After a 24 hour delay due to torrential rain, Brazil escaped Argentina with a point. Our own Facundo Roncaglia mostly had a good game at right back, keeping Neymar and company well shackled. Brazil's goal could be construed as his fault, in part, although he was forced to mark a runner through the middle of the defense, allowing Douglas Costa a free header on the back side; probably the responsibility of the midfield or the winger. Other than that, though, he was solid. Things don't get easier for Argentina, as they take on Colombia next in their World Cup qualifying campaign; the Albiceleste sit 8th out of 10 in CONMEBOL after losing one and drawing two.
The reigning Copa America holders also had a stiff test at home, in the form of Colombia. Instead of their usual all-action midfield, the hosts went for a more cultured set-up, fielding Matías Fernández and Jorge Valdivia with Arturo Vidal. Mati played an excellent match, providing an inch-perfect free kick assist for Arturo Vidal's opener. He also looked dangerous throughout the 1-1 draw, consistently bursting through the midfield to set up the attackers. Chile will put their second place spot on the line against Uruguay this Tuesday.
The Italian defense was shambolic in their 3-1 defeat to Belgium. At least Davide Astori, who was an unused substitute, emerges with an undamaged reputation. To quote Mr. Gump, "And that's all I have to say about that." Astori probably has a good chance to start in the Tuesday match against Ciprian Tatarusanu and Romania.
Despite a 4-2 win over Iceland, Fiorentina fans will be pretty unhappy with the result, because Jakub Blaszczykowski went down with some type of leg injury in the 12th minute. While the initial fear was that he'd tweaked his recently reconstructed cruciate ligament, he's since said that it's not so serious and he expects to miss about 2 weeks. At least Gilberto is healthy again.
Nenad Tomovic started Serbia's 4-1 defeat to the Czech Republic and had a singularly awful night. While he wasn't supposed to be marking Tomas Sivok for the Czech defender's header off a corner, he was in the area and could have done better. Nenad also conceded a bad penalty, letting fullback Daniel Pudil in behind him and tripping him in the box. Then, following a bad error from Branislav Ivanovic, Nenad couldn't stop Ladislav Krejci from slotting home from close range in the box. He also allowed the cross for the stoppage time fourth, although that one wasn't really his fault. Here's hoping he got all the bad stuff out of his system before he returns to Florence.
Ukraine took a big step towards qualifying for the 2016 Euros with a complete effort against Josip Iličić and Slovenia, winning 2-0 in front of a lively crowd in Lviv. Iličić drifted around with making much impact, attempting just 15 passes and 1 shot 64 minutes. With the return leg on Tuesday, Slovenia faces a tall order indeed in the return leg of the playoff on Tuesday.
Argentina, Chile, Italy, Poland, and Slovenia all have their second games on Tuesday. In addition, Croatia, with Nikola Kalinic and Milan Badelj, square off against Russia. Let's hope for good clean fun and no more #*&%ing injuries.