World Cup Wrap – Day 25

The 2014 World Cup semi-final line-up is complete in Brazil following Saturday’s two quarter final games and the competition continues to provide more talking points and entertainment.

The fall guy

Argentina boss Alejandro Sabella was in lively form on the touchline during his side’s 1-0 victory over Belgium on Saturday afternoon.

Argentina boss Alejandro Sabella as depicted in the Matrix films.

Sabella’s fall as it might be seen in the Matrix films

An early goal from Gonzalo Higuain was enough to see the South Americans through, but it was in the second half that Sabella’s best moment was caught on camera.

A fine run from Napoli hitman Higuain ended with a shot crashing back off the bar to deny Argentina what would have been a potential goal of the tournament, and it seemed Sabella couldn’t quite believe it either as he lost his balance and almost fell, Delboy-style, back into the bench.

He just about regained his feet to avoid a full-on tumble, but the incident has since proved a hit in social media circles with doctored pictures of Sabella’s fall in a variety of amusing situations spreading quickly.

Argentina’s oasis

Sabella was also quick to praise his captain Lionel Messi after Saturday’s victory, claiming the Barcelona star is like “water in the desert” for the Albiceleste.

Lionel Messi is congratulated by Maxi Rodriguez after Argentina

Lionel Messi is greeted by Maxi Rodriguez after the win over Belgium

Messi helped lead his nation to their first World Cup semi-final since 1990 and Sabella believes he is the key to their success.

“A player like Messi almost never loses the ball and is water in the desert,” he said. 

“Today, when the terrain was dry he gave us that breath of fresh air every time he had the ball.” 

Belgium coach Marc Wilmots didn’t agree with that viewpoint though, describing Argentina as “ordinary” in their win.

Neymar’s tearful message

The loss of Brazil star Neymar for the host nation made headlines across the world, after the Barcelona man was stretchered off in their win over Colombia on Friday evening.

Neymar’s video message to fans. Please note, no translation

Neymar suffered a fractured bone in his spine after a challenge from Colombia defender Juan Zuniga during the later stages of the game, which forced him to leave the stadium in a wheelchair and miss the rest of the tournament.

And the 22-year-old has posted an emotional video message on the internet to thank his fans for their support and offer his encouragement to his Brazil squad-mates.

“My World Cup has not ended, it has been interrupted by a play but the tournament goes on and I told my team-mates to do everything in order to help me achieve my dream to be world champion,” said Neymar.

“My dream was to play at a World Cup final but I’m certain my team-mates will be champions.

“I will be there with them, and all Brazilians will soon be celebrating all of that.”