Top 5 Games of Last Week (6/23/14 – 6/29/14)
Soccer and tennis – that’s what this week was about. And guess what? Next week, too.
#5.World Cup – Brazil vs. Chile
Going into this game, you thought Brazil had this locked up. They were heavily favored. They were playing in front of a home crowd. They had Neymar, the star goal-scorer tied for the most goals in the World Cup so far. And yet, Chile hung on. Actually, Chile attacked relentlessly, unafraid and unintimidated by Brazil’s past World Cup accolades. The game proved to be one of the most fast-paced game of the World Cup thus far, each attack followed swiftly by a counter-attack. It’s too bad it had to come down to penalty kicks. In this modern day version of David and Goliath, Goliath won, but David put up a heck of a fight.
#4. Wimbledon – Novak Djokovic vs Radek Stepanek
In a sport where the 32-year-old Federer is a dinosaur, consider 35-year-old Stepanek. Despite having his his ceiling years ago, and despite having discovered that ceiling is considerably lower than that of a Grand Slam champion, Stepanek continues to play. Why? He loves tennis. Ranked 38th in the world, few consider him a threat anymore. Few, except Djokovic, who was confronted with just how formidable Stepanek can be on grass. Stepanek came to net 75 times during the match, a number unheard of since greats like Pete Sampras walked the Wimbledon grounds. But Stepanek rode his net game the whole match, even stealing the third set in a tie-breaker. Djokovic looked bewildered. This was supposed to be a walkover. Djokovic won, but Stepanek won over the crowd with his gritty performance.
#3. World Cup – Costa Rica vs. Greece
Costa Rica, the little country that could. With a population smaller than West Virginia, and a team that consisted of just 10 men for almost a third of the game, Costa Rica’s chances looked bleak entering the Group stage. To everyone but them, that is. They won the group, and then beat Greece on Sunday, winning on penalty kicks. After the U.S., I know who I’m rooting for.
#2. Wimbledon – Grigor Dimitrov vs. Alexandr Dolgopolov
I first remember Dimitrov getting recognized as the “next big thing” when he was 18. Some nicknamed him “Baby Federer” because of his fluid, fearsome one-handed backhand. Now 23, Dimitrov has added a fitness coach who boasts the ability to make anyone throw up in under a minute. It’s paid off. Dimitrov looked like the Energizer Bunny against the big hitting Dolgopolov, running everything down and forcing Ukrainian to hit the extra shot every time. In their five-set match, that was the difference, Dimitrov winning 6-1 in the fifth set.
#1.World Cup – Netherlands vs. Mexico
LeBron had the “Cramp Game,” and now, the Netherlands have the “Flop Game.” Wesley Sneijder had been the hero of Hollands’ 2010 World Cup team several times, scoring five times en route the a Finals loss vs. Spain. But up until the 88th minute of the Round of 16 game vs. Mexico, Sneijder had been scoreless in Brazil. Thankfully, he chose a good time to come through, tying up the game 1-1 and sparing Hollands’ hospitals hundreds of heart attacks. Then, just a few minutes later, Robben dove, the referee called a penalty on Mexico, and the Netherlands won on a late penalty kick. It was the flop heard ’round the world.