Kompany set for showdown with City’s Argentine trio
- 02 July 2014 14:37
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc
All five of the City players to appear in the FIFA World Cup second round are still standing as the competition enters the quarter finals stage.
In a competition first, all eight of the group winners won their second round ties, setting up four mouthwatering quarter-final matches which will be played on Friday and Saturday.
All three of the teams featuring City players required extra-time to overcome stubborn opposition and, most intriguingly from an MCFC point of view, Vincent is set to face off against Martin, Pablo and Sergio.
Belgium advanced courtesy of a 2-1 extra-time win on Tuesday night but Jürgen Klinsmann’s impassioned USA side gave them the fright of their lives.
An instant World Cup classic was played out across 120 breathless minutes between two teams desperate to progress.
Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku gave Marc Wilmots’ side what looked like an unassailable 2-0 lead before half-time in extra-time but Julian Green’s goal two minutes into the second half set up a thrilling climax in which USA piled forward in an ultimately fruitless search for the equaliser.
Kompany was one of the standout players on the pitch, holding things together alongside former City loan star, Daniel Van Buyten.
The City defender spoke to Belgian broadcaster VRT after the game to share his ecstasy.
“I am unbelievably tired but also unbelievably proud of what the boys have achieved. We gave it our all and we achieved it together as one strong group,” he said.
“From Brazil we don’t notice the madness (back home) so much. These are of course very special moments and the release after the games is considerable.
“Nevertheless we will maintain the required focus because we know we are still capable of more. If everyone is fully fit, it can be a very special game against Argentina.
“We now hope that we can go through until 13 July. It will be difficult but we have the players to do it.
"It is also positive that we had so many chances against the US. If that repeats itself against Argentina, I think we will score more.”
...Belgium v USA: Match report...
Zabaleta’s Argentina stand in the way of a second semi-final appearance for the Red Devils.
La Albiceleste were far from their brilliant best in their 1-0 extra-time win over Switzerland and were indebted to Angel Di Maria for his expertly-taken 118th minute winning goal.
Despite failing to demonstrate the form that saw them top Group F, Alejandro Sabella’s men did just enough to see off an obstinate Swiss side.
It remains to be seen as to whether Aguero will recover from his thigh strain in time to take his place in the XI but Demichelis could be included for the first time in the tournament because defender Marcos Rojo picked up his second yellow card of the tournament against Ottmar Hitzfeld’s side.
Martin has competition from Hugo Campagnaro and Jose Maria Basanta for a starting berth, with Sabella rumoured to be toying with the idea of reverting back to the 3-5-2 he began the competition with.
Brazil face the toughest test of their credentials for a sixth World Cup triumph so far in Fortaleza on Friday night when they face Colombia.
Fernandinho should retain his place in the team after starting his first finals match in the penalty shootout win over Chile.
The Londrina-born midfielder’s hopes of making the XI were inadvertently boosted when Luiz Gustavo picked up his second booking last time out, meaning it’s probably two from him, Ramires, Hernanes and Paulinho to start.
Brazil face a Colombian outfit who have arguably been the team of the tournament so far, inspired by one of the players of the tournament in five-goal James Rodriguez.
Fernandinho admits that Rodriguez is a player the Seleção will have to be wary of but has emphasized that the hosts have the mental strength to reach a semi-final meeting with France or Germany.
"In this World Cup he [Rodriguez] is showing everyone that the money Monaco paid for him was well invested,” the City man asserted.
"The less space he gets against us, the better it will be for Brazil."
...Fernandinho on James Rodriguez...
"We have been preparing ever since we first got together on May 26 and we have worked on the psychological side and there is no need to do any of that now. What matters now is to show what we can do on the pitch.
"We have a very big responsibility representing a country of 200 million people who hope for happiness and better days through football.
"We still kept our concentration at the decisive moment when it came to penalties."
Summer signing Sagna will also be hoping to advance to the semi-finals when his France side take on Germany in the first of the four quarter-finals on Friday evening.
Bacary has featured once for Les Bleus in the tournament so far, in the 0-0 draw with Ecuador.
He wasn't contractually a City player in the last round when France saw off Nigeria will a 2-0 win but we'll let you know if the 31-year old features against Joachim Löw's team.
We will have our usual live #cityinbrazil coverage on Twitter throughout all of the games involving our players, as well as full match reports here on mcfc.co.uk shortly after the full-time whistles blow.
France v Germany (17:00 BST) - Estádio Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro
Brazil v Colombia (21:00 BST) - Estádio Castelão, Fortaleza
Argentina v Belgium (17:00 BST) - Estádio Nacional de Brasilia, Brasília
Netherlands v Costa Rica (21:00 BST) - Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador