Paul Pogba – France 2-0 Nigeria.
The ex-Manchester United box to box midfielder Paul Pogba continued his impressive world cup form in his round of 16 game. The £60 Million rated Frenchman had a blinder on Monday, getting on the score sheet to help France into the quarter-finals. His 79th minute header was his first of the tournament, and his solid display will surely be of aid in the further stages in Brazil.
James Rodriguez – Columbia 2-0 Uruguay
James Rodriguez’ amazing performance in the round of 16 has caught the eye of football fans across the world. Having achieved four wins out of four, and netting five times, his brace single-handedly got Columbia into the quarter-finals. They will play hosts Brazil in the quarter final tomorrow, with Rodriguez coming face-to-face with Brazil star Neymar. The two have been compared recently with their quick feet and amazing ability to score.
Manuel Neuer – Germany 2-1 Algeria
After being forced into extra time, Germany came out 2-1 winners against Algeria. Germany had goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to thank that the game even got to extra-time. Algeria surprised the Germans and gave them an almighty run for their money. If it hadn’t have been for Neuer’s pace and bold decision making, Algeria may have made Germany pay. On several occasions, the Bayern ‘keeper had to come well out from his goal line to clear the danger.
Tim Howard – Belgium 2-1 USA
Although the Everton man’s national team came out second best, Tim Howard showed just how good he is. Making a World Cup record of 15 saves in a single game, his performance was outstanding. Belgium found it nearly impossible to beat Howard, but found two goals in Extra-Time that he could do little about. He is regarded as a hero in the States after his supremacy between the sticks against Belgium.
The Underdogs – USA, Switzerland, Mexico, Algeria, Chile
In the fascinating Round of 16 matches, five real underdogs gave everything and still came away with a narrow loss. USA lost on extra time to Belgium, even though Tim Howard’s heroic goalkeeping kept the Americans in the game for 90 minutes. Switzerland also lost on extra time to Argentina, after also giving everything they had; unfortunately for them they just couldn’t find the finishing touch. Mexico were arguably the most unlucky of them all, after finding themselves 1-0 up after Giovanni Dos Santos’ early second half strike, they conceded an equaliser quickly followed by a penalty which was converted by Klaas Jan Huntelaaar. Algeria also unluckily lost to Germany in extra time, after a hearty 90 minutes. In the first round of 16 game, Chile lost to hosts and favourites Brazil on penalties.
The fact that all these teams did so well against the big teams just shows how unpredictable the cup is, and if they could have added the finishing touch, we may have had a few shocks in the quarter finals. However, I’m sure not many predicted Columbia and Costa Rica to be in the quarters.