Well, we’ve seen all the teams now, so I’m going to back off and only write about the games that matter, where by “matter” I mean “I watched and didn’t bore me”. So, is this the year of Latin America or what?

Colombia 2 Côte d’Ivoire 1 · It was fair, the Colombians are the real deal and the Ivoiriens just weren’t there yet, even though Gervinho’s goal was maybe the best solo-effort score in the tournament so far. There are now like 5 Latin-American teams that you have to think are a threat to any team on any day. Among other things, in two games Colombia has a total of one goal against. And hey, the Africans might still make it into the Round of 16, which would be cool.

Uruguay 2 England 1 · Sorry England, you have no scoring punch and you gave up 4 goals in two games. Also, whoever fixed up Suarez’s knee can double their fees.

So it comes down to Uruguay vs Italy to see who joins Costa Rica (oh yeah) in the playdown; if I really had to bet on that one, it’d be on Uruguay. But not by much.

Italy 0 Costa Rica 1 · In two games, CR has scored 6 and given up 1. In two games, no Italian player has looked like a world-beater. Costa Rica is young, they’re fast, they’re fun to watch; I’m an unabashed fan.

Going forward · Italy-Uruguay is going to be tough to call. The Italians have the organization and the depth and if they show some flashes of the kind of quality we haven’t seen yet, they could still be a contender. The Uruguayans have Suarez. Just because Balotelli and his posse have been so toothless, I’m betting on Uruguay to go through.

The other puzzler is France; I didn’t see the Switzerland game, and Group E isn’t overpowering, but eight goals scored is impressive. They probably top Group E which gives them the Group F runner-up in the next round. That’s likely Iran or Nigeria, so they’re a good bet for the quarter-finals.

Speaking of next-round matchups, the groups are criss-crossed: Group A winner vs B runner-up, B winner vs A runner-up. Similarly for C-D, E-F, G-H. A-B is clear as mud, probably Brazil/Mexico from A and Netherlands/Chile from B. Either way, wow.

In C-D, probably Colombia against either Italy or Uruguay, and Costa Rica against, well, Costa Rica probably has another smooth path to the quarters.

For the rest, once you get past France it’s too soon to tell.



Contributions

Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Steve Kirks (Jun 21 2014, at 08:00)

Just a quick thank you for writing these summaries. I don't follow soccer so I find your combination of lingo and analysis pulling me in each time. Keep writing these please!

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From: John Cowan (Jun 21 2014, at 20:15)

Bogus hyphenation alert: "Netherland-s".

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From: Hugh Fisher (Jun 22 2014, at 00:39)

I did see the France-Switzerland game.

France are awesome on the attack, very clean one touch football. The Swiss made it easier by turning the ball over frequently, but it was never as easy as say the second Suarez goal against England.

Still questionable on defence. If I were the French coach, I'd have much preferred 4-0 to 5-2. The last ten minutes were very sloppy. The first Swiss goal was from a low free kick that went straight through the legs of the French wall. Nothing the keeper could do. Sure, the game was well and truly won by then, but a really good team would not have eased off.

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