Today’s footie

July 6, 2014 • 4:21 am

None. If you are a good person (I was!), you watched both World Cup games yesterday. Here are the results:

Screen shot 2014-07-06 at 6.05.40 AMThe Belgians simply couldn’t do much against Argentina, and, after the Argentinian goal in the first half, the team held back, with Messi largely playing a defensive role. His passes, though, were superb, and he had a wonderful one-on-one chance to score in the last few minutes, foiled by a savvy Belgium keeper.

The Netherlands/Costa Rica match was exciting, with the Dutch dominating almost all the way, but being unable to score despite several chances. Kudos to the Costa Rican keeper, who made many saves. It went into overtime and even after that was still tied nil/nil, and so was settled (again, in an unsatisfactory way, to me at least) by penalty kicks. I know some readers feel that those kicks do demonstrate skills, and they’re right, but I feel that a game settled on kicks leaves something wanting.

Here are the video highlights of the Argentina/Belgium game (click on the screenshot of the only goal):

Screen shot 2014-07-06 at 6.10.29 AM

And of the Costa Rica/Netherlands game:

Screen shot 2014-07-06 at 6.14.16 AM

We get a break now. On Tuesday Brazil plays Germany, on Wednesday Netherlands plays Argentina, and the final is a week from today: Sunday, July 13, at 2 p.m. Chicago time. My team is Argentina!

There are still, I’m told, 46 people still eligible for the prize in the WEIT guess-the-winner contest. That will diminish next week, of course, but I’m surprised at how many people are still in contention. There will be only one winner: the person who guesses both teams in the final, as well as the score. The first person to get it gets the special book.  If nobody gets that, a special algorithm will be applied.

Now let’s all get back to work for two days!




21 thoughts on “Today’s footie

    1. If I don’t miss my guess, someone named M. Cobb has a book on biology to write. Plus it can’t be good for your sanity to watch bicycles going by for five hours a day.

      PLUS, two footie games are only FOUR hours.

  1. Ha! I’m still eligible… Germany : Netherlands for final is still possible. My collegues at work consider me slightly nuts for shouting “Oh come on Netherlands, I want to win that book!” LOL

    Costa Rica fought bravely! That was a great game to watch.

    1. Ha .. still in too (Brazil – The Netherlands: 1-2) ..
      But I wasn’t too impressed by the orange boys. I think the Dutch goalie got the most balls .. played back from his own defenders: what was all that playing back about?
      As the infamous Johan Cruijff would say: you can’t win if you don’t score!

    2. Germany – Netherlands…

      Anyone here aware of the background? Does “1974” ring a bell (exactly 40 years ago)? I’m not too keen on that one. It’s about time the Dutch got over themselves.

  2. I’m still in the contest, but unfortunately I picked Germany to beat Brazil without first checking to see what brackets they’re in. Doh! Since they now play each other, one will be eliminated.

    1. You were out of the contest after the group stage. Professor CC said in a previous post after the group stage that there were 46 entries that picked Brazil or Germany versus Argentina or Netherlands in the final. Those 46 entries are the ones still alive. The 46 does not include Germany vs Brazil. There are a lot of people still with a chance to win.

      Germany and Brazil could have met in the final if one won its group and the other finished second in its group. Of course if one finished second in its group, that would indicate that they were not strong enough to make it to the final. In the round of 16, all eight group winners won, all the second place teams lost.

  3. Almost half of the Dutch population watched the shootout on tv. And quite a few on big screens in town centers. One hour after midnight!
    With our record in shootouts, one won – many more lost, I say we are quite a courageous people.

  4. I have Argentina over Brazil in the final. And I have no confidence in that pick. I would have no confidence in any of the eight possible outcomes remaining. You can make a strong case for and against the four remaining teams. Germany has the most overall talent. Argentina has Messi. Netherlands has Robben and Van Persie. Brazil is Brazil, albeit without Neymar.

    I thought those were the four likely semifinalists before the tournament. I thought Spain has been slowly moving down since it won UEFA in 2012. It was first in the last pre-WC FIFA rankings:
    In the more respected ELO rankings, Spain was second:
    I was surprised at how little buzz there was about Spain going into the tournament. Maybe many observers thought they were already spent.

    The semifinals feature (1) Brazil v (3) Germany and (4) Argentina v (5) Netherlands.

    If I had to pick now, I would go with Germany. The team of the tournament has to be the Ticos – Costa Rica. You made CONCACAF proud.

  5. the NHL (National Hockey League) has a shoot-out during the regular season, but reverts to a sudden death overtime foremat during the playoffs. A desirable system me thinks.

    1. You do have problems such as in 1936 when Detroit and the Montreal Maroons played 6 overtime periods – a total of 176:30 – less than four minutes short of three full games. Detroit won 1-0.

      I was at game 5 of the 2013 NHL Western Conference Final between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Los Angeles Kings. The Hawks won at 11:40 of the second overtime. It is hard to describe the experience of watching such a game – let alone playing in it. Nate Silver (of 538 fame) was at the game and tweeted that it was the most exciting sporting event he had ever attended.

      In this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Blackhawks again beat the Kings in game 5 of the WCF in double overtime – although the Kings would go on to win the series in game seven in overtime. The first overtime period was the best sporting exhibition I have seen in some time – if ever. The 20 minute period was played in 26 real time minutes. There was a stretch of eight minutes of non-stop play – no whistles. At least 14 changes on the fly – forward shits lasted 30-45 seconds. It was breathtaking. It helps that these are the two best teams in hockey – 17 Olympians between them.

      I am not sure football can do this. In hockey, no matter where the puck is on the ice, in less than five seconds either team can score. You can move much more quickly on a sheet of ice with sharp pieces of steel strapped to your feet.

      For football, I would go to sudden death. I would take one player off the pitch from each team at the start of overtime – and then take another player off every 10 minutes. When you get to five or six left, I would drop offside. I think you could get a winner in 30 minutes.

  6. I had accidentally taped the Costa Rica- Netherlands game on a local ” multi-cultural” channel, and all the commentary was in Spanish. I can usually follow some Spanish, but there seemed to be three guys shouting at once in three different Spanish accents ( one verry unusual with very rrrrrolled Rs- somewhere in SA??) and for some reason, for this game only, the (Spanish) subtitles were surtitles so very hard to look at while watching the play…the result being it was very hard to tell who was doing what, but did see the disappointing shoot- outs. We were kind of rooting for the CR underdogs.

  7. We’re going to be on the road Tues and Wed. Think there’s a chance in hell of finding something like a sports bar showing the game in Iowa or North Dakota??

  8. Great matches yesterday. Esp. N vs CR…so exciting.
    I’m still in w/ Germany 3 Argentina 1, but alas, someone ahead of me already picked these results. Damn the bad luck…I was in a hurry and didn’t properly vet the previous picks. Would still be cool if I got the two teams though!

  9. I agree that penalty kicks are not a very satisfying way to decide a game.
    But I remember watching the Romania-Sweden game in 1994: two 45-minute halves, two 15-minute overtimes, then to penalty kicks after the kickers had been running themselves ragged for two hours. It was a test of skill and endurance, and went to something like 8 kicks each side before Sweden won.
    I’d favor the hockey-style penalty, where the kicker starts 35 yards out and has 6 seconds to make the kick – more visually interesting, and gives the goalie a real chance at beating the kicker, since he/she can move once the whistle blows to start it.

  10. I agree that a game decided on a penalty shootout leaves something to desire. Regularly the worse team walks away with victory.
    However, all the other ways leave something to desire too. Unlimited extra-time will cause the eventual winning team to be greatly disadvantaged for the next game, the sudden death goal was extremely unsatisfying, horribly anticlimactic, so we’re stuck with the penalty shoot-out.
    In favour of the penalty shootout is its entertainment value, it is very tense, nail biting. Moreover, as we have seen in the Holland-CRC game, it is an art in itself.
    Holland used to be hopeless at penalty shootouts, if I’m not mistaken they have never won one before. This time they came well prepared. Their shots were precise and hard, clinical really. The last minute substitute goally (Krul, a ‘penalty specialist’), was a stroke of genius.
    And if we look at the game, the best team on the day won this time. I mean, the Dutch were somewhat unlucky not to have won it by 3-4 goals in regular time. At least half a dozen brilliant saves and quite a bit of woodwork saw CRC to the PS.
    I hope the men in orange win the tournament this time: Brazil, Germany and Argentina all have already won the world cup several times. As the cliche says, after losing three finals, Holland is the best team never to have won yet.

    1. “Regularly the worse team walks away with victory.”

      Not sure that’s true. The favourite going in to a match usually seems to win any shoot-out. It’s certainly been the case in the shoot-outs in this World Cup.

  11. I would insist on the idea of taking into account the corner kicks instead of going to a penalties round. The number of corner kicks achieved is a great measure of how dominant a team was over the other or how close to the goal they were. That would motivate a more offensive and fluid game and avoid one team playing to tie. Of course the corner kicks score would be valid only if there is a tie in goals and after the 30 minutes extra.

    Just an idea.

    1. But an interesting idea none the less. One downside might be both sides becoming pre-occupied with trying to get corners rather than attacking when near the byline.

      When ‘silver’ and ‘golden’ goals method was introduced there were a couple of matches where the teams involved became very reluctant to commit players forward for fear of leaving their goal undefended.

      1. Forgetting to attack while trying to get the corner kicks would be the dumbest thing a team would do. Remember, the corner kicks tally would be valid only in case of tie in goals and after the extra time. No amount of corner kicks would ever be more than a goal. Besides, there is no way to get corner kicks if you are not attacking; corner kicks are conceded only if the defenders are the last to touch the ball before it crosses the endline; if you try to get corner kicks without attacking, you are going to just lose the ball every time.

        Furthermore, even now, the teams try to avoid conceding corner kicks because of the danger that that implies, so they try to use it as the last defensive (and some time desperate) resource, when the alternative is leaving the ball in the area with attackers around. Wouldn’t it be interesting observing a tied game in extra time with the teams trying to avoid conceding corner kicks, but by doing so, getting into the risk of a goal?

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