the greatest show on earth and how the game was played.
France became the sixth nation to win the World Cup on home soil. Thirty-two teams competed in the 16th World Cup; better known as France 98.
The 17th World Cup, held in Korea and Japan, was the first World Cup finals to be shared by two hosts and the first to be held in Asia.
The 2006 World Cup Finals ran from 9th June to 9th July; the opening match in Munich and the final in Berlin. Munich and Dortmund hosted the semi-finals.
South Africa 2010:
Eighty years after the First World Cup Finals in Uruguay, the world's most prestigious football competition was finally hosted on the African continent.
Five times World Cup Champions, Brazil, get a second chance to hold the prestigious World Cup Finals; 64 years after they last hosted the tournament.
VAR made its World Cup debut and set out to change the course of a game with some crucial rule infringement watching and vital on the spot decisions.
When FIFA executives met in Zurich to decide on who would host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup Finals, Qatar was probably the biggest surprise to many.
The 2026 FIFA World Cup Finals will be jointly hosted by Canada, Mexico and the United States. The United Bid won the hosting rights ahead of Morocco.
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