We’re on the verge of losing one of the pre-tournament favourites, and based on the way they’ve played, good riddance.
Argentina, over-reliant on superstar Lionel Messi, were weighed, measured and absolutely found wanting against Croatia this morning, losing 3-0.
Other footballing behemoths Brazil and Germany take centre stage this weekend, and will be wary of falling victim to their own stunning defeats.
At midnight, Brazil take on Costa Rica, buoyed by star forward Neymar passing a late fitness test. In the latest episode of Squeaky Bum Time: RNZ’s FIFA World Cup podcast, The Totally Football Show founder Iain Macintosh says the Seleçao shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
“Brazil have got to learn how to turn it on for the whole 90 minutes - they were so comfortable for long periods in their 1-1 draw against Switzerland,” he says.
“Costa Rica looked better than I expected in their opening game, but I can’t see a world where Brazil lose, even if they briefly get knocked back on the mat.”
And as for Germany on Sunday morning?
“It would be a hell of a story if they were knocked out of the tournament by Sweden, but I can’t see Germany’s defeat to Mexico repeating itself. Sweden are solid and hard-working and they have a little bit of class, but they’re going to get pushed back and will have to sit deep and it’s a question of when Germany can break them down.”
Macintosh’s under-the-radar game to watch is Monday morning’s Group H clash between Japan and Senegal.
“Japan are trying to play some good possession football and perhaps they can really do something surprising at this tournament. Whereas Senegal are a very determined and organised team.”
He predicts an entertaining 1-1 draw.
Also in the episode, hosts Emile Donovan and Max Towle are joined by Mediawatch’s presenter Colin Peacock to rate their goals of the tournament so far.
(1.15)... Argentina’s downfall
(6.30)... This morning’s other games, including Australia snatching a point
(12.55)... Iain Macintosh joins to talk Portugal, and to preview the games ahead
(29.01)... The goals of the tournament so far