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.

 

 

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It’s the last day of the group stages. Who stays? Who goes? Let the game of football decide. First, here’s what happened yesterday:

NIGERIA (@redorbrownsauce) v ARGENTINA (@joyfeed)

Within 5 minutes of kick-off this game was 1-1. It’s the first time in World Cup history for two opposing teams to score so quickly, but the score wasn’t to last. Messi scored two for Argentina and the final score was Nigeria 2 Argentina 3. But both teams are through to the next stage anyway, so joy all round. Nigeria will play France (@Zoleipar) next Monday and Argentina will play Switzerland (@realandrewgreen) on Tuesday. Congratulations to you all, and special congratulations to @redorbrownsauce’s new lucky hat!

nigeria hat 2

BOSNIA-HERCEGOVINA (@jaq421)  v IRAN (@freig)

Commiserations to you two though, both out. Bosnia-Hercegovina had a perfectly decent goal from Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko ruled out in their match against Nigeria and so getting the opener in this game was nice, but not nice enough. No matter what B-H tried to do, they were going out. Iran needed a win to stay in. They lost 3-1. Sorry to see @Freig and @jaq421 go, but hopefully @jaq421’s Sybil will continue to offer canine support.

ECUADOR (@wasaunders) v FRANCE (@Zoleipar)

Not perhaps the most inspiring of games. A 0-0 draw sees France top the group and Ecuador and @wasaunders head on home. (I say that, I’m guessing @wasaunders has been at home all the time, so don’t head anywhere. Stick around).

HONDURAS (@wristwatch42) v SWITZERLAND (@realandrewgreen)

A hat-trick from Shaqiri saw Switzerland defeat Honduras 3-0. Switzerland go through whilst @wristwatch42 has to watch from the terraces.

Shaqiri celebrates a hat-trick

Shaqiri celebrates a hat-trick

 

And so to today’s matches, the last four of the group stages.

 

TODAY’S MATCHES; PREVIEWS AND PREDICTIONS

 

USA (@Lindaannbown) v GERMANY (@DarrenK73)

5pm. BBC. Arena Pernambuco in Recife. This should be fun. Both teams have won one and drawn one, giving them four points each. The other two teams in the group, Ghana and Portugal, are on a point each. So whatever happens in this game, one of the teams will go through. If a team wins they’re through, and the losing team will have to wait and see how the other game goes. If it’s a draw they’re both through. Will they play for a draw? Is that allowed? My prediction:

USA 1 Germany 2

Oh! And surprise! Sybil’s found a whole new hat!

Guess which team I'm supporting today? (and give me a treat)

Guess which team I’m supporting today? (and then give me a treat)

 

PORTUGAL (@ali_spencer) v GHANA (@fiona_butler)

5pm. BBC. Estadio Nacional de Brasilia in Brasilia. Goals are needed here, particularly if Portugal are to go through. If they defeat Ghana by loads of Goals, and their is a clear victory in the other match, then they will be on 4 points as well as the losing team from the other match. And so it will all come down to goal difference. Oh it’s tricky isn’t it. Or am I just making it that way?

Portugal 0 Ghana 0

 

SOUTH KOREA (@anna_borowski) v BELGIUM (@hbnm1985)

9pm. ITV. Arena de Sao Paulo in Sao Paulo. Belgium are through, but if they want to make sure they come top of the group a win or draw will be needed. If they lose, and Algeria win their game against Russia, then both teams will be on 6 points and goal difference will decide who’s top and who’s second. But they’re not going to lose are they? My prediction:

South Korea 0 Belgium 2

ALGERIA (@lolers) v RUSSIA (@chislehurst)

9pm. ITV. Arena da Baixada in Curitiba. Russia will be playing like the wind against Algeria. I don’t know what that means. What I do know is this: assuming Belgium don’t lose their game then whichever team wins here will be going through. Having said that, Algeria can go through with a draw (assuming, again, Belgium win). So… that’s why Russia will be playing like the wind. And Russia’s manager, Fabio Capello, will be a huffin’ and a puffin’.

Capello urges Russia on to victory!

Capello urges Russia on to victory!

Here’s The Leningrad Cowboys with the Red Russian Army Choir singing Delilah, just for the hell of it.

And very finally, an update on prizes! They’re coming in; today I received some goodies from funny writer David Quantick. That’s on top of the stuff from Lucy Porter, Jim Bob; and the stuff coming from Richard Curtis, Richard Osman, Moose Allain, Modern Toss, and on and on. So, don’t worry if you have gone out early. There’s still something coming your way at the end of The World Cup!

And if you can point any people my way I’d really appreciate it. I’m still going for a goal of £1966 for Alzheimer’s Society. We’re over the £1000 mark, which is already fantastic. If you know anyone who would like to donate please send them over to my Just Giving page here.

And yes, we have passed the 50% mark, which means my wife has to do the John Barnes rap from World In Motion. We’re working on it. Promise.