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Page 3 of 12 pages
Portugal: I got nothing.
Without him they are pretty ordinary. And I think they use sub-optimal tactics.
Yea, does anyone think Spain is going to have any trouble? The Dutch defense is still terrible, Costa Rica isn't that good and they can sidestep any high pressure Chile can put on.
Agreed. I think we're all overrating the Dutch, Chileans, and Australians based on their last few World Cups - these iterations of each team are much below the standard I think we'd expect (particularly the Dutch, whose defence is just awful). Group B seems like a warm-up for the Spanish, so that they get going, and then hit peak form.*
Chile looked really good the couple matches I watched. I don't think they're any worse than they were a World Cup ago.
The Dutch have problems, but they also have Van Persie and Robben. They've got goals in them, and if Spain doesn't go out to get a couple scores, they could easily drop points.
Oh, and, MCoA, I think you got name-checked in a Grantland article the other day for your work at CFC, so how long is it until you transition to the big leagues and are working for Man City or something? :)
"Spain, the Netherlands, Chile and Australia will make up the proverbial ‘group of death’ at the 20th FIFA World Cup™, while Uruguay, Italy, England and Costa Rica will comprise another intriguing pool.
Germany, Ghana, USA, Portugal will make up Group G, while hosts Brazil have Croatia Mexico and Cameroon for company in Group A"
I have a really hard time seeing Group D as more difficult than G.
Are we thinking there will be better-than-expected performances from South American squads given that this is in Brazil? Or Central American teams?
And while Italy is better than the US and Ghana, it's not by much.
I'd say Italy are somewhere between wildly and dramatically better than the US.
It should be pretty cold in Porto Alegre and a few other venues in the south. I think the only place the heat will be a problem is in the Amazonia cities. Overall, I think way too much is being made of the temperatures. The USA in 94 had plenty of steamy venues. IIRC, Germany had a heat wave for their world cup and there were plenty of games in steamy weather.
Argentina at 6-1 looks like a good value bet. They look to have an easy route through to the quarters, maybe?
Oh #### right off FIFA:
Dice-K was big in Japan playing Boston until he got hurt. Yao was a big thing in China playing in Houston. Drik is huge in Germany playing in Dallas. This has nothing to do with the Yankees at all, and everything to do with the connection between player and country, and having somebody play at an elite level.
South American climate has historically been tricky for everyone else (hot/muggy).
It's been a while since the last time, I wonder if that advantage won't matter much now. The teams will travel and live in so much more comfort than when Europeans last went to South America for a World Cup. Not to mention that Argentine gained their advantage from the ugly political climate rather than the actual climate in 1978.
EDIT: Unrelated, but I've been meaning to ask -- do you have any intuition yet on how long into a season before the data stabilizes (I think that's the right term)? Or, put a little differently -- how many games do you need before you feel you've got a decent-handle on a team's true-talent level?
Big data dump on player shooting from my database. Just EPL right now. I'm working on collecting other leagues.
Which should I do first? Any preferences here? I just need to pick one and get going on it.
3 minutes to the first win at Old Trafford since 1972 for Toon.
90 min +2: Newcastle win a corner, as a gang of uncharacteristically svelte topless Geordies dance in the crowd.
That's it! So, in the last year and a half, Spurs, Everton, West Brom and Newcastle have all ended long streaks of futility at Old Trafford. I think that may be indicative of something. I don't take any pleasure in seeing Moyes failing like this, though. I hope Man U's fans and board give him time.
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