Well, the match of the tourney (thus far) came yesterday, as Italy squeaked one out (not a farting term) versus Japan, winning 4-3. Obviously, any game that features goalz-r-good as its platform is going to be entertaining. But this little number was more than goalz-r-good; it was just… lovely. Japan came gunning straight from the opening whistle and rolled over Italy for the first thirty minutes, grabbing a two goal lead. Italy looked like a b-squad, while Japan the heavy favorites. But that just made Italy angry, as they rattled off the next three goals. Japan looked to be dead in the water, but managed to pull it even on a brilliant header off of a set piece. That, in turn, made Italy seem defeated (or drawed). Yet, all it took was a few perfect passes in the box for Sebastian Giovinco to slot home the game winner in the 86th minute. Japan almost evened it up again minutes later, when the ball hit the Italian post about half a dozen times on one play (or maybe it was twice). In the end destiny shined her headlights (read: knockers) on the Azzurri, because that is what happens in sports. Destiny.
Destiny also hates Mexico, as our neighbors to the south played a hell of a game against the Brasilian powerhouse, only to be undermined by two moments of absolute Neymar grace. They came at the beginning and the end of the game, creating a sort of Neymar sandwich with a sad Mexican filling (probably cheese-based). The first happened when Neymar was disappointed that his previous goal against Japan was only a half volley (letting the ball bounce before cracking it out of the air), and therefore one-upped himself with a full volley (cracking out of the air before it hits the ground). The second was Neymar making the Mexican defense look silly, dribbling the ball through two defenders (between the legs of one) on the touchline, before delivering a pass right to the foot of teammate Jo for an easy knock in. Brasil rejoiced. Mexico sobbed.
With those results, Italy and Brasil are now going through to the knockout stage of the tourney, making their Saturday matchup a little less sexy. However, expect both to bring it, as neither wants to face Spain in the next round (the likely outcome of a second place finish in the group).