World Cup: Round of 16, who to cheer for

For a reminder, I did a ranking of who my favorite teams were by spreadsheet.  This is difficult because Uruguay has lost probably my favorite player, in terms of maximum entertainment value, do to his antics, but continues to have Diego Forlán, so I think I’m going to leave them at #2 and not readjust everything.  Also I’m lazy.

Cheer for Uruguay

Cheer for Uruguay

Updated list of 16 ranked:

  1. United States
  2. Uruguay
  3. Mexico
  4. Argentina
  5. Costa Rica
  6. Brazil
  7. Colombia
  8. Chile
  9. Algeria
  10. Nigeria
  11. Netherlands
  12. Greece
  13. Switzerland
  14. Belgium
  15. France
  16. Germany

Brazil v Chile (I’d be happy for Uruguay with a Chile victory, though)
Colombia v Uruguay
Netherlands v Mexico
Costa Rica v Greece
France v Nigeria
Germany v Algeria
Argentina v Switzerland
Belgium v United States

Can I add how exciting it would be to get to the next round with two african teams and no European teams.  #BigDreams

World Cup: Who to Cheer For (or who I cheer for anyway)

For me to be really interested in a football match, I have to decided who I am going to be cheering for.  It’s not enough for love of the game, you have to be emotionally involved with the outcome.  I came up with a little spreadsheet that accurately reflected how I make choices on who to cheer for.  This is a little different than my attitude in the Women’s World Cup where I cheer solely based on what is best for the US.  I ranked them based on the things I care about.

  1. If your are related to the US Women’s National Team (which is to say the USMNT) then I award you five points.  It’s nearly a trump card.
  2. If you are in the same region (CONCACAF) as the US, you get one point.
  3. If you’re on Continental Europe, you lose one point.
  4. If you speak an Iberian Language (functionally Spanish or Portuguese), you get one point.
  5. If you’re uniforms are a pretty shade of sky blue, you get one point (Uruguay and Argentina).
  6. You get a point for every player I know and like.
  7. You lose a point if you were an Axis power in World War II.
  8. Any ties are broken by Five Thirty Eight’s Soccer Power Index — I will always cheer for the underdog, all other things being equal.

So I fed all that information into a spreadsheet and very happily got a list that put the teams that I knew I liked or hated in the right place, and gave me some insight on how to apply my preferences to teams I didn’t ever think much about.  If you’d asked me before I made this whether I’d cheer for Netherlands or Japan, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you.  But now I’ve got numbers telling me what to do.  As you can see, if it wasn’t for the association with the US Women’s team, the US would only be 6th on my list, and France, Germany, and Italy, who I only cheer against, are all at the bottom.  They really should be tied, because I can’t imagine cheering for any of them.  On principle.  (Thank you England for these wholly irrational prejudices).  That said, I love to watch Germany play, they make beautiful soccer.

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 12.22.50 PM

 

For those who can’t read the chart:

  1. United States
  2. Uruguay
  3. England
  4. Spain
  5. Mexico
  6. Argentina
  7. Honduras
  8. Costa Rica
  9. Brazil
  10. Ecuador
  11. Colombia
  12. Chile
  13. Algeria
  14. Australia
  15. Iran
  16. Cameroon
  17. South Korea
  18. Nigeria
  19. Ghana
  20. Ivory Coast
  21. Portugal
  22. Netherlands
  23. Japan
  24. Croatia
  25. Greece
  26. Switzerland
  27. Russia
  28. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  29. Belgium
  30. France
  31. Italy
  32. Germany

Oh, you want to know who to cheer for in all the matches?  Many of the first matches have already passed, but I am going to put the whole list here.  Will update when we have knowledge on the next rounds.  A reminder that this isn’t meant to be a prediction of who will win, just who your heart should belong to for ~2hrs. Bold is who I cheered/will cheer for and gray is games that had passed at the time of posting this.

Brazil v Croatia
Mexico v Cameroon
Spain v Netherlands
Chile v Australia
Colombia v Greece
Ivory Coast v Japan
Uruguay v Costa Rica
England v Italy
Switzerland v Ecuador
France v Honduras
Argentina v Bosnia-Herzegovina
Germany v Portugal
Iran v Nigeria
Ghana v USA
Belgium v Algeria
Brazil v Mexico
Russia v South Korea
Australia v Netherlands
Cameroon v Croatia
Spain v Chile
Colombia v Ivory Coast
Uruguay v England
Japan v Greece
Italy v Costa Rica
Switzerland v France
Honduras v Ecuador
Argentina v Iran
Germany v Ghana
Nigeria v Bosnia-Herzegovina
South Korea v Algeria
USA v Portugal
Belgium v Russia
Australia v Spain
Netherlands v Chile
Cameroon v Brazil
Croatia v Mexico
Italy v Uruguay
Costa Rica v England
Japan v Colombia
Nigeria v Argentina
Bosnia Herzegovina v Iran
Honduras v Switzerland
Ecuador v France
USA v Germany
Portugal v Ghana
South Korea v Belgium
Algeria v Russia

Goodbye Uruguay

We will miss you. Diego Forlan just can’t be the only person on the team, you know.

Still, they did better than I thought they would against the Netherlands. Just not good enough. If Spain doesn’t win tomorrow, I don’t think I’ll have any interest in watching the finals.

Uruguay!!

More thoughts later, but Diego Forlan and Muslera are a team unto themselves. Also, Suarez got what might have been the most worth it Red Card ever.

That is the best soccer game I’ve ever seen.

FIFA Predictions for Quarter-Finals: Pretty Good

It only missed one — the US loss to Ghana.  Everything else was dead on.  That’s kind of neat.  Of course, if that success rate continues I’ll be sad because it will mean that Forlan won’t win the World Cup.

Current predictions

538 Odds

World Cup Day 14, Day 15, Day 16

This is what my system of just trusting FIFA rankings predicts. What I want to happen is for Uruguay to win… Landon Donovan needs to be treated like a national hero, but it probably won’t happen. He’s had most world cup appearances and goals of any male US player.

US v Ghana — how heartbreaking.  Looking at these numbers it looks like Germany has the hardest road ahead of it, a lot of closely matched games.

Current predictions

From FIFA

Day 16 odds

World Cup Day 12, Day 13

Halfway through the knockout we’ve got the following:

Group A
1A: Uruguay!!
2A: Mexico!
Out: S. Africa, France!!

Group B
1B: Argentina
2B: S. Korea
Out: Nigeria, Greece

Group C
1C: USA!!
2C: England
Out: Algeria, Slovenia

Group D
1D: Germany
2D: Ghana
Out: Serbia, Australia

So, the first half of the games in the Quarterfinals are (with FIFA rank)

Uruguay (16) v S. Korea (47)
USA (14) v Ghana (32)
Germany (6) v England (8)
Argentina (7) v Mexico (17)

The only game where I don’t have an easy favorite is Argentina v Mexico.

World Cup Day 7, Day 8

So, I’m beginning to think that unless you’re from Central or South America, you’re just here to disappoint me.  And I’m not sure that that’s even right because I wasn’t impressed with Brazil.  Even the Germans, who looked unstoppable after their total destruction of Australia, have lost to a minor team.  I guess that’s the great thing about World Cup, it’s unpredictable.  I dunno if you remember who my favorites originally were, but they are now officially 1) Uruguay 2) Argentina and 3) Mexico.  Favorites, of course, not being who I think will win, but who I want to win.

Argentina v South Korea

Argentina, 4-1, is looking pretty good offensively, especially with the first hat trick of the Cup going to Gonzalo Higuaín, but they let in a goal with a pretty intense lapse of defensive attention.  Still, they’re looking good and might go all the way.

Greece v Nigeria

Greece wins!  For the first time!  Nothing like a good comeback story, especially when there’s a very obvious villain in the form of a Nigerian player, Kaita, who got kicked off the field for a blatant red card offense.  It’s what red cards are there for.

France v Mexico

I admit that I actually freaked out with happiness when Mexico scored it’s first goal against France.  The second was just icing on the cake, because it’s almost impossible for France to advance.  This is two part, because I like Mexico and I know some people really enthusiastically cheering for Mexico, and also I hate the French team.

Germany v Serbia

WTF Germany?  How do you lose to Serbia?  This is one of two games this day that were dominated by over-refereeing.  I mean, the sheer number of cards thrown out was absurd, especially considering how mild some of the fouls were.

USA v Slovenia

Oh, let’s talk some referee bullshit.  The US was robbed, absolutely robbed, of a third goal.  They should have been moving forward with a win rather than a draw.  Still, the US will move forward if they win their next game, which slightly makes up for it.  But the lame-ass ref also gave a yellow card for an intentional handball that wasn’t.  Very irritating.  I read that the ref is probably going to be not allowed to ref any more World Cup games.

England v Algeria

Scoreless matches aren’t always boring, but this one sure as hell was.  England and I aren’t speaking for the moment, I’m too disappointed in them.  I don’t even want to talk about it, have some statistic porn, courtesy Nate Silver and Wikipedia.

Day 8 Odds

Group A: How to Advance

Group B: How to Advance

Group C: How to Advance

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: Day 1

To give you an idea how accurate predictions are for the world cup, compare this post to what has happened today.

Right now, Mexico and S. Africa are technically in the lead in Group A. Both games (Mex v S.Af, Uru v Fra) ended in ties, but since both Mexico and South Africa have scored 1 goal each, they’re technically ahead of scoreless Uruguay and France. Uruguay also earned the first Red Card of the games, and managed to keep it tied with only ten men on the field.

What we’ve learned today is that S. Africa is beating expectations and making itself a contender, Mexico may continue its streak of disappointing World Cup showings, Uruguay is fantastic on defense but not so impressive on offense, and France is inconsistent. In my dream world, Uruguay and Mexico would move forward. With everything tied up, the remaining games have much greater pressure on them, but everyone is going into them without having to catch up. The game with impossible odds seems to be S. Africa v France, but if France continues to be inconsistent and S. Africa can ride this high, they may have a chance.

The other thing I learned is this: There are some super cute guys on the Uruguay team.

Captain Diego Lugano

Striker Diego Forlan

Goalkeeper Fernando Muslera