World Cup 2014!

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331 Responses to “World Cup 2014!”

  1. Let the matches begin..!

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  2. jayshah Says:

    Really cannot wait for this now. The atmosphere of Brazil will definitely make this world cup special.
    And it is highly interesting, as you’d say history has the South American contingent of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay as favs (the former 2, clear favs) but Spain, Germany, Holland and Italy all capable…
    The dream final would be Brazil vs. Argentina.

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  3. Bandra.NRI Says:

    Sure the usual South American countries are favorites, but regardless of how it looks today, If Italy “gets” into the final four, they become a different team, by some miracle they add layers of talent that no one knew existed. Italy becomes a game changer as it progresses. Somehow the drama, is never as satisfying till somehow Italy gets up there. Italy always manges to put color into the last stages (if it gets there).

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    • jayshah Says:

      Everyone has got Brazil as favs but it will be tough being on home turf and the pressures that come with that. Brazil lost a final in Brazil in 1950 against Uruguay when they were resounding favs. I think the Confederations Cup final win against Spain has galvanised this confidence in Brazil, but by in large this is one of the weakest Brazil squads for a number of years, maybe since 1990. Neymar is the star player, but very inconsistent, raw and not mature. The rest of the team, is more a team than the usual star quality Brazil has. There simply is no Romario, Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldhinho, Kaka level player who is consistent. A lot rests on Neymars shoulders and he is not in that calibre (yet)

      I really fancy Argentina. Not because of Messi, but a fit Aguero and Higuain, Di Maria on form, that is an awesome foursome attack. Messi of course is the STAR player and has had a decent season, not extra-ordinary like the previous 3 years, but his average season is still good enough for any player not named Ronaldo’s best season…such are the standards.

      Spain are still very dangerous. Any team that can keep the ball like they do in the heat of Brazil will have an edge. Still stacked with the best midfielders in the world, they can still turn up and win. They beat Italy 4-0 in 2012…and only the loss to Brazil last year has dampened sentiment. And they have pressure of a different kind. If they win, they will probably go down as the best batch of a generation of players ever having already won euros in 08, 12 and the world cup in 10. They are chasing unprecedented history.

      I don’t fancy Germany anymore, as their best player or most creative in the last couple of tournaments Mesut Ozil has gone off the boil. They like Spain have plenty of talent across the midfield and can definitely win it, but don’t fancy them this time around.

      Italy would have a better chance, the heat will be better for them than northern European teams. They can surprise and as already mentioned, when they turn up they usually go to the final.

      Holland – unlikely to repeat 2010 exploits. Wesley Sneidjer was key in that tournament and is nowhere close to that form. They have a younger team, but there best players like Sneidjer or Van Persie or Huntelaar or Robben are 30+ now and they are experimenting with a younger team.

      Any team with Ronaldo can go to the quarters at least so Portugal should get a mention.
      England have an interesting squad going to the tournament. Very young, doubtful they can get past the quarters, but this is the most exciting squad in ages as there are a number of young 20’s who will gain a lot from the tournament and be better next time.

      The two outside bets to do well for me would be Uruguay (with a fit Luis Suarez can go to the semi’s if they get past a tough group) and Belgium (who are the most exciting young team in the world now…it would be fair to say in 2 years’ time this team can be a real threat at the Euro’s as it has every area of the field covered with a good players who can only get better)

      I fancy Brazil, Argentina and Spain to get to the semis. The 4th, will have to come from the bottom half of the draw so either Portugal or Belgium.

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      • Only 2 of England, Italy and Uruguay can make it to second round and I have a feeling Uruguay will surely go through. Agree to everything you say.

        Is Lavezzi there in Argentina squad?

        On Brazil they lack big name but are a very good unit as a team. I am not a great fan of Neymar but in Hulk, Oscar, Willian, Luiz, Alves, Marcelo, Gustavo, Ramires they have probably the finest young talents in World football. Oscar is their key and more than their front 3 and back 4, he is going to be their soul..

        The issue with Spain is that their best players are getting old. They are still a force and will go to the Final 8 but not sure how much beyond that.

        I have a feeling Netherlands will flop this time. Sneijder is past his prime. RVP is coming from an injury, Robben can get a bit selfish and with the injuries to Strootman etc they look ordinary

        That England vs Italy clash will probably decide who amongst them will go through. Uruguay has Godin and Cavani and considering Suarez’s injury I expect Cavani to shine specially if they play him as the central striker.

        I have a feeling Ivory Coast with Drogba, Gervinho, Yaya toure etc and Belgium with their array of talent will surprise.

        Keep an eye on Eden Hazard. This might just be his stage.

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        • jayshah Says:

          Lavezzi is in the squad. I agree on Brazil, but it is a very different Brazil the neutral is not used to. I think they will not be as pleasing on the eye but may function better as a team this way.

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        • netherland vs argentina will be in finals,sorry brazil and england you are just not good enough..

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  4. Brazil vs Argentina has to be the dream final. The chances of an European country doing well enough to win the WC is quite remote. I also expect Uruguay to be in the mix somewhere in the last 8. They have a team which is suited to the conditions. Belgium is my dark horse to do well – enough to get into the Last 8. Spain and Germany also should make the Last 8. One of Italy and England will make it IMO. I also feel Ivory Coast will be in Last 8…

    P.S Italy are in a tough group and their pre WC form hasnt been encouraging.

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    • Bandra.NRI Says:

      Maybe not the milk money, but I am willing to bet some discretionary funds on Italy. They are a “contender” till they are not eliminated.

      Vis a Vis Brazil, I have lived long enough to stop betting on the possibility that they won’t choke. They start every World Cup as one of the favorite teams, but generally throw away the crucial game. I am happy to see them play, there is definitely something magical about their game, but I won’t vest emotionally on this team. Been there, done that. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

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  5. BAGS-Brazil Argentina Germany Spain
    Likely semi final lineup
    Any of the first three above likely to win

    -may surprise but not till the end-France Uruguay Netherlands Italy

    The rest (Including England) should atleast enjoy n watch the rio carnival samba

    Individual brilliance is a good talking point
    But needs the skeleton of a top team to make any decisive difference in a World Cup
    xxxxx

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  6. jayshah Says:

    World Cup Roulette for Satyamshot.
    Here is how it works…very simple, nothing complicated like choosing a team of 11 and fantasy football leagues.

    All you have to do is nominate the 4 teams you think are most likely to win the World Cup in Brazil that kicks off in two days.
    20 points – If your team wins the tournament
    10 points – If your team reaches the final and loses
    5 points – If your team reaches the semi-final and loses
    3 points – If your team reaches the quarter final and loses
    1 point – If your team qualifies for the 2nd round and loses

    An example could be Brazil, Argentina, Spain and Germany. If all 4 teams reach the semi-final, you would get 20 (winner) + 10 (losing finalist) + 10 (2 losing semi-finalists) = 40 points. This is indeed the maximum you can score. If one of these teams won, and 3 only reached the quarter final you would score 20 + 9 = 29.

    You can follow the link Satyam has posted to view the draw, as there are certain combinations that are not possible e.g. Brazil, Spain and Holland cannot all reach the smi finals. So be careful in your 4 picks OR you can be strategic and pick this way to “guarantee” a more a likely winner 🙂

    So please nominate your Top 4…and let’s see who is the King of this Box Office! No prizes…just PRIDE at stake!

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  7. I will go for Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Germany as my first pick.

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    • jayshah Says:

      Well we could do daily predictions. But that would really mean people logging in daily and clogging up the threads with predictions every day! And what if you miss out on a day for personal reasons you lose out etc.
      Think this is simple enough, although maybe it can be extended to naming the 16 teams to qualify from the group stages and getting 0.5 points each.
      My intention definitely is not to convert this into a football blog for the next month, even though my life will be turned upside down!

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      • better to have soccer clogging up things than politics!

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        • We should do it one week ahead. So lets have a cut off of tomorrow to post the predictions for Friday to Sunday (Mine are down). Saturday is the cut off for posting predictions for Monday to Sunday (next week) and so on. Worth a try. Anyways the movie discussions are going down due to no new/interesting releases

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  8. Lets also predict for the matches on 12th, 13th and 14th (Friday to Sunday). Here are my picks

    Brazil 2 – Croatia 0
    Mexico 2 – Cameroon 2
    Spain 2 – Netherlands 1
    Chile 2 – Australia 0
    Columbia 1 – Greece 1
    Uruguay 2 – Costa Rica 0
    England 2 – Italy 1
    Ivory Coast 3 – Japan 0

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    • Krish,
      I am surely taking your picks,putting fiver on each wins

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    • jayshah Says:

      Brazil 3 – Croatia 0
      Mexico 2 – Cameroon 1
      Spain 2 – Netherlands 0
      Chile 2 – Australia 1
      Columbia 1 – Greece 0
      Uruguay 3 – Costa Rica 0
      England 0 – Italy 0
      Ivory Coast 1 – Japan 2

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      • Interesting predictions on Spain-Netherlands and England-Italy.

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      • Doesn’t it make more sense to predict score difference than actual score? There would be one variable in system than 2-3.

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        • you’re right but soccer has a hallowed history of predictions being much more precise in this sense. So for instance predicting a 2-0 for the Spain-Netherlands game in favor of the former is not at all the same as the score being 4-2. The ‘meaning’ if you will of each score is different or in another way the meaning is not just about the differential but also the actual goals scored (or not).

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          • Typically in most league situations (which the group stages are) at some point when teams are tied on the same points, the number of goals matter. That is it may be better to have won 4-2 than 2-0.
            I highly doubt such a situation will arise.
            Usually predictions are for full time scores. The betting market at least in the UK has an unbelievable of type of bets. You can bet on the score after 10mins for example. There are literally thousands of different bets on each match, and many betting companies!
            I think the kind of prediction munna refers to is like a handicap bet. Anyway, enough about talking about predictions you people on the other side of the pond…its time you actually MADE A PREDICTION. So far only 3 predictions and the WC starts tomorrow.

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          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1988%E2%80%9389_in_English_football

            This is the most astonishing example. In 1989, Arsenal were 3 points behind Liverpool and the final game of the season was Liverpool vs. Arsenal. Arsenal had to win by 2 goals. By doing this, they would ensure that their goal difference (goals scored vs goals conceded) was at least the same as Liverpools, but as they would have scored more goals, they would win the league.

            The match itself is in English football folklore. Arsenal were 1-0 up, and literally with the last kick of the game, they scored and won 2-0. The league table shows both teams won 22 games, lost 10 games and drew 6. Both teams had a goal difference of +37. However, Arsenal scored 73 to Liverpool’s 65. That kind of finish in a league after 38 matches is very very unlikely, like a 1 in a million chance, but did highlight how important it was to score more goals.

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          • I don’t know enough to predict. And of all the sports I follow/watch, Soccer is towards bottom end of favorite list!
            It doesn’t mean I am not going to watch 🙂

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          • I never follow soccer very much but I’ve religiously followed the World Cup for very long. To an extent I also track the European Championship. For the rest I just look at the news and only the occasional match.

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          • jayshah Says:

            Munna I’m getting you that fence you always wanted for your birthday

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  9. A word on France though. They are in scintillating form leading to the WC. Giroud and Griezman are working well. In Matuidi Pogba Cabaye, they have a very solid and a strong MF.A solid back 4 and a very good GK. So they can easily beat Germany to the second semi final against Argentina.

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  10. I’ll just pick a few of these..

    Brazil-Croatia 2-0
    Mexico-Cameroon 1-1
    Spain-Netherlands 2-1
    Uruguay-Costa Rica 3-0
    England-Italy 1-1

    No ‘precise’ opinion on the three I’ve left out!

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  11. Brazil 2 – Croatia 0
    Mexico 0 – Cameroon 1
    Spain 2 – Netherlands 1
    Chile 1 – Australia 0
    Columbia 2 – Greece 0
    Uruguay 2 – Costa Rica 0
    England 1 – Italy 0
    Ivory Coast 2 – Japan 1

    I got Belgium in the Sweepstake!

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  12. Marco Reus was the player I really expected to light up the tournament. He was in incredible form. Unfortunately he misses out due to injury. Big loss for the Germans.

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  13. All my predictions from Day 1 till the completion of first 2 round robins. I will post the predictions for last round towards end of next week as by that time we will know who needs to play agressive and who can play defensive in final set of matches. Let the games roll on. So excited…

    Brazil 2 – Croatia 0
    Mexico 2 – Cameroon 2
    Spain 2 – Netherlands 1
    Chile 2 – Australia 0
    Columbia 1 – Greece 1
    Uruguay 2 – Costa Rica 0
    England 2 – Italy 1
    Ivory Coast 3 – Japan 0
    Switzerland 2 Equador 1
    France 2 Honduras 0
    Argentina 3 Bosnia&Herze 0
    Germany 2 Portugal 2
    Iran 0 Nigeria 1
    Ghana 0 USA 1
    Belgium 2 Algeria 1
    Brazil 2 Mexico 0
    Russia 2 SKorea 0
    Australia 1 Netherlands 3
    Spain 2 Chile 1
    Cameroon 1 Croatia 2
    Columbia 1 Ivory Coast 1
    Uruguay 1 England 1
    Italy 2 Costa Rica 1
    Switzerland 1 France 1
    Honduras 1 Equador 2
    Argentina 4 Iran 0
    Germany 3 Ghana 1
    Nigeria 1 Bosnia & Herze 1
    Belgium 2 Russia 0
    Korea 1 Algeria 3
    USA 1 Portugal 1

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  14. https://satyamshot.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/world-cup-2014/#comment-259364

    Krish : saw ur semi final lineup (have u copied mine lol)–jokin–
    it’s good to follow a good example lol
    As for the minor match to match bits–I don’t hav time ..
    If u have time–try betway m8…

    Lemme check wot Brazil does with/to the Croats…

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  15. The only thing Marcelo can take solace in is that he’s not Colombian!

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  16. Satyam:

    If one discounts the own goal Jay’s prediction was right. Croatia could have scored at a couple of points but nonetheless this isn’t a bad win when you’re not on your most convincing day!

    Jay:

    Bad day for the ref. 3 glaringly pro Brazil decisions really ruined a hard fought match. Felt sorry for Croatia as they really were in it at 1-1 and played as well as they could.

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    • The ref also had to get out of there alive!

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      • Ha yes. This is the best explanation for such decisions. He desperately wanted to make those Brazilians happy.

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        • He desperately wanted to make those Brazilians happy.

          he made me happy,not a gambling man but big tournament like this I do have a flutter and when brazil was awarded penalty I was jumping up and down because I pit £250.,to win for brazil…

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  17. didn’t know this..

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  18. what’s going on here? Spain have completely lost it in the second half.

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  19. Take my predictions and bet the opposite of it. You can make enough money.

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  20. Bandra.NRI Says:

    Italy won 2:1 against England.

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  21. “Take my predictions and bet the opposite of it. You can make enough money.”

    “all my predictions have been wrong so far!”

    My sincere sympathies for u folks. Relax- this can happen to any1.
    Some humble suggestions—

    ‘Krish’—“Predictions” ought to be based on some bare minimum ‘reason’, knowledge of ground situation, track record, stature etc.
    To add, ‘form’ and ‘tempo’ and peaking @ the right time is quite important

    But I draw a line at ‘performances’. When some people start predicting ‘score lines’ and think they can see thru actual no of goals /margin, I know they are overdoing it
    And not surprisingly get into trouble
    Esp if betting with money (& other things)…

    Beware of the difference between ‘modulated informed predictions’ and random wanton guesswork

    I indulge in the former, not the latter -that constitutes ‘gambling’

    Be careful with that-those predicting goals /margins

    Btw even Uruguay got shocked, Swiss have won…

    Remember folks–be wary
    even draupadi apparently got (nearly) ‘derobed’….

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    • The only thing I do in life is follow football. For many football is about World Cup and they wake up once in 4 years. In my case football is a way of life. I follow every league that is there to follow so I know a bit when I make my predictions. I don’t have any hassle in admitting I got some wrong but who cares about bring proven wrong when you are in the midst of probably the best World Cup since 1990 Italia.

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      • Bandra.NRI Says:

        You are right, far from being predictable, so far this World Cup has been exciting indeed. The best talking heads have been proven wrong.

        In any case, it takes some substantial ignorance to think one can NEVER be wrong predicting the stock market, or the weather or a sport like soccer. A butterfly flapping its wings in Tokyo can change events in NYC. But win or lose, we rather have a thriller than a boring match.

        I think we will see some further fun with Algeria, a young team with a weak defense. The only way they persevere is by making sure that their “attack” compensates more than enough to overcome the hole that their defense invariably places them into. This matter of survival, supercharges the exuberance of the youth, the net result is excitement for soccer fans. I like watching this team.

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        • jayshah Says:

          So far the World Cup has more than lived up to the hype. The best players are making their mark too.
          One stat which is remarkable is 5 out of 11 games have the team scoring first losing. Brazil, Netherlands, Ivory Coast, Costa Rica and Switzerland have all come from behind and in doing so caused shocks in particular for Uruguay and Spain.
          Spain losing was not a shock, the score line definitely was. 5-1 is a humbling and is a clear warning that keeping the ball is not the only way to win. Something between 2011 and 2014 has changed in the style of play of tika-taka. Obviously teams have found a solution. But the “style” is now an obsession. Xavi frequently says they will do or die by this method. It is a stubborn view also shared by Guardiola who has said he will not change his ways at Bayern. This stubborn position if shared by Del Bosque will be the pitfall of Spain. They need a plan B. Either Fabregas or Pedro or both need to play as they are a bit more direct. Otherwise, I can see Chile also causing an upset and sending Spain home. Bayern hammered Barcelona in 2012, a Pep led Bayern got hammered by Real Madrid and now the Dutch have hammered Spain. I am not saying the style does not work, but there has got to be something in addition when things are not going your way – and that something other teams have found is typically the centre halves are exposed and pace be it Robben, Ronaldo or Bale have annihilated these teams. And the results are not 1-0 or 2-1, they are 4’s and 5’s.
          Anyway its analysis for paralysis as if Silva scored, at 2-0, I doubt the Dutch would have come back.
          Glad England played well, but you can see the Italians are really up for it. Best match so far.

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          • Agree on England Italy being the best match. I have always supported England and have always got flak for it. But this time around they have a team worth supporting. Despite the loss I do hope they qualify for the next round.
            Actually I was glad that for starters del bosque started with Diego costa unlike last World Cup where he played a false 9 formation. But maybe starting with Torres is a better option as costa still looks like struggling with the injury he has been carrying since the champions league. Agree completely with you on cesc and Pedro. I would also like to see mata and Cazorla playing more of a part than just being consigned to the bench. I have a feeling that the whole of brazil is praying for chile to cause an upset. The last thing brazil wants is to play Spain in the second round and get knocked off.

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  22. Good to see some sanity and reason back into this discussion

    After my polite interjection above–good to see a break from the kiddish scorecards and ‘number of goals scored predictions’ …

    The England -Italy match was indeed the best yet (quality wise)

    Also noted that messi isn’t the same guy -maybe waiting to ‘peak’..

    Hmm…Seem some good comments above(may read them later…)

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    • actually we’ll have similar predictions before the next round..luckily it turned out not to be life-threatening for any of us to have made incorrect predictions..

      on the other hand if one loses self-esteem so easily by getting this stuff wrong one has other problems to begin with!

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  23. Skimmed thru a few comments with some good stuff

    But essentially a lot of noise is being generated about stuff being microdissected in the media/ blogosphere

    The bottom line–Football remains a very BASIC sport–let’s not make it into some sort of rocket science & let’s not ‘overthink’

    How can teams forget SET PIECES?
    Can’t they practise them beforehand?
    Shouldnt they be staying alert to set pieces?

    Infact the sport involves primal basic instincts where lots of reflex actions ‘kick in’

    Somebody mentioned that maybe ‘football has changed a lot’–I don’t think so..

    A supreme level of fitness is needed to last the two halves at this pace and temperature effectively

    Commonsense like selflessness with the ball

    Skill exhibitionism is a bane really..

    And the same ‘superstar’ becomes a liability when he indulges in the PROSTITUTION of his skills !

    Also form & state of mind even more important
    As we shall see the descent of Spain …perhaps the end of an era, this seems more important

    Folks like messi seem so subpar here but u never know with them

    Form is temporary
    But class is permanent

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  24. Jay made the right call on Spain after the first game. It’s a shocker in one sense. On the other hand when one watches them in both games they were never quite in it, specially today.

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    • Chile has a good chance of beating Netherlands and topping the group thereby ensuring they avoid Brazil. Looks like we are going to see a lot of South American team in the next round. Uruguay being the only disappointment till now. I fancy England to beat them today but this WC has always proved me wrong till now..

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  25. My predictions for last round

    Netherlands 1 Chile 2
    Australia 1 Spain 2
    Cameroon 1 Brazil 3
    Croatia 2 Mexico 1
    Italy 2 Uruguay 2
    Costa Rica 1 England 2
    Japan 1 Columbia 3
    Greece 1 Ivory Coast 2
    Nigeria 0 Argentina 3
    Bosnia 2 Iran 0
    Honduras 1 Switzerland 2
    Equador 1 France 2
    Portugal 1 Ghana 1
    USA 2 Germany 3
    Korea 1 Belgium 3
    Algeria 1 Russia 1

    Matches such as Croatia/Mexico and Algeria/Russia are very very difficult to call. I will go for Brazil and Mexico in Group A, Group B is decided, Columbia and Ivory Coast in Group C, Italy and England in Group D, France and Switzerland in Group E, Argentina and Bosnia in Group F, Germany and US in Group G (I had Portugal going through before) and Belgium and Russia in Group H

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    • MSDhoni Says:

      I have long moved beyond Brazil and the South American teams and find them very sketchy in the field to root for them. Germans, Dutch and French are my favorite and somehow I enjoy clinical football. Muller a real performer unlike some of the bigger names.

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  26. “I fancy England to beat them today but this WC has always proved me wrong till now..”

    Haha yeah u r wrong again lol

    Mistake after mistake
    Blunder after blunder !

    Reminds me of sunny deols “taareekh pe taareekh!!” 🙂

    “Is this post for real?”
    “yeah regrettably it is!”

    Each line was a ‘code’ –anyhow….

    Basic fitness and skill

    Topped up

    With ‘set pieces’

    Helmed by ‘dead ball specialists’ like Suarez

    That my friends sums up most of modern football

    One may make it seem more complicated than that though….

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  27. What a heartbreak and night of anguish for US soccer fans !

    Though Ghanaians have experienced their heartbreak equal to that of America’s and must say Ghanaians have played the best in their group and they nearly beat the Germans.

    Would have been happier with Portuguese elimination as god knows why don’t have much liking for Portuguese team …may be due to their star footballer the stud Cristiano Ronaldo…. May be due those cosy images with Bipasha have left a lasting impression….lol

    Similarly Beckham was a pet peeve too and that’s why English team too lost favor with me long back …. Lol talk about prejudices’ as some one said prejudice is never easy unless it passes itself off as reason…

    Current favorite remains Messi and to an extent Muller !!

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    • Well Ronaldo did make some very effective plays through the game but the team didn’t capitalize on them till this last second thing. But yes otherwise they’ve played very poorly so far and really deserved to be eliminated.

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  28. Bandra.NRI Says:

    What is the difference between a tea bag and the English soccer team ?

    One stays in the cup longer.

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  29. Luis Suarez has stole the limelight from the WC.

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  30. Missed the last few games
    But didn’t miss the
    Stoppage time…Left foot -right edge of goal -..

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  31. I love those football doodles by google. They are cute.
    Football seems to be the King when it comes to team games.
    Truly international. Easy to follow. Carniball!

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  32. It was a 10 games ban the last time around. I do think it’s the end of Suarez’s world cup. Biting an opponent remains a disgusting act but I don’t think it’s worse than elbowing or kicking an opponent. I remember Tassotti elbowing Enrique’s face and Leonardo causing head fracture on Tab Ramos at the 1994 WC. Enrique’s bloodied face and Ramos being stretchered off were more haunting sights than slight appearances of bite marks on Chiellini’s shoulder. The media is going OTT with it a bit, I feel, At the 2006 WC, people were even sympathising with Zidane for headbutting Materazzi and the red card apart, the punishment was minimal.

    Sure, Suarez needs to be punished. But the general reaction especially from the Bristish media is OTT, I feel. Even at the post match conference, Italian journalists barely dwelled on it but the British press were all over it and focusing on it only.

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    • jayshah Says:

      I think the British media are rightly doing their job. One has to remember Suarez has a track record on this.
      He must be the only player to have odds on him to bite an opponent. A Norwegian better has won £1600 on a 175-1 outshot on him biting someone!!!
      The fact he has done it before, and that he has been done for racism, and his rather ungracious act at the last world cup where he deliberately hand balled a 100% Ghanaian goal…he will be hammered by the press, specifically English as he plays in England. And Liverpool, will rightly get hammered for supporting the idiot and not getting him some serious mental help.

      His reaction says it all. He has no shame at it’s a win at all costs attitude. His team mates are just as bad, as they deny the incident, blame it on the Italian and defend him. It’s this utter denial and pleading of innocence that needs to be severely punished. It’s the only way this guy will learn.
      The same media have voted him the best player in the league but a cheat and racist will always get extra coverage attached to it.

      He deserves a massive ban…not for this incident, but repeatedly committing the same crime (this is 3 times now) and should be banned for at least 1 year.

      Might I add, if the referee saw that incident, he would have sent him off and Godin may not have scored. Italy were seriously cheated.

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      • Ironically Real would have brought him this summer for 75Mn + from Liverpool. Now with this bite , no one will buy him, Pool might not be able to play him due to the ban extending to all tournaments – Club + country – and even if they plan to sell him next year his value can never go beyond 50Mn IMO due to his misdeeds. Must say this was one costly bite.

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        • jayshah Says:

          If he gets banned only for international games, then teams would be more willing to buy him. I doubt his reputation will stop the purchase, I mean Liverpool supported him no matter what so I doubt it would stop other big teams.

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          • I know Pool did support him but pretty sure they will be regretting it now. These big clubs will not like their brand name to get affected and they will always hesitate themselves in associating themselves with such players. Thats why Liverpool supporting Suarez during the Evra incident was so disappointing specially considering the standing Liverpool enjoys in club football. As we speak Liverpool officials are meeting internally to decide on future action. One things for sure I dont see any club with any credibility trying to buy him. Real and Barcelona will not even go close to hijm anymore. Real is a club which ended their (successful) agreement with Mourinho just because he was controversial. Suarez will be a no brainer for them. His best option is to work out a deal with some South American club.
            I was actually disappointed that the Uruguan captain, Deigo Forlan and Oscar tabarez was supporting him after the incident. Whats worse was Suarez’s reaction after the incident where he pretended to get hurt and rolled on the ground. His statement to the press that Chiellini bumped his shoulder against his mouth was laughable and actually shows that the guy has not learnt anything.

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          • If Suarez was an average player…he would be long gone by Liverpool. The reality is he is their one genuine match winning world class player, and as a footballer he would walk into any side in the world. Money talks, and I doubt the big funders at Man City or PSG give a damn about reputation as they are happy to pay £50mm fines to UEFA for breaching financial fair play. Football in general is morally bankrupt. Barcelona use to have no shirt sponsorship money but they eventually got that income. Madrid have continually tapped up all the best players they have bought. It is a win at all cost attitude. If he gets a worldwide ban, then no one will buy him till that ban is up. If Liverpool decide to sell under just an international ban or just want to sell, there will be a queue of teams waiting to buy him because all “good” managers like to think they can “change” a player or work them over like they are all good fathers! Arsenal for one would not pass up the chance a year ago…even with the knowledge that he had bitten twice. Would Wenger care too much, if he bought Suarez and he made the difference at the end of the season? I doubt it. When Wenger fails to see every red card his own team commits, these guys have little obligation in the first place.
            Certain clubs may stay away. The likes of a Man UTD or Bayern or possibly the 2 big Spanish clubs…historical and traditional clubs like these might avoid the issue. Man UTD have a track record, Stam/Beckham sold just like that for issues. They value the brand, the impact on shareholders etc.
            But teams who have a lot of money to spend and want to be the top team around (read Monaco, PSG, Man City, Arsenal), typically most of the teams who have a sugar daddy will go for him. No shareholders to think off, just their own money at stake, they run it purely like a business they will go for him if he helps them secure titles.
            Long before Zidane’s 2006 headbutt, he had many other altercations. He was still bought! And he still is the assistant manager at Real Madrid! Football is totally morally bankrupt when it comes to stuff like this, just like FIFA is a bunch of old corrupt boys!
            Suarez’ issue now is his sponsors will desert him. Already a couple have called meetings today. He could potentially be ostracised quite dramatically as I think the furore from this one is on another level to ones before. He deserves it. Don’t bite off what you can’t chew!

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          • LOL, on that last bit! though I’d be afraid of challenging Suarez to that!

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          • SUAREZ handed 4 month worldwide football ban! And 9 game international ban. He is out of the world cup. Finally FIFA grow a pair, though this could and should have been more severe.

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          • agreed on all counts..

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          • As a Chelsea fan , was expecting around at least 6 months ban…But I will take this. Guess he will miss the first 10 matches in the Premier League then

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          • 9 for sure, potentially 10 depending on how they do in the Carling cup

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          • It’s OK. Liverpool are used to losing their best players for at least 7 games a year by now!

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  33. Italy was hard done by. But I do feel that when Suarez was handed the 10 games ban, he was made to pay for his previous excesses as well. I remember reading somewhere that Jermaine Defoe had done the same act and escaped punishment.

    Remember also that the FA report on the Evra controversy said that he was not a racist. I think the word ‘negrito’ is a common friendly word used in latin America. Terry escaped punishment with his racist words on Anton Ferdinand, didn’t he?

    Overall, I think he has served lengthier bans than other players. Remember Zidane was given a 3 games ban for headbutting an opponent in a WC final. With Suarez some are talking of lifetime ban.

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    • I think biting is in a different category altogether. Wouldn’t compare it with the Zidane sort of thing at all. and when a guy does it multiple times there’s clearly a psychological issue. He just can’t control himself beyond a point.

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  34. It seems he can’t even participate with his club team Liverpool until October. I’m kind of surprised that FIFA extended the ban to affect his club season, but I’m glad that they did.
    I heard Luis Suarez is a good guy and does plenty of charity work. I know that this was his third incident, and it’s such a shame that it is, but I really hope for him that third time’s the charm, and he can stop with these silly inexcusable incidents.

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  35. However the internet meme were the best thing coming out of this incident !!! Loved each one of them esp the one with muzzle.

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  36. Bandra.NRI Says:

    I would like to think that the Columbia / Brazil gap has now narrowed. Some even think that Columbia might walk away with the cup.

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    • It would be pretty stunning if that happened! They’ve won all their games but they’re in one of the weakest groups.

      Like

    • jayshah Says:

      Looking at the draw, if Argentina can get their act together, they have a really good route to the SF. Switzerland and then one of Belgium/USA. That side of the draw is definitely lighter with only Holland and Mexico as other real threats. So it’s likely to be 2 out of Argentina/Mexico/Holland/Belgium/USA. Possibly Costa Rica are a threat too but can they last the pace?. I’d think Greece and Switzerland are the weak sides.

      The top side of the draw is just full of heavy weights.
      Germany-France on QF collision course. Brazil/Chile/Colombia/Uruguay all together! That is insane as that’s 3 all South American matches guaranteed. Algeria and Nigeria are the weak sides.

      The dream set up would be Brazil-Germany and Holland-Argentina. But there are so many teams (Chile/Uruguay/Colombia/Mexico/Costa Rica/Belgium/USA/France) who are capable of stringing wins together and spoiling the part. And usually the world cup does give one or two random SF’s, Bulgaria/Sweden/Croatia/Turkey/Uruguay/South Korea all got there in the last 20 years, rather unexpectedly.

      Brazil to win the world cup will be a tough ask. Chile, then Colombia/Uruguay, then probably France/Germany then maybe Argentina. The smart money would not be on them…it is however, the fairy tale route if you beat Chile/Uruguay/Germany/Argentina for Brazil. They have barely played well so far and the Chile match is going to tough. 4 really tough matches, I’d be mightily surprised if they did not slip up on route.

      I just fancy the bottom half here. It could be possible for Holland or Argentina to get really lucky – Argentina could easily go Switzerland/USA/Mexico for example, or Holland could go Mexico/Greece/USA! I think the stronger teams sit in the top half of the draw, but they could be playing 2 or 3 big matches in reaching the final, whereas the bottom half teams might be fresher.

      I’ve got a weak spot for Messi and Argentina and the way he has started he means business. But they are so poor at the back. He needs more help. He’s got that magic and am hoping they win. Otherwise, I’d like to see someone new win. I can only see that coming from Holland, Chile or Colombia on form.

      AND I want URUGUAY to be SPANKED by ANYONE. EATEN alive if possible!!!

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  37. I’ve been impressed with Klinsmann’s work with the USANT during this WC. To qualify from this group of death is no mean feat. On paper, anyone would have see the USA finishing at the bottom of the group. However, they’ve qualified and were a few seconds away from topping the group against Portugal the other day.

    Fitness is going go be a huge thing during this WC and Klinsmann’s preparations in that respect looks mightily impressive.

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    • There are many back home who are upset with Klinsmann for moving to California and becoming coach of a different national team. Recently at a WC press conference he was asked a question in German and he responded in English! This has irritated people more.

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  38. It is said that he still shares close ties with Joachim Low who was his former assistant. Yesterday before the game, he sang both the US national anthem and the German one as well. After the game, he went to hug the German players and staff and congratulated them.

    I think the performance against Portugal notably was impressive. Won’t surprise me if the USMNT ends up surprising a couple of the big teams in the knock out stages. Fitness and tactical flexibility are going to be very important in this tournament and Klinsmann seems to have prepared the team well in those respects.

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  39. Bandra.NRI Says:

    Julio Cesar, the hero of Brazil’s win over Chile.

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    • Brazil were extremely lucky today. They didn’t deserve to win otherwise. I’m personally glad they survived but it was awful stuff after that initial burst of energy. Meanwhile Chile were awfully unlucky towards the end of extra time when that ball hit the top bar. On the other hand if you shoot 40% on penalties you’ll lose to most teams.

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      • Bandra.NRI Says:

        But after say the 60 min mark, only Brazil was making any attempt to score.

        No doubt, Chile was amazing in the second half. No doubt the top bar shot cost Chile the game, but Brazil deserved to win the game today. Today, between the two, Brazil had the edge. Sadly the game also shows Brazil may not be all that. They got away today.

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        • there was also the controversy on the Hulk goal.

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          • on the other hand they’re now saying the earlier goal was off a Chilean defender’s foot.

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          • Bandra.NRI Says:

            The Hulk’s biceps touched the ball, which counts as a hand ball. The Brazil goal very much looks like a self goal by Chile.

            Just looking at today’s form, Brazil might not go past Columbia. I am definitely watching that game.

            This year the teams are good. Who ever wins will really earn the title.

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  40. Brazils midfield/’centre forward’ problems continue -they are having to depend only on ‘moments’ not on ‘flow’..

    Meanwhile Rodriguez scores the best goal of the wc so far imo-even better than messis ‘left foot marvel’ against Iran..

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  41. RajRoshan Says:

    Best match of the world cup…such heart break for Mexico…but glad that Dutch sailed through.

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    • It was a good game. Dutch were showing composure in spite of trailing and Mexico dominating the game.

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      • Mexico shouldn’t have allowed 2 goals in 5 min. All credit to the Dutch but still one goal might be bad luck, two is a bit of a choke. very rarely can any team do this against any opposition. having come so far Mexico might have done better.

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  42. MSDhoni Says:

    Considering they got off lucky in the first half on same Robben, this is not such a breach…. and at the end of the day it was clearly a foul.

    All round fantastic soccer this past weekend and though there were so many doubts on Brazil as a host nation with corruption and preparation anxieties coming to the fore, it’s been superb with the quality of games.

    James Rodriguez is the new breakout star and what a young and lively team Colombia has. If it wasn’t for host nation, would have loved to see them advance at the expense of Brazil in Qtrs.
    And what a shot from Wesley Sneijder. At one time I thought it’s impossible to penetrate the acrobatic Ochoa and nothing would go through that Fortress of Fortaleza. But that Sneijder shot was so clean & bombastic and Dutch showed a lot of character in the 2nd half esp Robben was like a rat creating moves. Felt terrible for the coach Herrera and he is such a internet darling and full of character. More so when last week it was revealed he is the lowest paid coach among the world cup finalist…

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  43. what an incredible effort by Algeria! they’re one goal came too late but I was for them throughout after their great start. Of course they were quite out of gas by the end or they well might have scored another one earlier.

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  44. MSDhoni Says:

    Again fantastic games on Monday and never has a world cup had so many amazing games one after the other. France / Germany were lucky to get through unharmed. Nigerians and esp Algerians really gave a fighting performance and good games to their fans. For the Germans it was mostly the hard working and talented Muller creating chances, otherwise did not see much of the German zing but expect a cracker on Friday with the French. in Qtr finals.

    For now, all eyes on US with a make or break game in terms of gaining popularity and a win will only assist to add to the game glitter in States which few hard core conservative likes Ann Coulter are trying to dismiss as signs of – hold your breath- ‘moral decay’.

    Lol at her recent rant – “If more ‘Americans’ are watching soccer today, it’s only because of the demographic switch effected by Teddy Kennedy’s 1965 immigration law,” Coulter wrote. “I promise you: No American whose great-grandfather was born here is watching soccer. One can only hope that, in addition to learning English, these new Americans will drop their soccer fetish with time.”

    FIFA / Brazil would be happy with a win here for US, since as per survey done recently, majority of the travelers / fans are US residents and also big spenders at the current world cup.

    Like

    • Nigeria just collapsed in the last 10 min or so. And yeah Algeria put up an incredible fight. Wish they’d won. To be honest I like watching this German team. Unlike in the past this is a far more exciting outfit. For all this it’s very hard to be a ‘fan’ of germany! There’s no romance around this notion!

      On coulter she’s disgusting but also disgustingly cynical. Found a way to insert soccer into her politics.

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  45. MSDhoni Says:

    It’s always fascinating to watch the Germans and the Dutch and you can be assured of a good fight and never lacking the effort. French have been favorites since those stories we used to read about the magical Platini and then lately it was due to Zidane. Now wish Messi to reach his pinnacle with Argentinean world cup win but it’s going to be a tough watch for the semifinal against the Dutch if they go through. Then there is the recent favorite young Colombians and James Rodriguez. Now with each round there will be heartbreaks.

    Coulter types will get more appealing for average joe, if Americans lose here and they can all go back to their own ‘macho sports’.

    Here are few more amusing excerpts for the interested ones here:

    “My critics have apparently tried to persuade me that soccer really is a macho game by throwing one week of hissy fits over my column,” Coulter said, speaking on Fox News from Paris.
    While Coulter’s column unfavorably compared soccer to American football (“After a football game, ambulances carry off the wounded. After a soccer game, every player gets a ribbon and a juice box”), she thought a player’s biting of another backed up her views.
    “More evidence soccer is for girls. Player from Uruguay caught BITING an opponent yesterday,” she tweeted last week. “Not punching. Not a cross-body block. BITING!”

    LOL !!

    Like

  46. Glad Di maria got the goal. he’s really been good throughout (and of course before the WC). Argentina made it too close for comfort though once again Messi proving (and a bit unfortunately) that without him being integrally involved Argentina cannot score. They’ve certainly had their luck so far and one must always fear the lucky opponent. As elsewhere in life. But the rest of the team really has to step up. Rojo has shown pluck throughout as well but he’s now out of the next game. The other thing to say here is that even that close to penalty kicks the Argentinians really kept their composure. No real desperation on their part. Perhaps there should have been some (!) but they were quite calm about it.

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  47. MSDhoni Says:

    Once again bad luck for the underdogs and major upset averted and Argentina cross to safer side. Except the Colombia – Uruguay match all other games in the round of 16 have been such evenly contested matches.

    Like

    • true, on the other hand the major teams have found a way to win even after they’ve run out of everything. But I think there’s still a difference between Arg today and Germany yesterday. The latter really looked frustrated beyond a point. They were dominated at points. And their first goal was a matter of luck really. Arg on the other hand never really had much rhythm today though in the second half they gradually kept getting better chances. It’s true that even into overtime they didn’t really play as if time was running out. Almost as if they believed the penalties were not an issue. And there had been some nice Messi passes earlier as well, Di Maria had certainly been doing his stuff. That one moment and it clicked. Really the most delicately set up of passes followed by the rather obvious goal. But again they war lucky with the Swiss missing that last minute goal and that too with two chances. If Arg can really get some real help from Higuain and Aguero (who even without the injury wasn’t doing much) they’d be truly formidable. And yet there is something to be said for their patience.

      Like

  48. MSDhoni Says:

    Yes that last minute miss on the goalpost was sheer bad luck and the Swiss would have got energized to penalties. Messi created that lovely chance which Di Maria converted.

    Yes definitely the Algerians got on Germans’ nerve and as per few opinions played a better game but lacked experience to seal it.

    Yes somehow the favorites have all survived the round of 16 and no upsets. Is that a precursor to US – Belgium game? I hope not!!

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  49. The comments on the social networking sites and blogs are kind of driving me a little crazy. I mean firstly, what is the reason that we do support Argentina and Brazil in this World Cup? And by “we” I mean the people who have no real stake in which team wins, except for the loyalty that we feel towards them, because of what they were when we were growing up. I do not see any other reason as to why this sense of blind support towards the two — certainly not the quality of football: Argentina in particular is one of the weakest teams in the Round of 16! Secondly, on what basis (except for their past glory) do we call their opponents as “underdogs” and them as “major” teams in this World Cup? In the Match against Chile, Brazil was unable to score a single goal (their only goal was an own goal by Chile, though FIFA credited David Luiz for it! ) and penalty shoot outs are hardly a criterion to judge great or even good teams. In today’s match Argentina was shameful in their tackle, I mean we are talking about World Cup round of 16 matches here! What a poor display it was today! Thirdly, in my opinion Germany were not frustrated, they were just playing a different formation! and if at all they were frustrated it was because of the display from Algeria who are a much better “team” than Argentina — now if only they’d had a good striker, leave alone someone like Messi.

    I understand it’s ok to support Argentina or Brazil because of their football past and our nostalgia — but if we are talking about the quality of football being played, then I do not feel they are worthy of being supported above teams like Colombia, Netherlands and Germany.

    Like

    • But there’s another way of looking at it. The major teams are ‘major’ because they manage to win even when they play subpar or downright poorly! Hence no surprises so far in this round of 16. A lot of ‘major’ teams have come up with nth minute stuff, in the case of brazil they even won on penalties because Chile had a really bad time with them. This is why we consider these teams major. Because in tournament after tournament they find a way. Now it’s true that even major teams if they play horrendously lose. We saw that with Italy, Spain, Portugal this time. So it’s not that a team somehow keeps winning because it’s ‘major’. And again if we look at World Cup history you find a lot of interesting teams that can cause an upset or two but they don’t win it all. More often than not they don’t even advance beyond a point. One of my frustrations in this sense has been the sight of these exciting African teams never quite having the discipline and/or resilience to even make it to the quarterfinals (though Cameroon did it last time or maybe it was Ghana).

      The other thing I’d say is that the lesser teams have to play extremely well otherwise they’d get mauled by the major teams. So yes the major ones have played poorly a lot of the time. On the other hand the lesser ones have had to be near perfect to stand a chance. And as we saw yesterday despite throwing everything at Germany the Algerians still lost because when it came to crunch-time they were bushed and just couldn’t produce. In different words still the major teams with history often have experience they can dip into. And over time (in a tournament) they tend to get better.

      I’d again say finally that I don’t disagree with your point that they have often played poorly. But it’s like any other game where a greater talent/team can often play a mediocre game and still win. On this basis the other teams are manifestly underdogs. Because in this round of 16 they caused all kinds of trouble but ultimately couldn’t win. And while they deserve credit for playing that well the ‘major’ team isn’t dislodged just on these grounds. Take Argentina today. Messi just needed a few good passes to create a real goal opportunity. Or he scored himself earlier. Yes it’s true Argentina without him have been very mediocre but he’ll always be there constantly offering that advantage!

      Oh and as for supporting those teams one of course keeps supporting a team even if it doesn’t do well. You’re right in that one isn’t supporting one’s country in this sense but soccer has had a storied global tradition in this sense where most people in most nations do support fervently teams even when they’re not being represented or sometimes even if they’re being represented. So you might have a Japanese guy supporting Japan but not expecting very much and then moving onto Brazil or something.

      Like

      • and as I write this Belgium will now become yet another team to live up to this script. Unless the US does something miraculous in the last 15 min. In every single case the major team has won.

        Like

    • As one of our wise blogger and elsewhere commented, Indian interest in WC is like “begaani shaadi mein Abdullah deewana” 🙂
      We support different teams because of history or players we like when they play at club level. This world cup there are no weak teams. All of them are playing exciting football. It is other matter that all the favorites have advanced but it is more to do with luck and any other team could have won their contest.

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      • I’d disagree on the last bit. The major teams usually find a way. They have a 100% record in the round of 16. Because there is that difference of talent level even those mini-opportunities that are created in the late stages of a game usually go the way of the better or more experienced team. The USA missed an unbelievable opportunity in the 92nd min. Anyway as we speak they’ve just scored. they might be some life in this game yet!

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        • The US kept things exciting till the end but there were at least three extraordinarily good chances between the 92nd min and the end. And this is the point I’ve been trying to make. The US played well but in those crunch-time moments this sort of team is much more likely to choke than the more experienced or more talented side. I’m not being unsympathetic but this happens most days. The major teams that play really poorly often exit in the first round. Otherwise they’re very tough to beat. What are we looking at yet again? Arg v Belgium and then Arg v Holland (assuming all of them win). Then it’s on the other Bra v Col and then Bra v Germany. Now here I should say that Col do have a real shot but I’d still bet on Brazil. But even if an upset happens somewhere you’re still more than likely to get the old boys network everywhere else. Unless of course Col wins it all. Would be quite a story if they did.

          Like

          • Actually US should have won in regulation when they missed a sitter couple of minutes before over time.
            The free kick trick in front of goal was marvelous.

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          • yes that was the first phenomenal chance they had..

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          • I missed the USA-Belgium match because, well, just wasn’t that interested to stay up until 3-4AM India-time on a weekday! I would have done it for Argentina-Switzerland…

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        • To put it yet another way.. could Arg or Germany or Bra or Belgium or Holland have lost in this round? Absolutely. But the ‘lesser’ team in each case had to be perfect and none of them were that. The probability of any team being perfect or that good is low anyway. How often are the major teams totally on song? Unfortunately if you are the lesser team you need to be this.

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          • by the way there is an analogous argument that can be made for genres. In certain strength genres (depending on what these are in any given age) passable films can work and sometimes in a big way. Conversely the ‘different’ film has to do its job really well to have any chance.

            Like

          • Bandra.NRI Says:

            I agree, a lesser team has to PERFORM in order to win. A better team just shows up and somehow manages to win even on its off day. Pat Riley says that the lesser team lose to their minds, they hand over the victory. The winner on the other hand has his mind and emotions in check.

            Perhap’s Pat’s theory applies to team sports only, but we see some of this phenomena in other fields too. A superstar in Bollywood hits 100 even with an off movie, but a lesser star’s movie has to be some version of an immaculate conception.

            But as viewers we see and feel beyond the scores. I would take Chile over Brazil ( the Chile that showed up after half time). I would take Algeria over Germany.

            But again all the teams are really good. The cup is a treat.

            Like

          • Must say the US goalkeeper was extraordinary today. Established some sort of record for saves.

            Like

  50. RajRoshan Says:

    Argentina escaped….just about…hopefully Sergio Aguero recovers and returns soon…Goal conversion except Messi is really worrisome for Argentina..with so many experienced and good players and so many attacks and on target shots they hardly escaped as were not able to convert…Messi created so many opportunities but they threw them…they really need an in-form Aguero alongside Messi…Di Mario is good but really disappointing from Lavezzi, Higuain and Palacio

    Like

  51. Woo! My sweepstake team are still in (Belgium) 😀

    Like

  52. I agree with your point Satyam, but going by your definition we can call Germany and Netherlands as major teams in this round of 16 but not Argentina and Brazil. You would agree that a team does not become major just by winning a closely contested match. Germany and Netherlands are the teams who till the end were able to hold on to their nerves and although Algeria and Mexico did have a solid defence but they never really looked good on their offence. And as you said that their opponents had to play perfect football 100% of the time, and when they were not able to it was just a matter of time( and time it was) that the Germans and the Dutch scored. But the same was not true for the Brazil match, they did not play or look like champions neither did they seem in control as they barely scraped through to victory riding their luck. For Argentina also it looks like Messi is stuck with a heavy tail that just cannot wag! So again I would say except for nostalgia their is nothing that makes the current Brazil and Argentina count as major teams or in that matter as Champions.

    Like

    • jayshah Says:

      I agree neither Brazil or Argentina look like champions…but Messi has been damn good so far. He’s scored 4 and assisted 1. And he is the most “marked” man in the tournament, yesterday 3 players every time badgering him! You’d think that is perfect for other Argentina players to find space but they have not supported at all! This Argentina side is not average but they have played average. Higuain, Aguero (when he played) have not turned up. It’s a one man show so far and for that Messi has done the business and “carried” Argentina.
      Likewise Neymar for Brazil. Without him, they’d be knocked out by now.

      Germany have played better than Brazil/Argentina but tactically they need to fix Lahm and they should be more fluid. None of their midfielders have turned up and like Brazil/Argentina, its Muller who is a stand out so far. They wouldn’t have been knocked out without him (they’ve done enough without his scoring) but they are nowhere near the standard of 06, 08, 10 or 12. Ozil is having a crisis, Kroos not kept the ball as well as he can.

      I think Germany/Argentina/Brazil/Spain were pre tournament favs. They came with that pressure and it has shown so far.
      Dutch/French did not. They have played better and are always amongst the teams that “can” win the tournament, but they were not standout tournament favs.
      Colombia/Belgium came as darkhorses and have met that level and then some. Colombia now can be considered genuine contenders.

      I do agree that Brazil/Argentina don’t deserve to win the tournament the way they are playing. I don’t think it will happen that way though. The best teams usually win…so either they will up their game or the likes of Holland/Colombia/France/Germany will knock them out. Can’t go 7 matches without hitting top gear at some point and winning. It would be quite sad as well.

      Like

      • jayshah Says:

        Put another way…despite not playing well, the money is still on Brazil or Argentina to win.
        Latest odds from bookies
        Brazil 13/5
        Argentina 4/1
        Germany 9/2
        Holland 5/1
        France 15/2
        Colombia 12/1

        This explains more that despite form (you could invert this list and say Colombia have played the best so far, then France, then Holland, then Germany, then Argentina and then Brazil), favourites and reputation still matter a lot at this stage. So despite Colombia playing so well, they are still 6th fav to win right now.

        Like

        • jayshah Says:

          Or in the last 40 years…no world cup final has been contested without the presence of Brazil/Argentina/Holland/Italy/France/Spain/Germany. Naturally, the biggest teams around tend to get to the final somehow ALWAYS.

          Like

        • Interesting.. didn’t know those were the odds..

          on a related note it was interesting to hear such huge roars for Switzerland yesterday. As one of the commentators said the Brazilian crowd would rather have anyone but Arg win if they themselves cannot..! Porto Alegre has a huge argentinian contingent but somehow I doubt they’d give Arg this venue for any of the crucial matches (even if these things cannot obviously be planned in advance). Ha!

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          • LOL, I just checked. there’s no match in Porto Alegre after the round of 16! This is called Argentina’s ‘home away from home’. The Brazilians haven’t taken any chances! More seriously though this is one of the smaller stadiums.

            Like

          • jayshah Says:

            Odds don’t always reflect form. The best odds are Brazil have not lost a competitive game in Brazil since 1975 and that is 61 matches! And one can be sure they were not always at the top of their game or their opponents came with a lot of confidence. But the record is that which is a monstrous record.

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          • the other stat I saw yesterday was that no team other than W Germany in ’82 (don’t known the other team) has ever come back from a 2-0 deficit in overtime to force penalties. Which is what the US or Algeria were facing in these second round matches. Each of them scored a goal late to make it interesting but it wasn’t enough.

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          • and an easy case could be made that germany over the last quarter century has been the most consistent team. They haven’t won anything after 1990 (and before that they won in ’74) but they have a record of consecutive semi-final appearances. And some relatively weak German teams also made it to this stage over this period. Holland too have been pretty consistent though of course they’ve never won anything. The one thing one can say about both Brazil and Arg is that they never over-perform! The opposite is often true. Arg have not made it to the quarterfinals the last two Cups, maybe three, not sure. Brazil have of course won in this time but again they’ve not often played commensurate with their skill set.

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    • I’d agree on Brazil but not on Argentina. Because even before the penalties Brazil were all over the place in many ways. Having said that Chile was also a pretty good team. Not Algeria or something even if some of these teams over-performed. Germany though were really stretch by Algeria. You could see how frustrated they were. For the first 20 min they were dominated by the Algerians. Later things settled down but in the second half and then into extra time they were clearly at the end of their wits. The first goal they scored was hardly convincing, a lucky break more than anything. Ballack said after the match that Algeria deserved to win and that Germany had been really lucky. But even here I’d add, keeping in line with my larger point, that ultimately Algeria did not produce the goals when they needed to and had opportunities. Their legs had gone, they were utterly exhausted and looked like they were just running on the field at many points. At the end they produced and got some life into their game but it was too late. Still they truly pushed Germany who were hardly playing like Brazil.

      Getting back to Argentina remember that they haven’t really allowed much scoring at all against themselves. Nigeria had two but in that match Arg came up with three. Ballack once again said yesterday that he felt Arg were doing just enough in every match and added that they’d rise to the opposition over the next few games. It’s quite clear that Arg really need production from Higuain (and Aguero when he gets back). At least one of those two. Di Maria has been playing rather well and has in fact only gotten better. Rojo has been doing a good job (though he’ll miss the next one). It’s true that as the tournament advances they won’t be able to get by on just the level they displayed against Switzerland. On the other hand one might have said this after the Iran game. Whether it was Bosnia or Iran, Nig or Swi they somehow find a way and without being in any real trouble at any point. So yesterday for example they were very composed throughout. Didn’t look particularly tired even towards the end of extra time. Now it’s foolish obviously to risk penalty kicks because anything can happen in this situation with any team. But they did have a poise and more importantly produced whenever they needed to. So yes Messi set up a beautiful pass yesterday (he had a few such moments leading up to this one) but Di Maria delivered. Now the commentators called the goal clinical after that pass. Fair enough. But consider the kinds of chances the US missed yesterday or Algeria did or even Swi towards the end. The Di Maria goal wasn’t as easy as the chances those guys missed though admittedly Di Maria’s talent level is a bit different too! Anyway my point ultimately is that while I too agree that Arg haven’t played the way they need to but they have not had much scored against them at all (this makes it more than about Messi), nor have they even drawn a match in the first round (which only a few teams did in the first round.. none of the other major teams have this record.. Col and Belgium I think also did not draw). Nonetheless they need to up their game. No question about it. Or they’ll lose.

      Now they might lose to Holland or whoever but once you get into the big leagues so to speak (if you’ll excuse these mixed sporting metaphors) you can lose in any case. Of the major teams I’d say Bra have looked the most fragile over the tournament which is why they’ve convinced many of the experts least about their overall chances here. But still I’d insist on my larger point. Who told Chile to shoot 40% on penalties? This is a very solid South American team. We’re not talking Algeria here or some such team that even when it plays very well might be overwhelmed by the larger occasion. They clearly choked. Brazil themselves put 3 out of 5 and they did worse. Can’t get a better chance than this.

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  53. MSDhoni Says:

    Results on US- Belgium game were in line with the match performance but felt bad for the American fans who had somehow got the nation on stand still…. a win here to the next round at least would have given a major boast to indifference to this sport by many.

    Weekend is all packed with some good games and Germans and Dutch most likely to go through on their current form. In all likelihood Argentina / Brazil should make it thru the other games too based on their experience of big play

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  54. MSDhoni Says:

    sorry meant – would have given a major boast to soccer in US and contracted some of the indifference shown this sport by many.

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  55. As the dust settles & the wc reaches it’s ‘business end’ –may catch up the games more regularly

    Following my comment before the start of the wc
    https://satyamshot.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/world-cup-2014/#comment-259364

    It’s the same teams up there
    BAGS– Brazil Argentina Germany still there…
    Holland France Belgium are in the game as well but they aren’t surprise qualifiers either (Spain being the only surprise)

    The point is that after all this hoopla and ‘excitement’ the real teams pass through..

    And I don’t take this ‘just missed!’ bit

    The name of the game is about being at the right position to deliver
    & it’s the few seconds that count

    It’s about having different gears & an admirable range
    And being in a position where in even a subpar day is enough

    When u see the top scorers or the forwards that made a mark

    U have true talent

    Muller, neymaar, messi, robben (as expected)

    Form is temporary
    Class is permanent ..

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  56. Abhishek flying off to Brazil for FIFA finals
    By Bollywood Hungama News Network, Jul 3, 2014 – 11:58 hrs IST

    The father-son Bachchan duo has always been fond of football and now, Abhishek Bachchan does not want to miss out on the finale of the ongoing FIFA World Cup. Considering the fact that his favourite team Brazil is playing extremely well this season, the actor has decided to take off to the country to watch the semi-finals and finals.

    We also hear that Amitabh Bachchan will be accompanying his son. The legendary star is also a huge fan of football and revealing about one of his experiences on his blog, Amitabh wrote, “My moment with football would have to be the Italy-Brazil final in Los Angeles for the world cup .. taking a sudden decision to travel at the drop of a minute and landing up with no tickets, no Hotel reservations, walking around and desperately trying to get to find a way of getting into the stadium … and … managing to get a few after paying premium money, and watching the great Baggio and Romario and the victory for Brazil ..”

    Despite busy shoot schedules, an excited Abhishek stated that he has been a fan of Brazil since 1982 and his father’s love for the team has been one of the prime reasons that influenced his liking for Brazil.

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  57. @ Satyam: ” I’d agree on Brazil but not on Argentina”…”Getting back to Argentina remember that they haven’t really allowed much scoring at all against themselves.” Well if that is one of the criteria according to you that marks Argentina as Champions, then Mexico ( who have conceded just a single goal in the group stages) should feature much higher in the list. It reflects a lot about their defence given the group they were in with Bra, Cro, Cam. On the other hand Argentina got one of the easiest groups with Nig( being the African Champions, so the only threat) Iran, Bos, still gave away three goals.

    Again “Whether it was Bosnia or Iran, Nig or Swi they somehow find a way and without being in any real trouble at any point.” Really! I think a team which scores at the 90+1 minute mark in the group stages(against Iran) were in a lot of trouble.

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    • But Mexico is a pretty good team as is Nigeria. They cannot beat the top teams most of the time but they’re otherwise solid to good. This is incidentally also true for Chile. Put differently hardly any European or South American team that qualifies is a pushover. Once upon a time it used to the the case that major teams would just coast through against this kind of opposition (i.e. second tier). Unless they played really badly themselves getting through wasn’t such a big. But the gap between the first and second tiers has narrowed quite a bit (I think Neymar is quite right about this even if this doesn’t excuse their own sloppy game in some of these matches). Take Italy. They played well against Eng and badly against Costa Rica and Uruguay. Nonetheless Costa Rica have have over performed throughout the tournament while Uruguay had two very major stars in the side. And this is the point. The ‘weaker’ teams often have bona fide stars in their teams today and certainly lots of players who play in elite or rather decent to good clubs throughout Europe. Hence a certain kind of ‘defensive’ (for want of a better word) European football dominates as the model. Even Brazil and Argentina and some of the other South American teams don’t play the way they once used to. Once you had games where Brazil or Uruguay would score 5 goals, the other team would score 3. You don’t see this anymore except on the rare day. because every team in those top 2 tiers is pretty good defensively. Sometimes a game can be thrown open or there are scores that flatter to deceive but by and large no team really gets ‘mauled’ on a regular basis even if decidedly weaker. So again in this sense Neymar isn’t wrong. Chile or Mexico are hardly walkovers.

      But note how if I agree with everything you say there’s a mystery here. First off your original point was about major teams (in its implication though you specified Arg and Bra.. much as Germany absolutely struggled against Alg at times, specially in that blistering initial 20 min.. Ballack said that day that germany played really poorly and Algeria should have won.. in fact I give Ger more credit than he did.. he didn’t say the same for Arg… also the first German goal was accidental.. it didn’t go off the left foot as aimed for but missed it, touched the right one and went in.. and no one would say Alg is ‘better’ than Arg as you suggested.. not even after their performance against Germany! And I’m not quite sure why one must always exclude Messi.. he is part of the team! One might as well wonder what Arg would have done in ’86, even playing they obviously wouldn’t have won without him.. but on the flip side how strong is this Arg side if Aguero and Higuain both play well.. di Maria has only gotten better.. it’s simply not possible to call Algeria better than them or for that matter many other teams) not only about Arg. But leaving this aside if the lesser teams are playing so well and if the major teams are playing so miserably why are the latter winning 100% of the time? And even if Arg or Bra lose now that doesn’t really prove anything since major teams sometimes lose very early too. Arg themselves have made it to the quarterfinals after at least 2 WCs if not three. Italy has been eliminated twice in a row in the first round after winning a Cup. Spain similarly this time around. So it’s not as if being dubbed as a major team somehow gives them the wins! They still have to perform.

      If Arg lose to Belgium would I be absolutely shocked? No! Because Arg clearly haven’t played well so far. Certainly not cohesively as a team. Both brazil and Arg haven’t even played like Germany or Holland. In fact a Germany-Holland final shouldn’t surprise anyone (unless Col turn out to be the huge surprise of this WC). But that is a very different point from arguing that the major teams are somehow there undeservedly. That reputation they only have on paper but ultimately they do have to win games. And even if they win narrowly every time and so forth the question is why does the pendulum always swing their way? Even if one doesn’t agree with Ballack who feels Arg are doing just enough to win and will rise to the level of their opponent (we’ve certainly seen this so far (Iran & Nig for example) they cannot be called lucky every single time. And if it’s been more about Messi well maybe Messi will take them deeper too! So again let’s be clear on this — I have never said Arg are playing well, I actually believe they haven’t played well in any match as a whole so far. But the corollary here is that even subpar they have been ‘enough’ to get to the quarters. From now on though things get serious. Even if they get past Belgium (for which they’ll have to play a lot better) a matchup with Holland is never an easy thing on any given day, even if they did play well.

      So it’s not that the lesser teams don’t get attention. They do, they’re often celebrated in the commentaries for troubling the major sides. But at the end of the day one has to win something. It’s not enough to trouble the major team. Because clearly this isn’t enough to defeat them even on their subpar days. It’s not just about Arg. No team in that situation in this round of 16 has lost.

      By the way I’d disagree on the Arg group. Nigeria is a good team. Consider Colombia in a group with Cote d’Ivoire, Greece, Japan! Or France with Switzerland, Ecuador, Honduras. Not that Arg had the toughest group by any means but it also wasn’t one of the weakest. Italy had a tougher one as did Germany as did Holland. In fact the last two had the toughest. Spain with the latter, Portugal with the former. Irrespective of however they eventually performed. And remember Arg in a sense had the least goals against countries that clamped down defensively on them (because they just didn’t have enough of an attack). Arg had 1 against Iran, 2 against Bosnia. On the other hand in a free-flowing game with Nigeria they had 3.

      On the goals being scored against them that point shouldn’t be taken in isolation. There I meant that if it were only about Messi people would have scored more goals against them. But that didn’t really happen. Nigeria scored against them but that wasn’t a defensive game and Switzerland though they gave the Argentine defense some trouble never scored. Now one might think a major team will always manage this but not really. Consider what happened to Spain or Portugal or Italy. Even at the hands of some weaker teams.

      Finally my point on Arg scoring at the end was exactly the opposite. I actually think they were in trouble but they played ‘as if’ they were not. As if they’d coast through the penalties as well. Now I always admire teams with poise. The Germans looked a lot more frustrated against Algeria. And perhaps having Messi is the difference. Because they have a certain poise, he definitely has it, he’s creating these scoring opportunities twice in extra time so far and really when the game was closing down. The reason this matters is that even major teams when they lose their poise commit (in American parlance) unforced errors. I wasn’t saying they weren’t in trouble, just that they didn’t look it.

      And to reiterate this one more time my entire set of responses has been to your larger point about major teams getting all the attention and being overrated in some sense. The thing is they have a great deal of history behind them and nothing in this WC so far suggest that that history is about to be altered. You will see a major team win. One of those teams that have been around the block many times. Unless of course Col do something spectacular. That’s always a possibility. But they’ll have to beat three heavyweights in all probability to get there. And that’s a rather tall order.

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      • jayshah Says:

        Like I mentioned, big teams are big teams for a reason. Brazil and Argentina are still favs with those that matter – the paying betting public! History has a huge part to play, even more so then current form.
        All other teams could be playing well, but history has no European team has won in South America and no one has beat Brazil since 1975 in Brazil in a competitive match.
        This is not me saying they will win, or I am routing for them or that they are playing well.

        Put another way…if I had a spare few hundred £’s or $’s I’d be lobbing it on Colombia. The risk and reward is rather attractive and losing that money will not kill me but the upside betting on a form team is attractive.
        But if someone asked me to put my house on the winner, I’d go 100% for Brazil! I’d be a fool to bet against a 40 year record on the premise of some jittering recent performances! I am sure the Brazilians have jittered a plenty over the past 40 years, but they have still found a way to win or not to lose! Or I’d bet on a South American team.

        And all this despite Colombia or France or Germany or Belgium or Costa Rica or Holland playing the better football so far! You don’t win the world cup in the group stages or the 2nd round! Or on playing the best football. A rubbish performance and 1-0 in the last minute is more than enough. That’s reality. Nostalgia and romantics (like me) would love a surprise or the best football always to win. But that is not always the case.

        I am not sure even what the debate is about. Argentina have played poorly. But they have come up with goods when it mattered most. And I am a fan of them – a lot of it is to with Messi and their history. But I would not like to see them win the way they are playing. I am not that “attached” to their success. Like I would be for my club team.

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        • as always Jay you say it lucidly and concisely.. I should learn some of these arts!

          I was going to add something to the narrowing gap between first and second tier teams by using the tennis example. Today the gap between a top 10 player and the next 20 isn’t quite what it once used to be. Even 20-30 years ago you didn’t often see a top player lose to anyone but another top player. But since then because of extraordinary fitness all round and the technology of rackets which has made this more of a power game than ever before if you’re even slightly less sharp than usual you could easily lose to player seeded much lower than you. Much as Federer was winning everything, then he was somewhat off-peak, maybe 10-20% less as a player and suddenly it’s become rather hard for him to win anything. a generation ago he would still have won something or the other. Now it’s very hard. Agassi was once the fittest guy around, today he might just be average. In short a #2 player losing to a #15 in 2014 isn’t like the same happening in 1985 (where unless you were losing to a Becker or a Sampras, players who were not ordinary, you were ok, until of course you ran into someone of similar seeding). The same has happened in a number of sports. That gap has narrowed.

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          • Somewhat off topic, but I don’t agree on men’s tennis: actually, I don’t think we’ve ever seen this sort of domination by such a small group of players as we have these last few years: I believe 35 of the last 37 Grand Slams — i.e. over nine YEARS’ worth of Slams — have been won by Federer; Nadal; and Djokovic; the other two were won very recently, by Murray, when two of the other three were post-peak. Indeed, given even Djokovic is relatively recent, you actually had Federer and Nadal wining Slams — and ONLY those two winning Slams — for the longest period. By contrast, the 1990s were much more democratic, with Sampras owning grass but plenty of other players winning on the hard courts (and don’t even get me started on clay, as in the 1990s, the winners of the French wouldn’t win any other Slam!). Satyam, you might be thinking of the early 1980s, when the Big Three dominated, but statistically, I don’t think their hold was as absolute as Federer and Nadal’s, and even if it was, the small matter of the late-1980s through the late-1990s (featuring the likes of Slam winners (of varying stature, of course) like Becker; Edberg; Wilander; Lendl; Courier; Sampras; Agassi; Ivanisevic; Stich; Kafelnikov; Kuerten; Chang; Bruguera; Muster; Carlos Moya) shows there is no trend toward greater equality in the men’s game (perhaps the graph is like a “V”, with “peaks” in the early 1980s and over the last decade).

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          • I don’t really see this point as contradicting mine. it’s exactly like soccer. You still have more or less the same half dozen teams winning everything. Nonetheless it is also true that the second tier teams today aren’t like the second tier teams of the 80s. Similarly my point wasn’t that Federer or Nadal can be beaten but that if they are it doesn’t mean as much as it once might have. Also I wasn’t saying that a few people once dominated while that wasn’t the case anymore nor does my point imply that the truly remarkable player cannot dominate at this point. Federer and even Nadal clearly make the opposite point (but then so did women in that same mid-later 80s period and a bit beyond.. Graf for example, Navratilova earlier, Seles before she was stabbed). A truly dominant player will get his titles in any age. If he or she is that dominant. However Lendl losing in the 80s to a lesser player meant a bit more than Sampras doing the same and this in turn a bit more than the same today. Only because technology, fitness, the evolution of the game have brought about these changes. All else being equal the better player still wins. Much as in soccer (and this is the point I’ve been arguing otherwise) the lesser teams have closed the gap but not enough to beat the top ones. But that gap has still closed. And sometimes it might take a long time for that gap to evaporate. There might even be periods of stagnation (African teams have been solid or good for 20 years now without really showing any better results on the whole) attributable to all kinds of reasons.

            Now I wouldn’t define this as ‘equality’ in any sense, whether in soccer or in tennis. When a gap narrows as I think it has it does not follow that a greater talent cannot dominate. Simply that the cost of dominating perhaps increases. And more to the point when one loses the competition isn’t as ‘poor’ as might seem to be the case.

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          • RajRoshan Says:

            The gap in Tennis now seems to have started narrowing…but still the others find it almost impossible to beat the big 4. Today’s Tennis is much more physical and needs too much of power and stamina. Not to mention the quality of players/opponents is much better than a decade before. For example a decade ago Federer used to defeat Philippoussis, Roddick, Hewitt, Baghdatis etc. But now he have to defeat the likes of Nadal, Djokovic and Murray who are overall in altogether different league when compared to the likes of Baghdatis, Roddick or González. The evergreen class of Federer, unmatched athleticism and fitness of Nadal and Djokovic have hardly let any other players to win gs…the inconsistent Murray completes the cycle of big 4. At times its been predictable because of their consistency but I think I have been in the golden era of Tennis with these 4. But as Nadal told after French open the era might be coming to an end…not instantly but by 2015 we might start seeing new champions.

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        • Re: “history has no European team has won in South America … I’d be a fool to bet against a 40 year record on the premise of some jittering recent performances!”

          On the wider point — that smart money is on Brazil over Columbia (in large part because of Colombia’s inexperience at this level) — I do not disagree. But the reference to history is a bit misleading: true, no European team has won in South America, but how many World Cups have even been held in South America? Only once in the last four decades prior to this current tournament (1978 in Argentina); prior to that I believe we have to go way far back: 1958 in Chile, won by a Brazilian team one surely wouldn’t want to argue against no matter where they played; and prior to that we are talking about pretty ancient history: 1950 in Brazil; and 1930 in Uruguay. So the stat is true, but is it meaningful? i.e. what REASON other than randomness might explain such a stat (heat? If so, I believe contemporary teams are better prepared thanks to more professional training regimens, and also because the “native sons” spend most of the year in Europe! Can’t think of another factor: it’s not like test cricket, where factors such as the different sorts of pitches afforded by different countries provide obvious explanations). Heck, one might even see 1978, not as an instance of European teams failing to win in South America, but as part of a different series, namely home teams winning (Germany in 1974; Argentina in 1978; France in 1998), especially where those teams otherwise don’t necessarily stand that great a chance of winning (1978’s Argentina was not Maradona’s team; Sweden made the final at home in 1958). Or how about this: Brazil has not won any World Cup in Europe since…1958! Or in South America, since 1962! All of their Cup triumphs have come outside both Europe and South America in the last half-century. So it depends on how one reads the statistics, whether the statistic is meaningful or simply of academic interest (for the record, I believe Brazil’s failure to win in Europe or South America in over 50 years is of academic interest only; as is the stat that Tendulkar has never scored a test century in Zimbabwe: it’s true, but it doesn’t mean much, whereas had he never scored a test 100 in Australia, that stat would have meant something).

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          • Completely agree with you Qalandar, very well articulated… And adding to the point about meaningless stats: Brazil has never won a World Cup at home.

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          • “but how many World Cups have even been held in South America? Only once in the last four decades prior to this current tournament”

            this isn’t really true. First off I’d include Mexico as part of ‘S America’ for these purposes. It’s not so obviously but I think you’d agree that for the purposes of this debate it’s more S America than anything else. There have been two in Mexico (’70 and ’86), the Chile one was ’62, one in Uruguay (’30), one in Brazil before the present one (’50), and of course one in Arg (’78). That’s 6 WCs. Not one european winner from 1930 to the present (of course this could change in the present Cup). Meanwhile Spain won in S Africa. Meanwhile there have been 10 Cups in Europe (including the UK), let’s leave aside the US and Japan-S Korea for the moment. Brazil won twice in Europe. No S American has done this otherwise. So I don’t think it’s an unfair stat.

            On your host nations point there have been 19 WCs and the host nations have won it only 6 times. Even if you exclude the US or Japan/S Korea that’s still a big number. But what about when major nations who have a chance of winning anyway play the hosts? Germany lost in ’06, Italy lost in ’90, Spain lost in ’82. France are the only exception between ’78 and the present. Before this it is true that W Germany won in ’74, Eng won in ’66, Uruguay and Italy won the first two as hosts. But that’s it. However it’s true that if one very roughly correlates major teams in different eras with the same winning as hosts you probably have a 45-50% win record. Still not overwhelming. Italy for instance probably has the same odds anywhere in Europe. The same is true for Germany and so forth.

            But I could frame it more dramatically. The only time a European team has ever won outside Europe is Spain in South Africa! In this larger set S American teams have won three times outside their continent (and again I’m including Mexico).

            All of this doesn’t mean that there isn’t something to your point (specially since one ultimately has to look at how each team was doing around any specific cup and so forth..). Stats can certainly be misleading. But ‘never winning’ in a continent with enough chances and over a very long history though not definitive is certainly a rather curious trend. For instance the last two times Brazil won in S Korea-Japan and the US. It’s not Europe but it’s not S America either. Europe has just done it once. and they’ve never won in S America no matter what the era or opposition or what have you. Where I do agree completely is that to the extent those past losses might have been about the climate or some of these other factors to the extent that these European teams are fitter than ever and more likely to go through a training regimen where climate becomes less of an issue they might be less likely to lose for the reasons they once did.

            Incidentally in terms of the crowd it’s most uphill for Arg this time. The crowd was roaring for Swi the other day. They hate Arg and they’d have anyone win but them!

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          • jayshah Says:

            A stat becomes fairly relevant when it is rather continuously revered in many instances. The fact that no European team has won on “America’s” soil (you can have Mexico and USA in that) is rather significant. One reason is and I think it is significant, South America specifically in footballing terms behaves more like a continent united to win on home soil then Europe does. All South American teams tend to go up a notch. You hear it in their interviews, anecdotally. The rivalries in South America are historic. There is more fanatics I’d say. Watch a River Plate-Boca Juniors match.
            And everyone wants to beat Brazil on their patch! I saw an Argentina vs Brazil rivalry program on TV yesterday. You don’t tend to see this when world cups are in Europe.
            Statistically the world cup is held 30% of the time in history in America’s. It’s not a huge %. But that might explain why only S American teams have won it each time…they don’t get the world cup much, when they do, they go hell for leather to win it.
            The other explanation I will offer is this. South American players have tons more experience of the European continent. Most players play there. I don’t know a single major European player who has ever plied his trade in South America. The experience is useful.
            For example a country like Ecuador, quote “And, while not a new advantage, it surely helps that the national stadium is in Quito, some 9,100 feet above sea level. Struggling with the altitude, visiting teams tend to wilt. Ecuador qualified for the 2014 World Cup by going undefeated in Quito, winning every game but one, against Argentina. The bad news is that it failed to win a single game on the road, and this year’s World Cup was in Brazil, not in Ecuador.”

            I am not saying this record will stand forever, it could likely go in this world cup. But there are some potential reasons…another one could be travel. Going to South Africa or Japan/S Korea is the same for a European team as it is for Americans. But going to America involves a lot more travel, more time away from home, the heat “is” an issue for some teams…only European teams namely Italy and Holland (maybe others) have requested breaks during matches in the heat etc. After a long hard and more competitive season in Europe, travel does become an issue.

            But I think the main reason is when the world cup goes to S America, it feels more like home territory then it would for a European in a European world cup. You could read this as they have a higher motive or incentive to win.

            Or like you say it could just be the way it has turned out!

            It would mean a whole lot more for India to win a cricket world cup in Pakistan than England. In all considerations would an indian team be more likely to win in Pakistan or England considering the climate, travel and the frequency of matches they play on their continent vs. another continent. If more Indian players played county cricket you’d increase their chances in England? This is what it’s like for a South American team. And I am more talking about likelihoods here then what actually happens. I know very well India have won a world cup in England and in India! But as a level of comfort and “feeling” at home “figuratively”, India would find it easier to play in the climates and pitches of Pakistan, Bangladesh or Sri Lank then elsewhere. They’d also face more hostitility and pressure in turn. In turn they may be more motivated to win. But basically there is “more” in it for them.

            Have you ever seen European teams on European continents go through their national anthems like the Brazilians have in this world cup? I mean they were crying, highly emotional and also repeated their anthem twice! It’s stirring stuff.

            Or Escabar, the guy who got killed for scoring an own goal. it’s fanatasism and crazyness. It’s do or die situations for these teams. The level of flack they face is more.

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          • Bandra.NRI Says:

            Q and others’ larger point about stats does stand. Statistics is good only in the presence of big data. On small data, the margins of error is large. The history of World Cup soccer does not offer enough data points for statistics to offer any sound perspective. In fact the use of statistics in this manner gives credence to the saying that there are three kinds of lies, “lies, damned lies and statistics”.

            Additionally as opposed to cricket, where the quality of the pitch can help or inhibit play, football is “less” depended on the ground. This is why soccer is the poor man’s sport. It requires personal skills and not much more. I am told that most kids in South America start playing soccer even without proper shoes. Moreover the World Cup is generally held in reasonable weather, it is going to be 78 in Rio (today). Qatar will be the first time when a World Cup will be played in excessive heat.

            My picks for today (of course 90% is personal preference or wishful thinking without much science). Columbia and France. Both these teams will prevail.

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          • Aside: Memory also plays an interesting role here: in cricket, Sri Lanka was once a minnow, and now no longer is; that also means that runs scored against SL back when they were minnows are now “sanctified” by SL’s current status. The same is true of India, Pakistan. E.g. We don’t take records against Bangladesh seriously; but it’s clear that folks in England and Australia didn’t take records against India seriously in 1948, or against Pakistan in 1952 — but now that those countries are considered major cricketing nations, world fans’ memories supply no asterisk on records even against the 1948 Indian team or the 1952 Pakistan team (sure one might say India had no bowling or what have you, but our reaction doesn’t “treat” those records like Bangladesh; and if and when Bangladesh becomes a major cricketing power twenty years from now, 2007 performances against Bangladesh will seem retrospectively better). Stated differently, just WHO a “major nation” is in sporting terms is not only NOT fixed (that is so obviously true as to be banal) but is not even fixed for a particular point in time , since our impression itself changes with time. Consider Uruguay: 7-8 decades ago major, yet today when we encounter a world cup final scoreline that shows them as having won it, one is a bit befuddled. There are exceptions (it’s hard to imagine the memory of the West Indies of the 1970s and 1980s will ever fade, as long as cricket endures), but this is true of even some of our biggest names (Argentina as a major team is a phenomenon of the last four decades, but when I read about Argentina in the 1960s or 1950s, it is hard for me to not be colored by FUTURE greatness: a certain “respect” automatically is deployed, the sort of respect that doesn’t accrue to Brazil’s finals opponents in 1958 (Sweden) or 1962 (Czechoslovakia) — here one scratches one’s head. I don’t mean to make a philosophy out of ignorance (perhaps soccer aficionados don’t react the same way when thinking of the 1958 Swedish team), but I think even aficionados find it hard to withhold “respect” (India-England test series from the 1950s and even the 1930s have retrospectively become “serious” series, even though it’s clear that at the time, the English press/players/establishment did not see them the same way).

            Aside 2: I am not sure I agree that the gap between top sides and other sides in football has narrowed as Neymar suggests, but that point is suggestive because it brought something else to mind: let’s turn to cricket and consider the gap, not between cricketing teams, but between cricketing FUNCTIONS. Once upon a time bowlers barely practiced batting, and a tailender often wouldn’t last long. Today, by contrast, if a team has a weak batting tail this is considered a weakness and held up as a black mark, and most teams have competent, even stubborn tailenders — the gap between bowler and batsmen has clearly narrowed (a lot of data supports it). Some of this is attributable to easier pitches today, but there is no doubt whatsoever that Sarfaraz Nawaz or Bob Willis or Joel Garner or Chandrashekhar just did not spend hours upon hours BATTING in the nets — even the least-professional of their contemporary descendants do (you can tell just from the technique: most contemporary tailenders are hard to distinguish from batsmen by batting stance alone). In fact, it was once considered un-sporting to use bouncers against tail-enders, because they were deemed hapless — today, no such opprobrium attaches to bouncers against lower order batsmen. Perhaps it is the same in football? (I don’t know the sport that well). i.e. Perhaps average fitness levels, combined with the greater “standardisation” promoted by the dominance of the European leagues, mean that it is harder today for the average Brazilian star (who spends 90% of his time in the European leagues) to be that much better than the average Ghanaian star (who also spends 90% of his time in the European leagues), and the only thing you can rely on is having an assembly-line that produces MORE top stars…so it becomes about “quantity” in some way, because there is no “qualitative” difference between “the Brazilian player” and “the French player”, they are all UEFA Champions League players… the African teams perhaps still preserve a certain free-flowing charm, because on those teams only few European stars are surrounded by less “predictable”, more attractive “home grown” players…

            Like

          • jayshah Says:

            On your aside 2…I think it’s basically that the top African players/Asian players etc. are now plying their trade in the top leagues in Europe. Also they are a cheaper option in terms of transfer fees. This experience is like Indian cricketers playing county cricket. This has helped the players play with European counter parts, get experience and learn about different style of football.
            This is why England is so rubbish at football too. 30-40% of players in the EPL are foreign. There are few English players who get a chance to play because 1) they might not be good enough 2) if they are good enough they are too expensive to buy.
            You might ask who is Adam Lallana. Well he is a decent footballer at 25 years old. He has just signed for Liverpool at £25MM. £30MM in the European market buys you Cesc Fabregas who is 26 years old. Lallana plays for Southampton. He has NEVER played in the champions league. Cesc has won the Spanish league, 1 world cup, 2 euro cups and played for Arsenal and Barcelona.
            This is the opposite effect of too many foreigners in the English game.
            Also there are hardly any caps on foreign players like there was in the 90’s. Now you can have Arsenal vs Chelsea and no English man in sight! Even the managers are foreign! The game has become more global and Europe is the hub of world talent. So Europe prospers at club football level (its importing the best talent in the world as the money is in Europe) yet the national game for some nations where the equilibrium of foreign players to national players has increased far too much has hindered the success of the national team e.g. like England. Those nations who have exported their talent prosper more nationally as there players play with the best and become better over time.

            And some nations are just better at getting the equilibrium right. Spain/Italy/Germany have more of their “own” players playing in their own league and their “top” players could be abroad. This is better than England…where their “own” players play in their league (if they are lucky and good enough) and none of their “best” players have the guts to go abroad except for a few.

            But there is a gap that will remain for a long time. Europe and South America will always dominate as they have a domestic league of value and quality. Asians and Africans just don’t have this yet. Plus they have little money. USA of course is the curveball, that has the potential to do it all in 100 years time.

            Like

          • Fascinating: can you say more about why half-decent English players would be so expensive in this system?

            Like

          • jayshah Says:

            Simply because they are a dime a dozen and very rare. Plus you are selling to a direct competitor in your league so you feel you want to extract a bigger price as that player will be playing against you. Plus he is English, and there is a short supply of decent English footballers as they have been substituted for the cheaper equally good foreign option.
            But the prices are very unrealistic. Lallana is a decent footballer, no rap on him. But in quality terms he is worth £15MM tops…Fabregas is worth £30MM and probably more. The reality then is if you do not care for the success of the national team or have a foreign owner and little allegiance to England, would you rather spend £30MM or £15MM. So you buy the cheaper foreign option, who is equally good football wise but will take a little longer to integrate or learn the language or get use to the lifestyle. But it’s a price worth paying.

            When Bale went to Madrid for £85MM, the moment Manchester United showed some interest the price rocketed to £125MM in the media. It’s ridiculous.

            It happens less in Italy/Spain/Germany. Unless its Real Madrid who would pay big money at any cost. Generally prices are more reasonable because the vast majority of players are of the same nationality and so there is more supply of them. The quality is similar. In England, there is just not that depth in the system either at player level or coaching level compared to other European countries. There is too much money in the club game, more at stake for the billionaire owners money wise to “care” for the national game. It’s a success TODAY mentality, immediate success so they try to invest in the best players in the world.

            All wrong as Spain/France/Holland/Germany has shown for years, that if you get your philosophy right at youth level, invest in academy’s and coaches you can have a strong league and national team. Germany have done it for decades and Spain recently.

            The England squad of 23, not all of them are guaranteed starters for their club teams. Spain would have their 23, and another 23 who would be first team players probably. And that second 23 would be better than England’s first 23 or give them a bloody good game!

            The last great “English” club side was Man UTD in 1999. Since then, since Abramovich and foreign money, the average English club side is actually a very foreign side. Whereas the Bayern side would have 7-8 German internationals or the Barcelona side likewise.

            Put another way, the IPL is like the Spain or German league though maybe with a “hypothetical” cap of 2-3 foreign players. There is no such cap like this, but generally it works like this.
            For England the IPL would be “no cap”. What would an IPL owner do if there was no limit to who he can buy. And the pressure is to win. And he is very rich. My guess is he will not opt for the young, fairly average indian player and go for the real deal abroad.
            And let’s say a decent indian player comes along. BANG I’ll pay $2MM for Ravindra Jadeja! Would someone equally as good as Jadeja but foreign go for a similar sum?

            Like

          • jayshah Says:

            Di Stefano dies. One of the greats.
            http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/28179414

            Like

          • big news..

            here are some highlights:

            Like

          • Lallana was coming off the bench for Eng in this tournament!

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  58. Bandra.NRI Says:

    Tomorrow Columbia, with a one goal margin, will most likely end Brazil’s run.

    Like

    • Given how each team has played it could easily happen and it wouldn’t be a surprise but I’d still bet on Brazil for many of the reasons Jay has mentioned. Col are definitely scoring a lot of goals (the most so far if I’m not mistaken) and they’re clearly in great form. However Uru would have been their first major opposition but Suarez of course did not play. So now it’s going to be Brazil as the first real test. Also expect Brazil to be a lot better than last time given the scare they got. The question again is about the kind of game that will be played. Still think a somewhat free-flowing one with lots of goals favors them.

      My nightmare by the way is a Germany-Holland final. I admire each team from a distance but it would be a bummer to have these two in a final! Of course Holland have never won and it would be surprising if they broke that trend in S America.

      Like

      • Bandra.NRI Says:

        Those points you mentioned are valid, BUT every World Cup has an anointed star, this World Cup that star is James Rodriguez.

        Like

      • RajRoshan Says:

        Although Holland are not so favorites but its long overdue…would love to see them winning if not Argentina (whom I really doubt with their current form)…but for that they need RVP back in form about whom their is rumor of thigh injury 😦

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      • “Can you say more about why half-decent English players would be so expensive in this system?”
        This is because there is a minimum requirement of 8 home players in the squad of 25 in the champions league. So if you find a half decent home player or promising but not so well yet known players, you inflate their price to retain them for longer periods. Otherwise there is a risk of losing them to the European teams.

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  59. The EVOLVING TRENDS of world sport

    I hadn’t elaborated on my initial comment due to sheer laziness (but seems I need to after reading some comments above!)

    Be it football, tennis or even cricket (especially T20)- the emphasis on basic fitness is more. This topped with ‘basic skills’ and adherence to some basic predecided strategy forms the crux nowadays. And this is NOT ROCKET SCIENCE !

    Yes, talent, innovation & mercurial ability still matters (& all things being equal in tight contests) does make the decisive difference-but for that the teams have to be evenly matched and upto a bare minimum standard.

    I’ve seen only a few games yet (due to time constraints unlike some here who have seen every game). But will try to restrict this only to football here (about which I ‘don’t know much’)

    The sheer physicality & TEMPO of the game has been raised and in many games it’s like END TO END basketball.

    I have talked about ‘SET PIECES’ earlier –some confused it with movies I think!
    The DEAD BALL & how teams deal with it, be it from a CORNER or a FREEKICK can all be REHEARSED & COORDINATED with group practice.
    National teams with big stars who spend more time with pricey club teams face a problem there.

    The other critical moment is the point of CHANGE IN POSSESSION of ball.
    Due to the emphasis on PRE-PROGRAMMED set pieces and STRONGER LEGS, this is more effective be it in COUNTER ATTACKS or sheer ‘survival’ after the mid second half

    One saw the weak Brazilian midfield but by inadvertently PULLING the teams into their own half, NEYMAAR has been left freer and with his speed with the ball, he has converted the same problem into goal(s)

    Besides change in possession, there is a more FLUID FORWARD movement and this gives chances to even substitutes to score. Infact if I remember correctly subs have scored more than 25 goals here that’s a record. Hence the importance of FRESHER legs can’t be more overstated.
    When one suffers cramps and a pulled HAMSTRING, and it becomes about surviving the two halves, all strategies & plans go out of the window!

    I have also sensed an unwritten DIRECTIVE by FIFA to the referees to be less severe on the ATTACKER thus giving the forwards more chances to score and the sport becoming more SPECTATOR FRIENDLY (& I’m sure this hasn’t been pointed out by many -if not anyone!)

    But some trends remain ‘universal’-killer instinct and peaking at the right time continues to be important though esp when one comes to the business end knockout stage.

    I smiled when I came to know that England flew to Miami beach (lol) to ‘acclimatise’ before the World Cup or when Murray employed a Frenchwoman as his ‘trainer’–the results were known beforehand.
    Nothing replaces work ethic….

    Im unsure if the actual ‘quality’ or ‘flair’ has improved-perhaps it’s less important.

    There’s talk of why the Brazilian and argentine brand is still so popular. The answer is the 3 Ps –PASSION, PANACHE & PRAYERS.
    Humans like to watch the 3Ps more than ROBOTIC MECHANISATION

    So, when people say this is the best World Cup ever–after a brief pause, I say “yes & no!”

    Like

  60. “But I could frame it more dramatically. The only time a European team has ever won outside Europe is Spain in South Africa!” European teams made the finals of the last seven world cups outside Europe– so they might have won one but if a team can make the finals it doesn’t have an issue with winning on that continent. They only missed the finals in 1930 and 1950, and that is ancient history.

    Like

    • That’s a fair point. In fact they do quite well in the deeper rounds. For instance in ’86 three out of four semifinalists were European teams. On the other hand this raises the opposite question too. What prevents them from winning the big one? If they didn’t make it that deep one could say there were other factors involved like climate and so forth but if they always lose in the finals could one say there is a historic ‘choke’ of some sort? It’s either a pure coincidence (it might well be this) or it could be a more psychological thing.

      I’d also make this point though. At least for 35-40 years there have not really been serious contenders from S America other than Brazil and Arg. The European list is usually a longer one than this. Even in this cup you had some unusual things. Normally Spain and Italy and Portugal don’t all exit in the first round in every instance. But with S America it’s usually been down to those two (other teams advance but can’t realistically be expected to win). Arg has underperformed most of the time since their 1990 finals loss to W Germany (in penalties.. incidentally penalties weren’t used before ’82 in semifinals or finals..). So it’s just been Brazil carrying the flag. With Europe some of the names are constant, others not as much so but there’s usually a group of 5 or quite strong teams.

      Like

      • jayshah Says:

        Correction: Germany beat Argentina in 1990 1-0. They won with a penalty in the last 5mins.

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        • yes true. I thought it was penalty kicks but it wasn’t. Anyway one ugly final.
          actually Arg haven’t made it to the quarters that often since that match. One in 1998 when they lost to Holland 2-1 and then in 2006 when they lost to Germany on penalties and finally 2010 when they got humiliated 4-0 by the same. Let’s see if they can do better this. It’s been woeful for them in this 25 year period compared to other major teams. Specially compared to the ’78-’90 run.

          Like

          • jayshah Says:

            Argentina were terrible in that final.
            watching some world cup programs, i have never known about some of the incredible controveries during world cups.
            in 78′ it is considered that argentina bribed peru (brazil-argentina played out a 0-0 draw and in the final games, brazil played first then argentina. argentina “knew” the margin they needed to win by and beat peru 6-0. brazilians have always felt cheated since)
            in 82′ of course algeria were done similarly when germany-austria played out a draw to knock them out. since that wc all final group games were played at the same time to avoid this bias
            in 90′ apparantly the argentines “spiked” branco’s (brazil players) drink during the match. i saw footage of maradona on a talk show laughing and joking about what they did. argentina went on to win that match despite brazil hitting the post/bar a number of times

            of course now we have the “infamous bite” which is not quite as thrilling as conspiracy theories…

            Like

          • yeah there’s certainly been a lot of dirt surrounding Argentia. And in that context even Maradona is no Messi. he was quite happy to win any which way he could. Even with that iconic Hand of God moment it wasn’t like Hulk’s handball recently where it was a relatively close call and you can still understand Hulk not wanting to concede that point. But Maradona clearly guides the ball in that moment.

            Like

          • Italy has fared even worse Satyam, getting eliminated in the first round in three of the last four tournaments. I know they won in 2006, but managed to mar even that with the ugly head butt they provoked…

            Like

          • yes their record given their elite domestic structure is shameful.

            Like

    • jayshah Says:

      How does one explain Brazil and Argentina still being favs with the bookies then? There is no bigger population of people who have an “opinion” then the gamblers? All this despite them being the “worst” performing sides left in the draw.
      If football or any sport was about the here and now, the form team, then Colombia or Costa Rica would be favs. Or the guy who knocked out Nadal would be fav cos he knocked out the #1 guy in the world.
      History, stats, records all comes into play…I bet the betting company who is offering the odds looks at all records and stats to offer the “appropriate” odds.

      Like

      • Bandra.NRI Says:

        Odds are based on here & now ( the bets). If all bettors start putting money on the worst team (just for the sake of argument ) then the Odds will show that team as the favorite. Techinecally, one person with a big enough bet can change the Odds.

        Like

        • but these are very complex detailed bets.. check this out for instance (scroll down and check out all the possibilities):

          http://www.skybet.com/football/world-cup

          Like

          • The funny thing is that while the Odds favor Brazil to win the cup. The Odds favor Columbia to win the game against Brazil. Go figure.

            Like

          • that’s because in each case you’re looking at a different series of probabilities. If I say Brazil has a 40% chance of winning the cup but also a 40% chance of losing to Colombia it’s not really a contradictory statement. Because the latter is really a subset of the former set of probabilities (the universal set if you will). In other words there’s a 60% chance that Bra will not win it all in which case they have to lose to someone. Col then becomes one of the real possibilities where Chile might have been less of one and so on. Obviously I’m simplifying things, it’s far more complicated otherwise because you also correlate these probabilities with many other involving other teams that might not be directly connected and so on. Or you look at factors like Europeans not winning in the Americas and you put it all together.

            Like

          • OK, you have a valid point. I understand the concept that one is a subset of the other, and that at any given point all these odds are in orbit of each other, in some sort of celestial balance.

            BUT

            I saw no change in Brazil’s overall odds when Columbia was breaking out.

            Out of curiosity I ask that when Columbia went from an under dog to a team with better odds against Brazil (in the quarter final match), the celestial balance theory dictates a readjustment in Brazil’s overall odds. I did not see that adjustment .

            Like

          • Because (and I haven’t studied these bets.. just making a general point) Colombia’s odds could increase in an overall sense without the chances of them beating a major team any greater in any specific game. This might seem a bit unfair but the reason this happens is that once again the WC has a long history of teams doing well in the early rounds or even surprisingly well and then losing tamely in the rounds that matter. Once in a while there might be surprises of course and Col might be this. They used to say this for African teams that reached the quarterfinals. Senegal in ’90 or ’94, Cameroon more recently but again they couldn’t get through beyond a point. Today’s match by the way proves it again. France were a young, exciting team that were even over-performing in some sense but today in a rather uninspiring quarterfinal they lost. Ger just had one set piece goal, hardly the most impressive thing going, they played the rest of the match rather insipidly as well. france were much better in this sense but just couldn’t convert. Germany did just enough to win. And there was a stat there that in such situations when Germany have had a lead they’ve won an overwhelming number of times, drawn a couple and lost only once. This is the sort of things people look at when deciding on bets. In any given game Ger might have been poor or less than impressive or could have lost but you add it all up and they somehow hold on even to the slimmest leads.

            But again it’s a question of what one is looking at. germany made it to the semis for the fourth consecutive time, this is a first in WC history. They’ve also done it overall 12 or 16 times, this too is a record. So the most consistent team in this sense. However in the last 40 years between the Beckenbauer win and the present they’ve just won one other time (in ’90 on a penalty). So in 40 years they’ve won only twice despite being the most consistent side by far. Put differently if Arg or Bra or even some European sides go that deep they are far more likely to win it all. On the other hand Germany are much more likely to go deep in the first place but this doesn’t automatically mean a win.

            Like

        • jayshah Says:

          The punters are still putting the bets on Brazil & Argentina (here and now and since the beginning of the tournament) to make them favs. But when a betting market opens, its premise is based on many things. An initial “offering” takes into account many facts, some of which will be factual, historic and more recent events, much like a stock floating.
          In essence, the market is confident of either of these two winning more than the other teams no matter what has happened in this tournament till now. And the odds are similar to the beginning of the tournament.
          One person can, but not in this market. The world cup will have so many punters, it would take an incredible amount to be put on one team. Maybe a rubbish, obscure match can have that affect.
          In affect the world cup is like a blue chip company share…it would take an immense amount of volume to shift the share price…unlike a penny share where someone dumping 2 or 3 big bets could shift it immensely.
          My only point is, punters are swayed by many factors other than just “current form”. When you place a bet, a sizeable one, many would look at form guides but also place a lot of emphasis on pedigree, know how, experience, history etc. And the bets on Brazil and Argentina are factors of all these components. Otherwise, if the bets were on “just” present form, who and why would one bet on Brazil or Argentina? There is obviously an answer to this question that Satyam and I have tried to elaborate.

          Like

          • Bandra.NRI Says:

            My point was that betting is purely based on perception not reality.

            Let’s explain this in different way.

            In US, the GDP numbers (2014:Q1) say that the economy has shrunk. At the same time, the Payroll numbers say the economy is more than fine, in fact, it is growing at a steady pace. Both these facts, are your so called “reality”. Even though they contradict, you cannot deny this reality. But then look at the DOW at 17068 (at a record high). The Dow is your ‘perception”.

            In all such matters, perception trumps reality.

            Brazil & Argentina are enjoying the benefits of how they are perceived. This suits the betting house well, because the house always win.

            Like

          • jayshah Says:

            But what are the perceptions? I think we are saying the same thing.

            Like

          • Bandra.NRI Says:

            Perhaps we are, I am just pointing out that in the case of World Cup Soccer don’t look for certainty based on reality. All the talk about Stats, Home Ground etc are too weak (superficial) to contribute towards any real insight. On the play ground even a small incident/play can lift a weaker team to out perform any expectation from them. Likewise, when a team like Spain gets crushed in its first game itself, it is hard to shake off the scars and give 100%.

            Like

          • But that uncertainty is always inherent in betting. It’s ‘betting’ for a reason! But the point is that this is a very complicated deal in the world of sports (or elsewhere.. horse-racing for example). It’s not as simple as saying that one is just good on paper. Also remember that the qualifying stages for the WC are absolutely grueling, especially if you’re coming from Europe or S America where the general talent level is very high. So for instance if Brazil were playing very well entering the Cup and then started playing badly that might be seen as an aberration whereas if they stumbled into it in the first place that would be a different deal. Having said that many experts have been least convinced about Brazil’s chances among the major teams. But in any case the bets are not just about ‘perception’ if one means something wholly imaginary by this. Or at the very least a total split between how teams are doing and how people perceive them. It doesn’t work that way. And it’s not like the economy because the idea that there is one ‘national’ economy might itself be a fiction. So you can have a skyrocketing stock market coupled with high unemployment, at least for a long time. These things can happen in a transitional economy or one where there is a structural imbalance. when people say India is booming that means about 300m people or so are doing very well and maybe opportunities for another 100m might have improved but the rest are either as bad as ever or even worse. There is no contradiction here. America’s inner cities are more or less immune to the larger economic cycles of the nation. Why? Because they’ve already been ‘excluded’ from the economy in certain ways and only survive as an ‘underground’ one (which can still be part of the economic discussion but that’s a different debate). But sports teams are not like this. And this was one of the points I was making the other day. Either the team as a unit is minimally doing something right or it isn’t. Brazil might be playing badly by their standards or relative to their strengths but it does not logically follow that Chile will then beat them. Because there might be enough of a gap between the two where 80% of the time Brazil will still beat that sort of team even after playing poorly. Similarly Messi is saving Arg for sure but it’s not as if he’d be saving Honduras too! So there are a whole host of factors that go into these betting odds. But they are ‘odds’ for a reason. One doesn’t even have to go that far. The way Bra and Arg have been playing it wouldn’t be at all surprising if both lost. On the other hand it also wouldn’t be surprising if they played better and similarly it wouldn’t be so if they played mediocre football and somehow still managed to beat their opponents.

            Like

  61. Brazil’s 39 year record still intact. They’ve now extended it to 62 games. Unbeaten at home for this period. The other thing is they’re now 49-0 in these games when they’re up 2-0.

    Like

    • France-Germany game was boring. Bra-Col was played at frantic pace but I think refereeing was poor (slightly partial to Brazil).

      Like

    • Clearly for a good part of the game they played like champions.

      But now with skipper Silver out, and Newmar hurt (?), the next game against Germany is an open question.

      Like

  62. hahahaha after Germany, Brazils also thru to the semis 🙂

    “Looks like your predicted after the event had already occurred ?”
    Forget about this ‘event’ or ‘goal’
    My prediction was done on 7 June –BEFORE the games started!! Read this folks–
    https://satyamshot.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/world-cup-2014/#comment-259364

    What contrasting games
    The disciplined structured France-Germany
    And the chaotic passionate Brazil-Colombia –no structure/no shape– just pure frenzy

    But the results being the same–what I had predicted

    The rate at which my prophesies are getting true, I should become a ‘PROPHET’ !! 🙂

    Like

    • But then at 4:17 PM you should have simply said, “Look I said so”. It seems very strange that at 4:17 PM you predicted something that already occurred at 4:07 PM.

      My bad for finding that strange.

      Like

  63. And those predicting number of goals, going on theorising hyperbole, and intellectualisation of football –need to take a chill pill.

    Reading the discussion above, ALL of u missed the bus!!

    Satyam was perhaps relatively correct since he rightly acknowledged the importance of STATURE, BACKGROUND & CLASS

    and goes without saying that a LESSON to those predicting results like Brazils loss to Columbia for eg
    https://satyamshot.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/world-cup-2014/#comment-270156

    Folks—(this One ONLY for guyz!)

    [edited]
    🙂

    IM ENJOYING THE VICTORY

    Like

    • Apex,

      Why would you make such a statement, “Scrotum even if it ……below the d..k” ? Honestly it is not a trick question nor a rhetorical one.

      To begin with, no one here uses such a language. Everyone is just having a friendly banter, and like always you sprinkle some inappropriate words as if you cannot control your Tourette affliction.

      But did YOU KNOW that instead of making you look like some “Cool Cat”, the statement you made, makes you look really bad. I mean horrible. Therefore the question, Why do you say things which make you look so fresh off the boat ?

      Think about what you said.

      Did you mean to announce your experience in testing, or feeling, or observing a lot of “Scrots & D..Ks” ?

      I believe in the the don’t ask, don’t tell policy, hence I am not even remotely inquiring about your Facebook status, surely you have not rushed to this conclusion after fondling just one or two.

      Alternatively

      Did you mean to announce that you are the unfortunate owner of an extra tiny, short & stubby, ship ?

      Because if your ship was big enough, it would easily hang below the scrot. Anyways, it is possible that your inability to make motion in the ocean is due to you extra tiny ship. But it is not something you should announce.

      Like

      • I usually don’t let those kinds of comments through but missed this one. Apex has been told tons of times to not indulge in this kind of talk.

        Like

  64. Gooooooooool

    Classy show when needed …. Welldone

    As predicted teams like France, Uruguay, Italy, Colombia do well
    (But not till the end!!)

    Like

  65. Neymar is out of the rest of the WC! A fractured/broken Vertebrae

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    • tragic for the team..

      Like

      • jayshah Says:

        I think this might be a red herring on Neymar.
        In any case, I was disappointed with both France and Colombia today. They seemed to play the shirt rather than the ball. France especially were lacking urgency, spirit and guile. Colombia probably got a shock from an early goal and were unlucky at some points but generally did not peak to the levels seen before.

        Like

        • agreed on Colombia especially. France too might have done a lot more to convert some of the opportunities they had. However I found the Germans even more uninspiring though once again they did enough to win. The best portion of either match was the first 25 min segment in the Brazil games. The Brazilians were utterly dominant at this point. Of course they too should have scored more than once. And again much as in the Chile game their energy seemed to flag in the second half and in general the game became more sloppy. But it was a really rough game all round.

          On a related note check this out:

          LINK

          I wouldn’t want to do in Brazil what some of these Argentine fans seem to be doing!

          Like

          • Satyam

            In the Europe this kind of in-your-face taunting is very common. The word Rowdy is very much associated with soccer fans. In US, I have rarely seen an opposing fan get beaten up, but in European soccer this is not uncommon.

            I am guessing it is the same in South America also, but you are right as opposed to Europe, here instead of fists, this could result in gun fight.

            Like

        • On Neymar you think he might actually be back? Would be quite the emotional response from the crowd if he did. But hard to believe he’d risk playing with a fracture.

          Like

        • the moments between David Luiz and James were quite touching, he even got the crowd to applaud for him.. later at the press conference too they were together and Luiz was clearly talking only about James. A bromance developing here!

          Like

        • “Neymar, I hope you recover very soon friend!” – Neymar’s Barcelona team-mate and Argentina superstar Lionel Messi wrote on his Facebook page.

          Zuniga might not be able to visit Brazil again! Though this injury could have happened anytime the referee yesterday tried his hardest not to give out yellow cards. The commentators were joking about how he’d forgotten to carry his pack. This made for a rather rough game to begin with.

          Like

    • If Brazil now wins, even without Silva & Neymar then they are Champs.

      Like

  66. sanjana Says:

    Federer reaches Wimbledon Finals. Hope he wins.

    Like

  67. HAHAHAHA

    After Bra & Germ, even Argentina goes thru to the semis

    Exactly as per my original predictions given on 5 June

    Try & negate this—
    https://satyamshot.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/world-cup-2014/#comment-259364

    When theories & theorists have lived & died trying intellectualisation,
    When reason meets emotion
    When restraint meets passion…

    Begins the world of
    APEX 🙂

    Like

    • Bandra.NRI Says:

      You & just you and nobody else at that stage said BAGS. Please clarify whether you coined BAGS too ?

      Amazing how everyone missed this completely, while YOU alone nailed it. Even more amazing how you included Spain (with your incredible powers you should have known that they would be crushed and then eliminated).

      My, my, my, what a legend you are. Clearly for that incredible feat, we will try and forget your [edited] attempt to fake a prediction at 4:17 PM yesterday about something that had already occurred at 4:07 PM.

      Like

      • LOL!

        the old guard all made it through though.. even when it comes down to penalties the experienced teams (Bra recently, now Hol) nonetheless have an edge.

        Like

        • Bandra.NRI Says:

          Satyam

          But don’t you think the Dutch showed amazing control in the extra time ? I was impressed by their team work.

          Like

          • the Dutch had chances even earlier.. some of the misses were unbelievable! some they should have converted. some incredibly unlucky.

            Like

          • Dutch were clearly the better team. Coast Rica were surviving well on the edge.

            Like

      • Apex, I’ve edited a bit here but you should check out some of your own comments before blaming others. Every comment that’s fair is let through. People say things once in a while. You do so every single day. Nonetheless even your ‘kosher’ comments go through. There’s no point in saying more to you about sober comments and so forth. I gave up on that long ago.

        Like

  68. That’s fine but u can’t block one set of comments & allow another set (even more objectionable!)

    [edited]

    Like

    • I’m not doing any such thing. Sarcasm is one thing, your comments are something else. Even then I edited that one objectionable word in Bandra NRI’s comment. Hadn’t seen it earlier. It’s quite strange but I was busy with the semi-finals. Sometimes I have a cursory look in between. The other day one of your comments went through that had some really poor stuff in it because I wasn’t paying attention. Then someone complained and I had to edit it. But you simply have no leg to stand on when it comes to complaining about this stuff. This is the fairest possible thing I can say about all this.

      Like

  69. RajRoshan Says:

    Di Maria’s injury is big blow to Argentina…rumor of Aguero fit for the semifinals could be somewhat consolation though.

    Germany looks to be the favorites now given Brazil will be without Silva and Neymar

    Like

    • yeah that is a big loss, I’d easily have taken di Maria rather than Aguero unless the latter finds form suddenly like Higuain the other day. They’ll probably have to rely on a very strong defensive game once more. More importantly Di Maria might not even play the final (if Arg get there).

      Like

      • RajRoshan Says:

        Di Maria’s role was of attacking midfielder…while Aguero will play as striker…with the current form of Di Maria I don’t see any proper substitute for him.

        Looks like bloomberg’s prediction of Brazil-Argentina final (they made before world cup started) with Brazil winning is gone now.
        As both the sides won’t be playing with their full strength.

        Like

        • RajRoshan Says:

          http://www.bloomberg.com/visual-data/world-cup/

          Looks like they already changed now to Germany-Arg final.
          Although I will give edge to Germany-Holland final.

          Like

          • Holland have a deadly trio and in Robben they probably have the dirtiest star of any major team as well (!). At least in terms of playacting in the penalty box where he shamelessly said the other day that the penalty he was given was genuine (the third time but that the first one was pure performance.. now of course soccer in any case has the best performers outside a movie studio and most of these guys are probably better actors than the ones found in Bollywood but still among major players you don’t find as many as willing to flop in the penalty box as much as he does.. in previous WCs they used to give a lot more yellow cards for playacting in the penalty area). Suarez of course has psychological issues. Nonetheless and though they were unlucky in the last game (a couple of missed goals were sheer bad luck) they have somehow found it hard to score since the early games. I’d actually say the same if true for Germany. Arg at least have throughout done this with the Nig game being the one exception. Muller hasn’t scored in two games though I’d expect that to change soon. On that note the other thing Arg did well against Belgium (specially given the height disadvantage) and will need to do more of, specially if they face Germany (the best in this respect), is avoid giving corners as much as possible. I think Germany can be contained offensively if you somehow keep these corners and/or free kicks to a minimum but specially the former. Whether they play the same formation going forward remains to be seen. Because (and Ballack seemed to be suggesting as much) they seem to be rather vulnerable to the long ball. And while Alg and France couldn’t capitalize they wouldn’t want to try this against a stronger side.

            I’d also finally say this about Germany repeating a point I made the other day. No team is more consistent than them in WC history. 12-13 semifinal appearances in 20 WCs. a historical 4th consecutive appearance in the same sense. However they’ve only win twice in the last 40 years despite this record. So while their probability of going deep is always the greatest of any major team, the same cannot be said of their probability in terms of winning everything. Put differently the other major teams, whether the European ones, or Arg-brazil have a much better chance of winning once they get that deep. Part of it is the fact that even relatively average german teams over-perform in the WC and eventually lose to the better team while the others are more likely to underperform than the opposite and hence not get that deep. Still if a team can make it to the semifinals or even the finals I’m not sure if they are ‘average’ at that point, specially since better or stronger teams also don’t live upto their true potential very often in the WC. But Germany has this mythology surrounding them where consistency is equated with winning everything. With most other teams this kind of record (at both ends) might have been considered a record of chokes. In any case I hope they don’t change the script this time around if they meet Arg!

            On a related note Ballack doesn’t seem that big on Ger so far and on the other has been quite complimentary of Arg throughout. then again he’s had his issues with the German soccer establishment so these might not be entirely unbiased opinions.

            Like

        • I didn’t mean to suggest that Aguero and Di Maria were interchangeable. Just that Arg, given Aguero’s form, could manage better with the latter than the former. Also and though he seems physically fine it’s not clear yet whether Aguero will come off the bench or will start. Given Argentina’s cohesion problems so far (though again I’d say they had their most cohesive game defensively the other day.. but one goal will hardly be enough against the heavyweights.. or at least that can’t be your entire plan) this kind of added uncertainty around di Maria or Aguero cannot help. They’re lucky that Higuain found his form at the right time. Ultimately I suppose this was always going to be about Messi and now it will have to be about him some more. Had Di Maria and Aguero both been around and had the latter been in form these two combined with Higuain would have really made the team deadly. Because you put 3-4 guys on Messi, he still gets the extra touches and creates space for the right passes. But if you just have one guy or so who ever seems to be a scoring threat then limiting Messi also limits the team much more. Rojo will be back though and I’ve really liked his pluck throughout the tournament.

          Like

  70. jayshah Says:

    Bookmakers have new favourites now. The Neymar and Silva absence has made a difference to Brazil’s chances.
    Argentina are favourites, then Germany, then Brazil and Netherlands.
    However, the odds are so close between the 4, at 5/2 for Argentina and 10/3 for Holland, this is a lottery now as it is the most closely contested odds for a long time. No team has been convincing all the way.

    Germany are the team to beat now though. They just look a little unflappable…the way they controlled the France game was immense as they really did not give France a sniff.
    Argentina played better against Belgium but at no period in the tournament have they hit even 4th gear. They just look dysfunctional with a bank of 6 players and 4 players with a missing link. I’d be replacing Di Maria with another midfielder who is a good passer rather than an unfit Aguero. They’ll need runners to combat Holland’s pace. But in Messi, they have the worlds #1 player.
    Brazil have done well to get this far. This is a terrible Brazil side, when you consider the history the country has. It would be a travesty if they won playing this way. They have hit the gears against Colombia in the first half and it will be that level they require. Silva is a HUGE miss. This guy has been very vocal in the back, marshalling the team at set pieces and he has scored an important goal. Dante in for him is weaker than Willian in for Neymar. They are here on sheer spirit.
    Holland are the wildcard even at 10/3. They are the classic one two punch left now as they could really rip teams apart if on their game. Robben’s the key now and RVP has not been up to in last few games.

    I’m drawing on the bookmakers, as far they have a 100% record in the knockout stages. Whichever team has been the pre-match favourite has won, which is remarkable as usually you do get the odd upset.

    So that will indicate a Germany-Argentina final, which is where I would go too.

    Germany look the best bet to me as well now to win the whole thing. If you consider they can play possession football like in the group stages, they can counter attack too and they can play old school like they did against France. On paper, there midfield is the best left in the tournament. I’d give them the edge on Brazil, probably more than an edge now. I’d expect them to win by 2 goals, either 2-0 or 3-1.
    Argentina and Holland is harder to call. That could be an explosive and dirty match. The match depends on which Argentina turn up. And I think, they will be further motivated by Brazil’s exit and sneak this one 1-0.

    Like

    • Arg did very well defensively against Belgium but yes they certainly need to do better offensively. Having said that they have played better against better opposition (Bel had 1 shot at the goal in the first 70-75 min, they had 26 against the US, even accounting for the difference in opposition this is huge). But di Maria’s loss I think is pretty significant unless Aguero can suddenly find form, that too after having been out for a while. Apparently he looked fine physically in the training sessions. But there’s no way they can make up for Di Maria. I’m going to stick my neck out and call it Argentina’s year though given I’m a fan this might be wishful thinking! Do think they’ve been lucky too at points which is not a bad thing to be in a WC!

      On the Ger-France game I’d disagree a bit. This is the second team in a row after Alg to have regularly breached their high line. France ought to have scored once or twice. They had some good chances there. No questions about the midfield though and I guess the Germans would rather take their chances this way. Whether they can afford such a risk against a major team is another matter.

      Like

      • jayshah Says:

        It’s astonishing how low scoring the knockouts become.
        And looking at world cup finals of the past, how it is shifted to low scoring games since 86.
        Up until 86, in every world cup final ever, both teams ALWAYS scored. So in 13 consecutive finals we got scores of 4-2, 2-1, 4-2, 2-1, 3-2, 5-2, 3-1, 4-2, 4-1, 2-1, 3-1, 3-1, 3-2.
        That’s 4.7 goals per match and some big score lines.

        Since then we have had 1-0, 0-0, 3-0, 2-0, 1-1, 1-0! That’s 1.5 goals per match!!!

        It would be nice if we got some goals now, as the world cup has been one of the best in many years but really needs a stand out knockout game to make it memorable.

        Like

        • agreed.. but this might be chalked up to the ’82 history you were referring to.. just a more defensive-minded game since.

          On Neymar’s loss incidentally this still rankles. They might have lost anyway and certainly I’m not a great brazil supporter or anything but I hate seeing this sort of thing.

          The Brazil 39 year 62 game unbeaten streak will have to be broken for them to lose at home.

          Like

          • jayshah Says:

            I struggle to see how Brazil will win. I fancied Colombia to beat them but I fancy Germany even more! And this is a titanic clash where I don’t see Germany giving Brazil the kind of respect Chile and Colombia bestowed. It’s really the clash of the two most consistent historic sides of the World Cup. The immovable object vs. the irresistible force! Except Brazil are not irresistible!
            My dream final is still on with Brazil vs. Argentina but it could be a nightmare of a watch!

            Like

          • yes but that dream has already been spoilt (even assuming they go through and I agree this is a tough order) with Neymar’s loss..

            Like

  71. MSDhoni Says:

    All eyes on the Brazil – German match and both the semifinals are dream contests. Soccer is never more exhilarating to watch than a game of contrasting style and temperament and may the best team of the ‘day ‘prevail.

    Though the Brazil – Colombia match was a bit too rough it was definitely a better watch than Germany-French battle in the morning same day where they just went through the motions and never seemed a like a do or die quarterfinal match.

    Neymar injury and Silva’s suspension is a bummer but this also gives Brazil the opportunity to shake itself free of the heavy burden of expectations it has been carrying as the host and favorite and play a free flowing game which they are known for against a well-organized German team aided in the midfield by an absolute stunner Thomas Muller….

    Like

    • yes but it’s not a dream contest without Neymar. I can ignore Silva to an extent but not Neymar. Of course Brazil could still pull it off. Unlikely but possible. Do agree that the Brazil-Col match was way better.

      Like

  72. MSDhoni Says:

    It’s a typical mind and heart thing here. Germany and to an extent Dutch have always been my personal favorite teams but as they say when it comes to soccer all non playing nations automatically become Brazil.

    Agree on Neymar’s injury but somehow I haven’t been much impressed until now like say a James Rodriguez. May be a genuine soccer buff would be able to value him more on the game technicalities and his place there.

    Understand fans are coming up with- .’We are all Neymar’: and 120,000 Neymar masks for the match and it would be truly electrifying for sheer passions here and hope Germans don’t disappoint.

    Like

    • I’ve always been for Argentina but nonetheless I am deeply disappointed Neymar is not playing. I don’t like these ‘incomplete’ deals. On a lesser note even disappointed about di Maria. Hope he makes it for the final if Arg get there. There seems to be some doubt even about this at the moment.

      Like

  73. MSDhoni Says:

    Agree Di Maria is a big deal and his absence will be truly felt by Argentina. While Messi is always a heavily marked man, it was Di Maria doing much of the damage to a lot of teams in this tournament and some of his value lies in that he can play center midfield or on the wing. But I fancy Messi coming into his own with his artistry.

    Lets see what kind of approach /route Argentina take since a
    a attacking Argentina will also be dangerous as Dutch front line is lethal and its only because the Costa Ricans played solid defense they could hold them for 120 minutes.

    Like

  74. MSDhoni Says:

    I mean focused on attacking thereby weakening their defenses …

    Like

  75. The good thing is that we are only left with PEDIGREED teams now not the rookie challenger (this is not the place/stage for the latter!)
    Hmm Lemme see now…

    Bra Arg Ger as there as I predicted
    (Even in my initial prediction I had not named Spain to win!) having said that Holland is a worthy replacement & unlike Spain can go all the way

    ALL the four teams here have it in them to go all the way…

    It’s as simple as this

    EVERY team will get the few seconds of dash with fame ie a shot at the goal maybe 5-6 proper ones per match

    Whoever grabs it will win,…

    All the best

    As for today’s match

    My heart is with BRA (for obvious reasons)

    But my brain (& body) is with GER 🙂

    Like

  76. Incredible! This match is over in 25 min. It’s shaping up as one of the worst humiliations in WC history!

    Like

    • now 5-0 in under 30 min. Stunning. Incredible meltdown by Brazil. Probably the worst WC humiliation in their history. even the worst teams don’t lose like this most of the time.

      Like

  77. The match is over
    On a personal front –it tells me to follow my brain (& body) 🙂

    Like

  78. Satyam :

    As Brasil is being ripped apart and buried , Enjoy this collector’s clip . You will like it 🙂

    Like

  79. sanjana Says:

    I just dont understand why most Indians root for Brazil or is it Brasil?

    New york times summed up the mood beautifully.

    The scale of defeat is more humiliating.

    Like

    • IDK why Indians in general root for Brazil but I personally root for Brazil for a number of reasons. First of I like (liked) their style of playing. Second I find Brazil similar to India in a lot of ways, which makes them more relatable. Also they have just destroyed in soccer in the past. And a somewhat subconscious reason (although I do not admit it in public) is because they are a South American team kicking the butts (usually) of Europe, aka the conquered beating the conquerer. I know that all of the imperialism/countries ruling over one another was decades ago, way before I was born but this still has an effect on me, especially being Indian. Also I have a lot of Brazilian friends who are obsessed with the team as much as we are at SS with Bollywood!

      Like

      • So there is this joy I get (completely unrelated to Soccer) whenever Brazil beats say a Germany, England, Spain, or Portugal. Maybe some other Indians supporting Brazil feel the same way? Not sure.

        Like

        • I felt like you do. I felt for Brazil’s fans. Germany is this relentless soccer machine; simply unstoppable. To Brazilians, soccer is religion, close to Christianity. I wish that Argentina meets Germany in the final. At least a berth in the final for a South American nation. But I have a feeling that it may be an all- European final.

          Like

          • sanjana Says:

            With Germans lifting the cup. After those goals, germany seems to be unstoppable.

            Like

          • Bandra.NRI Says:

            If Holland beats Argentina, then perhaps there is more to Germany’s win than just the “sudden & unplanned” absence of Silva and Neymar.

            The Holland Vs Costa Rica match made a case, I am therefore inclined to believe that we are witnessing the death of Samba Soccer. The controlled soccer of Europe has conquered the sparkling magic of South American soccer. Just like decades ago, in a similar fashion, the controlled field hockey of Europe killed the sparkling magic of Indo-Pak field hockey.

            If Holland rather than just win against Argentina, kicks their butt, then I think people will start talking of the superior Euro technique.

            Like

          • jayshah Says:

            “Samba” football in the traditional sense has long been dead since 82 or at least dying slowly!
            That team was last great Brazilian side in that kind of style. The fact that team lost in group stages whilst being the most hotly favoured team to win the WC in history, it really changed Brazilian football. It has become more and more European since. The great Brazilian players and even the average ones are plying their trade in Europe. They are in tuned to European football and rarely do they bring that “natural” samba style to European football. Players like Cafu, Roberto Carlos did, the natural ability of Ronaldo before 98’s injury and Ronaldhinho. But generally they have lost the possession players like Zico/Socrates/Falcao/Eder of 82 and replaced them with a hybrid of more technicians, destructive players like Dunga/Kleberson/Gustavo and what they rely on is less flow possession football and more creating a collection of moments in matches to win. Barcelona have created a space for the return but even they adjusted to a more a possession style then a flow of attacking football. The Germans have “right” formula right now when it matters. They can play possession football, attacking free flowing football or counter attacking football. They have also strangled teams like France. It’s theirs to lose now.

            Like

          • But Arg don’t really play like that. if anything their best game against Belgium so far was very much a European thing. Most S Americans teams don’t play in that old style anymore. Brazil are still the most flashy and still somewhat close to that older model but the others are quite different for the most part. The African teams on the other hand do and lose almost every single time when it truly matters.

            Like

      • sanjana Says:

        Rooting for the underdog. I felt sad. As an Indian, I can understand. We have our ups and downs with cricket. and we start blaming dhoni.

        Like

  80. sanjana Says:

    German football quake magnitude 7 strikes, epicentre Brazil

    This headline in HT is really quite innovative.

    Like

  81. Bandra.NRI Says:

    It is safe to say that the record for a semi-final win will stay with the Germans for a long long time (perhaps forever). I think what we saw today will be talked about and quoted till the cows come home. Today we saw history being made.

    Like

    • sanjana Says:

      German players made scoring goals look so easy.

      Like

      • Bandra.NRI Says:

        The sudden & unplanned loss of Silva and Neymar morphed Brazil into a Tier II Soccer team. I think even South Korea would have won against Brazil (under these circumstances).

        Years from now, people will forget that Brazil played without their best defense and their best offense player, but the record will still be there. Germany cashed this opportunity for the record books.

        Like

  82. MSDhoni Says:

    Brazil still has to play a match on sat for a 3rd or 4th spot and they have chance to recover some of its lost dignity.

    I simply believe there was no game at all last night. The only little sense I could make out it was what the espn commentators Ballack and Silva pointed – the game was lost the minute Germans scored that first early goal. That simply made them numb and they had no plan B or a strong mind to overcome that. Though I missed the first few minutes of the game, I understand Brazil started pretty well and was on an attacking mode for first 10 minutes until the first goal was scored when Germans penetrated their fragile defenses.

    Just few days back we saw how the Dutch played the whole Mexican game with a deficit due to their tough mind and eventually struck gold in 88th and 91st minute.

    I think this was a side weaker in mind than skills as there simply was no play at all….and for a while it seemed this game was similar to being played in heavy downpours when the ball is simply not moving out of the puddles and wet patches and everyone having a go at it within that short area….

    Like

  83. MSDhoni Says:

    Germans are good but nothing like the past teams and they have been sketchy too in this tournament and were very lucky to come unscathed out of that Algerian game. Definitely Thomas Muller is real deal and a performer unlike other big names of the tournament. But this game was something else and if Germans really wanted they would have scored 5 more goals in this match as there was simply no resistance at any level and it seemed they did not want to humiliate Brazil any further

    Like

  84. MSDhoni Says:

    Let’s see what happens in today’s match but Argentina is not in similar mindset / mode and physically too they seem a tougher lot. They played an excellent game against the Belgians which will come in handy for the Dutch match. who had a very good team. Ofc Di Maria was excellent in that game and did a lot of legwork and hoping similar to Thiago Silva his absence does leave them outwitted.

    Dutch are playing very well and Robben has been the player of the tournament though last week they were a bit unlucky with Costa Ricans who stretched them to a penalty shoot out.

    On second thoughts similar to Costa Rica , in wake of Silva’s absence ( the game proved he is more important that Neymar) Brazilians should have simply gone all out to play the 120 minutes with defensive play and wish for luck with penalty shoot out. This game was some sort of a tactical mistake……..very sad for brazil and hope this does not kill the sport there.

    Like

  85. Great wall of China created by Van Gaal 🙂

    Like

  86. Tight match but the argentine tap was just a tad bit more free-flowing…fair result

    Like

  87. RajRoshan Says:

    Underwhelming match except for the penalties…Palacio and Higuain should have converted those chances..its getting worse for Argentines not converting so many opportunities…Mascherano and flying Romero saved the day.

    If they play like yesterday Germany will annihilate them. Or Argentina will surprise as underdogs?

    Like

  88. MSDhoni Says:

    ” I’ve always been for Argentina but nonetheless” – Well congrats there Satyam as your favorite team plays the final.

    Raj on the contrary I found the game very engaging and a tactical masterpiece by Argentina. Both the teams were solid and clinical and all credit to Argentina for their defenses and the way they were clearing the ball very cleanly and not letting the Dutch slide/trip which they are known for in this tournament and thereby preventing fouls in penalty areas. I feel Dutch should have been much more aggressive with their current inform forward line up.

    May be the Brazil match a day before prepared Argentina well for dos and don’ts going into this match. I really loved the way Argentina played all their matches with cool and calm head. Though Germans have been billed as fav to win and even some saying they will walk through them ….but watching them play last night all I would say I don’t think so….

    The cross continent Euro- Americana match is always more fun than an all euro final and that is why I am happy and there is something to look forward this Sunday.

    Like

  89. MSDhoni Says:

    Would like to add if Di Maria was playing, Argentina would have easily won the game in allotted time last night. One of the reason if Messi was bit subdued was due to absence of Di Maria.
    He was not only releasing some of the pressure from Messi’s head but has been Argentina’s second-best attacking player. He has been instrumental in consistently launching counterattacks, running at defenders, crossing balls and taking shots.

    Like

  90. RajRoshan Says:

    While defense was solid from Argentina their passes were poor several times…they found Dutch players so very often.

    Agree about Di Maria. Hopefully he returns for the final.

    Like

    • I’d say they were more than ‘solid’. They’ve shut down two teams in a row. They’ve not produced themselves, that’s another matter but their defense has been stellar. By this point I’m very comfortable saying it’s been the best of the tournament. and consider their offensive problems. Di Maria didn’t play two crucial games, let’s see if he plays the final. Aguero was out for a while, before that he wasn’t very effective for injury reasons. Higuain wasn’t effective anyway though he now seems to be back in form since the Belgium game. Rojo was suspended for a game or so. They’ve just now had their scoring options for one reason or another and barring Higuain there has been an excuse in other cases. The Dutch have had problems too, Van Persie for example being not much of a factor throughout the tournament, goal production being a problem for them too until the final stages of many games, two penalty shootouts in a row. But which is why it’s creditable they got as far as they did. Most people didn’t think they would when the tournament began.

      Like

  91. Brazil with Silva still lose to Holland (0:3). This is a back to back loss. The Brazilians might feel even worse tomorrow, if arch rivals, Argentina, win against Germany.

    Fortunately the odds favor the Germans

    Like

    • Germans have broken their confidence. It will take sometime to get back the same attitude.

      Like

    • Di Maria is apparently taking the unusual step of even injecting himself with stem cells to be able to play tomorrow! Something which is still at the experimental stage and guarantees nothing.

      Like

      • Bandra.NRI Says:

        With Di Maria (functional), Argentina has a good chance.

        Like

        • I’ve always thought he’s key but the question is whether he’ll play the whole game (or most of it) or if he’ll come off the bench. And of course Arg will have to put up an exceptional defensive game one more time.

          Like

      • sanjana Says:

        It seems they are even prepared to die to win. What a passion!
        Hope they win. Even if Germany wins, it will be a bland win like some computer game.

        Like

  92. Bandra.NRI Says:

    Final is now in overtime.

    Like

  93. Germany won 1-0 and only goal is scored by Mario Götze who entered the game in 88th minute. Well deserved, expected Messi magic was not for today!

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    • yeah Arg did a great defensive job but they didn’t convert their chances. Specially in the first half. Messi didn’t either. Between the semi and the final they didn’t score a single goal. How far can even a great defensive game take you?! Disappointed more for Messi than anything else but ultimately you have to produce something. Also the Germans had possession 65% of the time. You again can’t hand over that kind of possession and still expect to win. Having said that they almost made it through to penalties again doing just that which is a tribute of some sorts but nonetheless down the wire you need production from someone or the other (even if your regular players can’t get it done). But the game otherwise was very entertaining.

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  94. Bandra.NRI Says:

    Best World Cup

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  95. sanjana Says:

    Men in white winning. German team controlled the game. They were evrywhere. While goalkeeper of Argentina did a splendid job and faltered at the last moment. What a rough game!

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      • Great piece, very much sums up my feeling! Thanks Qalandar:
        “From Lahm to Mueller, to Kroos to Özil, these Germans don’t intimidate through strength, they do so through the dizzying power of association. Through, well, football. A sport they play at different speeds, almost like musicians who adjust their tempo as needed.”

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      • http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/johncassidy/2014/07/germany-grinds-its-way-to-world-cup-triumph.html

        find this to be the better piece.. I’d just take issue with the 18 goal differential mentioned here to the extent that 7 of those goals came in that Brazil game. But other than this I think this is the fairer assessment of the situation. Because the German team that played games against Arg, Alg, Fra, USA does not fit this description (of the other piece). Were they the ‘best’ overall all things considered? Yes. But one doesn’t to exaggerate this, specially in a light of a tournament where most experts would and have conceded that there was really no dominant team as such. Yesterday we were 5 min away from penalties. The Germans might still have won but that’s not the most dominant performance imaginable.

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        • MSDhoni Says:

          Well I just posted a similar comment which must have crossed within the same timeline. There was definitely no dominant team with total flair.

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  96. MSDhoni Says:

    Well firstly it was a great game worthy of a final. Argentina played brilliantly and wish they had converted those chances which included one or two sitters early on. With a lead the whole game would have turned around and Germans would have been properly tested. This was their third tough game and it was not looking good for them in a lot of instances.

    Felt bad / sad only for Messi for his humility and humbleness otherwise Germans deserved this cup for being consistent.

    I still feel the Brazil- Germany game messed up a lot of things and the rest of the games were played with a lot caution. At the end Brazil had a terrible and immature team and their encounter with Holland was joke again.

    I enjoyed the group / round of 16 stages more and wish Italy and Britain were in the mix of things for a little longer to make it spicier. Nonetheless still an exhilarating world cup!

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    • would say they were excellent on defense, in fact the best team of the tournament in this sense. but they were weak on offense throughout. Initially it was about Messi, ironically in the last few games it was the defense that brought them through. And yesterday they should have scored at least once in the first 50 min or so. Yes they had injury problems throughout or out of form issues but nonetheless those are the breaks. Higuain was unlucky, he finally hit form and scored, then in consecutive games he scored goals that were declared offside. Yesterday’s was a winnable game for them for sure but as if often the case the probability of the better team getting that one break is always greater. Because again if you’re not even willing to score one goal you can hardly blame anyone or anything else! Specially when you had enough good chances yesterday. of course some of these write-ups would have been completely different had that happened. Then Germany would have been accused of not doing enough when it really counted or letting the 7-1 victory go to their heads and so on. As always in life, whether in cinema or sports or whatever, you are converted into an absolute genius when you’re winning and the opposite when you’re losing. In fairness the vast majority of pieces on this match aren’t triumphalist for Germany. How could they be when the only goal of the match comes 5 min before penalty time?! And similarly there are teams that would deserve those write-ups. But none in this WC. Can’t argue however and despite my historic support for Arg that their loss was an unjust result. And again I feel bad for Messi. Because he’ll never have this sort of chance again. He’s be off-peak in the next WC and could still win but would need a stronger team around him. Having said that a team with Di Maria, Aguero, Higuain not to mention the heroic defense should have been enough in optimal conditions. And yes the Di Maria loss was the greatest one in this sort of match.

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      • The difference in the end was, Germany was more a team looking to win matches and they had more players in form so that philosophy to win was harnessed.
        With Argentina, they probably realised very early that it was a one man show and that the “magical” 4 were not all in form. They were more about not getting beat, having the occasional threat and “knew” they had Messi who could pull one out the bag. They did grow into the tournament and interestingly they only fell behind in the tournament for the first time 7 mins away from penalties in the final.
        Germany deserved to win overall. They played to win and not to contain. They were patient in the final, ruthless against Brazil and in control against France. Argentina played one way…albeit they put up a fight in the final and had 2-3 glorious chances, they did not deserve to win. They played like Chelsea or Atletico Madrid, rather than Bayern or Real or Barcelona.
        I too feel sorry for Messi but he generally got less effective through the tournament. And no player can do it completely on their own. Maradona didn’t score 3 goals in 86, someone else did in the final, he was surrounded not by great players but good players who played well. I don’t think Aguero, Di Maria or Higuain had good tournaments. For supposedly £40-50mm bracket players they were off colour with only a couple of brief moments. Whereas each of Germany’s £40-50mm players like Muller, Ozil, Kroos, Lahm, Hummels, Neuer, Schwiensteger played well enough, some having great tournaments, some good enough. Outside of Messi, you have Macherano (defensive midf) or Roja (left back) and they are not match winners! They are match savers!
        The frightening thing is this German team can be better. Reus, Gundogan, Draxler, the Bender brothers!!! None of them played or hardly kicked a ball in this world cup. They are the new Spain now, the team to beat for the next 4 years at least. And what I like about them is that they are very flexible in the way they play. Not stubborn like Spain. They can counter attack, they can keep the ball or they can knuckle down. They are a very layered team and they have quality in every position. This is not a team of just good players in every position. This team has a player in each position on the pitch which would be in the top 5 of the world. Ozil is easily one of the best playmakers around (though low on confidence), Kroos one of the best passers in the game, Muller is a great finisher and his work rate as good as Suarez (10 goals in two world cups and he is only 24!!!), Schwienstiger one of the best box to box midfielders, Lahm the best full back in the world, Hummels a great centre back in the top 5, and Neuer has cemented himself as the best keeper in the world in this tournament.
        You then add good players like Khedira/Schurlle/Klose/Benders/Reus/Gundogon and finally the magical Goetze and this country has incredible talent which now knows how to win a world cup. Draxler and Goetze are stars in the making. On paper not a country in the world has this talent except maybe Spain. And they have played together for 3-6 years on top of that. Neither of the players are the best in the world, they are neither Messi/Ronaldo/Suarez/Bale/Ibrahimovic. But they are in that next tier – all of them and the sum of all parts makes a greater whole. They needed to win more as getting to many semi finals and finals and not winning will hurt mentally. Getting over that hurdle now, they could do a Spain for the next few years.

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        • Agree with Jay’s analysis.
          Argentina were my sentimental favorites too but Germany were the deserving winners.
          Did anybody have any major problems with the officiating?

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          • Except for early in the tournament where I thought Brazil were getting the rub, I think the officiating was pretty good. I don’t know the history but 10 sendings off in the world cup is pretty low I would have thought. No scandals like last time around like Lampards goal that wasn’t and the atrocious final. Of course the “bite” was missed but that was never a miss on the scale of De Jongs karate kick in the 2010 final.

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          • let’s say all the accidents in the second half were going Argentina’s way..!

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  97. RajRoshan Says:

    Higuain’s miss was unbelievable…it cost Argentina the championship..again Palacio was terrible…overall Germany were better team and deserved to win no matter how much I like Argentina. But Argentina had their chances but their forwards/strikers blew them.

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    • Those 3 Argentinian misses were truely heartbreaking. Messi’s golden foot ditched him too, just pure bad luck.
      A relatively fresh sub did the trick in the end for Germany, otherwise it sure looked like going to penalties.

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  98. It should have gone to penalties.
    I may admire and appreciate germans but my heart goes out for Argentina. With such a lame team they were able to scare the germans for more than two hours.
    Argentina, you won many hearts even by losing.
    Maradona’s remark was mean. Like rubbing salt on a wound.

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