World Cup Group Stages Open Thread

And so it begins!



  1. Wanting Stephen Pienaar (RSA) to do well, but if he does, will he be tempted away from Everton?

    In any case, hoping for a good first game.

  2. Aaron R. says:

    Is there anywhere we can watch live online? I know I should know but I have not had time to look yet.

  3. Depending on your connection, you should be able to watch it here.

  4. Aaron R. says:
  5. Aaron R. says:

    Thanks Brad.

  6. So far a pretty even game, not sure about the refs, but I think I will give them the benefit of the doubt. Jim Joyce increased my respect for all umpitlres and referees, except for NBA ones v

  7. Wow, that was a blown chance for Mexico.

  8. I HATE those noisemakers. You can’t watch anymore without thinking of helicopter-size mosquitoes or a NASCAR track…

  9. Rooting for RSA, here, but that was a horrible blown call.

  10. Stupid refs. Ignore my previous comment about the refs. That was a goal.

  11. Not liking the horns.

  12. Bfabbi,
    Actually, he was offside because the goalkeeper came past him, thus making the guy on the line irrelevant. It’s a quirk off the offside law.

  13. Based on the first half S Africa are going to struggle to get out of this group, (after Group G this is arguably the toughest group) though they looked better in the last 5mins or so.

  14. gomez, you’re probably right about RSA’s chances of getting out of the group, but that was a helluva goal.

  15. Antonio Parr says:


    Today is interesting, but tomorrow is essential.

    God bless ‘merica, Hon!

  16. Brad, agreed about the goal. Fantastic strike. The first half counts for nothing now. RSA win this game and they are half way to getting out of the group.

  17. Antonio Parr says:

    17. Mark:

    Total thread hijack here, but Pierce Pettis manages to make the Song of Solomon sound inspired, indeed . . .

  18. Poor RSA defending.

  19. Fair result.

    Mark B: AoF 13.

  20. Boo soccer ties! BOOOOOOO!!!!

  21. I agree, Tim J, I hate it when people wear soccer ties to church.

  22. a pretty good first match. disappointed as always with tie games.

  23. South Africa demonstrated the agony and ecstacy of African teams. Fantastic athletic ability, speed, amazing skill, and complete bone-headedness and lack of composure. That is why they will make it to a later round where a tactically superior team, like Italy or Germany will play them in a way that they can’t win.

    Or they play the English and the English lose on penalties. Sorry, I couldn’t help it but I was live at the 1990 Semi where England lost and the legend was born.

  24. Ties are better than penalty kicks.

  25. And old-school cravats are better than ties.

    Wait… what are we talking about, again?

  26. Why are the coaches so often from another country? Where’s the patriotism?

  27. Given the fact that France cheated their way into the finals, gotta go for Uruguay.

  28. Is it mean to say that France has a stupid sounding national anthem?

  29. Is it mean to say that France has a stupid sounding national anthem?

    Whoa, whoa, whoa Don Rickles, now you just slow down there. We don’t need to start an international incident, so you need to play nice.

    And we don’t say “Stupid” (comment 85)

  30. No, Brad, but when your blood is filling the furrows or running down the gutters or whatever that song says, maybe you’ll change your mind.

    And, RJH, you surely were referring to AoF11, not 13.

  31. Go frogs!

  32. I am unable to watch on my phone, and in-laws don’t know their security key for their wireless network.

    Incidentally, and I’m sure this has come up before, but the mobile version of BCC doesn’t give comment numbers. Makes it hard to find buried comments!

  33. Another tie, and LOTS of cards, including a red.

  34. doesn’t anyone want to actually win a game in this World Cup?

  35. Okay, I am a n00b when it comes to FIFA. My experience with this sport is pretty much limited to playing on a local park district soccer team when I was eight years old, and that was only during the Spring season.

    So I am going to ask the totally n00b question: Why doesn’t football have overtime or anything that actually allows for a winner?

  36. 37

    I might get this wrong, so I’ll apologize upfront to any die-hards.

    Right now we are in the first round. Two teams will advance from every group of four. Every team within those groups will play each other during this first round. In this first round, total score from the three games is more important than wins. Therefore if a team were allowed a tie-breaker during a first round game it would give them an unfair advantage in terms of total points.

    I believe there are tie-breaker provisions in later rounds.

  37. It does — in knock-out stages. We’re not at that point yet.

  38. Mark B.: That noise is from the vuvuzela, a fog-horn type thing that the South Africans’ are very fond of. Everyone outside of South Africa hates them.

  39. I so love deleting comments and banning people.

    Good morning, yanks. Prepare to be humiliated.

    St. George

  40. RJH, are you nervous at all? Please tell me Capello is as good as I think he is.

  41. Peter LLC says:

    I sense some anxiety behind these displays of bravado, Ronan.

  42. Yes, I’m nervous. The US is a good team and I can’t bear the idea of losing to a nation that doesn’t give a monkey’s about soc-er-rrr.

  43. Antonio Parr says:

    Ronan – 40:

    Surely you know that Billy Bragg has all but defected from England, becoming an honorary US citizen of sorts, recording not one, but two albums of Woody Guthrie’s uniquely Americana songs. He is practically one of us, and very well may be wearing red, white and blue today.

    Just sayin.

    Here’s hoping that it will be a closely contested match.

    Here’s hoping, as well, that all of your USA brothers and sisters will be gracious in victory . . .

  44. Antonio Parr says:

    46. Ronan:

    There are certain enlightened parts of the USA that certainly give (if not a monkey’s) a city rat’s ass about soccer/football:

  45. So, as I continue to try to understand the FIFA World Cup, another question: how likely is it that the teams that had scoreless matches will not advance?

  46. Can’t stand looking at Maradona’s face.

  47. @Alex,
    it really depends. Group A will be interesting, but each team has two more matches. It might not matter based on the next two games.

  48. Yeah, what a manky git.
    (How’m I doing with the slang there?)

  49. yay, two teams finally won!

  50. USA in a walk, starting an hour from now.

    Mark it, Elder Rigdon!

  51. Seems that Katie’s response is hanging on a now non-existent question.

    Naja, we’ll check back again after I finish my plumbing chore this afternoon and see if the boys have re-enacted the Battle of Yorktown in South Africa this evening.

  52. Dejavu all over again.

  53. Well done stupid USA. Lasted all of 3.5 minutes.

  54. So is some of the hesitation from the U.S. midfielders due to the totally justifiable worries over the U.S. back defense?

  55. This article from Men’s Journal says it all.

  56. Oh, that’s got to hurt.

  57. What a save!

  58. Okay, how did Greene NOT stop that???

    Go USA!

  59. Thank you Green! Nothing like an own goal to buoy the Americans…1-1!

  60. Doh!!!!

  61. Jeez. The replays make him look even worse. That was just absolutely horrible ball control from Green. Terrible…

    This reminds me–the USA was the only team to escape defeat against Italy in ’06, and the equalizer there was also on an own goal.

  62. Will Greene ever live this down?

  63. Even rooting for my fellow Yanks, I feel really, really terrible for Green.

  64. Mark: yeah, I guess someone got a little trigger happy with the delete button. :)

    I feel bad for Green. As a former goalkeeper, I always cheer for the keepers on both teams to do well and I did some big time cringing at his ball control.

  65. Pssst. There’s no “e” at the end of his name.

  66. Oops. I thought I saw otherwise. Consider the e stricken from the record!

  67. Also stricken from the record: my calling it an own goal. I called it that because it was basically such, but I don’t want to deprive Dempsey the credit officially on a great shot.

  68. Altidore!

  69. No joke Wm Morris. That was an amazing blown chance…
    I’ll take a draw, I suppose.

  70. Excellent match! Howard was definitely the man of the game!

  71. a fairly well played game, though I was disappointed that in the last ten minutes or so, it seemed both sides were giving up and accepting a draw.

  72. Stephanie says:

    Keep all prescriptions and handguns away from Green.

  73. It’s not Green’s fault; I WILLED the ball in. OF course, he’s also not going to have people buying him pints any time soon…

  74. That was a shocking moment by Green, but let’s take stock:

    1. England should have won 3-1 at least. We can create chances but are going to need to be more clinical.
    2. The US are pretty average but should qualify.
    3. England will get better.
    4. Green’s England career is over.

  75. I would say 2-1 for the first point, and yes to the rest. Lampard has always been disappointing for me–especially in the last cup, and again today. Nothing special, and then put the set piece so far above the goal that it made me wonder if he was even aiming.

  76. Ronan, did your flag change at some point this afternoon/evening and then change back?

    So, my thought is that Howard was a spectacular goalkeeper, and that is what kept England from winning.

  77. I agree US was pretty lame. They didn’t mount a sustained attack at all in the second half. It seems like they always do the same thing, going back at least to the last World Cup: they can’t handle the ball through the midfield, so they just make long passes and give up possession.

  78. I’ve been told by my English neighbour that most Brits would rather invite Hitler in for tea than have to look at Maradona. Is this true? Something to do with the 86 World Cup?

  79. What percentage chance would you guess that we see David James in the next match? I could even survive with Joe Hart and be happy but I think James would be less shakey.

  80. Larry the Cable Guy says:

    BP now considering the blown save as full compensation for the oil mess.

  81. RJH, England should have won, but too many times having beaten the full backs the final ball of SWP, Lennon, and Johnson to some extent was poor. For all his faults (no pace, no left foot, can’t head, can’t beat a man) Beckham’s delivery was consistently excellent, arguably the best in the world.

    Agreed the US should qualify, but their defence looks shaky, though Howard was excellent.

    Lampard was somewhat anonymous and while Gerard had a good game, too often the space on the edge of the area created by Heskey/Rooney was left void by the pair of them (with the exception of the opening goal). The disappointing thing was they never recreated that kind of chance after the goal. England’s midfield has a better shape when Barry plays as he should do in the next game.

    Carragher is too slow. Green will still get the nod ahead of Hart, I think; but if James is fit he will probably play here on out.

    Somewhat disappointed but overall not a bad start.

  82. #80 Jacob: England and Argentina played each other in the quarter-final that year, and Maradona scored the now infamous “Hand of God” goal, where he pushed the ball into the goal with his hand. Argentina won 2-1. Make your conclusions from there. :)

  83. Katie,

    And of course that game came just a few years after the Falklands War between Britain and Argentina. So the British were truly not too pleased that they lost to Argentina in the World Cup.

  84. Slovenia wins. Yay for teams winning!

  85. No luck for my other home team. Germany is just too good. Australia will just have to wait for the Rugby World Cup.

  86. Germany look ominously good.

  87. We haven’t seen Brazil, but Germany did as one would expect. My gut feeling is Brazil – Germany final with Argentina, Italy or France for the 3rd place. The rest can be ordered alphabetically, if needed. Ghana’s win was a pleasant surprise.

  88. #80 As someone from in England living in the US, I mentioned today in EQ that it is alright to cheer for anybody EXCEPT Argentina.

    I was alright with the result as long as both US & England make it out

  89. Japan scores on Cameroon!

  90. Who says Americans don’t get football?

  91. I am enjoying the games. But what is up with the constant horns? Its totally annoying!!

  92. 90

    Go Argentina!

  93. I’m sorry, but after watching NZ/Slovakia and Portugal/CIV this morning play to draws, I am getting worn out. This is the most boring WC in history. Whether you blame the new ball, the horns, or something else, the fact is, nobody other than Germany has seemed to demonstrate any kind of ability to put the biscuit in the basket.

    (And even Germany got 2 of it’s 4 goals when they were a man up.)

  94. I agree. 13 matches, 20 total goals scored, and 5 draws. Everyone is playing very conservatively, which is predictable for opening games, and it’s causing some incredibly boring matches.

  95. Bout time Brazil pulled the gloves off. 2-0 at 87 minutes.

  96. And literally as I’m typing that, Korea scores.

  97. Scotty,
    Be patient. The first round is often flat. It will get better!

  98. Eric S. says:

    North Korean News Flash on TV: “Our Democratic Republic of Korea beats Brazil 1 – 0 today, making history!!! [replying images of #8’s goal millions of times from every conceivable angle].

  99. Ronan,
    I’ve avidly watched every WC since ’94–so this is not a function of me “getting used to football” or anything–it’s just been a really flat, defensive-minded (or, perhaps offensively-inept) tourney so far.

  100. Scotty,
    I know you’re a fan. I agree it’s been slow.

  101. Ronan, since you mentioned it, I got curious about group play for this year relative to past WCs. While we’re admittedly only one game in for all the groups (except H), it doesn’t look good so far. If the current rate of scoring holds up, this will end up being the worst group play scoring demonstration since (at least) 1990 by a fair margin:

    Group Play Goals Per Game Average:
    1990: 2.28
    1994: 2.58
    1998: 3.00
    2002: 3.10
    2006: 2.79
    2010 (so far): 1.64

    Also, with the exception of 1994, each of those WCs had higher scoring rates during group play than in the knock-out rounds.

  102. Ronan (102),
    Do you think it’s attributable to anything other than sun spots or full moons or something mystic? I.e., do you think the ball, officiating, or vuvuzelas are impacting this? It just seems odd that all of the groups are having the same problem scoring goals.

  103. Eric S. says:

    Scott B.–I agree and anyone (my boss, my wife, my friends, God, my young mens group, my kids, etc.) will tell you I watch too much footy. Teams are playing cautiously, except for the Germans and Brazil today. Those two teams played “their game.” Brazil was Brazil: possess possses possess until the right moment and make the other team dizzy in the mean time. Germany was Germany: fast, strong, accurate. Portugal was affraid to let its hair down today. They didn’t attack. They got into the 18 maybe a handful of times. England is still learning to play intelligently and figure themselves out together, and Greenie had a bad night out. James will be no better though; Green was brilliant against Mexico two weeks ago. Capello is a sharp guy and will probably put Green back in at the risk of being crucified in the Mail. He doesn’t care; he just signed for four more years with England.

    USA lacks confidence, so they have slow and cautious upstarts. They play much more confidently against regional opponents.

  104. Chris H. says:


    Just watched the video in #41. I am now missing the motherland….and it has been many generations.

  105. Eric S. says:

    Just finished watching Spain game. I picked them to win the Cup. I’m not so sure about that anymore. The Swiss–just like any other team that plays Spain right now–largely played a centralized defensive game. But winning teams penetrate even the best defense, and Spain couldn’t do that. I’ve never seen David Villa hesitate on a far post shot like I did twice today. Totally tentative play. They were not just warming up and getting a feel for each other either. Silva instead of Fabregas? Huh? As a fan, I’m disappointed and shocked as Spain is stacked with talent and has no excuses. The Swiss goal was the result of a broken defense.

  106. The Swiss victory was very impressive. I still say The Netherlands are gonna win it all, though Germany looked mighty impressive. Brazil played rather even with North Korea. North Korea!

  107. A bit sad, though not entirely unexpected, I guess, to see RSA falling like this. Never happy to see a nation get defeated in its home.

  108. Right, Daniel. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the Dutch run deep–they have a phenomenal attack.

    Also, orange jerseys rule.

  109. I notice that things here have slowed down quite a lot. I’m guessing that means that people have pretty much realized that soccer is totally for losers and moved on to other bloggernacle posts.

  110. Have you guys seen this news report on soccer? Apparently, soccer now the first openly gay sport. It’s not like everyone didn’t already know that it was really gay, but still, I’m impressed by this kind of candor.

  111. I just finished watching Spain-Suisse, totally not impressed with Spain. They may be a great team, but they sure didn’t play like it today. They pretty much just stunk.

    I felt bad for S. Afrika, but Uruguay looked very good. Not sure I agree with the red card though. That was a great acting job, not much of a foul. That kind of thing makes me crazy. I hate it in the NBA and I hate it here. Real men do not flop.

  112. 3-0 last night and 4-1 today. Maybe now teams actually have to win we’ll see some more open games.

  113. Nigeria scores on Greece, with the Grecian keeper leaping *out* of the ball’s way! The vuvuzuela’s go mad!

  114. The games are getting better. I have a kid who is 10 and a pretty good soccer player. For some reason his games are much more exciting then the world cup. Scores are like 5-4. Even when he is not playing and I am watching say another team its more exciting then the world cup.

    Ronan why do the games seem more boring then a 10 year old level? Are the defenses simply to suffocating?

  115. “I just finished watching Spain-Suisse, totally not impressed with Spain. They may be a great team, but they sure didn’t play like it today. They pretty much just stunk.”

    Really? You watched the match from yesterday? Because they pretty much dominated the game and multiple scoring chances. Switzerland just had a great counter-attack and pulled out a great victory.

    Still, no team has dropped their first match and gone on to win the Cup so it’s not looking good for Spain.

  116. bbell, the main difference is the quality of the coaching, IMO. Almost every team at this WC have world class coaches. A team who are coached well and play with discipline can frustrate even the best teams (see Brazil and Spain). This was probably best exemplified when Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan beat Barcelona in this season’s Champions’ League. 10 year olds are far less disciplined (and hopefully their coaches aren’t merely playing to frustrate the opposition, score on the break, and then defend a 1 goal lead).

  117. Greece vs. Nigeria? Bail-out vs. Scam! Still 2 -1 at the time of writing, with a extremely stupid red card by the Nigeria player. Where on Earth did he think he was?

  118. S.P. Bailey says:

    Argentina looked good. Still, the highlight of the match for me was early on when the English guy doing the play-by-play for ESPN observed, very wryly, that Maradona had “single-handedly” led Argentina to win the WC in 1986.

  119. bbell,

    Generally when the best of the best play against each other, they tend to rarely get too many points off.

    Argentina looked much more impressive in this game than in their first.

  120. Looking forward to France v. Mexico in a few minutes. Don’t let me down, les bleues!

  121. S.P. Bailey says:

    Ha, ha. Just stand there and call for off sides, Frenchies! Sacrebleu!

  122. France not doing well… take-down in the goal box, and he knows immediately what that means. Rentrez chez vous, les bleues. C’est fini.

  123. Eric S. says:

    Dale duro Mexico!!! Fantastic upset. Now we’re starting to see urgent, attacking soccer. France’s reign is truly over. Henry looked like he just wanted to get it over with and be in New York’s Red Bull stadium instead.

  124. Steve Evans says:

    Merde alors!

  125. I think that’s likely the end for France… unless France beats RSA by and lot and Mexico beats Uruguay by a lot. Right?

  126. Scott B. says:

    Wow. Nice showing by El Tri, and nothing much from France. Really surprising result, sort of…but not entirely.

    I wonder how Ireland feels right now.

  127. Mexico’s victory is like Cinco De Mayo all over again except its not 1862

  128. Scott B. says:

    Ben S,
    Yeah–France needs a loss by Uruguay and a goal-differential swing of at least 4 to have a chance. So if France wins by 3 goals, Uruguay could lose by one and they’d be tied on GD and points.

  129. Wow, WHAT is going in in Germany v. Serbia? Flagrant handballs? Redcards? Keeper blocks Germany’s penalty kick? If Germany loses here, it definitely shakes things up a bit.

  130. Mark B. says:

    Aha! 1914 is avenged, at last!!

  131. The cook at the hotel we are staying in is Serbian, and was heaps excited about the win. He was also shocked. We just caught the tail-end.

    I’m looking forward to the Slovenia-USA match. The ancestral home against the family home. Rooting for America, of course!

  132. The more things stay the same…USA 0-1 SVN.

    I get so tired of watching these terrible starts.

  133. Aaron R. says:

    Mark B., classic!

    btw, I am really hoping the US draw.

  134. This is just pathetic. The USA has absolutely no bite on offense at all.

  135. WOW. What a horrible card.

  136. British Commentator on the “hand” yellowcard- “Absolutely ridiculous call. I think that’s the stupidest call I have ever seen.”

  137. And it’s over…0-2. Another failed WC effort, boys.

  138. And following a horrible card, Howard misses another one.

    * sigh *

  139. Aaron R. says:

    I’m sorry for us both.

  140. Donovan scores!

  141. NO FREE KICK?!!


    Tied up. Way to make it worth watching, USA.

  143. What is wrong with this referee?!!

  144. Amazingly poor refereeing. Especially with the withdrawl of the 3rd us goal, which should have either been granted or a penalty kick against Slovenia.
    Great energy in the 2nd half, though. Worth watching.

  145. S.P. Bailey says:

    Terrible, terrible referee. U.S. won that match 3-2.

  146. The disallowed 3rd goal was inexplicable. It just defies reason how the referee made the call he did.

  147. S.P. Bailey says:

    Dude had his head up his ass.

  148. I hate to say it, but it needs some kind of review system, which would have prevented stuff like this, or the France-Ireland handball goal that kept Ireland out.

  149. that was a terrible call. same with the referee in the Germany game.

    a lot of assumptions have been upended in this world cup so far. only three favored teams still look impressive: Brazil, Netherlands, and Argentina.

  150. YANKS! Well done. Still bored?

    P.S. Did the USA ever bomb Mali?

  151. “P.S. Did the USA ever bomb Mali?”

    Not yet.

  152. Daniel, I’d discount Brazil and Holland from that list. Brazil only managed 2 decent chances against a team ranked with 3 digits and Holland looked pretty average, I thought. I think it’s bubbling up quite nicely after a dour opening round of games. The big beasts should hit their stride come the knock out stage but before that there should be a couple of upsets along the way. I’m starting to really enjoy it. We’ll see if I feel the same way after tonight’s game.

  153. what’s in Mali for us to bomb anyways? Don’t we usually bomb nations that have like oil or something?

  154. gomez,

    true, we’ll see after the second round for both Brazil and Netherlands. I still expect the two teams to meet each other in the Quarterfinals with the game going in the Netherlands’ direction

  155. gomez,
    I disagree re Holland. I think the Dutch are going to be great. They had a slow first half, but the lone goal they scored (the other was an own goal) does not do justice to the number of close calls the orange shirts produced during the second half.

  156. That was totally awesome Ronan.

    That ref had an agenda.

  157. I hate to say it, and I’m probably tempting fate, but one of the things that makes football so delicious is that it is often riddled with injustice. Makes you angry and wanting revenge.

  158. Lakers.

  159. Eric S.,
    Say that again, and I’ll ban you. I swear I will.

  160. We don’t warn any more, Scott, we just delete.

  161. Eric S. says:

    LOL, fair enough. I just had too. I figured I was pretty close to being banned as it was. No mas.

  162. Mark B. says:

    Let’s hear it for no scoring!!

  163. We’re scoreless in the 84th minute, but yet I find myself struggling to believe it will remain that way…

  164. Mark B. says:

    Thanks, England and Algeria!!!

  165. Mark B. says:

    If the U.S. beats Algeria, they’re in!!

  166. I guess the U.S. really is about as good as England. Welcome to the mediocre club, Ronan.

  167. S.P. Bailey says:

    Huh. I expected more from England.

  168. Not only that, Mark B., but even if England wins, the US is set up well to win the group on goals scored, if they tie on differential.

  169. Mark B. says:

    The ESPN guy just summed it up: Maybe England just isn’t that good!

  170. Where was that site that let you pick the winners in each group?

  171. I’ll agree the ref in the US-Slovenia game was pathetic, but that was one fun match to watch. A different game in each half. For Both USA and England, they at least control their own destiny at this point, and don’t have to worry about the outcome of another game if they can win next week.

  172. This is tricky now, because of the Serbians victory over Germany. The second place team from Germany/Serbia’s group will play the first place team from the US/England group. Thus, it looks like it may be clearly advantageous for the US to beat Algeria, but only by a goal, and pray for a blowout victory for England. Otherwise, it’s going to be USA vs. Germany in the Round of 16.


  173. Actually, ignore me–Germany will likely still win their group based on goal differential. I forgot that Serbia had already lost to Ghana.

  174. Blow-out victory by England? What a laugh!

  175. The Dutch win.

  176. Ronan, go get plastered in some pub over the weekend and come back Monday when your head is clear.

  177. Fletcher says:

    So, is this Brazilian play more to everyone’s liking?

  178. 7-0 Portugal over North Korea. Hope those guys don’t get executed when they go home.

  179. I thought maybe Portugal ran up the score a little, but with a real possibility of being tied with the Ivory Coast after the next round of games, it’s hard to fault them for wanting to be up several goals in the differential category.

  180. Fletcher says:

    N. Korea will now re-target their ICBMs to Portugal.

  181. That poor NKorean goalkeeper.

  182. The team probably needs to ask for asylum. They are in big trouble when they get home.

  183. I didn’t think it was possible to run up the score at the World Cup level… Most of these teams seem to have difficulty scoring once or twice in a game. And if they score three times, they seem to get the point taken away from them by an idiot ref. Oh, wait, that was just the US…

  184. I don’t blame Portugal at all for running up the score. this is the freaking World Cup, for crying out loud. If you have the opportunity to score, you better score or you will regret it. How many times in your life are you going to have the opportunity to score a goal in a World Cup?

    Any team that whines about another team running up the score should go home now or better yet don’t show up in the first place. If you can’t play defense, don’t come to the World Cup. North Korea played Brazil tough, they should have been ready for Portugal. If they weren’t it’s nobody’s fault but their own.

  185. MCQ – Amen and AMEN!

  186. France has not made a good showing at all this Cup. Loss to mexico, sure. Loss to S. Africa… less ok.

  187. Poor old RSA.

  188. Yeah, France is L’Screwed.

  189. Argentina is looking quite impressive.

  190. Indeed, Daniel. Messi is not scoring, and that should cause everyone else to quake and tremble, because he is everywhere on the field and has had his feet in virtually everything they’ve done–all of which has been brilliant. Scary to think what they’d look like if he started scoring himself, too.

  191. Also, the blown chances from Nigeria in the second half against South Korea were heart-wrenching. Advancement on the line, and blowing easy tap-ins…

  192. Agree wrt Argentina. Note that I predicted they will win the thing.

    Big day tomorrow, folks. Hopefully the Anglo Saxons will prevail.

  193. Scott,

    Yeah, Messi has dominated the field and created many opportunities. I have them in the final with the Netherlands. I still think Netherlands will win.

  194. How pathetic is US soccer culture? So pathetic that I can’t even find a decent YouTube video to put up here to get me pumped up for tomorrow’s match.

  195. So far I’m doing pretty well on my predictions. I had Uruguay and Mexico going through in group A and Argentina and Greece in group B. I missed on only Greece, but that doesn’t matter much because either team loses to Argentina in the next round.

    Tomorrow, both England and US will win and advance with 5 pts each. US will be in first place on goal diff. Also, Germany and Serbia will advance with 6 pts each (but I will be rooting for the Aussies). Germany will be in first place out of their group on goal diff.

  196. Sorry, I meant that either team loses to Uruguay in the next round.

  197. Chris H. says:

    Go Orange!

  198. Let’s go Yanks. No more door mats.

    Don't Tread On Me

  199. Okay, I found a decent one. It even has Al Pacino, and a little language:

  200. “Any team that whines about another team running up the score should go home now or better yet don’t show up in the first place. If you can’t play defense, don’t come to the World Cup. North Korea played Brazil tough, they should have been ready for Portugal. If they weren’t it’s nobody’s fault but their own.”

    I hear you, Ayn Rand–er, MCQ.

  201. And another wrongly disallowed goal against the Yanks. This is criminal.

  202. Dempsey was clearly (in replay videos) onside. If the USA fails to advance, this would just be a shame.

  203. I think I’m becoming a conspiracy theorist with these refs.

  204. 75th minute now, and I have (again) lost my faith. The number of close calls has just drained it all away.


    O, ye of little faith!

  206. Red card! That’s it, we go!

  207. Donovan rules!!!!!

  208. I think I just had a heart attack

  209. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  210. I hate to say it, but I told you so. I called it again. Bow before my prescience, mere mortals.

  211. If I count points right, USA edges England for first place in the group on the basis of goals scored. 2 draws, one win, 4 goals, to England’s 2 draws, 1 win, and 2 goals. Did I get that right?

  212. I liked our play a lot better today. They were actually maintaining possession through the midfield instead of just kicking long balls. They created a lot of chances and realistically should have scored 3 goals. If Algeria had better skill on offense, though, they would have scored more against our defense. There was a lot of space back there most of the game.

  213. kevinf–Yes, USA advances and wins Group C (how ’bout them apples, Ronan?) on the goals scored tiebreaker.

    If Germany beats Ghana today, we avoid playing Germany next, and will get either Ghana or Serbia, depending on the Serbian outcome today.

  214. Happy for the Yanks.

    England were excellent today but I don’t want to face Germany.

  215. Antonio Parr says:

    Ronan lives in England. England wins.
    Ronan lived in USA. USA wins.

    Could Ronan be the key to victory? Will Ghana provide Ronan with full rights of citizenship?

    Stay tuned . . .

  216. Germany hasn’t been that impressive. I have England beating them in the next round.

  217. Disagree, on the “impressive” part, MCQ. They were awful against Serbia, yes. But they were in superb form against the Aussies.

  218. Antonio Parr says:

    I am still hoping for France to make it to the next round. Maybe they can just show up and insist . . .

    Allez les blues!

  219. Antonio, you remind me of the old joke about the soccer fan whose constant chant was “Allez les verts, les verts, allez les verts!” When he died, his non-soccer-fan wife went to his graveside and chanted “Allez, les vers, les vers, allez les vers.”

    The rest of you remind me of a week spent tracting in Marseille. No one would come to the door, but we could follow the progress of the games by just walking down the street, because they were blaring from TVs audible from Every. Single. Window.

  220. Steve Evans says:

    LOL, Ardis – I’ve heard that one.

    Les bleus should be ashamed.

  221. Antonio Parr says:


    The European Cup had the same level of devotion.

    Steve: Not sure that Les Bleus “do” shame . . .

  222. “They were awful against Serbia, yes. But they were in superb form against the Aussies.”

    Dude, did you watch that game? It wasn’t exactly a big challenge. Australia had a bit of bad luck and being a man down for much of the game made it impossible to come back. I don’t give Germany much credit for winning in that situation.

  223. Aussies score!

  224. And again!!!

  225. It’s too bad the Aussies had such a huge goal diff. to make up. It was a really good effort on their part today.

  226. The England v. Germany game will be massive. England were great today and have momentum.

  227. So far, there haven’t been too many surprises. I think the only real big one is the French implosion.

  228. Daniel, it might be just me, but I think the US winning its group qualifies as a surprise.

  229. that’s true, MCQ. Though I do think enough people were thinking the US would at least make it to the elimination round.

  230. I think the US deserved to win the group. They showed more intent and heart over the 3 games than England. But I was pleased with England’s performance yesterday even though the last 20 minutes were painful.

    In a strange way I’m somewhat happy to be in the harder part of the draw. While I would rather face Ghana from a ‘better chance of winning’ point of view, England-Germany and potentially England-Argentina in the QF is what the World Cup is all about for me. I think it has been lack lustre so far; a chance to renew old rivalries, these kind of games are what make it for me. England-Ghana and then potentially England-Uruguay just doesn’t have the same feel.

  231. wow, Italy is out! That was some finish, too. Italy had a chance to tie the game in the 95th minute.

  232. What. A. Game.

  233. Love to see the two finalists from 2006 end up in last place in their groups without a single win between them.

  234. Italy did not assemble the right squad from the outset. With Pirlo and Buffon not playing (for almost the entire first three games) there was no brain center to coordinate and set up the offensive attack. Italy lacked offensive identity and coordination until about the 70th minute of their third game of this tournament. It was like they had never played together before, and never really gelled until then. Lippi didn’t select Mario Balotelli on the squad because he is not popular with Italians (because he’s black, I’m not speculating because there have been many public ‘incidents’ that reflect this), and instead they filled up the squad with older players who were injured or not effective. Fabio Carnavaro is a symbolic leader from 2006, but 38 year old legs can’t keep pace with 20 year old striker legs with passion behind them. Gattuso. I love his persona and what he represents. But dood is old now. Don’t even bring him (I know he didn’t play, but he takes up space for other capable players). Why didn’t Cambiasso play this game? Lippi axed American-born Rossi at the last minute too, and he had a spectacular year in La Liga. Message to Rossi: you should have picked to play with your birth country, hommie, because you’d be through to the knock out stage now. Go back to Jersey shore:

  235. Heh.
    “the 62-year-old [Lippi] certainly created history. He instigated the biggest World Cup finals humiliation in Italy’s history, finishing bottom of the weakest pool the Azzurri have ever been in – with no wins and just two points.”

  236. The Dutch win all their games, and but a penalty kick would have shut out all their opponents.

  237. Just watched the Japanese celebrate their victory. Very strange.

  238. They clearly have mastered penalty kicks, but their post-game celebration needs work.

  239. Fletcher says:

    So Ivory Coast is up 2-0, and Brasil v. Portugal is 0-0. Can Ivory Coast put up 6 more? If so, and Brasil beats Portugal, then Ivory Coast Advances.

  240. Can Ivory Coast put up 6 more?

    In a word, no.

    I predicted this one too. I even predicted that Brazil and Portugal would tie. i don’t think they were expending a lot of energy trying to score because both of them knew they were through to the next round already. I think both are good teams but they are going to be up against two good teams in the next round: Spain and Chile most likely. I think Spain will beat Chile and win the group, so that Portugal will play Spain and Brazil will play Chile. I would like to see Portugal continue on, but beating Brazil is a tall order. Spain will prevail against Chile.

  241. Oops, I mean that in the next round, Spain will probably beat Portugal and Brazil will beat Chile.

  242. The Quarterfinals are where the fun begins.

    I hope Ronan or Scott or someone else sets up a new post on the elimination round. :)

  243. Natch, Daniel.