There are some wonderful pictures this morning on the news wires of the contrasting scenes between Spain and Morocco supporters around the world, which I feel I must start the day by sharing.
Max Rushden, Barry Glendenning, Jonathan Fadugba, and John Brewin were up working late last night in the pod to discuss the concluding games of the World Cup round of 16 after Portugal thrashed Switzerland and Morocco shocked Spain. You can get that directly into your ears here …
First the bad news. It is the first day where there is no actual football at the World Cup since 20 November, and like me, I am sure you are going to miss settling down for the action come 3pm GMT.
But the good news? Wow, what a day we had yesterday, and what a lot we still have to look forward to.
You can’t tell me that even in his wildest dreams, Portugal coach Fernando Santos woke up on Tuesday morning thinking that the consequences of dropping Cristiano Ronaldo as captain and out of the first XI would be that he could casually bring him on as a substitute in the 73rd minute as a gesture of “no hard feelings” when his side were already 5-1 up against Switzerland.
Then there was Morocco reaching the quarter-finals for the first time in their World Cup history. You can argue whether penalties are a lottery or the execution of a precision skill under pressure – don’t worry, it is definitely the latter – but the Atlas Lions have now kept clean sheets against Croatia, Belgium and Spain, and go into the quarter-finals unbeaten. That is something that can’t be said of Brazil, Argentina, France or Portugal.
I will be bringing you all the fallout from that, the rest of the World Cup news as it happen, and looking forward to the quarter-finals getting under way on Friday. Do drop me a line at email@example.com