Category: World Cup 2014

President Follows Through With World Cup Bet He Made With Belgian Prime Minister And Sends Him Two Cases Of Sam Adams

 

When Belgium played the USMNT in the knockout round of the 2014 World Cup President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo made a friendly bet that the loser would send the winner a few cases of their country’s best beer. It is very debatable whether Sam Adams is America’s best beer but since America has so many craft breweries it would be very hard to choose which beer he sent if he went with a more diminutive American craft brewer. Smart move by Obama to send beer from one the country’s largest craft breweries, as well as being a craft brewery named after one of this country’s founding fathers, because you can’t go wrong with that combination. It would have been interesting to see what Elio Di Rupo would have sent had he won since Belgium is home to many fine beers which each could have made a case to be called the country’s best beer. Come to think of it, thank God Belgium didn’t lose because that could have started a beer civil war in Belgium.

Also, I know Obama is just being funny when he says “See you in 2018” but for the sake of the USMNT they better hope they never face Belgium in 2018 because they will be even more talented than they are now.

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All The World Cup Goals Ranked (GIFs)

1. Tim Cahill for Australia against the Netherlands

2. James Rodríguez for Colombia against Uruguay

3. Robin van Persie for the Netherlands against Spain

See the other 168 over at Deadspin

I saw probably 135 of these goals live, give or take a few, and I wholeheartedly agree with Deadspin’s rankings of top three being Tim Cahill, James Rodriguez, and Robin Van Persie. RVP was the best goal of the tournament until Tim Cahill smashed his goal in against the Netherlands. No matter how good James Rodriguez’s goal was, it could not unseat Tim Cahill’s. The only reason some may have thought it should have was just because it was fresher in their minds. Also, while watching all of these goals I remember how much it is going to suck waiting four years for this to happen again.

Post World Cup Rankings Update

With the close of the 2014 World Cup comes the ending of the biggest International Soccer competition until Russia in 2018.  This tournament caused the biggest movement of FIFA’s rankings until the next major tournament, so these rankings should be relatively stable until CONMEBOL’s Copa America (2015/2016) or UEFA’s Euro (2016).  Copa America and Euro will of course result in changes, but only for certain regional confederations, whereas the World Cup helps and/or hurts every FIFA team in the world.  Let’s get into these preliminary rankings, starting with the prediction for the new top 30:

Predicted rankings 14 July 2014
Predicted rankings 14 July 2014

Below is a chart showing how teams entered the World Cup Finals and how the final results moved them around:

Predicted Top 30 Changes
Predicted Top 30 Changes (ordered by pre-World Cup rankings)

Oh how the mighty have fallen. Given that Spain, England and Italy were all bumped from the tournament in the Group Stage, Spain fared quite well only dropping to number 8.  Italy and England were not so lucky, falling to 18th and 25th respectively.  The impressive tournament performance by CONCACAF teams advancing to the knockout stage (Mexico, USA and Costa Rica) only allowed Costa Rica to move up from 28th to 23rd.  The United States dropped from 13th to 22nd and Mexico held at 20th. Those European teams that made it out of the Group Stage did quite well, especially the Netherlands (15th to 3rd), France (17th to 6th) and Belgium (11th to 5th).  Of course, these are all predictions using the FIFA Prognosis Tool (better than WebMD) and will be either blown out of the water or confirmed come Thursday when FIFA is set to release their next rankings update.  IF these predictions hold true, the highest ranked team that is not a member of UEFA or CONMEBOL is…Algeria, at 19th in the world.  I’ll bet nobody called that one.

 

Check in after FIFA releases their new rankings this Thursday for a comparison of FIFA using FIFA math and my attempt at using FIFA math.

The Beautiful Girls Of The 2014 World Cup

This video is a collection of “honey shots” of the beautiful girls who attended the World Cup matches. In tomorrow’s links I will include an article on the founder of the “honey shot” but until then just sit back and enjoy the beautiful people of the beautiful game.

 

P.S. For those ladies asking why there aren’t any “honey shots” of good-looking guy fans the truth is there doesn’t need to be any. Cristiano Ronaldo was on the field, you ladies had enough to look at.

The Future Is Bright For US Soccer (Belgium Post-Mortem)

The United States World Cup run is over and there’s a lot to be sad about, but also a lot to be happy about. The USMNT was not better than Belgium, not even close. Any chance they had of winning the game would have had to come through grit, determination, and a whole lot of luck. For most of the game they showed all those qualities, albeit the luck was only happening on the defensive end of the ball. In the end, the absurd talent of Belgium was just too much and the USMNT could not pull off the upset.

In order to understand the chasm of quality between the United States and Belgium it is important to look at the plethora of talented players Belgium has at its disposal. Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, Everton, and Porto are just some of the teams on which the bench players of Belgium played for. The starters were the fifth highest paid among all teams behind the top four which are Spain, Germany, Brazil, and Argentina. They had Romelu Lukaku coming off the bench in injury time who is a forward for Chelsea. To put that in comparison, the USMNT forward who came off the bench was Chris Wondolowski, a 32 year old who plays for the San Jose Earthquakes and was just now playing in his first World Cup. Up until, and during, the World Cup the USMNT have had an argument over who their two center backs would be. Belgium has so many quality center backs that they had to stick two of them as outside fullbacks (They were not happy to be moved outside). Eden Hazard was coming off a season where he had just won PFA Young Player of the Year award while our best winger is 32 and was left at home (Landon Donovan). This Belgium team is an incredibly talented team with an embarrassment of riches. There is a reason they were picked as a dark horse to win the tournament. Unfortunately for the US and the rest of the world, they will probably be one of the favorites to win the 2018 World cup considering they are the second-youngest team in the year’s World Cup. Not only are they talented, but also they will just keep getting better.

 

There is nothing wrong with losing to a vastly superior team. Every US soccer fan should be proud of the players that wore the Red, White, and Blue. The USMNT was not even supposed to escape their group so it was a great achievement to even get to the knockout round. However, in order to progress as a footballing nation the USMNT must consistently go further in the knockout round. In order to do that, there must be changes. The style of play is the first thing that needs to be changed. Jurgen Klinsmann came into the job promising attacking and attractive football. To say he failed would be too nearsighted. Most of players on this World Cup roster could not have engaged in that game plan against more technically superior teams because their touch and vision is not as developed as the players on a Germany, Belgium, or Colombia. Most times, however, the US played too tentatively. The defense was rock solid at times but frequently the midfield and defense would cough up the ball at inopportune times. It seemed as if the US just wanted to get rid of the ball and were too afraid to commit and lose the ball. Therefore, there was a severe lack of possession, which inevitably increased the pressure on the US defense and helped opposing teams find their rhythm. During the tournament the US was second in worst of time of possession.

To be a good team you do not have to dominate possession like Spain does. Some teams actually prefer less possession so they can hit their opponents on the counter-attack. This was not what the US was doing. Their lack of possession was due to lack of composure on the ball and an overtly defensive strategy. That needs to change next World Cup. If the USMNT wants to grow and become a world power it needs to be able to dictate play. Sitting back and hoping to rebuff you opposition’s attacks and then sneak a goal in, will not be a long-term path to success.  The brief flashes of brilliance the US showed when down a goal and being forced to play more open, gives hope that if the national team gets the talent and hone their technical abilities then the US can start to become a team that will not need to park the bus in order to try and steal points. Continue reading “The Future Is Bright For US Soccer (Belgium Post-Mortem)”