World Cup Update


James Hanley

James Hanley is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.

Related Post Roulette

9 Responses

  1. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Were you smart enough to pick a BRA 0 : 0 MEX draw, Professor? No. Almost no one was. Except for @kazzy , who I think actually forgot to enter predicted scores and wound up with the default nil-nil draw for every score. (It’s not too late to change that for the remaining games, @kazzy .)

    This is turning in to a pretty fun and funky round-robin phase with lots of upsets. Which is hugely enjoyable — and to say, dude, you got lucky. We are coming for you.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley says:

      I like to think that, like you, I was too smart to make that pick.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        Congratulations to your Oranje, Professor! Spain’s second loss in a row and Netherland’s second victory clinches advancement. Onward to Chile.

        WTF happened to Espana? World Cup 2010, Euro 2012, and then … this?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        And with 17 of their players returning…this was not a rebuilding year.

        I thought Netherlands-Chile would be a battle to advance, but now it’s the battle to win the group.Report

      • NobAkimoto NobAkimoto says:

        Carlos Puyol retired, Ike Casillas started needing reading glasses (evidently), and Xavi is eligible for his pension.

        Also the overpriced ex-La Liga, current-Chelsea players played like utter crap. (Costa and Torres)Report

      • NobAkimoto NobAkimoto says:

        In hindsight, watching Spain in last year’s Confederation’s Cup should’ve been a clue as to how they would perform here. They were inexplicably awful against Italy, and then conceded 3 goals to Brazil in the final.

        It’s clear Sergio Ramos can’t anchor a backline by himself and Jordi Alba/Cesar Azpilicueta are more wingbacks than they are fullbacks. Javi Martinez was okay, but Del Bosque was missing some of the key pieces that won him Euro 2012 and WC 2010.

        He had a healthy and productive pair of David Villa and Cesc Fabregas in 2010 and 2012. Neither played and it showed in the finishing. Diego Costa is an inferior replacement to Fabregas and Pedro/Torres no longer have the instinct for goal that Villa in his prime had.

        Combine that with a huge hole at centreback and a goalie who has become a juggler and you end up with the results you see here.Report

      • Also the overpriced ex-La Liga, current-Chelsea players played like utter crap. (Costa and Torres)

        Shouldn’t that have been taken as a given before the first ball was even kicked? I’m convinced that every time Fernando Torres misses a sitter or inexplicably gets stripped because he takes one touch too many, an angel gets its wings.Report

  2. That was a surprisingly wonderful game between AUS and NED yesterday. I wouldn’t have expected Australia to be involved in one of the better games of what has already been a tournament of very good games, but they were, and a tip o’ the hat to them.

    That game also resulted in my favorite three paragraphs of World Cup journalism thus far:

    “Australia’s gutsy start was inspiring, but then came something that stunned the watching world, a breathtaking moment that no pundit could have predicted: Someone made contact with Arjen Robben and the Dutchman stayed on his feet. And then he went on to score a goal.

    In every corner of the globe, from the penthouses of Manhattan to the townships of South Africa, parents placed their hands upon the shoulders of their offspring and whispered, “Remember this day, my child. Tell your grandchildren that you were here. For this was the day that Robben did not dive. And then he went on to score a goal.”

    In Dutch government offices in The Hague, bright red phones rang off the hook as world leaders called in with their congratulations. “Let it be written in the annals of world history,” said one world leader, “that the planet came together as one, upon the day that Robben did not dive. And then he went on to to score a goal.”


    • Avatar James Hanley says:

      Ouch, that’s harsh.

      I don’t think the Dutch played particularly well. It makes one suspect they weren’t quite over their ass-whuppin’-of-Spain high (immediately after the Spain game Johanna and I agreed that we were glad Oz, and not Chile, was next). But that shouldn’t take away from Australia’s solid performance. I under-rated them, and they proved me wrong. They probably got the worst draw in group round, and they could go 0-3 and still look respectable. (Or they could complete Spain’s embarrassment.)Report