Welcome to the second day of the round of 16. Play kicks off in the bottom half of the bracket with Spain taking on Mexico and Italy matching up with Japan. Match reports and a recap follow after the break. As always, refer to the introduction for an explanation of this series.
Spain vs Mexico
Spain are feeling confident after winning a tough group that included the Netherlands. Mexico are feeling down due to their failing to win their group despite being favored to do so. The Mexicans enter as underdogs and will need to get their minds right if they have any chance of pulling off the upset today.
First Half: José Ortega y Gasset (ESP) vs Justo Sierra (MEX)
Gasset’s influence in the midfield results in Spain playing a tentative half, unsure if they want to play aggressively, maintain possession, or just counterattack. They fail to do anything particualtrly well, which allows Mexico to score a surprise goal in added time.
First Half Goals: Mexico 1
Second Half: Juan Luis Vives (ESP) vs Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora (MEX)
Spain was down two goals at half time against the Netherlands, so they are confident that they can come back and get the victory against underdog Mexico. However, early Mexican polymath Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora scores a goal a few minutes into the half and Mexico hang on for a 2-0 victory to reach the quarters.
Second Half Goals: Mexico 1
Spain 0:2 Mexico
Italy vs Japan
Italy have been one of the premier teams of the tournament while Japan represent Asia’s best chance at making a run at the Philosophers World Cup. Italy will be big favorites here, in part because it is taking place in the rarely used Italian language corpus.
First Half: Boethius (ITA) vs Masao Abe (JPN)
Japan plays out of sorts in the first half allowing Italy to score twice behind the play of early medieval philosopher Boethius. Of course, a Boethius himself knows, philosophers football can be cyclical, so the Italians must not get too complacent in the second half.
First Half Goals: Italy 2
Second Half: Marcus Aurelius (ITA) vs Ito Jinsai
The Italians go stoic to protect their lead in the second half. Japan’s Ito Jinsai is unable to create quality goal scoring opportunities. Meanwhile, Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius manages to score two goals despite his slow-building, contemplative style of play.
Second Half Goals: Italy 2
Italy 4:0 Japan
When the groups were announced, no one expected Chile to be the last team standing from Group B. but with Mexico’s upset of Spain and Netherlands’ failure to advance from the group stage that is exactly what has occurred. Mexico played well today, but will need something approaching a miracle to defeat the ever-dominant Italy. Italy manhandled a strong Japanese side today, further solidifying their status as one of the favorites to win the tournament. Spain and Japan will leave this tournament feeling as if they have underperformed with both sides initially fancying a run to the quarterfinals. Japan’s dismissal means that the Asian Federation is now down to a single team (Iran, who will play France on Monday).
Mexico vs Italy
Complete knockout stage bracket can be viewed here.