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Goodbye Uruguay

We will miss you. Diego Forlan just can’t be the only person on the team, you know.

Still, they did better than I thought they would against the Netherlands. Just not good enough. If Spain doesn’t win tomorrow, I don’t think I’ll have any interest in watching the finals.

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Uruguay!!

More thoughts later, but Diego Forlan and Muslera are a team unto themselves. Also, Suarez got what might have been the most worth it Red Card ever.

That is the best soccer game I’ve ever seen.

FIFA Predictions for Quarter-Finals: Pretty Good

It only missed one — the US loss to Ghana.  Everything else was dead on.  That’s kind of neat.  Of course, if that success rate continues I’ll be sad because it will mean that Forlan won’t win the World Cup.

Current predictions

538 Odds

World Cup Day 14, Day 15, Day 16

This is what my system of just trusting FIFA rankings predicts. What I want to happen is for Uruguay to win… Landon Donovan needs to be treated like a national hero, but it probably won’t happen. He’s had most world cup appearances and goals of any male US player.

US v Ghana — how heartbreaking.  Looking at these numbers it looks like Germany has the hardest road ahead of it, a lot of closely matched games.

Current predictions

From FIFA

Day 16 odds

World Cup Day 12, Day 13

Halfway through the knockout we’ve got the following:

Group A
1A: Uruguay!!
2A: Mexico!
Out: S. Africa, France!!

Group B
1B: Argentina
2B: S. Korea
Out: Nigeria, Greece

Group C
1C: USA!!
2C: England
Out: Algeria, Slovenia

Group D
1D: Germany
2D: Ghana
Out: Serbia, Australia

So, the first half of the games in the Quarterfinals are (with FIFA rank)

Uruguay (16) v S. Korea (47)
USA (14) v Ghana (32)
Germany (6) v England (8)
Argentina (7) v Mexico (17)

The only game where I don’t have an easy favorite is Argentina v Mexico.

World Cup Day 7, Day 8

So, I’m beginning to think that unless you’re from Central or South America, you’re just here to disappoint me.  And I’m not sure that that’s even right because I wasn’t impressed with Brazil.  Even the Germans, who looked unstoppable after their total destruction of Australia, have lost to a minor team.  I guess that’s the great thing about World Cup, it’s unpredictable.  I dunno if you remember who my favorites originally were, but they are now officially 1) Uruguay 2) Argentina and 3) Mexico.  Favorites, of course, not being who I think will win, but who I want to win.

Argentina v South Korea

Argentina, 4-1, is looking pretty good offensively, especially with the first hat trick of the Cup going to Gonzalo Higuaín, but they let in a goal with a pretty intense lapse of defensive attention.  Still, they’re looking good and might go all the way.

Greece v Nigeria

Greece wins!  For the first time!  Nothing like a good comeback story, especially when there’s a very obvious villain in the form of a Nigerian player, Kaita, who got kicked off the field for a blatant red card offense.  It’s what red cards are there for.

France v Mexico

I admit that I actually freaked out with happiness when Mexico scored it’s first goal against France.  The second was just icing on the cake, because it’s almost impossible for France to advance.  This is two part, because I like Mexico and I know some people really enthusiastically cheering for Mexico, and also I hate the French team.

Germany v Serbia

WTF Germany?  How do you lose to Serbia?  This is one of two games this day that were dominated by over-refereeing.  I mean, the sheer number of cards thrown out was absurd, especially considering how mild some of the fouls were.

USA v Slovenia

Oh, let’s talk some referee bullshit.  The US was robbed, absolutely robbed, of a third goal.  They should have been moving forward with a win rather than a draw.  Still, the US will move forward if they win their next game, which slightly makes up for it.  But the lame-ass ref also gave a yellow card for an intentional handball that wasn’t.  Very irritating.  I read that the ref is probably going to be not allowed to ref any more World Cup games.

England v Algeria

Scoreless matches aren’t always boring, but this one sure as hell was.  England and I aren’t speaking for the moment, I’m too disappointed in them.  I don’t even want to talk about it, have some statistic porn, courtesy Nate Silver and Wikipedia.

Day 8 Odds

Group A: How to Advance

Group B: How to Advance

Group C: How to Advance

World Cup Day 5, Day 6

New Zealand v Slovakia

An amazing last minute (literally) goal from New Zealand gave them their first point in the World Cup and earned them a draw with Slovakia, who’d been up since just after the half.

Ivory Coast v Portugal

For a scoreless match, this one was sort of interesting, though I would have liked to see more and better play from Drogba and Ronaldo, two of the most famous and talented football stars.  Drogba is recovering from a broken arm and Ronaldo’s kind of an obnoxious prima donna, so maybe that explains it?

Brazil v North Korea

What should have been an incredibly easy win for Brazil was actually a bit tougher than anyone really expected.  North Korea got an extremely late goal to bring them up to one behind and were making a valiant attempt at a second goal.  I was impressed with the North Koreans and happy for them to have scored, still Brazil dominated the match.

Honduras v Chile

Well the news is bad for Spain, because Chile easily won this match versus Honduras.

Spain v Switzerland

Alright, I am pissed.  Dammit Spain, this is supposed to be your year and once again you choke like the chokers you are.  Here I am putting my neck out for you, saying that you deserve it for being great all these years and always fumbling at the world cup, and what do you do?  You lose to Switzerland despite the fact that you had possession of the ball for 75% of the game.  Seriously?  Do you not understand what you’re supposed to do with the ball? // End Rant

S. Africa v Uruguay

Have I mentioned how sexy the Uruguayans are, because my god I am in love with Diego Forlan and I don’t care who knows it.

Look at the sexy, I google image search so you don’t have to:

Oh, they won. You should care because Forlan scored two goals and the more they win the more I get to look at him.

THE CURRENT STANDINGS

Group A
1. Uruguay (4)
2. Mexico (1)
3. France (1)
4. S. Africa (1)

Group B

1. S. Korea (3)
2. Argentina (3)
3. Nigeria (0)
4. Greece (0)

Group C

1. Slovenia (3)
2. England (1)
2. USA (1)
4. Algeria (0)

Group D

1. Germany (3)
2. Ghana (3)
3. Serbia (0)
4. Australia (0)

Group E

1. Netherlands (3)
2. Japan (3)
3. Cameroon (0)
4. Denmark (0)

Group F

1. Italy (1)
1. Paraguay (1)
1. New Zealand (1)
1. Slovakia (1)

Group G

1. Brazil (3)
2. Ivory Coast (1)
2. Portugal (1)
4. N. Korea (0)

Group H
1. Chile (3)
1. Switzerland (3)
3. Honduras (0)
3. Spain (0)

World Cup: Day 1

To give you an idea how accurate predictions are for the world cup, compare this post to what has happened today.

Right now, Mexico and S. Africa are technically in the lead in Group A. Both games (Mex v S.Af, Uru v Fra) ended in ties, but since both Mexico and South Africa have scored 1 goal each, they’re technically ahead of scoreless Uruguay and France. Uruguay also earned the first Red Card of the games, and managed to keep it tied with only ten men on the field.

What we’ve learned today is that S. Africa is beating expectations and making itself a contender, Mexico may continue its streak of disappointing World Cup showings, Uruguay is fantastic on defense but not so impressive on offense, and France is inconsistent. In my dream world, Uruguay and Mexico would move forward. With everything tied up, the remaining games have much greater pressure on them, but everyone is going into them without having to catch up. The game with impossible odds seems to be S. Africa v France, but if France continues to be inconsistent and S. Africa can ride this high, they may have a chance.

The other thing I learned is this: There are some super cute guys on the Uruguay team.

Captain Diego Lugano

Striker Diego Forlan

Goalkeeper Fernando Muslera

World Cup: Ashley Recommends These Games

Let us pretend I’ve spent no time on this and am merely grabbing some things out of a random hat.  The following are 6 games over the next few weeks that I think will be entertaining, in order of appearance, all times PST.

6/12 11:30 England (8) v USA (14)

England is hungry for another cup, but their line-up is a bit wobbly.  These two are probably competing for number 1 in their group, and will both make it out, but this game will show us if the US is going to actually do anything worthwhile and if England is going to make a real run to repeat ’66.

6/15 11:30 Brazil (1) v North Korea (105)

These are the two extremes; Brazil is FIFA rank number 1 and Korea DPR is number 105, the lowest in the competition by nearly 30.  Perhaps I’m a sadist, but this could be extremely fun to watch.  It probably helps that it’s really easy to hate North Korea, though there are some worries that there will be negative consequences for the players if they embarrass their dictator , so maybe it’s easy to root for the incredibly downtrodden underdogs?

6/17 11:30 France (9) v Mexico (17)

I generally think that the France, Uruguay, Mexico triad is going to be fun to watch, I think they’re very closely matched.  And I think my soft-spot goes to Mexico.

6/22 7:00 Mexico (17) v Uruguay (16)

These two are ranked 16 and 17, and it’s likely that this will be win or go home.  I suspect this will be a hard fought game.

6/22 11:30 Greece (13) v Argentina (7)

They’re closely matched in terms of talent, likely this will simply be for first, so not quite as much pressure, but I think we’ll see here if Argentina is going to be a real challenger.

6/25 7:00 Portugal (3) v Brazil (1)

Probably the most anticipated match of the knockout rounds.  Brazil, number 1, against Portugal, number 3.  Plus, they like speak the same language and stuff.