Women’s World Cup 2011: Updated Predictions

OK, so wow, France is doing much better than expected, and my US team is looking like their number 1 rank is deserved.  I am relieved and will go forth being overly optimistic for them because I love them so much.

So, my predictions for the rest of the group games.

Group A

France and Germany are tied on points, but France has a much better goal differential, meaning that all they have to do is tie Germany to move forward as the winners.  Germany is the favorite, but France has looked much better on the field — something I definitely did not predict.  I’d like France to win and that, more than anything, is leading me to say that France will win the group, and Germany will be second.

Group B

Japan is definitely going forward, so the competition is between Mexico and England.  England is well ahead in goal differential, so they can lose to Japan and still move forward, which is exactly what I think is going to happen.  Japan first, England second.

Group C

This is as fun as Group A, because the US and Sweden are literally fighting for the number one slot.  Like France, all the US has to do is tie to win the group.  I think they’re going to outright beat Sweden, or at least that is my hope.  US number 1, Sweden number 2.

Group D

I simply cannot see Brazil not creaming Equatorial Guinea, which may be very fun to watch, so the competition is now  for second place between Australia and Norway.  Norway has not been impressive, but Australia’s defense has been lax.  Australia just has to tie Norway to move on, and I think they’ve got that in them.  I’m saying Brazil 1, Australia 2.

So if the games followed this prediction, we’d end up with the following matches.

Match 25
France vs England

I’m tempted to say France, as surprised as I am by that.  This seems like a very close match to me.

Match 26
Japan vs Germany

Should be a great game as well, but I think Japan is going to be tough to beat.

Match 27
US vs Australia

This should be an easy win for the US.

Match 28
Brazil vs Sweden

This should be an easy win for Brazil.

SemiFinal A/B
France vs Japan

I think this is Japan’s.

SemiFinal C/D
US vs Brazil

Man, this is tough.  I don’t know.  They are my two favorite teams.  I think Brazil is weak in their defense and the US could exploit it, but sometimes it seems like the US barely even shows up.  I’m going to say the US, but I would be thrilled to see either one of these teams in the final.

3rd Place
France vs Brazil

Brazil.

Final
US vs Japan

US

Women’s World Cup 2011 Predictions

Group A Predictions Points
Germany (2) W W W 9 (first)
Canada (6) L T W 4 (second)
Nigeria (27) L L L 0
France (7) W T L 4

Germany has already beaten Canada, but France only beat Nigeria by 1, which is potentially good news for Canada. Canada doesn’t have to beat France outright, as long as there’s a bigger point spread between Canada and Nigeria. In fact, the only reason I’m picking Canada over France is the point deferential in the Nigeria game.

Group B Predictions Points
Japan (4) W W W 9 (First)
N Zealand (24) L L T 1
Mexico (22) T L T 2
England (10) T W L 4 (Second)

I’d love to see New Zealand tie England and then Mexico and New Zealand fight it out to go forward, knowing that if it’s a tie, England will move forward. That would be exciting!

Group C Predictions Points
US (1) T W W 7 (First)
N Korea (8) T L W 4
Colombia (31) L L L 0
Sweden (5) W W L 6 (Second)

I think the US is going to start weak, but then find its feet. I would actually like the US to come in second in this bracket, though I think assuming they’ll get out of it is an assumption. If they flat out beat N Korea tomorrow, I’ll feel a lot better about them, they’ve been pretty shaky of late. They could also easily lose or tie Sweden, meaning N Korea isn’t out of the running here.

Group D Predictions Points
Brazil (3) W T W 7 (First)
Australia (11) L W T 4
Norway (9) W T T 5 (Second)
Equatorial Guinea (61) L L L 0

Poor Equatorial Guinea. I’d love to see them tie someone. Or a beautiful upset of Brazil! That’s going to be by far the biggest difference in team quality of the tournement.

So if the games followed this prediction, we’d end up with the following matches.

Match 25
Germany vs England

Oh man, I always love Germany versus England, that’s always so great, such brilliant rivalry there. I think England doesn’t stand a chance, though.

Match 26
Japan vs Canada

Regardless of the second place Group A finisher, I have a hard time seeing any of them beating Japan this year.

Match 27
US vs Norway

This is the US game to lose, but that doesn’t really mean they won’t. Gosh, I’m awfully pessimistic about the US this year, I’m just not feeling the number 1 ranking at all.

Match 28
Brazil vs Sweden

I think this could actually be a good game. Brazil’s certainly got the advantage, but it would be a brilliant upset for Sweden to beat them. And it’s possible.

SemiFinal A/B
Germany vs Japan

Why do so many match ups remind me of WWII? I think this is easily Germany’s.

SemiFinal C/D
US vs Brazil

In my optimistic moments, I think the US could win this. In my pessimistic moments, I think it’s hopeless. It’s a close call, and I’m likely to revise my opinion seeing how the teams progress through the cup, but from here I’m going to say Brazil.

3rd Place
Japan vs US

The US has never placed lower than 3rd, we’ll see if they’ve got the ability to keep that true.

Final
Germany vs Brazil

How men’s soccer of them. I’d love to see Brazil win, as it hasn’t done so yet and it would lend more legitimacy to the Women’s Soccer program in a country where soccer is the sport.

World Cup Day 9, Day 10, Day 11

So, the most important things we’ve learned in the last three days are.

1. Portugal kicked North Korea’s ass hardcore, and probably could’ve gotten more goals if it’d been more on target.

2. Spain seems to have regained its footing, its next game against Chile is important, but if they continue to play solidly they may still be in this

3. Brazil is definitely in, Portugal is probably in — their game is going to be fun to watch

4. Italy is not quite as embarrassing as France, but close

5. Netherlands is definitely in, Cameroon is definitely out

So, the last round of games is upon us.  They’re going to be two at a time, so a two hour stretch of time is going to determine who moves on of the four of each group.  North Korea and Cameroon are the only teams that are for sure out, and Argentina, Brazil and Netherlands are the only ones definitely in, so it’s 27 teams fighting for 13 spots.

Nate Silver gives odds!

World Cup Day 5, Day 6

New Zealand v Slovakia

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

Ivory Coast v Portugal

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

Brazil v North Korea

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

Honduras v Chile

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

Spain v Switzerland

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

S. Africa v Uruguay

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

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

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

THE CURRENT STANDINGS

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

Group B

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

Group C

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

Group D

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

Group E

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

Group F

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

Group G

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

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

World Cup Polls!

An important part of the World Cup is picking teams you will cheer for and, even more fun, who you will cheer against.  My own prejudices are revealed in the polls below.  The system is complicated, but basically it goes as follows.

1. Spain because they’ve never won and they’re really good this year, and they’ve been really good in the past too.  Plus I’ve been to Spain, loved Barcelona, and speak Spanish.  So I’m cheering for them.

2. England is why I like soccer as much as I do, and it’d be nice to see them win again, especially as underdogs. They’ve only won once (’66) and they invented the stupid game.

3. Argentina has the best player in the world, Messi, and I like their flag/uniform colors.  Plus, I really liked the movie Evita. And it’s always nice to have a good guy on this side of the Atlantic.

4. USA.  Well, I mean, I live here so…

5. Mexico – “Mexico is the biggest loser at the tournament, having had 22 losses. They also have the worst goal differential, allowing 36 more than they have scored overall.”

So if it is Spain vs England or Argentina, I might have to simply sit that one out, can’t say I’d be sad if any of those three won it all, and they’ve got good odds.

Brazil is the special case, I really like them, they’re very talented and have a tendency to dominate the scene.  So, I want to cheer for them because they’re great, but literally everyone else in the tournament is an underdog because of them. I would be sad to not see them play incredibly well, but I’d also be sad to see them win it.

I’m cheering against the following:

1. Italy plays dirty and I don’t like that.  Sick of people pretending to fall down, and they completely earned that headbutt.  Also, they are the reigning champions.

2. Germany – I don’t necessarily hate the German team or anything, it’s just that, behind Brazil and Italy, they are the most winningest team at the World Cup.

3. France – You can’t be for England and not against France. “I’m very positive on the French, my family way back was French, so I go with it, but they are kind of, well, fucking French at times.” Eddie Izzard

4. N. Korea – This is just for the lulz


World Cup: Ashley Recommends These Games

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

World Cupdate

So, I’m not a sports person generally, and I’m not even a football/soccer fan regularly, but I really love the World Cup.  I mean, I like soccer, I’ll watch it, but something about the countries competing against each other is really cool, and it’s all in the same sport and not as lame as the Olympics.  It’s probably because I actually played soccer, and was still playing soccer when this happened:

So it’s the one sport that the ladies in the US are better at than the men.  We’ve won the Women’s World Cup twice, and never placed below third.  The boys haven’t done so well.  Right now we’re ranked 14th, which is to say we’ll probably get through the first round (weak bracket) but we’re probably not going to do well.

Anyway, the point of this post is that the schedule is up at ESPN and they’re going to air every game live.  Most of the games will also be on their website, which I have to figure out how to get to actually play on my computer.  It’s vaguely complicated.  They are, of course, not showing the finale online.

Schedule: http://www.worldcupblog.org/world-cup-2010/espns-world-cup-2010-tv-schedule.html

My favorite news: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/world_cup_2010/default.stm

Numbers for the Nate Silver in us all: http://www.worldcuppredictions.org/

I really like that last site.  It’s got the odds listed as follows:

Spain (4.75)
Brazil (6.00)
England (7.00)
Argentina (8.00)
Germany (13.00)
Italy (13.00)
Netherlands (13.00)
France (17.00)
Ivory Coast (26.00)
Portugal (29.00)
USA (51.00)

And if you’re worried, don’t be, Nate Silver will have us covered too.