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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Soccer nuts may sleep in for a change

Wednesday's a fairly slow day in World Cup "football." The noon matches, Netherlands vs. Argentina and Ivory Coast vs. Serbia-Montenegro, won't make much of a difference. Argentina and the Netherlands will both be moving on; the other two are going home.

At 7 a.m., there's only a slightly greater level of interest. Angola's in roughly the same position that Trinidad-Tobago was in this afternoon -- in order to survive in the tourney: (1) they'll have to win, (2) the other match being played simultaneously will have to come out a certain way, and (3) the margin of victory in one or both of the matches will have to be large. To stay alive and knock out Mexico, Angola will have to win over Iran, have Portugal win over Mexico (Portugal is definitely advancing), and make up a three-goal deficit in goal differential. Tri-To couldn't get that done today (they lost, in fact, not having scored in any of their three games), and I suspect the same sinking feeling will visit the Angolan side in the morning.

In the next round, a.k.a. the "round of 16," so far it's England vs. Ecuador and Germany vs. Sweden. Single elimination, starts Saturday. Germany's been a favorite from the get-go, and it's looking as strong as folks expected. Portugal will play either Argentina or Netherlands; whichever of the latter two doesn't play Portugal will take on Mexico (or, in case of a minor miracle Wednesday, Angola).

Comments (10)

How about a blog pool on Friday, starting at 2:00?

Argentina's the hottest team in the Cup so far. Real fans will want to see them play. Besides, Holland/Argentina is a great match up. Argentina has only beaten the Netherlands once in seven matches. Of course, the time they beat them was in the 1978 World Cup final--on Argentina's home turf.

That said, there are reasons not to expect the same standard of soccer we Argentina demonstrate against Serbia & Montenegro. Argentina only needs a tie to win the group and its coach is likely to rest three starting players who have one yellow card. In the absence of a further card, these players start with a blank slate in the knockout round.

Anyway, Arg/NL is a classic match. Who would want to miss it!

See there? I exposed myself as a newcomer to the game.

My neighbor sprung for the cost of hooking me up to cable, for a single purpose: la Cupa Mondiala. And "we" is defined alternatively as a term referring to the Northern 50 states and the Southern 31 states. But "we" refers instead to the 81 states of North America (exclusive of the Northern Provinces) as noted in this missive on Dunkin Donuts' adoption of a resolution to apply one set of laws and uniform pricing and wages across all franchises in the 81 States.

I need to start recording at 7AM.

You're doing good, Jack. Impressive dedication.

You'd like to think Netherlands and Argentina would put on a show this afternoon, but with neither side needing a win and Argentina in yellow-card trouble, it could turn out to be pretty lame. On the other hand, both have incentive to win to avoid tougher seeding in the knock-outs. We'll see.

I like the comment about the 81 states. When I travel in South America I'm always able to draw a positive reaction when I say in response to people who ask if I'm "American" that we are ALL "Americans" North, Central and South - including the "northern provinces"

All we need do is to Americanize the game of Soccer.

Start with enlarging the goal so as to make scoring easier, allow 4 points per score and include more rules that violation of creates enough time for TV commercial breaks.

Gotta remember sports fans in the US have short attention spans and can't survive many 0 to 1 games.

Abe, tell it to the 15,000 Americans who went to Germany for the Cup.

I'm glad I didn't read any spoilers! I TiVo'd the Arg/NL a while back and I cannot wait to finally see it! Regardless of any strategy the teams may have to sit back and play for a draw, the testosterone and pride almost always snaps the fighting spirit out of its shell. Look at the England and Sweden game! The ref all but held back the yellow cards but ultimately had to reel the game back under control at the end. I love this game!

Brazil is going down in the 16 and you read it here first.

good call on the sleepers there! Happily I got to sleep in and watch the games here in Hamburg (one of the 15,000). Look for some far more exciting matchups coming up today...US v Ghana and Italy v Czech, games which matter to all four teams. Look for the guy wearing the US jersey at the Italy/Czech game (if I'm lucky).

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