World Cup Roundup – Day 14

Throughout the World Cup, we at 32 Flags will be giving you a complete recap of the action at the end of the day in our World Cup Roundup.  Not only will we run down the biggest winners and losers, but the highlights and most talked about moments of each day and a look ahead to tomorrow.

1) Biggest Winner – Switzerland

Going into the day, Switzerland was fighting with Ecuador and was tied for a berth to the knockout stage. They each had three points, and it was very much up for grabs. And then Xherdan Shaqiri decided to take the situation into his own hands.

Shaqiri became the second Swiss player of all-time to record a hat trick, scoring in the 6th, 31st and 71st minutes. And his hat trick was the fuel the team needed to finish in second place in Group E. Their gain was Ecuador’s loss, as Switzerland’s win kept them from advancing on. But they earned it with a decisive win, and can take that momentum into the knockout stage.

2) Biggest Loser – Ecuador

Ecuador needed a win to stay alive and to attempt to punch its ticket to the next round, but they could not take advantage of a France team that was playing not to lose. Win, lose, or draw, France was locked in to win Group E, and it was the second spot that was up for grabs. Ecuador needed a win to make it interesting, but could not find the back of the net. They were shut out, and that ends their tenure in the 2014 World Cup. A disappointing showing for sure.

3) Standout Performer – Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland)

While Lionel Messi scored two goals to pave the way for a victory for Argentina, Shaqiri clearly stole the show. He scored every goal in the match with Honduras.

He attained a hat trick with goals in the 6th, 31st and 71st minutes—one of which was an absolute rocket of a goal. It was only six minutes in, but it set the tone for the rest of the game.
4) Best Tweet

5) Biggest Surprise – France and Ecuador playing to a scoreless draw France had nothing to play for, so it’s not a huge shock that the two teams drew. But with Ecuador needing a win to advance, they should’ve played with a bit more urgency and aggression. With each of the other three games featuring three goals or more, it was a surprise that this match featured absolutely nothing of the goal-scoring variety. 6) Best Moment – Lionel Messi’s standing ovation after tying Neymar for Golden Boot
Messi delivered another electric performance on the day, tallying two goals. He’s now tied with Neymar for the Golden Boot award, as both players have scored four times in the tournament. This is a huge difference from last World Cup, when Messi scored zero goals and was shut out.

7) Best Goal – Lionel Messi (45th minute)

Shaqiri’s goal (featured above) was close, but Messi’s free kick was perfectly placed and a thing of beauty. He literally froze goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, who was completely fooled by the ball that tucked in just inside the post.

Thursday Preview

United States vs. Germany (12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN), Arena Pernambuco

The United States were 30 seconds away from taking the lead atop Group G, and now manager Jurgen Klinsmann must face his former employer in the team’s final game of the group stage. Both squads can benefit from a draw in this match, and we can except a tactical, possession-oriented game featuring both teams playing not to lose, rather than to win.

Jozy Altidore is ruled out for the match, and the United States will likely try some new things upfront to generate more scoring chances. They’ll need to find a formula that works if they want to make a run and advance far in the tournament, especially if facing the high-scoring South American teams.

Portugal vs. Ghana (12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2), Estadio Nacional

Both teams are on the outside looking in. Each needs a loss by the United States, in addition to a victory by multiple goals to attempt to advance to the knockout stage. Portugal has a lot to prove, and Ghana has a lot of speed, so look for a very open, and possibly high-scoring match. Cristiano Ronaldo will look to score his first goal in the tournament, and this should be an exciting game to tune into.

South Korea vs. Belgium (4:00 p.m. ET, ESPN), Arena de Sao Paulo

These two squads are going in completely different directions. Belgium has six points and has already advanced to the knockout stage, while South Korea has one point and is eliminated. Belgium is the second-youngest team in the tourney (averaging 25.66 years of age), but they are loaded with talented players that are no strangers to playing at a high level. Expect Belgium to rest a few players, but they could still come away with a victory. Or, more likely, a draw.

Algeria vs. Russia (4:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2), Arena da Baixada

Algeria put on a show in their last match as they demolished South Korea, 4-2. And they’re in a great spot to advance to the knockout stage. All they need to do is win or draw vs Russia, a squad that has underwhelmed and is desperate for a win. This could, very well, be the most entertaining match of the day given the ramifications. Expect Russia to come out extremely aggressive, looking for an early goal. Can Algeria hold them off and control the tempo of the match?

About Matt Birch

Matt is the founder of The Sports Daily and manages all daily operations for the website. His work has been featured on MSN, Fox Sports, Yardbarker, SB Nation and Bleacher Report. Matt has also written for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He enjoys eating good food, drinking craft beer and making original, compelling stories go viral.