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Can this be Brazil? The hosts stagger through to the quarterfinals

So Brazil is through to the quarterfinals. Of course that’s good news, not only for Brazilians, but for the tournament itself, which would have suffered a tremendous deflation, a colossal anti-climax had the hosts been knocked out so rapidly.

Teenage wonder kids and ruling dynasties: They don't come around too often

Ever since the 17-year-old Pele was the star of the 1958 World Cup we've been waiting for another talented teenager to come along and emerge as a superstar by taking over a World Cup the way that Pele did.

Goals early and often light up World Cup

Those (myself among them) who feared that caution, with its depressant effect on goalscoring, would rule the early games of the World Cup, evidently got it wrong.

Brazil 3 Croatia 1. No Beautiful Game from this Brazil team

Not, by any means, an uneventful game. Not short of action, suspense, tension. So plenty to get excited or emotional about. And that's not bad for the opening game of a World Cup. There have been some real stinkers.

Losing the first game means your World Cup is almost certainly at an end

The World Cup starts off -- for every team, favorites or outsiders -- as a three-game tournament. That's all you get -- just three games to prove whether you belong there or not.

Remembering Marinho -- who smiled so brilliantly on the sport of soccer

I find Jose Mourinho an irritant. Nothing more. His constant presence, his non-stop efforts to create headlines for himself, his not particularly interesting comments on world soccer -- always, it seems to me, carefully measured to make sure that he comes over as more important than Messi or Ronaldo or Suarez, to ensure that his name gets the spotlight. Mourinho ...