Unbelievable! Shocking! Have you all recovered? Everyone is asking the same question; How can Alan Hansen have such a good tan and such a white neck?

And how could the host nation, Brazil, be beaten by a bunch of Dennis the Menace lookalikes?

where's Gnasher?

where’s Gnasher?

Of course, we must be careful with our jokes here. It’s not out of the question that the Brazilian team will all be sentenced to a free week at the David Beckham Football Academy. But will it come in time for the third place play-off? And will Brazil even bother turning up?

If you didn’t see the game, or if you have missed the news, prepare yourself.

BRAZIL 1 GERMANY 7

The Brazil coach, Felipe Scolari, has described it as the “worst day” of his life, and that’s including the day he came third in a Gene Hackman lookalike contest and the day he caught Neymar drawing glasses and a moustache on his treasured 1964 Panini Pele card.

Some fools, and I’m one of them, will say it’s only a game. But let’s look at the bad statistics first: it’s Brazil’s biggest ever World Cup defeat; it’s their first competitive home defeat in 39 years; the last time there was a goal margin this big was in 1920 when they lost 6-0 to Uruguay, 94 years ago!; it took Brazil 51 minutes to even get a shot on target; it made children cry.

The good statistics (particularly if you are German): 3 goals in 179 seconds!; Miroslav Klose broke the World Cup scoring record; it’s the first time a team has scored 7 goals in a World Cup semi-final; 5 goals came in the first 29 minutes; it made children cry.

And it’s tears of happiness for @DarrenK73 (Germany) in the Tweepstake and just tears for @Mojorainbw (Brazil). Mo was picked at number 12 when I did the draw. Before knowing which team she would get she pledged £12 to Alzheimer’s Society for every round her team would get through. And, even though going out last night, she still donated £12! Darren has also continued to donate at every stage throughout the tournament, as well as other of you who didn’t make it quite this far. You have all helped make this a truly fantastic World Cup and World Cup Tweepstake.

So far you have all donated £1179.29 to Alzheimer’s Society. When I started this my plan, at first, was for it to be like an ordinary sweepstake where everyone gave, say, a tenner to be in it. That would have raised £320. I then realised I was in danger of falling foul of some gambling laws (and I don’t really want to encourage you all to gamble either) so instead I just asked for donations in return for some prizes and, hopefully, some fun. And look where we are now! Thank you.

And the prizes are coming in now, ready for distribution once the tournament has ended. How I will give what to whom I have no idea, but I hope you will all be happy with what you receive. Just this morning the postwoman delivered a tube with two fantastic prints by the funny people at Modern Toss. A big thank you to you. And, whoever gets this in the Tweepstake, be prepared to have big funny swear words on your living room wall.

And so to tonight’s game:

HOLLAND (@Braggovic)  v ARGENTINA (@joyfeed)

9pm. ITV. Arena de Sao Paulo in Sao Paulo. From a Tweepstake perspective this is one of those rare matches where both tweepstakers are men! Don’t be fooled by the ‘joy’ part, they’re the two Peters! But which Peter will prevail before going on to be beaten by Germany (only joking!)?

Van Persie has an upset tummy so he might be out, but Argentina have super striker Sergio Aguero back! This is Argentina’s first semi-final since 1990 (they won that one only to be beaten in the final by … Germany!) This is Holland’s third semi-final in the last four World Cups!

It’s a difficult one to call but I am going to predict:

Holland 7 Argentina 1 (or Holland 1 Argentina 7)

Here’s Sinead O’Connor singing Don’t Cry For Me Argentina on Dutch TV.

 

 

Yesterday saw our first two casualties of Tweepstake 2014. Here’s the results:

AUSTRALIA 2 (@zwanzig20)  HOLLAND 3 (@Braggovic)

SPAIN  0 (@NiicNok)  CHILE 2 (@dusted1969)

CAMEROON 0 (@Arfablue)  CROATIA 4 (@LadyLisaCusack)

And so @Arfablue and @NiicNok are heading home. @NiicNok, representing the current World Champions Spain, bowed out gracefully with another donation to Alzheimer’s Society. I’m not saying she’s setting a precedent or anything, but, in the words of Twitter, “hashtag just saying!”

And a quick reminder about prizes. Everyone will get something, even you two. I will wait til the end of the group stages though before handing any out. Keep your heads up @Arfablue and @NiicNok, you still both have a game to play.

I’m still collecting prizes, but so far I have promises from Richard Osman, Richard Curtis, Lucy Porter, Modern Toss, Sali Hughes, Paul McGann, Phil Glenister, Jim Bob, @MooseAllain to name but nine.

Let’s quickly sum up yesterday. The Socceroos (that’s Australia; it’s like half soccer, half kangaroo see?) are out but can leave heads held high with Cahill scoring a contender for “goal of the tournament”. Even though they are out, it’s official; Australia are better than Spain!

Holland have 6 points. Chile have 6 points. Their final game is against each other. Whoever wins that will be top of the group. A draw, and Holland are likely to top the group on goal difference. Australia will take on Spain in a match of no importance whatsoever; other than pride and dignity blah blah blah.

Spain were slow and sluggish. Chile had their first competitive victory over them in 11 matches. Even with 6 minutes of added time for Spain to just go mad and try anything they tried nothing and didn’t go mad. Bye Spain.

Did you stay up for Cameroon and Croatia? I didn’t, but it sounds like a daft one. A red card was shown to Alex Song of Cameroon when he tried a comical Kung Fu elbow move on Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic. Cameroon face Brazil next. Brazil and Mexico are on 4 points each, Croatia on 3. Brazil are likely to top the group unless Cameroon do something stupendous (like swap the team for another country), so the Croatia Mexico game next Monday is the one to watch: Croatia must win this game if they are to go through.

Here’s that kung fu move:

 

PREVIEWS AND PREDICTIONS

COLOMBIA (@SpiderMonkey987) v  IVORY COAST (@jayscarblue)

5pm. BBC. Estadio Nacional de Brasilia in Brasilia (cap. just short of 70,000). These are the two favourites to go through in Group C. I’ll have to pinch advise from Mark Lawrenson once more and go for a draw. Or not. Oh go on then. My prediction:

Colombia 5 Ivory Coast 5

 

URUGUAY (@BottyB)  v  ENGLAND (@Christian_N_Orr)

8pm. ITV. Arena de Sao Paulo in Sao Paulo (cap. approx 65,000). Oh, this is just unbearable. England have to win. They will. And the weather is in their favour apparently. Ask Paxman.

Uruguay 2 England 4

JAPAN (@Superblouse) v  GREECE (@gingerdisco99)

11pm. BBC. Estadio das Dunas in Natal (cap. approx 40,000). A difficult one to call. Japan is made up of 6, 852 islands whereas Greece has anywhere between 1,200 and 6,000 (depending on size).

Japan 6852 Greece 0

With Spain leaving we have to say goodbye to one of the tournament’s many (well, two) Gene Hackman lookalikes, Vicente del Bosque. But who most looks like Hackman; del Bosque or Brazil’s Luiz Felipe Scolari? You decide.

Del Bosque

Del Bosque

Scolari

Scolari

And if you can donate a pound or two to Alzheimer’s Society please do so here.

COME ON ENGLAND!!!

 

Let’s start with a quick look back at Day 6:

Belgium (hbnm1985) beat Algeria (@lolers) 2-1. Algeria, the underdogs, took a surprise 1-0 lead with a penalty in the 24th minute, but Belgium equalised in the 70th minute and then took the winning goal in the 80th minute. On a positive note for Algeria (and pointed out by @lolers) their goal was the first they have got in the World Cup in 28 years. Something to celebrate there.

Let us not forget that Albert Camus was a goalkeeper during his student years for Racing Universitaire d’Alger. He had to give up through tuberculosis when he was 17. Years later he said: “All that I know most surely about morality and obligations, I owe to football”.

Something for Algeria to celebrate there too.

Brazil (@Mojorainbw) 0 Mexico (@bluebox99) 0. A goalless draw and a point each. But more a victory (of sorts) for Mexico who managed to make the host nation (and slipping favourites) look a little more ordinary. The hero of the match was Guillermo Ochoa, Mexico’s diminutive (comparatively) goalkeeper. His outstanding performance means Brazil’s manager (and Gene Hackman lookalike) Luiz Felipe Scolari will be looking for blood in their next match (although a point will most likely see them through, but that’s not as much fun, or a good enough reason to post this pic).

Scolari will have his revenge!

Scolari will have his revenge!

 

Russia (@chislehurst) 1 South Korea (@anna_borowski) 1. A point each. And so Belgium top Group H. I saw half of this match and then went to bed. I knew I was getting tired when I feebly laughed everytime the commentators said the name “Shatov”. It’s not big and it’s not clever. Shatov, in Russia, is like Brown in England. Sorry.

Russian boss, Fabio Capello, said “it was a good game”.

"It was a good game"

“It was a good game”

And so on to today’s games:

AUSTRALIA  (@zwanzig20) V HOLLAND (@Braggovic)

5pm. ITV. Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre (cap. approx 48,000). After Holland’s hammering of Spain 5-1, could this be a goal-fest? Australia have never played Holland in the World Cup, though they have been unbeaten in their last three games against Holland, winning one, drawing two. It’s difficult to see Australia winning, but, in the name of madness, I predict:

Australia 5 Holland 1

 

SPAIN (@NiicNok) V CHILE (@dusted1969)

8pm. BBC. Estadio Maracana, Rio de Janeiro (cap. approx 75,000). Chile already have 3 points after their 3-1 win over Australia. Spain have no points. Spain do, however, have a manager, Vicente Del Bosque, who also looks like Gene Hackman.

Hackman

Hackman

Del Bosque?

Del Bosque? Scolari? Hackman?

My prediction:

Spain 1 Chile 1

CAMEROON (@Arfablue) V CROATIA (@LadyLisaCusack)

11pm. ITV. Arena Amazonia in Manaus (cap. 40,000)pm. ITV. Croatia were hard done by in the Brazil game. And they haven’t stopped going on about it. Add to this their boycott of Croatia’s national press for publishing photos of the team sunbathing naked (this, by the way, is true) and you have one hell of a messed up team. Cameroon have lost their last five World Cup matches. This is going to be a hell of a messy game and everyone will be in bed. Expect a bunch of yellow cards and a red or two.

My prediction:

Cameroon 3 (yellow cards) Croatia 1 (red)… at least

Here’s a song from the last World Cup. I’m sure it’s meant to be uplifting, but judge for yourselves.

Oh, and please sponsor me if you can. I’m aiming to raise £1966 for Alzheimer’s Society. If you can spare a pound or two, perhaps the cost of a pint, perhaps a pound per goal for your team, please donate here at my Just Giving page. Thank you. Enjoy the games.