If you're anything like me, you drowned your Azzurri sorrows by watching a replay of the 2006 World Cup final. Eight years have passed and I was surprised by how much of that classic had already left my consciousness: the seventh minute PK that Zidane had the balls to chip on the game's biggest stage, the yellow card given to Willy Sagnol for an inadvertent studs-over-knee foul, which was nearly identical to the red shown to Claudio Marchisio yesterday, by the way. And, you want to talk about talent on the pitch? Zidane, Henry, Thuram, Gallas, Ribery, Vieira, Totti, Toni, Del Piero, Pirlo, Cannavaro, Gattuso; just an absolutely absurd collection of talent. If you want to remind yourself of Italy at her finest, go back and watch that match.
Anyway, World Cup Day 14 brings the final matches of E and F, so let's take a quick look at each matchup
Bosnia-Herzegovina vs Iran: Noon (EDT), Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador
Miralem Pjanic and the rest of the Dragons get one final chance to save face and earn their first ever World Cup victory, though at this point, one would have to imagine they'd settle for simple point. Any nation making their debut is bound to struggle, but when you start things off with an own goal against Lionel Messi and Argentina, the die has sort of been cast, but BIH has some real talent, so they might make a name for themselves sooner rather than later.
Nigeria vs Argentina: Noon (EDT), Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre
Surprisingly, there is a bit at stake in this match, as Messi y Amigos enter the match with six points, two head of Nigeria. While both sides have already assured passage to the next round, the always critical battle for seeding rages on, so don't expect either side to relent, particularly not the Nigerians, as a draw does them no good.
France has effectively put their nightmare performance of 2010 behind them, banging home eight goals to rise to the top of Group F, and generally looking like one of the best nations in this World Cup. Ecuador, only three points behind Les Bleus, would have to win and win big to secure the top spot in this group, but at the same time they need some help from Honduras in the days other late match, as the Swiss are tied on points with Ecuador with three apiece.
Ecuador advances with: Win vs. France AND Switzerland loss / draw; Win AND Switzerland win (tiebreaker with France AND Switzerland); draw AND Switzerland loss / draw; loss AND Switzerland loss (tiebreaker with Switzerland AND Honduras)
Honduras vs Switzerland: 4pm (EDT), Arena Amazonia, Manaus
The Swiss will fight for their World Cup lives in the harshest of climates. Switzerland is even with Ecuador in Group F on three points, but currently sport a -2 goal differential, so they will need some assistance from the French.
Switzerland advances with: Win vs. Honduras AND Ecuador loss / draw; Win AND Ecuador win (tiebreaker with France AND Ecuador); draw AND Ecuador loss; loss AND Ecuador loss (tiebreaker with Ecuador AND Honduras)
Day 14 figures to be a crazy one, though I doubt we'll see a repeat of yesterday's hysterics, one would hope.