Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 28th 2014 Contents FORTALEZA---Arjen Robben
just seems to get quicker and
quicker. The 30-year-old Bay-
ern Munich winger has out-
sprinted every defender he has
faced at the World Cup so far
and is scoring goals, too.
It is a far cry from the final
four years ago, when he couldn t
find the net and possibly win
the tournament for the Nether-
Robben seemed doomed to
be remembered at World Cups
for the second-half chance he
squandered against Spain in the
final in Johannesburg, when Iker
Casillas stuck out a boot and
deflected his shot away from
goal with the score still 0--0.
The Bayern Munich forward
still gets asked about that miss,
but he has silenced critics at this
World Cup with three goals in
as many matches and a perfect
assist to set up the team s second
goal against Chile as the Dutch
topped Group B with three
straight wins, scoring ten goals
in the process.
Robben is one of the old guard
in the Dutch team---along with
strike partner Robin van Persie,
he s scored at three successive
World Cups---and he has earned
the respect of the youngsters
snapping at his heels to get into
the starting lineup.
"Robben is fantastic," said
Memphis Depay. "It s fantastic
to train with him every day. I
can t believe my eyes what he
can do with the ball. It s unbe-
lievable how fast he is with the
ball. He s a great player."
Depay should know.
In the Netherlands final
group match against Chile, he
had to sprint toward goal as
Robben set off on a lightning-
fast counterattack down the left
wing. The 20-year-old PSV
Eindhoven striker managed to
catch up with him---just---and
was on hand at the far post to
tap in an inch-perfect cross.
Robben had been on the pitch
more than 90 minutes at the
time of his dash, Depay was a
"I think Robben is one of the
fastest players in the world with
the ball and without," Depay
Depay said he wasn t sure
who would win a race between
the two Dutch forwards. "I don t
know who s fastest. I think
maybe he is," he conceded.
Robben appears to be bene-
fiting in Brazil from his senior-
ity.Between matches, he some-
times works out only lightly,
apparently resting up for the
supreme effort he puts in during
games. His coach, Louis van
Gaal, knows Robben from their
time together at Bayern Munich
and allows the star a little leeway
while he pushes most of his
other players on the training
Unlike four years ago in South
Africa, when Robben was injured
in the Netherlands final warm-
up match before the tourna-
ment, Robben arrived in Brazil
in the best shape of his life and
coming off two great seasons
for Bayern Munich.
He went a long way to dis-
pelling the tag of a big game
loser when he set up one goal
and scored the winner for Bay-
ern in the Champions League
final a year ago.
Now he wants to reach anoth-
er final in Brazil.
Scoring a goal to finally deliver
the Netherlands a World Cup
title would be the ultimate
redemption for Robben.
Saturday, June 28, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Brazilian trades 1950 ticket
Joedir Sancho Belmonte had a ticket to attend the
famous final game of the 1950 World Cup between
Brazil and Uruguay, but didn't get to use it because he
stayed home with his sick mother.
But he saved the unused ticket for 64 years. And
on Friday---in a swap with FIFA---he was given three
tickets for the July 13 final at Rio's Maracana in ex-
change for the tiny, crumpled memorabilia he stashed
"I hope Brazil will be able to win this time," the 85-
year-old Brazilian said. "This is our revenge. I want to
go see our revenge."
Brazil famously lost the 1950 game 2--1, which gave
Uruguay the title and stands as the most disappoint-
ing moment in the history of Brazilian football. Brazil
won its record five titles after that, and on Saturday
faces Chile in the second round.
Brazil is among the favourites this time with Ar-
gentina, Germany and the Netherlands.
Belmonte explained how he missed that historic
match, with a crowd of about 200,000 jammed into
the Maracana. Today it holds about 74,000, depend-
ing on the configuration for the game.
"My mother was sick and I thought it would not be
sensible on my part to go to a football match," said
Belmonte, a resident of Rio de Janeiro. "So I decided
not go, and it was a good decision."
He said his mother died a few days later.
Brazil rails at notion
of World Cup referee bias
Brazil is bristling at what it calls "ridiculous" sug-
gestions in Chilean media that English referee
Howard Webb could favour the home team in the
two nations' round-of-16 match today.
Brazil team spokesman Rodrigo Paiva said such
suggestions disrespect the Brazilian people.
He accused Chilean media of being "immature" and
added: "This kind of pressure I think it's even ridicu-
Fielding a question at a regular pre-match news
conference on Friday with Brazil coach Luiz Felipe
Scolari and captain Thiago Silva, Paiva said: "Brazil
doesn't need a referee to win the match and you
should respect a little bit more the Brazilian national
team and the Brazilian people."
Brazil sniper wanted to shoot
A police sniper asked permission to open fire on an
armed man seen approaching Brazilian President
Dilma Rousseff and other officials as they watched
the June 12 opening game of the World Cup in Sao
Paulo law enforcement authorities said yesterday.
Permission was denied and the suspect turned out to
be another policeman.
More than 60,000 spectators had packed the Ita-
querao Stadium to watch the match.
Adriano Moneta, a press officer of the Sao Paulo
state security secretariat that oversees security
forces confirmed the incident and said "there was a
communications error that was quickly fixed." He
would not reveal further details.
The Folha de S Paulo newspaper that first reported
the story said the sniper saw an armed man in a po-
lice uniform approach Rousseff, FIFA president Sepp
Blatter and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Jones has broken
nose as expected
US midfielder Jermaine Jones has a broken nose as
he expected after Thursday's game against Germany,
but he is scheduled to play in the round of 16 against
Belgium on Tuesday in Salvador.
US Soccer Federation spokesman Michael Kam-
marman said Jones and fellow midfielder Alejandro
Bedoya each were checked on the field during the 1--0
loss at Recife following their second-half collision, and
three more times since. Jones won't wear a protec-
tive mask and the fracture hasn't caused discol-
oration in the area.
Forward Jozy Altidore's status for the knockout
stage remains unclear, though he's making positive
progress since straining his left hamstring.
It seemed only a short while
ago the dreams of a number of
national teams was based on
winning through to the round
of 16 of the World Cup.
A few comments on these
matches will probably surprise
some of the supporters of the
top football countries, especially
after seeing the stalwarts of
world football such as Italy, Eng-
land, Portugal, and Spain exit
Brazil may well be pleased
with Chile as an opponent, if
only because they are within
their confederation and their
playing styles are well under-
stood by their technical staff.
Chile may well address the
mental formula to approach the
favourites and host in this crucial
stage. The Brazilians have
improved from game to game
and their results are accurate
indicators of their prowess. A
sturdy attack of the Brazilian
defence can create some dis-
comfort for players who have
not demonstrated an ideal pat-
tern of communication and
quick decision making in the
backline of the hosts.
But we will have to admit that
if Luis Felipe Scolari takes the
hint that is offered to him about
team selection, then the business
of preperation can be more sim-
ple.The first three matches have
not made a good case for players
like Fred and Hulk, who failed
to fit into a team with a group
of bench players filled with
extraordinary talent in names
like Ramires, Leonardinho,
Willian, all of whom can make
a positive impact towards the
balance of the tournament.
Chile may find out that pack-
ng their defence within 35
metres from their goalposts will
have little success against the
likes of Neymar and Oscar,
whose searching runs towards
their opponents goal have been
Even in a close encounter, I
expect the Brazilians to ease past
their South American neigh-
bours, who would probably have
gone further against another
Columbia can benefit from
the catastrophic behaviour of
Lusi Suarez, the Uruguayan
striker par excellence, whose
desire to re-enter the act of bit-
ing his opponent for the third
time in his career, has brought
great disgrace to him personally
and mental stress to his team.
The Columbians have been well
coached by Jose Pekerman, the
former Argentina coach.
France may wish to believe
that Nigeria will not be much
of a stumbling block. However,
maybe they can review the tape
which saw them give Brazil a
tremendous scare in the early
stages of their first round game.
Nigeria may self destruct
because of their desire to com-
mit fouls to top opposing players,
maybe for intimidation purpos-
es.Free kicks around their penal-
ty area can prove to be disas-
trous. I expect that France will
make it to the quarterfinal
Holland is riding on a cloud
with their outstanding success
and may enter the game against
Mexico with absolute confi-
dence. Mexico has an exciting
reputation when playing in
South America following some
success in the Copa America
Do not underestimate their
players, especially Giovani, Dos
Santos, Peralta, Chicarito Her-
mandez and their reliable
defending leader Rafael Mar-
quez. Their bench is also full of
surprises in Aquino, Guardado,
and Fabian. It will not surprise
me if the game goes to the
If Argentina continues to
improve, Switzerland may not
have the technical of tactical
equipment to hold them off. But,
look out for resilience from the
The USA has all the ingredi-
ents to move ahead of Belgium.
Despite the glut of talent in the
Belgian squad, they have not
demonstrated the chemistry
which is needed to overrun their
previous opponents. The US
players are determined to win
and they show their hand at
Speedy striker Robben on stage
Netherlands' Memphis Depay, left, celebrates with team-mate
Arjen Robben after scoring his side's second goal during the group
B World Cup soccer match between the Netherlands and Chile at
the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday. AP PHOTO
Round of 16 a complex mix
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