The World Cup is in the midst of two off days, but there is no such luxury for us, as we continue our daily podcast from Russia. With the quarterfinal field set and 24 teams having exited Russia, it's a chance to look back on some of the best memories from what has been an absolute rollercoaster of a World Cup. Between the surprises, the drama and some of the teams still standing, not a day has gone by without a major talking point.
We discuss that and are joined by American soccer broadcasting great JP Dellacamera in our latest World Cup Daily podcast. Listen to the full episode below, and be sure to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes to hear each episode throughout the 2018 World Cup.
Here's a selection from the latest episode:
BRIAN STRAUS: It's good to have this breather. It's nice. I'm glad they built this into the tournament. We've got 48 hours to kind of take a breath. ... I've been to I think 11 games. I've seen two penalty shootouts. I was at the England-Colombia game (Tuesday), which was just madness.
Highlights so far: For me, the Viking Clap, being at the Iceland-Argentina game and what that meant to those people. And obviously seeing Messi miss the penalty and sort of see–I remember him walking off the field ... just the look on his face that 'This is not going to go well. I'm up against it.' I remember that image and that environment really vividly.
I really enjoyed the Germany-Mexico game. That was at Luzhniki, where you're all the way up at the top. And so you can see the tactics. You can see the movement. You can see the patterns. You can see the strengths and weaknesses. Seeing Mexico realize where the openings were wide against Germany and using them and using them and watching Germany sort of start to panic and realize ... it'd take an entire have to sort of realize how to even get anything resembling any sort of balance in their lineup and any coverage in back. And seeing that unfold and realizing that Mexico, who since the U.S. had failed to qualify was obviously a focal point for so many people, how they would do. Seeing them win that game and seeing them deserve to win that game because they attacked Germany. That was really cool too. France-Denmark: Not on the list.
GRANT WAHL: You went to that game right?
BS: Yeah, I'm going to be scarred for a while by that.
And then I guess the third thing that I'll remember from things I've been to so far was being at the Russia-Spain game. ... You could feel the noise in your organs. It was tangible and amazing. You just knew Russia was going to win that shootout.
GW: I didn't!
BS: Oh I did.
GW: David De Gea was in goal!
BS: It didn't matter. De Gea has let everything by him at this World Cup! I'm just telling you, you could feel it. You felt it in there air. There was just no way Russia was going to let that opportunity slip. And Spain was just devoid of ideas, and devoid of inspiration and confidence and vigor. You could just tell. You could tell by the body language, you could tell by the atmosphere.
GW: How many ideas do you need for a penalty kick shootout?
BS: I don't know!
GW: I'm just interested in you saying that you could tell Russia was going to win the penalties, because every assumption you would make is that Spain had the better goalkeeper, the better players.
BS: There was something about being there and something about that crucible, and Spain's sort of ineptitude in it, and I just felt like this is going to continue. I would've been shocked if Spain had won.
Continue listening in the podcast above or download and subscribe to the podcast here.