World Cup excitement rises for the semi-final matches and because the favorites have under-performed and the supposed underdogs have excelled, an argument can be mounted for anyone of the eight sides to go on and win sport’s most coveted prize.
France take on Germany in the first semi, in Rio de Janeiro, on Friday at 11 a.m. Cayman time.
Donald “Nadie” Solomon is a defender with George Town who has watched the tournament avidly.
“Germany are playing at their top level and passing the ball well with lots of options, but they are not finishing well,” he said. “This is a tight game but because France are finishing better I give them a little edge.”
Possibly the match of the tournament will be when the star-studded Brazilians taking on the surprisingly brilliant Colombians in Fortaleza at 3 p.m.
Nadie sees one of the biggest upsets in the World Cup’s history here. He reasons that even though Colombia are deemed to have little chance against a side that has not lost at home since 1975, they have absolutely nothing to lose against Brazil where a tournament victory is the only expectation.
“Colombia have shown they have the chemistry at the top level and in James Rodriguez they have a quality player who is on point and has vision and great composure,” Nadie said.
“I’m not sure if the better teams are choking or simply under-performing but they are all getting a fight against sides who are showing that they are not intimidated and not prepared to just sit back and try to sneak a goal. I can see Colombia winning this one.”
Argentina face Belgium in Brasilia on Saturday in the day’s first game and the result hinges on Lionel Messi’s ability to unlock a resilient defense.
Nadie feels it all depends on the little Argentinian creating a decisive opening.
“If Belgium give Messi just one chance he will take advantage,” he said, adding that Belgium showed in beating the USA that they have an immensely talented squad, many playing at elite club level and if Argentina under-estimate them it will be costly.
Nadie feels that dangerous Belgians like Romelu Lukaku could spring a surprise like he did against the Americans when coming on as a sub.
Nevertheless, he feels that “Messi will do his magic and seal it”.
Holland have impressed many with their free-flowing style and abundance of goals. The Dutch masters face a rampant Costa Rica that has risen above expectations and become a favorite other team for many.
As the only CONCACAF team left in the tournament Nadie would love to see Costa Rica’s marvelous run continue.
“Costa Rica are more used to the climate and I think they can do it,” he said. “They will have the edge as long as they don’t sit back and let Holland come at them.”