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So far the tournament here in Brazil has been fantastic. There have been some amazing goals including Van Persie’s looping header against Spain and Tim Cahill’s volley versus Holland. There has been some late drama, for example the USA’s winner against Ghana and Switzerland snatching victory over Ecuador, while stars Neymar and Messi have already got off the mark with well-taken goals and of course Costa Rica have caused the shock of the competition so far with their come from behind win over Uruguay. The atmosphere at the stadiums has also been wonderful with a special mention for the Colombian and Chilean fans who have brought lots of noise and colour to the tournament.
It has not been a good World Cup for Spain as they crashed out of the tournament after two straight defeats against Holland and Chile. Like Italy in 2010 and France in 2002 the holders (and heavily favoured sides) were unable to progress to the knock-out stages. It was also a bad start to the tournament for Portugal after a four-goal thrashing at the hands of group favourites Germany. Not only were they heavily defeated but they also lost two players to injury while Real Madrid defender Pepe was shown a red card and will face a suspension.
The nil-nil draw between Iran and Nigeria was fairly poor and some of the tackling from Honduras in their match against France was not too pretty, while there was, of course, some dodgy refereeing in the opening game but overall the tournament has not been too ugly at all.
have already got off the mark: Opened their account; they have scored their first goal of the tournament
thrashing: Heavy defeat
at the hands of: Against; versus
crashed out of: Were eliminated (not expected to)
was not too pretty: Actually quite ugly
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