four matches today at noon 3, 6 and 9....

- dave 6-14-2014 4:31 pm

the most intriguing is at 6, italy v. england. the first, columbia and greece could be a good match. unfortunately for columbia, their star striker, radamal falcao, could not make it back from injury for the world cup so their chances of victory overall were considerably diminished. still, against one of the weaker european squads they will remain competitive. uruguay should have no problem beating costa rica at 3 and i have no idea about japan v. ivory coast but generally speaking id assume the african teams are better than the ones representing asia although not by much based on the odds i posted the other day. and these are the two top teams by that metric both available to the intrepid bettor at 150 to 1.

as for yesterday, wow, the dutch crushed spain 5-1. shoddy goaltending (casillas was once considered the worlds best goaltender but not in recent years) was responsible for two of the goals, while the central defenders can be blamed for two others in so much as they were beaten by more decisive play. i dont even remember the last goal. if you want to read a tactical breakdown of each game check out zonal marking for the entire run of the cup. they have the best analysis as opposed to an ordinary recap.

and i just checked the rules on advancing out of the group stages. spain is a bit fucked because goal differential (goals for minus goals against) is the first tiebreaker. i thought it would be head to head match ups meaning if spain beat chile and they both had 6 points (two victories) spain would prevail. but not so. so they need to score some serious goals versus australia to make up for the 5 they gave up, or more likely, they will need the netherlands to tie or beat chile in the final day's matchups that is assuming they beat chile which is far from guaranteed.
- dave 6-14-2014 4:31 pm

i put a couple of links up in the side bar for easy access to groups/points, tv schedule and analysis.
- dave 6-14-2014 4:46 pm

fell a little behind with my viewing yesterday as i got to take a sunset cruise (sounds more impressive than it is) on a wrought iron-hulled vessel built in 1885 around new york harbor as my friend just got a job working for the museum at south street seaport. did my best to avoid interacting with the german tourists and it was a little chilly but i did help hoist a sail so i wasnt completely non participatory. came back to watch a pretty entertaining win by italy over england and then just finished up with the ivory coast - japan match this morning. with three more matches today i might be a bit bleary-eyed by the time the game of thrones finale rolls around, but if i must i must.

ecuador, considered the worst of the south american sides, is up against the swiss at the moment who arent traditionally a soccer power and arent loaded with big names but over-performed in the european qualifiers. no one is expecting much from them but as they are in one of the weaker groups they could get through to the knock out stage.

france is also in their group and play honduras later this afternoon. the french are coming off an embarrassing showing in the 2010 world cup and struggled to earn a world cup berth in the very competitive european qualifiers, but are very talented on paper and in this group should have no trouble going through to the next round. any win by honduras would be considered an upset.

the final matchup today is the most interesting to me as i havent seen argentina play as a unit. they are considered among the elite along with spain, brasil and germany. bosnia is probably part of the "happy to be here" club among the european sides, but they arent exactly push overs.

and the push overs had their moment yesterday as costa rica very convincingly took down uruguay. uruguays star striker, luis suarez, was unable to play as he is still recovering from injury, but they are blessed with two of the top ten strikers in the world (the other being edinson cavani) so they cant squarely place the blame on that alone. and costa rica along with australia and iran have the longest odds at 2500 to 1 to win the cup so it was a disappointing result by any measure.

finally, columbia looked solid taking down greece even without their striker falcao. with him they might have been a dark horse for the championship but they could still cause some trouble early in the knock out round along with the ivory coast who i suspect will be the two teams surviving from group c.
- dave 6-15-2014 5:55 pm

too tight!

too french!


two things that struck me. i like the french navy blue shirts with collars but want to smack any player that has the top button buttoned. you can argue whether in looks stupid but there is no reason to purposefully make yourself hotter in the brazilian heat.

second i am not a fan of the compression jerseys which are completely form fitting. admittedly they are harder to grab which is an advantage and there is some research which says it increases blood low and reduces lactic acid buildup, but others say the utility is inconclusive or even the result of placebo effect. ultimately they might be fine as an underlayer in the cold but i dont like the look or the idea of a sweat-soaked fabric clinging to my skin.

- dave 6-15-2014 10:03 pm

got some time to kill before game of thrones...

switzerland brought some excitement early with a goal in the waning seconds of stoppage time to defeat ecuador. they seem solid but unexceptional. france won 3 - 0 but honduras played with a man down for all of the second half after a red card so over enthusiasm should be tempered. still, their striker, karim benzema, finished well scoring two and creating the third which is a positive development. and argentina beat bosnia in the nightcap. wasnt an entirely convincing win at 2-1 but something to build on. messi scored which should help him out going forward as he only had one goal in his previous two world cup appearances. so that storyline can be shelved at least for a game.

tomorrow starts off with the two dominant teams in americas group, germany and portugal start at noon. middle game has nigeria up against iran. and the final game has the us facing ghana at six. if the us are to have any chance (and they are at best on par with ghana) they need to come away with a win.

- dave 6-16-2014 1:37 am

Pogba! That match was nuts. I think the stretcher came out every 10 minutes. Injuries seemed less on purpose than just both teams super fired up. i'd say that red card was questionable, but no one seemed to fight it much, so what do i know?
- linda 6-16-2014 4:31 am

pogba was named the best player under 21 last year in europe. did you think he played well or do you just like saying "pogba!"?

i dont so much trust the stretcher as who comes off the field permanently. if you can play again two minutes later you probably didnt need a stretcher. mostly its just precautionary, occasionally its just to waste time. but they said honduras would need to be physical to compete and by the end they were just fouling because they were tired and sloppy.

it was the hondurans second yellow card not a straight red. i dont know in that situation if you can give a penalty kick on a scoring opportunity without giving a card. no card would have seemed like a fairer outcome but it was a titanically stupid and blatant foul in full view of the ref. he just plowed into him from behind and made no effort to make a play on the ball. even his own coach on the replay just rolled his eyes rather than screaming bloody murder. so it probably was the correct call and good on the ref for not shying away from it considering how much losing a player impacts the game.

- dave 6-16-2014 5:09 am

I just like to say his mame...
- linda 6-16-2014 4:59 pm

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