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World Cup Volume 12

Tue Jul 1

An Irregular Series USA v BEL

A Broken Nose is an American Injury.
Stick your face where it don't belong.

Cut your face to spite

GAME ON!!!!!!!!

I am still not impressed with DaMarcus Beasley.

12 minutes in and not too much pressing from one side or the other.

Every Single Time BadTouch Bradley misplays the ball going forward, remember that in those moments he's supposed to be Clint Dempsey playing to Jozy Altidore.
Every Single Time Bradley makes a play or closes a space on defense, remember that he's supposed to be one level back.

USA is playing without Plan A(ltidore) and have done very well considering.  Which other team in the 16 is playing without Plan A?  Most of them non-A-plan-having Mofos went home after the 32.

Yikes on that BEL break at about 22min.  This is why we need Howard as GK.

Of course Beasley gets back to make that goal line save.

Mr. Dark:  You say that USA has been second-best in the first half as if there is no second half.  Or as if all 0-0 games are not all 0-0.

BEL #5 still scares me.

Eden Hazard is really good but consistently short of transcendent in any&every way.

Two paths here:
BEL gets the goal on USA's stout defense.
USA hits the break on the tied from-attacking BEL team.


At least I hope.

58 min gone.

Despite their possession, BEL's best shot was just then on the touchline playback.

60 min gone.

This USA team is not nearly as wide-open as they were in the group stage.

Bradley is playing much deeper now, no?

66min gone.

Like this Wondolowski Sub.  This is the time, now is the moment, Wondo has done the work, time to see if Fortune favors him.

I like the way we've moved Dempsey and Bradley back to take some breth while Wondo gets to be aggressive in the front.

More possible combinations if Extra Time happens as well.

Yes, we still demand a top-shelf GK for USA success.  There is no other way.  76min gone.

Nice defense, Morales.

The USA roster is deep and versatile, though not every individual USA sub is versatile.

It looks like due to a possible Omar Gonzalez injury that USA will truly have to suffer.

HAZARD.  yay.

Silver Surfer Bradley is so so so much better in defense.  He turns into Badtouch Bradley in attack.

USA has changed tactics.  I like this versatility.  Yedlin is doing everything he needs to do.  Pure Adrenochrome?

Fantastic, Besler,..

Wait... USA has never been in a shootout in the World Cup? I mean... I'm not surprised, exactly, but still...

Beasley is attentive and exerts energy... he is a strong defender... but I just don't ever feel comfortable... is it just me?

Wondolowski... if you ever played HS US soccer... you know exactly that guy.

92 min gone.


fuuuuukin Lukaku.

Don't do it Lukaku... ohno.. De Bruyne.

BEl 1, USA 0, 92 min gone.

Now... we shall see who USA brings in... at least this is not late in the second OT...

Fuuuuuuuuking Lukaku.

BEL 2, USA 0. 105min gone.

It would take a miracle.

Julian Green scores or "comes up trumps" according to the announcer.  BEL 2, USA 1, 107min gone.

OH JJones! Unlucky! Nearly there, Sir!

Interesting USA Free Kick here... 112min gone.

Excellent design with a lack of finish for USA.

Excellent Excellent playcall from Klinsman!!!

And yet, that is not enough for USA to win.

This was a fantastic team, with a coherent style and gameplan and counterattack.

I am sorry to see USA bow out, but the thing is that I'm sure USA Soccer is on the rise.


Here's the thing, Soccer.  I love you.  We love you.  But in a part-time sense.  That is, we Americans can also watch other sports.  The NBA.  The NFL.  WE like excellence, and those two leagues are the most in graceful athleticism and powerful athleticism that we will find on the planet.

So, we watch them.
And, for those of whom among us love gambling? We watch baseball.  If we crave speed action, we have the NHL.  And we have MMA And we ahve and we have and we have...

We love sports here in America, and soccer is worthy.

But it will never be more worthy than Basketball, Football and the like.  At most, it can be tied.

And that is a hell of a thing.
We are THE sporting nation on the earth.

But the soccer season is too long.

I watch UEFA Champions League every year.  I work for MLU.  I watch as much as possible of the NBA season every year.  So too the NFL.  How am I going to watch BPL? La Liga? &c?

That's about it.  Plus the World Cup, every four years, and some pieces of Olympics.

It isn't that we wouldn't want to watch more of you, soccer, it is that we don't want to watch less of our other significant others.

I hope this doesn't mean you'll want to have that "friends" conversation.  I don't want to give up what we have, I just want to have my cake and eat it too because "Cake or Death" is too damn French.

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World Cup Volume 11

Sun Jun 29 - Tue Jul 1

An Irregular Series
URU v COL. I'm shocked at how many soccer players keep their thumbs on their chests when crossing their arms in these intros.  Who the hell does that?

COL dispatched URU over the whole of the game without too much trouble.  Not particularly interesting, but this is a better piece on the win from a more informed COL perspective.

Been excited for this match for a while.

In the early going, MEX is having the best of it, making more threatening runs and generating actual shots on goal while NED needs to take an early sub for De Jong and has been unable to generate fulfilling attacks.  Also, the NED GK is looking like crap getting caught out of the goal at all the wrong times, missing clears and generally looking... uh... nearly unqualified.

However, Robben is still so damn dangerous.  He's built up a couple of one-man forays into the attacking area.

I'm a fan of Dutch Football.  Have been for a long time as they purport to have a philosophical bent in their tactics and a sense that this is what they do.  Their players are consistently compelling and often brilliant.

NED is holding in attack, up until a FIFA mandated cooling break which is leading to an unexpected commercial break in a World Cup game.

MEX messes up in the backfield... and NED fails to capitalize despite it being RVP and Robben!  Needed a better result there, even though the announcers seem to think it should have been a PK (as does Robben).

Lotta empty seats on the sunny side of the stadium .
Yes, after halftime, the announcers seem to have noticed the empty seats in the sun... and then MEX scores on a wonderful strike from just outside of hte box, although the GK should have gotten a piece of it and he failed.  I understand that he was screened and it was a wonderful shot... but this GK has been ripe for the picking all day.

MEX 1, NED 0. 48 min gone.

Interesting game afoot!

Heckuva strike, Dos Santos.  Very creative use of space also.

Holy Ochoa with that save!!

Is this gonna turn into the NHL w/ MEX riding the hot GK???

I have not been impressed with Sneijder in this tourney.  I've always liked him, but he seems so complacent thus far through 3.5 games or so.

And Huntelaar enters the game for NED!  The secret weapon forces RVP to the bench!

Is RVP suffering from the heat?  He is no Michael Bradley, willing to suffer the most.

Coach Herrera getting warned on the sideline about something.  He reminds me of NY Rumble Head Coach Anthony Nunez for some reason.  Despite Nunez's far more stoic demeanor.

8 minutes to play... does NED have a chance?  a trick up their collectively Oranje sleeve?  CAn MEX hold on to this  win?  It would be a surprising but not shocking to see MEX win this.  They are a very strong side, and were it not NED (or USA), I'd be cheering for them.

And as soon as I type a while on Sneijder, he rockets the shit out of a bouncing ball to tie the game!  That's the type of strike that I loved practicing and prayed that I would get to blast in a game, but my skill wa snot high enough.  Only in the back yard and in practice...

MEX 1, NED 1.  88min gone!

Ad ROBBEN GOES ***RIGHT*** TO DRAW A PENALTY!  91 min gone!!!!!

If there is a keeper who can save a non-shootout PK... Ochoa... might be the guy...

And another yellow on this interaction for MEX.

HUNTELAAR to take it...

Huntelaar makes it!  Buries it into the sidenetting, and jump-kicks the flag like a Double Dragon character!  Holy Holy Holy hell!

MEX 1, NED 2, 92 min gone!!!

And NED wins!

Survive and advance, as THE Jimmy Valvano would say.  No matter how many strikers needed, no matter how many minutes.  No matter.  You win, you win.
Watching this CRC v GRE game has been an experience in the wholly boring yet engulfing world of the World Cup.  It has been a couple of opportunistic goals in a morass of poorly connected play.  GRE started just lobbing balls into the box as soon as CRC lost their 11th and went down to 10.  CRC tried valiantly to defender, and succeeded in preventing GRE from converting on any of their near-chances.

That CRC lost a player was depressing to watch happen.  Their attack has been enjoyable to watch the whole of the game.  And GRE, like they have been this whole time, were incompetent on attack in the run of play as well as on set pieces.

Now to PKs without the GRE coach!  Who seems to have been sent off in the interregnum between the end of extra time and the start of PKs.  Wild and wooly stuff.

CRC Borges:  Top of the goal, dead center.  CRC 1, GRE 0.
GRE Mitroglu:  Little stutter, finishes in side netting to the left.  CRC 1, GRE 1.
 (This is already brtter than BRA v CHI)
CRC Brian Ruiz:   High slightly off-center to the right.  CRC 2, GRE 0.
GRE #16:  Buries it in the side right.  CRC 2, GRE 2.
CRC #3:  Slight lift to the left side, that midrange height that can get over the GK.  CRC 3, GRE 2.
GRE #20:  Same as CRC above, but opposite side.  CRC 3, GRE 3.
CRC Campbell:  Cheeky finish.  Slow roller finish after GK commits.  CRC 4, GRE 3.
GRE Gekas:  SAVE BY NAVAS!!!  To the left, and the GK gets it with his trailing hand!
CRC #4:  Buries it top left!

CRC advances on one save!

Happy to see CRC advance over GRE.  GRE is not at all pleasing to watch.  CRC can be... however, when they play against NED, it will likely be unbalanced.

Good attacking w/o dominance from either side.

NGA now scores on offsides goal (Called back).
FRA now misses an open offsides chance.

Pogba sould have scored on that beautiful cross (which would not have happened has Pogba not made a lovely traipse upfiled to accelerate past most of the NGA line.

This has been a fun end-to-end game in the first 23 min.

Nice save on the almost-bicycle kick from the FRA GK.

Still into extra time in the first half, neither team has been able to build through the center of the field when attacking.  It has been all wings and crosses, with maybe one exception when Pogba got off on a break for a moment.  Which *still* ended with a cross before a shot.  This width and then in is strong, but they are failing to spread the defense out enough to create some gaps int eh center.

And *THAT* is why you are not allowed to challenge with your studs up.  The FRA dude was really walking the line.  Clearly unintentional, but that does nothing to protect the players.  Nor does it bring the NGA player back in.

NGA is not attackng in numbers, but they are still generating some chances eitehr dead on or via crosses.  FRA... we'll see yet.

NGA has had a handful of near-crushing goals scored on them.  That they have NOT is an indicator that they might well be the winner.  If NGA can get one in, FRA may have already had too many good chances by the 78th minute to generate any more.


FRA 1, NGA 0.  79 minutes gone!

The GK needed to come out and actually clear it!

Now, the reverse is the mentality.. FRA has been pressing and has converted!  now NGA needs to prove themselves in the final 20min!

And the game is over.  FRA scores their second on a NGA owngoal.

C'mon ALG Head Wound Harry!  You gotta cross that ball in front of the goal mouth!  You're shooting at a target which doesn't exist!

The thing about the GER side is that they know that, despite their aesthetically pleasing style of play,  no one likes them.  And they feed off of that.  They are the Contras.  The opposition.  The Big Boss.

That ALG is pressing well is troubling for Zee Germans.  That they just scored and offsides goal is likely to prove either a warning shot which wakes GER or a harbinger of ALG's brilliance.

Another dangerous ALG attack!  This ends in a shot which should have been a far-post-cross.

ALG is no joke.  I haven't been able to look away from the game enough to type.  So tense.  GER is on the ropes, simultaneously with ALG.  I have no idea at all what will happen.  It is like both teams are constantly under siege yet not truly able to threaten the other.  AH!  SO SOCCER!

Dude, it is a FREE kick.  Y'ain't s'pos'ta fall down.

The ALG GK has been above competent.

And what the fucking goal is that for Churrle??? he was blindly kicking to a blindspot on the goalface!  So good at soccer are all these players.

This is possibly the most interesting early result.  Now ALG has to press which, while they are not against it, it is still not their best facet.

This ALG attacker laying on the ground is the worst part of the game so far.

Unless, of course, his brain has melted under duress.

"The lead tenuous and far from impressive." is what the announcer says just before GER buries the clincher in the 2nd OT.

This ALG squad is just out of gas.  They are very very dangerous.  GER was a terrible matchup for them.

OH!!! And *Now* ALG scores.  Great far-post run.  Still no chance.  Riiight?  But they're in the box again!  Nope!

There is the whistle.

GER advances.

Again, ALG is a fantastic squad this go-round.

FRA v GER should be... free of crazy historical associa... wait... no it isn't.  i'm excited!
And finally Shaqiri generates a beautiful opportunity, the first of the game, on the whole.

This is shaping up to be the most conservative of the knockout games thus far.

now ARG generates a great crossing opportunity off of a cross.

30 min in and there have been two legit chances.  This seems destined for PKs.  OR just a Messi goal, of course.

This Drmic non-goal on the breakaway could spell the end for SUI.

Scoreless at half.

ARG is laying siege to the SUI right now out of half.  This is the moment that they believe they will score, yeah?

And yet, here we are in the second extra time with ARG still not-scoring and SUI still not-scoring.  It seems like Messi is always covered by three and that Shaquiri (the only SUI able to create on his own) is... well... the only SUI able to create on his own.

111 minutes gone, 0-0.

Di Maria is SO FAST.  (No Gareth Bale... but still)


118 minutes gone!

Oh my, #15 SUI... that is not good at all for you... that could've... anything could have happened there.  And the only thing that did happen was you missing.  Once by a post's distance and once by a rebound's caprice.

How is the SUI GK so slow after coming out?  He's been standing around for 120+ minutes.

SUI should've been playing like this whole time!

SUI free kick just outside of the box due to Shaquiri!
 And a header by the wall kills the free kick. Whoah.

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"He's just this guy, you know?"