Brazil, Germany, to meet in World Cup Semi-final, FIFA rejects racism

david luiz

David Luiz’s fan base has grown with each World Cup game he has played due to his undisguised passion for the game, h is country and his faith. He plays the game with the same energy he displays in singing Brazil’s national anthem pre-game or praying mid-field after he scores.

By Carmen Glover

This 2014 World Cup tournament in Brazil has featured a blend of football/soccer matches played against a backdrop of protests by Brazilian locals who are angry with the lavish spending for the tournament at the expense of infrastructure projects that they believe would benefit their country. While those protests have largely been kept away from World Cup lovers, the residue has permeated in some ways.

For instance, the news two days ago that two people were killed and ten injured due to a partial bridge collapse that trapped vehicles and passengers, gives credence to the pre-tournament allegations of shoddy work. These concerns need thorough investigations by FIFA officials to ensure that the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 tournament in Qatar meet standards. As those issues fade into the background, all eyes are glued to the exciting semi-final matches that indicate that FIFA World Cup 2014 is coming to a close.

neymar

Neymar’s participation in FIFA World Cup 2014 came to an abrupt end on Friday when he was injured after being pushed to the ground by a player from Colombia. Neymar suffered a broken vertebrae.

Despite an inconsistent level of play during the tournament, Brazil is still standing and will face Germany on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. on ESPN for a showdown to determine which team will move on to the World Cup Final. Brazil beat Colombia 2-1 in the quarter-final match while Germany beat France 1-0. Brazil’s games so far have exposed weaknesses that have surprised many fans of the football powerhouse. It has also appeared, at times, that the host country has benefitted from questionable calls by the referees, which only fuel the perception that FIFA is corrupt.

Brazil's World Cup team.

Brazil’s  Football World Cup team.

Brazil lost its star player Neymar in Friday’s match against Colombia to a broken vertebrae after failed t score in the game despite scoring a total of four goals in the World Cup. But Neymar did not seem to contribute much to the quarter-final match, whereas Brazil’s team captain Thiago Silva and his childhood friend, David Luiz, stepped up and scored the two goals for the team. Silva will miss the semi-final match after earning his second yellow card of the tournament. Luiz has been making a huge contribution to the Brazilian team and has endeared himself to fans with his energetic pre-game rendition of the national anthem, exuberant celebrations of his goals and his mid-field prayers, pointing skyward as he communicates with his creator.

Some of the German players confer on the field.

Some of the German players confer on the field. Allegations of racism have plagued the team.

Germany, on the other hand, has been solid and generally focused on winning it all with its strong, tough, defensive, style of play. By securing its semi-final berth, Germany became the only team in World Cup history to make it to the semi-final in four consecutive World Cup tournaments, making it clear that the country is akin to a football dynasty. The German players tackle their opponents mercilessly, attack the ball aggressively and dominate with stifling defensive plays. But Germany lost many fans as reports surfaced about racist comments made by some of its star players.

Germany's Football World Cup Team.

Germany’s Football World Cup Team.

For years Germany has earned the respect of other countries due their dominant style of play but as the racism allegations plague their team it chips away at the luster the country has had in the World Cup and makes it difficult for non-Germans to support a team that seems to have so little regard tor other ethnic groups. It is unfortunate that the Germans continue to struggle with discrimination despite the country’s football prowess.

anti

FIFA celebrated Anti-Discrimination Day on Friday, July 4, 2014 by displaying “Say no to Racism” banners and reading statements by FIFA officials and team captains prior to the matches.

FIFA deemed Friday as “Anti-discrimination day,” and each team captain read a statement prior to both games, denouncing discrimination and racism in all forms. But Germany is not alone in having its team clouded by racism allegations. Luis Suarez, Uruguay’s and Liverpool’s infamous incorrigible biter, has been accused of uttering racist remarks. Meanwhile, fans in England, Italy and France are well-known for racist conduct that defies the boundaries of decency. One stark example is Italian fans regularly throwing bananas on the field at Italian star Mario Balotelli, in an act of vile racism that indicates that Italians cheer his talent but reject his ethnicity. Even in host country Brazil, there is an apparent emphasis on light complexion players and fans in the stadiums than their darker skinned counterparts.

webb

FIFA Vice President and Chief of FIFA’s Anti-Discrimination Task Force Jeffrey Webb.

FIFA Vice President and Chief of the Anti-Discrimination Task Force Jeffrey Webb has made it clear that racism and all forms for discrimination will not be tolerated by the organization. Lauding the NBA for its’ swift move to oust Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling after his racist rants, Webb said: on FIFA.com

“The NBA has set a new standard and I applaud them. They made a swift and concise decision. We need to do the same. We must have a zero tolerance,” Webb went on to say that teams and players should be banned from FIFA if they engage in any form of racism and discrimination.–OnPointPress.net.

 

World Cup Group of 16, Knockout Round, gets underway 6/28-7/1

Brazil's World Cup team.

Brazil’s World Cup team.

By Carmen Glover

An exciting, unpredictable, first round of the 2014 World Cup football (soccer to some) tournament ended with the USA team gaining entry to the Knockout Round of 16 while football powerhouses Ghana, Portugal, Italy, England and defending champions Spain made quick exits amidst a cloud of questions about their future. Will they revamp their rosters? Will they hire new coaches? For all the hype that surrounded Portugal’s Cristiana Ronaldo, dubbed the best player in the world, he was a colossal bust and seemed to be more concerned with preening than delivering for his team and his ball club.

Costa Rica's World Cup Team.

Costa Rica’s World Cup Team.

It remains to be seen what steps will be taken to make the early exiting teams more competitive for World Cup 2018. While the exiting teams sort out their next steps, the Knockout Round for the 2014 World Cup begins and excitement appears to be at a fever pitch, especially for the American team which has won new fans, after doing what seemed like the impossible by making it out of the Group of Death, and the Costa Rican team which emerged from the Group of Champions in first place, despite being the only team in that group that has never won the World Cup trophy.

The USA World Cup Team.

The USA World Cup Team.

The Knockout Round features 16 teams who will face fierce competition as each team tries to advance to the other rounds that bring them closer to the finals. The winning team will advance while the losing team will head home. No second match. No chance for redemption. The first match of the Knockout Round will feature Brazil taking on Chile on Saturday at 12 noon on Channel 7 while Uruguay takes on Colombia at 4: 00 p.m. In the meantime, perennial bad boy Luis Suarez, was banned for four months from all World Cup and football related events and fined $112, 000 for yet another biting incident, for which he seems totally unremorseful. So he will not play against Colombia and will not play in early games for his Liverpool club.

The Nigerian World Cup Team.

The Nigerian World Cup Team.

So far in the World Cup tournament, the African teams have not done well. Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon have returned home after poor showings, while Nigeria and Algeria are still in the mix. One of the problems this World Cup faces with perception is the total exclusion of English-speaking Caribbean nations, which is an issue that has garnered a great deal of attention and is expected to generate heated debate when the tournament ends. The schedule of the Knockout Round is as follows:

The Netherlands' World Cup Team.

The Netherlands’ World Cup Team.

Saturday, June 28, Brazil vs. Chile on Channel 7 and Univision at 12:00 noon, Colombia vs. Uruguay at 4;00 p.m. On Sunday, June 29, Netherlands vs. Mexico at 12 noon on ESPN, and Univision; Costa Rica vs. Greece at 4;00 p.m. Monday, June 30, France vs. Nigeria at 12:00 noon on ESPN and Univision and Germany vs. Algeria at 4;00 p.m. On Tuesday, Argentina vs. Switzerland at 12:00 noon on ESPN and Univision and USA vs. Belgium at 4:00 p.m.

If you have not had a chance to catch the matches so far, treat yourself to what will be an intense, nail-biting Knockout Round that will provide unmatched entertainment. Happy viewing! –OnPointPress.net.