It's been a week since the cup opener, and we're rapidly approaching make or break time for a squadron of teams. How they fare will depend largely on how they are feeling heading into their final match. With that said, let's look at who's up and who's down after Thursday.
ON: James Rodriguez--For all the wailing and gnashing of teeth about the absence of Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez has been more than equal to the challenge of representing Colombia and representing them well. Twice Man-of-the-Match, capable of besting one of Europe's top defenses, and flying over the legendary Didier Drogba for another, he's the Visa card of Colombia--every where they wanna be.
OFF: Wilfried Bony--We've been backing Bonny Mr. Bony since last August, believing that he's the future of Ivorian striking. Instead it's been the Gervinho show (though, clearly he's earned it). A Bony threat against the Greeks would go a long way to pushing the Elephants into an energetic, enthusiastic squad worthy of the last 16.
ON: Luis Suarez--The dominant force in Uruguay's great run of results in recent years was back with a vengeance not seen since Die Hard movies were thrilling and not silly. A couple great runs, a couple more lucky bounces, and always, always a cold blooded finishing strike. It lifts up all Liverpool during the winter, and it just crushed all of Liverpool (as well as Blackpool, Hartepool and Richard Branson's Mansion Pool) this afternoon.
OFF: My smile--Watching him steal a goal from Ghana was dastardly. Hearing him be hailed for it as "a gutsy team play" was stupid. Seeing him feted and hailed as a genius sets my teeth on edge. I don't like to root against people, so Mr. Suarez, while you are undoubtedly talented, I do not like you, not one little bit.
OFF: Japanese Finishing--Seriously Japan? Seriously? The Greeks were down to 10 men. Their defense was exposed hither and yon by Colombia, and while you're not as impressive as they are to not get anything for an entire hour worth of chance after chance against a backup keeper...you can only miss so many golden chances before you and your lead footed finishing get exposed.
Mini celebrated her first right prediction today...namely that England would be full of stress but rejuvenated by a couple strong runs down the park. Of course, she didn't say that rejuvenation would lead to a win...so let's call it good. How she fares tomorrow with Switzerland and France set to square off for the marbles of Group E, we shall see.