Tag Archives: futbol

World Cup Recap: Second Games

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With the USA-Portugal game bringing an exciting close to the second game for each team in the Group Stage, it’s time to look back and see how the picks are doing, as well as pointing out a couple of important storylines to watch that could be huge if the right dominoes fall.

Speaking of the USA-Portugal game… Damn it! That goal with thirty seconds left in extra time… How did the USA not hold them??? I’m writing this ten minutes after the game ended, and it hasn’t quite sunk in. Later on, in the Group G section, I’ll explain the ramifications of the tie.

By the way, if you haven’t already, check out https://sushionsports.wordpress.com/2014/06/13/the-world-cup-preview/ for the World Cup Preview and https://sushionsports.wordpress.com/2014/06/20/world-cup-recap-first-games/ for the recap of every team’s first game to ensure that you’re not totally lost as we head through this article.

Group A:

My Picks:

  1. Brazil
  2. Mexico
  3. Croatia
  4. Cameroon

Brazil 0-0 against Mexico

Croatia 4-0 over Cameroon

After their 0-0 tie, Mexico and Brazil are tied atop the group. This is a big problem. Remember the game that Mexico won, 1-0, against Cameroon? In that game, Mexico should have won 3-0 because of two bogus offsides calls that the referee screwed up. This would normally be fine except for one thing: goal differential. Let’s say Brazil beats Cameroon (very likely) and Mexico beats Croatia (probable). Let’s say that each team wins their game by one goal. In that scenario, Mexico and Brazil would be tied for first place, except that Brazil would win first place because they had a +3 goal differential after beating Croatia by two, tying Mexico, and, in this scenario, beating Cameroon by one. Mexico would have a +2 goal differential because they beat Cameroon by one, tied Brazil, and beat Croatia by one. This would result in Brazil winning the tiebreaker over Mexico and taking first place in Group A. There’s just one problem: if that referee hadn’t screwed up those two offsides calls, then Mexico would have a better goal differential than Brazil, would have, in a huge upset, won the group, and would have faced second place in Group B (the loser of Netherlands-Chile). There would be rioting on the streets of Mexico. Of course, this scenario may not end up happening, but if it did, FIFA would have a lot of explaining to do.

My picks are very likely to be perfect. It’s almost guaranteed that Brazil beats Cameroon, clinching Cameroon last place and giving Brazil the inside track to first place. Croatia needs to win and it moves into second place, while Mexico just needs to hold Croatia to a tie in order to keep second place in order to move on to the knockout rounds.

Group B:

My Picks:

  1. Spain
  2. Chile
  3. Netherlands
  4. Australia

Chile 2-0 over Spain

Netherlands 3-2 over Australia

Well, this group, one of the craziest groups in the World Cup so far (them or Group D), has lost almost all of its’ intrigue. The top two and bottom two spots are decided. Spain and Australia are both 0-2-0, tied for last place, each with zero points. The upcoming game between them is interesting because it’s a chance to see whether or not tiki-taka and the Spanish soccer dynasty are truly gone. It’s understandable that Spain may have gotten worse and moved down a level, and then, accordingly, got destroyed by two superior teams. However, if they lose to Australia, one of the worst teams in the tournament, then it’ll be clear that Spain is done. Those are the stakes for this match.

The other match, between Chile and the Netherlands, has more immediate importance. The winner of the game wins the group. If they tie, the Netherlands wins the group because of goal differential. Assuming that Brazil wins Group A, (as we talked about earlier) the loser of this match will have to go play Brazil, where they’ll be an overwhelming underdog against the best team in the tournament. The loser will get to play Mexico, or less likely, Croatia, a much easier task.

For my picks, it’s quite simple: Spain needs to beat Australia (because if they lose, Australia goes ahead of them, and if they tie, Australia wins on goal differential) to finish third, and the Netherlands cannot lose to Chile; otherwise, they take first place.

Group C:

My Picks:

  1. Colombia
  2. Ivory Coast
  3. Greece
  4. Japan

Colombia 2-1 over Ivory Coast

Greece 0-0 against Japan

Colombia has complete control of this group and will win it unless something crazy happens. For Columbia to come in second, they would have to lose to Japan, Ivory Coast would have to beat Greece, AND the four goal advantage that Columbia has over Ivory Coast would have to be erased. As I said, it’ll take something crazy and pretty much unprecedented for Ivory Coast to win the group. Greece tied Japan so they’re tied for last place with one point apiece. To finish third, Greece needs to win and have Japan tie or lose, or tie and have Japan lose. I suppose that they could also win by three (or one) while Japan wins by one, but that’s highly unlikely. Luckily, Greece is playing Ivory Coast while Japan is pitted against Colombia, so Greece is more likely to tie or win than Japan is. Of course, Colombia is almost guaranteed first place, so they may not be playing as hard as they could, while Ivory Coast will be doing its’ best to lock up a spot in the knockout rounds. This is too confusing. Let’s just continue with Group D.

Group D:

My Picks:

  1. Uruguay
  2. England
  3. Italy
  4. Costa Rica

Uruguay 2-1 over England

Costa Rica 1-0 over Italy

Well, this was a disaster. England flopped, Costa Rica decided to be really good, and Uruguay didn’t have Luis Suarez, only its’ best player, for their match against Costa Rica, which they lost. Costa Rica will almost certainly take first place, barring a historic meltdown. England cannot advance, although they could, potentially, make it to third place, which would at least give me a point. The winner of Uruguay-Italy moves into (almost certainly) second place and will head across the bracket to face (highly likely) Colombia. If Italy and Uruguay tie, Italy moves on, based on goal differential, as they lost to Costa Rica by just one goal, as opposed to Uruguay’s two goal defeat. For Uruguay, their game is a win and in. I’ll be cheering for them desperately. If they win, I salvage a point, Italy will likely move into third place, getting me another three points, and, on top of that, I picked Uruguay to be the runner-up, losing to Germany in the Finals so, although that almost certainly can’t happen anymore (because they’ll be on the same side of the bracket as Germany if they come in second place and Germany comes in first) but at least it’s not as bad as saying that your runner-up pick flamed out in the group stage. Anyways, this is making me sad. Let’s move on to Group E!

Group E:

My Picks:

  1. France
  2. Ecuador
  3. Switzerland
  4. Honduras

France 5-2 over Switzerland

Ecuador 2-1 over Honduras

These picks aren’t too bad. France is almost a lock to come in first. Honduras is almost a lock for last. The intrigue comes with the middle two teams. Switzerland is likely to advance because, although they’re currently tied in points, Switzerland gets to play Honduras, while Ecuador has to play France. Still, if France doesn’t play as hard as they could and Honduras rises to the occasion, then Ecuador could capture second place. Unfortunately for me, although it could happen, it’s not likely. Wow this is a dull group. I don’t have anything else to say. There’s really not much interesting to talk about over here. I suppose we should just talk about Messi and Argentina instead.

Group F:

My Picks:

  1. Argentina
  2. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  3. Nigeria
  4. Iran

Argentina 1-0 over Iran

Nigeria 1-0 over Bosnia and Herzegovina

Argentina has looked startlingly weak this World Cup. They haven’t looked like a member of the Elite Four that I mentioned in the World Cup Preview column. Then again, nor have Spain. Huh. This really has been a weird World Cup. Anyways, Argentina only beat Bosnia and Herzegovina by a goal, and it took a clutch goal by Lionel Messi a minute into stoppage time to escape Iran. They really have not looked sharp. At least they lucked into an easy group like Brazil did, so their flaws aren’t as evident. Of course, look at Spain. They got stuck with a tough group and got destroyed. Brazil and Argentina should be worried that that’ll happen to them too, except on an even bigger stage during the knockout rounds, with the whole world watching. The possible decline of Argentina is a huge factor to watch. Bosnia and Herzegovina (Can I call them B&H for shorthand? Wait… That’s either a camera store or a bagel place. Damn it! The world needs to come up with a good abbreviation for Bosnia and Herzegovina) are eliminated from the tournament after their loss to Nigeria, so I can’t get that pick perfect. It seems likely that Bosnia and Herzegovina and Nigeria will switch places so, at the very least, I’ll gain a point from each of them.

Group G:

My Picks:

  1. Germany
  2. USA
  3. Portugal
  4. Ghana

Germany 2-2 against Ghana

USA 2-2 against Portugal

Let’s start with the game less likely to get me angry: Germany-Ghana. Ghana managed to hold on and tie Germany, keeping them alive, barely. Now for Portugal-USA. Ugh. I watched the game, and watched with pure horror as the shot from Graham Zusi looked to be going wide. Then, as quick as could be, that horror turned to elation as I realized “Hey, wait a second… THAT’S A PASS” before the house erupted with roars of triumph. Of course, none of that compared to the feeling that we had been robbed after Ronaldo made a beautiful pass with thirty seconds left that resulted in a header, slipping past Howard for the deciding goal. Damn it! Anyways, the USA is still in good shape. If they tie or win their game against Germany, then they’re in. If they lose, then it gets trickier. If the United States loses to Germany, then they’ll need for either Portugal to win (as long as it’s not by four goals or more) or for there to be a tie. If Ghana wins, then it gets even trickier. If Ghana wins by more than one goal, they’re in and America is out. If they win 1-0, America is in. If they win 2-1, then the two teams draw lots to see who advances. If Ghana wins 3-2 or higher, then Ghana advances. Regardless, I’ll be cheering for Portugal and the USA, although I’ll try to keep it a secret that I’d actually prefer for there to be a tie or a Germany win. Of course, since Germany is so good, that shouldn’t be much of a problem. No matter how good the United States has looked, they still can’t play with the best teams in the world.

Group H:

My Picks:

  1. Belgium
  2. Russia
  3. South Korea
  4. Algeria

Belgium 1-0 over Russia

Algeria 4-2 over South Korea

Belgium is almost guaranteed to take first place. Other than them, this group is up for grabs. Algeria currently is in second place and has good goal differential, giving them an advantage over South Korea and Russia. If Algeria ties Russia, then they clinch second place. Belgium will still be playing hard to at least get a tie so they can stay in first and avoid (probably) Germany in their first game of the knockout rounds, so South Korea doesn’t have an advantage there. If Algeria loses to Russia and South Korea beats Belgium, then Algeria falls to last place with three points, while Russia and South Korea would be tied for second with four points. Russia has a one goal advantage against South Korea so South Korea would need to beat Belgium by one more goal than Russia beats Algeria by to win the tiebreaker by having scored more goals. Still, they would have to do it against the Belgians, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, and Thibaut Cortois, so it’s not particularly likely. Russia seems to have the inside track to the second place spot, while South Korea is likely to finish third. Here, at least, my picks seem to be in reasonably good shape.

Anyways, the upcoming games should be incredibly exciting. Each group has its’ two games playing at once so, at about the same time, each group will be decided. I am psyched, and it’ll be great to cheer on Team USA against Germany. U-S-A! U-S-A! Enjoy the games, everybody, and thanks for reading.

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World Cup Recap: First Games

 

With Russia-South Korea bringing an end to the first games for every team in the World Cup, I figured that it’d be a good thing to take a quick jaunt through the sixteen games played and to check up on my picks for each group (if you haven’t read about those yet, go read https://sushionsports.wordpress.com/2014/06/13/the-world-cup-preview/. The rules for this pool are outlined near the top of that article so for you to understand this one fully, it might be a good idea to go to that article.). And, another advantage of writing something like this is that it allows people who haven’t been following the World Cup so far to get into it. With that, let’s get started!

Group A:

My Picks:

  1. Brazil
  2. Mexico
  3. Croatia
  4. Cameroon

Brazil 3-1 over Croatia

Mexico 1-0 over Cameroon

Outside of an own goal by Marcelo, Brazil thoroughly dominated their game against Croatia, winning 3-1, while Mexico could have beaten Cameroon 3-0 if not for a couple of bogus offsides calls by the refs, instead beating them 1-0.

My picks are in very good shape. Cameroon looks to be the worst team in the group while Brazil is clearly the class of the group. It seems as though I chose correctly when I took Mexico over Croatia, as Mexico looked a lot better than Croatia did.

My picks seem to be very good. Of course, it’s not gonna stay that way for long.

Group B:

My picks:

  1. Spain
  2. Chile
  3. Netherlands
  4. Australia

Netherlands 5-1 over Spain

Chile 3-1 over Australia

Chile took care of business against Australia, winning 3-1, while the Netherlands utterly destroyed Spain, 5-1, in part due to the early frontrunner for goal of the tournament: Van Persie’s header.

My picks here… Not exactly so great. In a vacuum, I didn’t pick well. The Netherlands are likely going to win the group, with Chile in second, Spain in third, and Australia in fourth. That means I picked badly.

However, everyone picked Spain to be first. If Spain comes in third, then we all get zero points which doesn’t matter in a competition. However, everyone in the pool picked either Chile or the Netherlands to come in second. If the Netherlands comes in first and Chile comes in second, then I earn three points from getting Chile right, but the Netherlands completely wrong. If Chile wins the group and the Netherlands place second, then I get partial credit for each one, only netting me two points. In a nutshell, I’m a Netherlands fan from now until the end of the group stage.

Group C:

My picks:

  1. Colombia
  2. Ivory Coast
  3. Greece
  4. Japan

Colombia 3-0 over Greece

Ivory Coast 2-1 over Japan

Colombia easily beat Greece three-nil, while the Ivory Coast had a come from behind victory to defeat Japan 2-1.

My picks are doing quite well. Colombia showed that it’s easily the best team in this group while the Ivory Coast showed that it can defeat inferior teams but is inconsistent enough that a good team can beat them. The only part I’m not pleased with is the Greece in third, Japan in fourth picks. Japan showed that it isn’t a bad team and that it can play with some good teams, while Greece showed that they’re really bad after getting mashed by Colombia. Still, it’s not a huge problem as of now, because, assuming that Greece and Japan lose to both Colombia and Ivory Coast, their matchup will decide who gets third. Greece will probably need to either win or tie that game because their goal differential right now is -3, compared to Japan’s -1. At least I’m in good shape for now.

Group D:

My picks:

  1. Uruguay
  2. England
  3. Italy
  4. Costa Rica

Costa Rica 3-1 over Uruguay

Italy 2-1 over England

Costa Rica upset Uruguay, 3-1, although Uruguay didn’t have its’ best player, Luis Suarez, while Italy beat England 2-1 in an exciting and competitive game.

I’m not doing well at all with these picks. There’s a decent chance that I don’t get any points at all from this group. As Uruguay has a bad goal differential, it’s behind England in the standings. Its’ only hope for advancement is to run up the score on England in their next match while hoping that the game between Italy and Costa Rica isn’t a tie AND still having to win their game against Italy while hoping that the loser of Costa Rica-Italy either loses or ties, or tying against Italy while hoping that the loser of Costa Rica-Italy loses. Either way, I’m not in the best of shape. England needs the same scenario as played out above (with their opponents switched in for Uruguay’s, obviously) to advance as well.  Italy and Costa Rica each need a win in their last two games in order to clinch their ticket to the knockout rounds, depending on the goal differential.

Group E:

My picks:

  1. France
  2. Ecuador
  3. Switzerland
  4. Honduras

France 3-0 over Honduras

Switzerland 2-1 over Ecuador

France easily dispatched Honduras after a red card forced Honduras to play with ten players, while Switzerland and Ecuador were even throughout their game until a late goal by Switzerland in extra time gave them the victory.

Well, I’m, at least, in pretty good shape in this group. France looks like they’ll be able to run away with the group and Honduras pretty clearly looks like the clear favorite for last place, leaving Ecuador and Switzerland fighting for the group’s second spot in the knockout rounds. Ecuador is at a severe disadvantage in that race after losing to Switzerland. For it to vault past Switzerland, it’ll need to run up the score against Honduras, while hoping France beats Switzerland. Then, assuming that they have a better goal differential than the Swiss, Ecuador just needs to match whatever Switzerland does (i.e. win-win, tie-tie, loss-loss) in order to advance. If they don’t have a better goal differential, they’ll need to have a win to a Swiss tie or loss or a tie to a Swiss loss. If Switzerland manages to tie, or even beat, the French, then Ecuador will have almost no chance at advancing, although if Switzerland beat France, Ecuador would play France in their last game, meaning that they would just have to beat France in order to advance alongside Switzerland.

Group F:
My picks:

  1. Argentina
  2. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  3. Nigeria
  4. Iran

Argentina 2-1 over Bosnia and Herzegovina

Nigeria 0-0 against Iran

Argentina escaped against Bosnia and Herzegovina, winning 2-1, a close scrape for a team that is widely believed to be in championship contention, while Nigeria and Iran combined for a 0-0 tie, the first tie of the tournament, in the thirteenth game. Who says soccer is boring?

Everything is in good shape here. Argentina should run away with the group, Bosnia and Herzegovina (wow, that’s annoying to type) should beat up on the bottom two teams, while Nigeria and Iran will duke it out for third place. For me, all I need is for the top two teams to beat up on Nigeria a little less than Iran so Nigeria will have third place over Iran on the tiebreaker of goal differential.

Group G:

My picks:

  1. Germany
  2. America
  3. Portugal
  4. Ghana

Germany 4-0 over Portugal

America 2-1 over Ghana

Germany walked all over Portugal, winning 4-0, especially after Pepe received a red card, making the Portugese play with ten men. Thomas Müeller got a hat trick for Germany. America beat Ghana 2-1, in an exciting game in which Ghana dominated the flow of play for most of the game. America scored thirty seconds in before a stalemate for more than 80 minutes. Ghana scored to tie it up, but a couple of minutes later, the United States scored to take the lead 2-1 and to eventually win the game.

I’m in great shape in this group. Germany, especially with its’ huge goal differential after its’ 4-0 victory, is a huge favorite to capture the number one spot. America is likely to capture second place after their win and because Pepe’s red card which will keep him out of Portugal’s next game, against the Americans, making the United States more likely to win that game too. Portugal has a horrible goal differential and it’s at a severe disadvantage against the United States (because of Pepe’s absence) so it’ll need to beat Ghana in their third game to capture third place. Luckily for me, that’s a probable outcome as Portugal is a better team than Ghana.

Group H:

My picks:

  1. Belgium
  2. Russia
  3. South Korea
  4. Algeria

Belgium 2-1 over Algeria

Russia 1-1 against South Korea

Belgium dealt with Algeria, 2-1, while Russia let in an embarrassing goal to give South Korea a tie, 1-1.

My picks here are also doing quite well. Belgium has the lead by two points and are likely to take first place. Algeria has zero points and are at a disadvantage against South Korea in the race for third place because of South Korea’s tie with Russia. The gap between Russia and South Korea is smaller than it seemed before the tournament, but there’s still enough of a gap for it to be likely for Russia to take Group H’s second berth in the knockout rounds.

By the way, sorry for this being posted so late. I had finals and all the rest. Now that school’s over, hopefully I’ll have more time to write. Speaking of which, the next article out should be recapping the second game for each team. After that, there’s the NBA draft which I plan on writing a draft diary for. Then there’ll be an article recapping the third game for each team, then one previewing the knockout rounds, and then… who knows?

Anyways, there should be a bunch of great games on over the next few weeks and we’ll all be watching, alongside of the rest of the world.