Today’s footie

July 8, 2014 • 4:31 am

We’re baaaack with one exciting football match today. And there’s no way I’m going to miss this one. I call this one a tossup since Brazil has lost Neymar and isn’t playing at top form anyway. Tomorrow: Argentina vs. Netherlands (go Argentina!), Saturday is the match for third place, and the big final is on Sunday. Our prize will be awarded Monday.

Click on the screenshot for more information (the game is at 3 p.m. Chicago time):

Screen shot 2014-07-08 at 6.07.31 AM

 Today’s New York Times, in a piece on the Brazilian team, calls their play “ugly”:

The 2014 World Cup, which happens to be playing out on Brazil’s own stage, has dispelled one of sports’ most entrenched (if somewhat mythical) beliefs: that Brazilian soccer is a showcase of tempo and timbre designed, above all else, to enthrall and entertain.

In truth, Brazil plays a rather ugly version of soccer these days, unapologetically pursuing that which every other team in the world chases: wins.

It is working, too. While o jogo bonito may be dead, few here are mourning — least of all the fans who will pack the Estádio Mineirão on Tuesday when Brazil faces Germany in the semifinals, two victories away from its record sixth World Cup title.

There is little beauty here. Brazil has recorded the most fouls of any team in the tournament. It has played rough and rugged, raw and resolute. It spills blood. It clogs the field. If you want to see dynamic Brazilian playmakers dancing gracefully around the Germans, you will be disappointed.

. . . The opposite of futebol arte, Bellos continued, is futebol força — or, roughly, power football. That is what this Brazilian team has demonstrated throughout the World Cup and especially in the knockout rounds, where it just managed a Round of 16 victory over Chile and followed that up with a contentious, ultimately brutal, quarterfinal win over Colombia.

. . . While Neymar was the bright light of the Brazilian team, its foundation has been with its defensive players. Defensive midfielders can apply clamps to the game, shadowing the opposing attackers and making it difficult for them to be creative. Players like Fernandinho, who has shown a willingness to roughhouse, Paulinho and Luiz Gustavo are, in some ways, as critical to Brazil’s success as the scorers.

That may be anathema to those who are expecting Brazil to be constantly twirling on the field, but it is also just the simple reality. Scolari has made no secret of his methods: Brazil is here to win, not to entertain.

“Put it this way,” Lima said. “If Brazil played beautifully and lost in the final at Maracanã, it would still be terrible. Yes, there are some romantics, but for most of the rest of Brazil, all that matters is winning another trophy.”

Today’s animated Google Doodle is pretty good, too. Click on the screenshot below to see the fun:

Screen shot 2014-07-08 at 6.05.29 AM

 

Finally, since I have no highlights to show, here’s a video of a turtle and a dog playing football. At the end, the turtle pulls a Suarez.

h/t: Blue

33 thoughts on “Today’s footie

  1. Once again we have not got the doodle & even going to google.com/ncr does not bring it up – it is only in certain countries.

    I was out at the weekend because of a hopelessly unambitious France & Belgium! The clubs whose players are in the competition are going to be cream crackered when the season starts in Euope – pre-season training has started & UEAFA’s Europa league qualifying is on Thursday!

    It never ends…

    1. UEFA…not sure where I found the extra ‘A’!

      Of course some countries play in the northern hemisphere summer…

    2. The danish league starts in ten days.

      Good thing ( not! ) we didn’t make it to the cup.

  2. This turtle v.dog game was much more exciting and shorter than all these interminable soccer games.

  3. Welcome back to the World Cup. Here in the UK we’ve had the British Grand Prix, the men’s Wimbledon final and the the amazing spectacle of the Tour de France in Yorkshire and London since Saturday’s matches.

      1. With a country the size of Britain you wouldn’t really expect even one success.

        Seven of the top ten cars in the British Grand Prix were built in Britain, by the way.

        1. Not just Britain, but a tiny part of it – the two ends of the road from Oxford to Milton Keynes.

    1. Last night I heard on the radio that analysis of penalty shoot-outs shows there is an advantage going first, & the other team has the pressure then & is playing catch-up. So if it gets to that – & I hope it ends at 90mins – place your bets accordingly.

  4. I don’t understand why everyone’s doubting a win for Brazil because Neymar is out. In the game vs Columbia, he had close to 0 impact on the game. His biggest contribution he did was under 5 successful passes. I’m not exaggerating at all, he sometimes got the ball and messed up a trick, did under 5 passes, and otherwise didn’t have the ball. This makes me think (and hope) that the player in his place will have at least some impact on the game, which will make them a better team than the one vs Columbia. I know this sounds malicious but I think it’s accurate.

    1. They generally haven’t been playing very well. Neymar’s out and their captain is suspended.

      I’d be really surprised to see Brzil win.

    2. The idea is that Brazil have not really been all that good so far, and would have needed a game-changing performance to win this, and Neymar having a good day was their best bet for that.
      No Plan A, and Plan B just imploded…

  5. I am cheering for either Brazil or Argentina to win. But the NYT’s article is a bit wrong, it (Brazilian football is beautiful) is not a myth! I admit it is not with the current team, but it definitely was in 1994 and 2002!

    1. I disagree. They played attractively in 1970 and again in 1982, and to a lesser extent in a few other cases, but Brazil have usually played ugly, just not as ugly as Germany.

      I was really looking forward to Brazil-Colombia, but unfortunately it degenerated into a stereotypical south american kick-and-dive game. Games like that really need a ref who books the kickers and doesn’t believe the divers, but sadly it didn’t get it.

          1. I didn’t give numbers. I didn’t expect THESE numbers. But I did expect it to be a one-team show…

            1. Reminds me of some of my kids’ high school games where their score would get so out-of-balance the coaches would insist on one touch after they passed the midline and only let fullbacks score. At least it has given me time to respond to some emails that I thought would be put off for a couple of hours.

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