The dreaded third-place play-off was also up for discussion.
We’ve another exciting weekend, with Brazil looking to salvage some pride in tonight’s World Cup play-off against Holland, before the big one between Germany and Argentina tomorrow.
And joining us to discuss all that and more is comedian Karl Spain.
If you’ve any questions for Karl, e-mail email@example.com, tweet us @Football_ie or with the hashtag #ScoreWCHangout, post a message to Facebook, or leave a comment below.
It’s the World Cup, it’s the weekend. Let’s party.
Good evening (at least I think 5pm counts as the evening).
We have Karl Spain here with us as we mourn the impending end of the 2014 World Cup.
We’ll be discussing tomorrow’s final, as well as the third-place play-off that no one seems to want to play, in addition to looking back on some of the tournament’s highlights.
Okay, we’re starting as we often do with some predictions…
Here’s the verdict from the office…
Steve: 2-1 Netherlands and 1-0 Argentina
Pat: 3-1 Brazil and 2-1 Argentina
Me: 2-1 Netherlands and 2-0 Germany
As for Karl?
“Well I think tonight is harder to predict because we’ve no idea what lineups will be on the pitch. But I’d fancy the Netherlands tonight 3-1 and tomorrow, I tipped Argentina from the start but I think it might be the Germans, 2-1.”
Of course, there’s a lot of excitement tomorrow all over the world.
Here are some divers from the Philippines…
And a World Cup trophy-shaped rock at Pa Hin Ngam national park in Thailand.
So has this been the best World Cup EVER, as a few people have suggested?
Karl Spain: “I think it’s a very good World Cup. It’s very interesting that there is no top team, even if one of them has won their semi-final 7-1.
“I hope we get some more drama in the final and then it might well be in the debate as the best ever.”
Tell us what you think, dear readers. Has this been the best World Cup ever?
What’s been the best game? Surely Iran v Nigeria was the worst.
What do you think?
So have you watched any of the games from anywhere special, or has it been a classic case of excessive chilling sessions with a TV and a couch?
KS: “I watched one at a wedding. But mostly in front of the TV — I think for me it’s best at home and the match time suits us. None of these 7am Japan/Korea matches.
“My bother and sister went to Brazil — I’m very jealous, so don’t tell them.
“The only time I went a bit mental at home was Italia 90 — when Ireland equalised against Holland, I smashed a coal bucket with a great connection from my left foot.”
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out this fantastic video which suggests that Brazil literally didn’t show up for the World Cup semi-final…
Of course, the Golden Ball nominations were announced yesterday. Who would get your vote?
Of course, there’s been plenty of debate about the punditry this World Cup as ever.
Is Karl a BBC, RTÉ or ITV man?
KS: “I think the standard of pundits has gone up over the years as they learn from their mistakes.
“Shearer has improved now and he reads the notes provided. Robbie Savage is a moron. I find Dunphy mildly irritating at times. I don’t mind his “opinions,” I just get annoyed when he’s factually wrong. I find Liam Brady to be the one that agrees with me the most so that makes him the best.
“ITV are really missing Roy Keane. Lee Dixon is good but not going to rock the world. Hoddle to me always looks like a disgraced banker on holiday and Waddle (BBC) always looks like someone brought up his 1990 penalty miss just before going on air.
“I will miss Bill O’Herlihy — he really does manage his panel so well and knows what buttons to push. Maybe Aprés Match’s Risteárd could step in and things would be okidoki.”
So the question we all want to know — on a scale of 1 to Phil Babb, just how good a footballer is/was Karl?
“Well I was quite the showy player — my signature was the Pirlo stepover (as seen before the Marchisio goal against England).
“I have basic enough technique, but not a lot of mobility. I did make five appearances for Limerick City youth team when I was 15, but I was very much making up the numbers.”
Of course, one of the big questions is whether Lionel Messi can deliver a performance worthy of the occasion.
Here’s what the legend that is Diego Maradona thinks…
“The only fear I have is that he is tired, but in the end you cannot be tired. I think he will understand. If you miss a shot on Sunday, you only resemble the best in the world.”
So what did you make of the Golden Ball nominations the other day? Is it Messi’s to lose?
KS: “I think he probably will win but I don’t think he had an exceptional tournament.
“I think James Rodriguez has been outstanding, Müller, Ochoa, Johnson from the US, there have been lots of players who’ve had outstanding games.
“Messi has had great moments. He is one of the best ever, but I don’t think we’ve seen his best in Brazil. But Kahn won in 02 when it should have been Ronaldo. I think Mascherano has been the best Argentina player overall.”
What do you think, readers? Should Messi be crowned Golden Ball winner, or are there more deserving candidates?
The Argentina fans are having a bit of a party on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro today, and Charlie Chaplin (see below) has decided to join in.
Moving away slightly from the World Cup for a moment, this question comes from my colleague Pat McCarry, and relates to the video below…
Which of the Ireland players was the soundest to deal with?
KS: “I liked most of the Ireland squad. They were really nice guys. I think Kilbane was my favourite, but I really liked Kevin Doyle as well as the Hunty brothers and Andy Reid.
“I didn’t dislike any of the guys, but Darron Gibson was aiming for my wing mirrors rather than trying to get the ball into the car boot, which was the challenge.
“I liked Tardelli and Trap a lot as well, and of course, Manuela.”
What’s been your goal of the World Cup?
I find it difficult to look past this one.
These quotes just in, courtesy AFP — Bastian Schweinteiger says Germany are under “no pressure”.
“We’re looking forward to it. There’s huge anticipation and joy. We have no pressure.
“We have lots of players among the 23 who’ve played in important finals and we know how to handle that.
“We have Miroslav Klose, who played in the final in 2002. Other players have played in finals with their clubs and have produced outstanding performances.”
So tonight’s game then… It just seems like a match that no one, especially Louis van Gaal, wants to play, doesn’t it?
“Yes, it’s kind of of cruel on the players, unless a player was chasing the Golden Boot.
“I will be watching — I’ve taped the matches I didn’t see, so the World Cup continues for me for a week or so yet.
“It’s usually the Aprés Match game, so for that alone, I’ll be tuning in.
“I do like the Dutch team. I hope to see more of Clasie — he looks a bit special — and Depay.
“I do feel for the Brazilians though — I’d say the last few days have been hell.”
And finally, what’s been your highlight and lowlight of the tournament?
“I think the highlight has been the quality of the football — some great individuals and some great team performances. The Spain v Holland match early on was a great signifier as to what was to come.
“As for lowlights, the Suarez incident was pretty bad. He’s one of the best players in the world and it’s bad enough when players get injured, but when a player puts himself out because of something stupid, that’s really annoying. I particularly didn’t like the Uruguay reaction and the denials etc.
“But overall, it’s been great. Even for Suarez, the pluses still outweigh the minuses.”
Right, that’s all from us for now, but stayed tuned for plenty more World Cup reaction throughout the weekend.
My thanks to Karl, and to you too, for reading and commenting.
Enjoy the rest of the tournament!