It was quite the busy weekend, and quite the busy Sunday especially for many Chelsea players. For many, this was the final action before summer holidays, before start of Chelsea training camp around July 6.
Our day started in Ghana, where the Black Stars ran riot over hapless Mauritius to the tune of 7-1. Chelsea loanee Christian Atsu scored the opening goal. A bit later, fellow loanee Mohamed Salah also got on the scoresheet for Egypt, as he continued his annoying habit of being good whenever not wearing a Chelsea shirt.
Switching from ACN to Euro qualifying action, England actually managed to provide a bit of entertainment as they made it six wins from six qualifiers with a dramatic 3-2 triumph in Slovenia. The first half was only notable for the laughable defense played by Gary Cahill and company on Slovenia's opening goal, but both they and the rest of England were much better after the break. Jack Wilshere's two magnificent strikes put England ahead, though it took a late Wayne Rooney winner to collect all three points.
Spain also recorded a one-goal victory, though by most accounts, the scoreline did not reflect their dominance. Cesc Fàbregas started and collected the only assist of the game with a free kick. Belarus's goalkeeper flapped at the delivery, gifting the ball to an unmarked David Silva at the far post who rifled it home. Slovakia also won their match (my man Marek Hamšík with the winner), which means that Spain still remain just second in their group.
The biggest action of the day was over on the American continent, as both Colombia and Brazil got their Copa América adventures under way. The Copa has provided plenty of surprising results already, such as Argentina's collapse from 2-0 the day before, and it provided yet another one as Colombia were shocked 1-0 by neighbors Venezuela. One-time Chelsea target Salomon Rondón scored the winner in one of Venezuela's rare coherent attacks. Colombia had the majority of the possession but despite the dazzling array of attacking talent available to them — towards the end, they had Cuadrado, James Rodriguez, Falcao, and Jackson Martinez all on at the same time — failed to find to a goal. Venezuela's goalkeeper did make a couple excellent saves in the second half, but by and large, the final pass and the finishing was wasteful, tame, and hopeless from one of the pre-tournament favorites. Juan Cuadrado and Radamel Falcao both started, with the former perhaps the standout attacking player on the day. Falcao was largely isolated thanks to a strong Venezuela defense, a weak Colombia midfield, and a useless striking partner in Carlos Bacca. Not quite the 90 minutes to get you excited about seeing El Tigre in a Chelsea shirt. (Quite the opposite in fact.)
After Colombia's upset, it looked like Brazil might be heading for a similar fate as well. Less than three minutes in, they were already behind as David Luiz and goalkeeper Jefferson contrived to gift a goal to the Peruvians. Sometimes, you just have to keep it simple, David! Fortunately for Brazil, Neymar always delivers. Two minutes later, he converted a Dani Alves cross for the equalizer. A tremendously entertaining first half followed, but the score somehow remained 1-1. The second half was much more one-sided, but as just as it looked like Peru might hold on for the draw, Neymar took over again, providing the seeing-eye assist for Douglas Costa's stoppage time winner. Just watch this pass.
Willian and Filipe Luis both started, and the former especially was quite impressive, both as a midfield glue guy and an attacking outlet on the right wing. I can't recall anything memorable from Filipe Luis, though he did bypass an easy assist opportunity for a tame right footed shot at one point. In any case, Brazil's 2-1 win sets them up well for their next game, which will be against none other than Colombia. Should be fun.
Given all that, the following was still the best highlight of the day. A most perfect football Vine.
Everything that is great about football. Wonderful skill followed by a twatting. https://t.co/HXPKMlJLGN
— Macca (@The_Paris_Angel) June 14, 2015