And in hundreds of thousands of blinks of an eye, we’re at the quarter-final stage of the World Cup. It feels like only precisely 21 yesterdays ago that this crazy adventure began and already we’re in the closing stretch.
Now obviously both days of quarter-final action are brilliant, but if pushed, we’d have to say Friday’s games are slightly more brillianter than Saturday’s. Obviously we’ll say the exact opposite when it’s time to talk about Saturday’s games, but at that point we’re hoping excessive alcoholic consumption will kill the brain cells that would ordinarily help you recall our hypocrisy.
France v Germany | Rio de Janeiro | 5pm
- It’s one of the great rivalries of the world, not just in sport – in war, food, culture, industry, thinking your better than your neighbour – pretty much everything really. Apparently, seven members of the German squad are suffering from ‘mild flu symptoms ahead of the match.
- There’s basically been nothing between the two teams at this World Cup. They’ve both won three and drawn one of their matches. France have scored one more and conceded one less than Germany, but their group was a piece of piss compared to the Germans’.
- When it comes specifically to World Cups, Germany have the upper hand – winning two of the three meetings. When we get more general, it looks good for the Frenchies with Les Bleus winning four of the last six friendly meetings.
Brazil v Colombia | Fortaleza | 9pm
- The tournament hosts have looked more questionable than your liking for 1970s TV presenters, squeaking by Chile on penalties last Saturday. With four wins from four and 11 goals. Colombia have impressed however, being one of the few dark horses not to be sent to the Findus factory already.
- With signs that the pressure of delivering for an expectant Brazilian public seeming to take its toll on some of the players, manager, Phil Scolari brought a sports psychologist to Brazil’s training camp during the week. It’s thought he spent a considerable amount of time instructing the players on how to handle the attention and dissatisfaction of a bad haircut.
- You might be expecting a bit of a shoot-out featuring two attack-minded teams, but chill those expectant beans because the last three competitive matches between the nations have finished 0-0 which is a 8/1 chance this time around.
- Shakira has been confirmed to play at the World Cup closing ceremony. Play music that is, not right back for one of the teams contesting the final. This will be her third time performing at a World Cup, meaning she makes almost as much money out of a cosy arrangement involving FIFA as Sepp Blatter. In other lazy jokes, you could also have ‘she’s a consistent performer at the World Cup, which is not something you can say about Steven Gerrard’.
- You know Feleco? The World Cup 2014 mascot that has had such a profound effect on our lives? No, us neither. Anyhoo, despite FIFA choosing the cartoon armadillo as part the push to save the animal from extinction, that’s as far as the push has gone from FIFA’s side. They’ve refused to support the Caatinga Association either financially or with resources. A spokesperson for FIFA didn’t say:
Why an armadillo? They should have gone with dolphins. Everyone loves dolphins and we could really have proven our hip cred with them. Dolphins are so hot right now.