Monday 30 June
Wallace is the first Chelsea player out on loan for next season; he will spend the campaign at Vitesse Arnhem.
The U20 Brazil international right-back signed from Fluminense in January 2013 but was loaned back to his former club until the end of that season.
He played on our tour of Asia last season and impressed before signing a loan deal at Internazionale. Big things were expected but he barely got a kick as the Nerazzurri failed to qualify for Europe under Walter Mazzarri.
Vitesse are expected to take their usual four or five for fine-tuning.
France 2:0 Nigeria
Nigeria were undone by their fitness and a couple of streaky late French goals in Brasilia. They couldn’t have done much more but leave the tournament with heads held high.
All of the Chelsea boys played and played their part: Omeruo wasn’t troubled by the French attack in the first-half, Obi John commanded in the centre but faded after Ogenyi Onazi, his midfield partner was hacked out of the game on the half.
Victor Moses worked hard and kicked one effort off the line but ultimately France got the breaks – a free header from a corner and a deflected own-goal.
Germany 2:1 Algeria
Andre Schürrle opened his World Cup account but Germany were pushed to the very last kick of extra time by a very courageous Algerian side.
Andre had a number of shies at the target when a cross might have been the better option and crosses when a, well you get the picture.
If anything won it for Germany it was their superior conditioning.
Tuesday 1 July
Diego Costa is a Chelsea player in all but medical/personal terms. The Atlético striker scored 35 goals as the Madrid side won the league and reached the European Cup final.
He was injured toward the end of the last campaign and looked off the pace at the World Cup for his adopted country Spain.
Jose seemed determined to get his man and he has proved a good judge of horseflesh. £34m should buy an excellent striker.
Mark Schwarzer has signed a one-year extension to the deal that bought him in last summer. Mark stood in at short notice when Petr Cech was injured in Paris and performed better than anyone had a right to expect.
Officially leaving today are Samuel Eto’o and Ashley Cole. Samuel has been a blast –his goals 12 in 38 appearances have been important but his style and humour have been a real bonus.
Ashley Cole has been a great servant to Chelsea and one of the best footballers ever to play at Stamford Bridge. He has been routinely mistreated by the tabloid press as money grabbing and unfaithful but in his Chelsea career he has been loyal and constant.
Cole was big part of our most successful years. Ashley Cole’s won the European Cup and Uefa Cup and the league, as well as a staggering four FA Cups setting a personal record of seven winners medals that may never be equalled.
We wish him well.
Also leaving are:
Henrique Hilario who has sat on his arse watching the ball trickle past him on 39 occasions over the last eight years. That is a bit unfair, he must be a professional and a nice bloke or he wouldn’t have been here so long.
Sam Hutchinson was on the way to being JT’s replacement but chronic knee problems stopped his career short. He is a fantastic footballer either at the back or in midfield and we hope a club picks him up.
Argentina 1:0 Switzerland
The Swiss came into this tournament ranked as the 6th best side in the World under Ottmar Hitzfeld and they very nearly pull off the big one at the World Cup. With the backing of the majority of the locals they contained Argentina through tireless work and looked to have secured a penalty shoot-out when …
For all those still undecided if a good coach brings the best out of players and gets more out of the collective Switzerland and the USA have both progressed further than England. It would be futile to have a debate that starts with the suggestion that the Swiss and US players are better than the English but Roy Hodgson managed neither side.
Angel Di Maria popped up with a late extra-time winner. Even then the Swiss had a chance to equalise as Blerim Dzemaili headed the ball against the foot of the post before stabbing the rebound agonisingly wide.
Belgium 2:1 USA
If the Swiss made a thrilling match the USA came close to blowing the bloody doors off. They sat deep and defended as a far superior Belgium mounted wave after wave of attacks. Tim Howard in the US goal made dozens of fine saves to keep is team in the match.
Belgium were a little unbalanced in midfield and really took control when Hazard moved inside to the number 10 role he was clearly born for. From the centre he laid the ball on for substitute Lukaku to square for Kevin de Bruyne to rifle the opener and again for de Bruyne to set up Lukaku to open his account. Both goals came in the first-half of extra time. What happened next rocked the round of 16. The US managed a goal right after the break and pressed Belgium deep and repeatedly for the rest of the half. Thibaut Courtois got the chance to shine and made one brilliant save form a cleverly worked free-kick.
It could be that the USA now gets football.
Belgium’s reward is a quarter-final against Argentina but they are good enough, they just have to believe – to believe and to play Lukaku from the start.
Friday 4 July
France 0:1 Germany
France limped out of the World Cup with a tame display against a German side that didn’t really get into gear. From a tournament of thrilling clashes this was the opposite.
France couldn’t mount s decent attack or reply to Mats Hummels’ early header.
Andre Schürrle came on toward the end and missed a glaring chance to finish off France but the mistake didn’t cost his side who progress to play…
Brazil 2:1 Columbia
Columbia and Brazil staged the nearest thing to a derby match as the World Cup has witnessed. Hacking each other and the ball with little finesse both sides lost their heads at times and the referee didn’t help.
Referees will always deny they favour the home side but this one allowed James Rodriguez to be kicked up in the air all night without blinking. Ultimately he allowed Brazil to kick Columbia out of the tournament.
Tiago Silva bundled his side into an early lead before trying to nick the ball from he goalkeeper as he was clearing it to earn the yellow that keeps him out of the semi.
David Luiz always thrashes his free-kicks a mile over and half a league wide actually buried one to increase their lead. James Rodriguez slotted the late penalty that wasn’t enough to save his side.
It is a shame that Fifa demand a helping hand for the home team. This could have been one of the best games in the history of international football but the ref wouldn’t allow it.
For slight revenge Juan Zunga kneed Neymar in the back and he’ll miss the rest of the tournament with a cracked vertebrae.
Saturday 5 July
Thorgan Hazard, who has spent the last two seasons at Zulte Waregem, will take the step up to spend next season on loan with Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Thorgan’s two seasons in the Jupiter League earned him 73 appearance and 18 goals as well as their player of the season. Mönchengladbach finished a promising season 6th in the Bundesliga.
Belgium 0:1 Argentina
Ah, the Belgians will forever scratch their heads with what ifs, and maybes … they left the tournament the better side for long periods but unable to turn possession and chances into goals.
Romelu Lukaku was a second-half substitute and frightened the Argentina defence to death. He was the catalyst for a breath-taking finale that should have earned a draw at the very least.
Netherlands 0:0 Costa Rica
Netherlands win 4-2 on penalties.
Another cracking end to a less than classic match as the Netherlands progress to the semi-final and Costa Rica tell their hard luck stories. They were second best to the Dutch by a wide margin and were saved by their goalkeeper more often than they deserved.
For penalties Van Gaal brought on Newcastle’s Tim Krul for his first choice stopper and the trick worked. In fact the Dutch must have done so much work on penalties they went into the kicks smiling and confident: another one in the eye for the moron chant that you can’t practice penalties.
Sunday 6 July
Nothing but bloody tennis, oh, and cycling and motor racing, and golf if you like that sort of thing.