When last, if ever, did you experience such a reaction to a sporting event as Brazil’s loss to Germany on Tuesday night? Apart from the record number of tweets, the jokes poured in, mostly at the expense of the poor hosts. One picture I read said: “At least we do not have to go home.”
Ag shame, mammie.
The Argentina/Holland game was exactly the opposite, with a penalty shoot-out deciding the final outcome. I am not a soccer expert, but the game reminded me of a rugby final in that safety first was a bigger concern than scoring points, and capitalising on mistakes by the opposition, rather than creating your own opportunities weighed heavier for both sides.
Will Germany benefit more from their massive win than Argentina, who was able to hone their defence, when the final kicks off on Sunday?
The day before, Brazil gets the chance to make amends in the play-off for the bridesmaid’s prize against Holland. It may be a relatively dangerous place to be if they fail again.
All South African eyes will be on the final game on Saturday when the Sharks travel to Newlands to try and beat a rejuvenated Stormers team.
Jake White’s admits that their focus on the log, rather than the game at hand, cost them the last two games. This is an indication that the Sharks will be going flat-out for a victory first. Scoring five points will only be a consideration if required, and possible.
The Stormers will be no push-over, or concede the match out of patriotic loyalty. They have finally managed to strike the right balance between attack and defence and, despite not boasting as many big names as some of the other unions, form a fierce combination.
Unsung heroes like Kurt Coleman and Nic Groom have really matured after the faith shown in them, and the general play of the two locks, despite being thrashed in the linouts, is ample proof that this will be a different side next year.
Proteas in Sri Lanka
In a way, our national side reminds me of Brazil. Without Neymar, the home side was blown off the park. In similar fashion, the Proteas cannot continue to rely on Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers to score all the runs.
The bowlers have performed admirably in the tough conditions on the sub-continent, especially McLaren, Tahir and Morkel, but there are two sides to this coin called cricket. If your batting fails, it’s like tossing a coin and saying: “Heads I win, tails you lose.”
The final one-day match on Saturday should be a closely contested affair, provided Dale Steyn can bowl, and the other batsmen keep their end of the bargain.
The real test will start on Wednesday, when the trying conditions of playing for five days on that humid island will sap the players, mentally and physically. A win on Saturday will be huge morale boost, going into the test, knowing that your bowlers have proved that they can knock over the likes of Dilshan, Sangakkara and Jayawardene regularly.