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Friday, June 07, 2019

OT Soccer Thread - Baldrick Reports Live

Sum-sum-summertime thread.

June 7 (that’s today!) - Women’s World Cup.  BTF correspondent Baldrick is on the scene (link takes you to his preview of the tournament)
June 14 - Copa America begins (no Neymar)
June 15 - Gold Cup begins
June 18 - US first Gold Cup game
June 21 - Africa Cup of Nations begins
July 7 - Women’s World Cup Final/Copa America Final/Gold Cup Final - Can we get some discussion about the ridiculousness of the WWC being just one of a series of finals on the same day? Of note is that the Copa America final is the exact same time as the WWC final. 
July 19 - Africa Cup of Nations final

Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: June 07, 2019 at 12:22 PM | 1414 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: off topic, soccer

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   1. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 07, 2019 at 12:28 PM (#5849366)
Posted on the old thread (because I spent time drafting it, might as well have someone read it...)

Women's world cup starts soon! I will be taking in a few games here and there, and especially during the knockout rounds.

I have to say, one thing I don't much like is how easy it is for the top 10 teams to advance from the groups. 538 gives them all over 90%, and the US (whose group has two particularly weak teams) over 99%. 538 also has England over 99% and Japan at 99%, and they are in the same group! (also with two weak teams). Part of this is because the women's field is not as deep as the men's, which is usually (but not always) the case with women's sports, but part of it is the format, where some third place teams advance. This might be the future of the men's tournament as well, if they expand to 48 while admitting much weaker teams on average and allowing a higher percentage of teams to advance (both as per the last plan that went around).

Speaking of deep women's fields, anecdotally (and I don't have the inclination to look this up right now) it seemed in tennis for a number of years the top women's seeds would almost all advance in the major tournaments, while on the men's side it was much more variable. Now we have had a more recent era where the women's side has been more variable, while the men's side has been dominated by a relatively small number of excellent players. This seems to be bit of an unusual case in women's sports though, and if anything shows how successful women's tennis has been as a sport.
   2. jmurph Posted: June 07, 2019 at 12:41 PM (#5849367)
Can we get some discussion about the ridiculousness of the WWC being just one of a series of finals on the same day? Of note is that the Copa America final is the exact same time as the WWC final. 

So ridiculous. Obviously the World Cup Final should take precedent, but then there's also just the fan angle: I'm going to want to watch all of those games! And they've made it difficult. So dumb.
   3. Baldrick Posted: June 07, 2019 at 01:35 PM (#5849397)
I have to say, one thing I don't much like is how easy it is for the top 10 teams do advance from the groups. 538 gives them all over 90%, and the US (whose group has two particularly weak teams) over 99%. 538 also has England over 99% and Japan at 99%, and they are in the same group! (also with two weak teams). Part of this is because the women's field is not as deep as the men's, which is usually (but not always) the case with women's sports, but part of it is the format, where some third place teams advance. This might be the future of the men's tournament as well, if they expand to 48 while admitting much weaker teams on average and allowing a higher percentage of teams to advance (both as per the last plan that went around).

538's model seems to be mostly right (i.e. it tracks well with betting odds and with opinions of people who know what they're talking about), but it's way undervaluing Scotland. They're not great, but they're not terrible. England and Japan are definitely not 99% to advance, even with the fact that 2/3 of teams advance.

(This comment posted from the very top row of the media tribune in the Parc des Princes, which...whoa)
   4. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 07, 2019 at 02:26 PM (#5849411)
ok, interesting. Yes it seems that betting odds have Scotland towards the bottom of the middle tier of teams, definitely not one of the worst in the tournament. Betting odds also like England quite a bit more than Japan. That probably means England would be in the mid/high 90s to advance (but definitely not over 99), with Japan in the low 90s.
   5. Baldrick Posted: June 07, 2019 at 02:33 PM (#5849417)
That feels about right. They're both very good (top 8-9 teams at the tournament, with England pushing for top 4 or 5). Add Scotland and it's one of the tougher groups.
   6. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 07, 2019 at 03:51 PM (#5849445)
After 45 minutes of soccer, it's become quite obvious that South Korea is absolutely no competition for France at home. This game so far seems more unequal than any single game of the last men's world cup.

edit: in the group stages last year, the worst teams by xG (aggregate 3 games) were Tunisia, Panama and South Korea, with a negative 4.5-5.0 of xG. Uruguay, Brazil and Belgium had between positive 5.0 and 6.0.

edit2: I can't seem to find a source for the xG of each game, but I seem to recall the most dominant ones by xG involving Belgium against Tunisia and/or Panama.
   7. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: June 07, 2019 at 03:53 PM (#5849447)
it's way undervaluing Scotland. They're not great, but they're not terrible.

As a Scot, yes they are.

(I know nothing about women's football, but this is universally true about all of Scottish football)
   8. Baldrick Posted: June 07, 2019 at 03:56 PM (#5849449)
South Korea really aren't that bad. But France is ridiculous.
   9. vortex of dissipation Posted: June 07, 2019 at 04:05 PM (#5849451)
That feels about right. They're both very good (top 8-9 teams at the tournament, with England pushing for top 4 or 5). Add Scotland and it's one of the tougher groups.


Do those projection systems take into account any external factors such as rivalries between the two counties? In this case, Scotland playing the Auld Enemy is going to mean more to them than playing a similarly ranked team that isn't their traditional rival. I can't help think that an unexpected result might be more probable in this situation. And if you look at the other teams in England's group, in addition to Scotland, whose significance is obvious, you've got Argentina, a country which fought a war against the British within recent memory, and Japan. In the latter's case, WW2 was a while ago, but on purely sporting terms, England and Japan met in the semi-finals of the last WWC, with the game being decided by an own goal in stoppage time, so there's some history there. From an England fan's perspective, it's a very interesting group of countries to put together. (And that ignores my own situation, as an Englishman who is a Japanophile. For the record, when the teams play, I'll be supporting England.)
   10. It was something about the man-spider and sodomy, Posted: June 07, 2019 at 04:05 PM (#5849452)
South Korea really aren't that bad. But France is ridiculous.


France is coming at them in waves.

How is the atmosphere Baldrick, because it seems awesome and electric on TV?
   11. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 07, 2019 at 04:08 PM (#5849453)
Shots were 11-0, corners 10-1. A fourth goal for France was negated by the offensive player being two inches offside.
   12. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 07, 2019 at 04:10 PM (#5849454)
Do those projection systems take into account any external factors such as rivalries between the two counties?
Not 538. Betting odds should, but I mostly doubt that this changes the odds too much unless maybe it's a local derby.

edit: I should add that 538 has an "importance" factor for each team that can change the odds (at least it does for club soccer). However, it really needs to be retuned, as it doesn't very accurately measure the importance to either team, and as far as I know also doesn't account for derbies.
   13. It was something about the man-spider and sodomy, Posted: June 07, 2019 at 04:23 PM (#5849458)
Shots now 19-0 @ the 60 minute mark ...
   14. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 07, 2019 at 04:31 PM (#5849462)
I just saw a shot by South Korea. Haven't been watching much of the second half.
   15. Baldrick Posted: June 07, 2019 at 04:33 PM (#5849463)
How is the atmosphere Baldrick, because it seems awesome and electric on TV?

Very very good. And not just at the big moments. Lots of singing, lots of noise.
   16. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 07, 2019 at 04:38 PM (#5849464)
Another shot for Korea. She looked almost offside there though I wonder if it would have been called back had it been a goal.
   17. It was something about the man-spider and sodomy, Posted: June 07, 2019 at 06:12 PM (#5849468)
Ugh ... blech ... vomit emoji:

T(rinidad) (6:26 p.m.): “That’s why I was wearing shorts. Do you remember everything about yesterday?”

N(eymar) (6:26 p.m.): “Sure.”

T (6:27 p.m.): “You can block me. I’m going to lose it, I’m going to end this #### that I’m feeling. I don’t know if I explained myself.”

N (6:27 p.m.): “Relax, get on with your life and everything is fine.”

T (6:30 p.m.): “If you get the flight in the morning, let me know please.”

N (6:37 p.m.): “Okay, I will.”

T (6:40 p.m.): “The guy I know today isn’t the same as yesterday. It’s today’s Neymar that I fell in love with.”

N (6:41 p.m.): “You don’t know me well, I’m normal.”

T (6:41 p.m.): “We all are.”

N (6:41 p.m.): “[Prayer hands emoji]”

N (6:42 p.m.): “Yesterday went quickly and we didn’t have time to speak and now people have changed their minds.”

T (6:44 p.m.): “Maybe. I was excited to meet you, yesterday went so quickly. That’s why I only saw these bruises in the morning, we barely spoke yesterday, you were agitated and today you’re calmer. Yesterday I was calm, and today I’m the one who is agitated.”

T (6:44 p.m.): “We lost it. It’s a shame that it went badly.”

N (6:45 p.m.): “But you were also to blame for the bruises, hahaha, you were asking for more [shrugging emoji].”

N (6:45 p.m.): [Responding to “we lost it”] “Yes, unfortunately.”

N (6:45 p.m.): [Responding to “it’s a shame that it went badly”] “Not at all, people meet and it was legal. You can see that you’re a methodical person. Unfortunately, what happened today [Trindade hitting Neymar] ruined it a bit. But it was a pleasure to meet you.”

T (6:46 p.m.): [Responding to “you were also to blame for the bruises”] “Are you crazy? I asked you to stop, and you even said sorry to me, but now that’s another thing for the therapy sessions.”

N (6:46 p.m.): “[Two thinking face emojis]”

T (6:47 p.m.): “It stays that way. You’re still Neymar and I’m on my own.”

T (9:24 p.m.): “If you’ve sent that photo to someone, please ask for it to be deleted, because I don’t want anything involving my name with yours.”

N (9:27 p.m.): “I never would.”

T (9:42 p.m.): “Close to what you have done, it would be nothing. Although I have only changed today (and paid for the madness, because I hadn’t realised what a scoundrel you are before), you know very well what you did and how you treated me. In fact, you abused me! Even though this will never be known and we’ll never talk to each other again, deep down you know what happened. God is fair and he doesn’t have any bribes. I hope you never feel half the anguish I’ve felt on this journey. I think a GP [“garota de programa,” Portuguese slang for “hooker”] is treated with more empathy. What scares me the most is finding out that it was all good and I’m totally crazy. It shows that your brain only works on the pitch and your heart doesn’t work anywhere. But, in the end, it is what it is, it’s not important anymore. I’m going to continue and take the strongest remedy possible to forget the day that I was here where you treated me like this. Sleep well and thank you. At least I know who the real Neymar Jr. is.”


Deadspin Neymar
   18. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: June 07, 2019 at 06:13 PM (#5849469)
Can we get some discussion about the ridiculousness of the WWC being just one of a series of finals on the same day? Of note is that the Copa America final is the exact same time as the WWC final.

So ridiculous. Obviously the World Cup Final should take precedent, but then there's also just the fan angle: I'm going to want to watch all of those games! And they've made it difficult. So dumb.


To be fair, they're all on at different times: WWC Final @ 11am, Copa America @ 3pm and Gold Cup @ 9pm (all times EDT). Also, both NY teams in MLS play that day!
   19. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 07, 2019 at 06:21 PM (#5849472)
The Neymar thing: so disgusting. Whether all her claims are accurate or not in this particular case, I have to think that this kind of thing, as she describes it, is probably not all that unusual for star athletes and celebrities. In any kind of situation that's even remotely close to borderline the person with way more power has all the leverage, and they're usually well aware of it.
   20. It was something about the man-spider and sodomy, Posted: June 07, 2019 at 06:40 PM (#5849473)
Looks like Hazard to Real is done and confirmed: 88 million pounds to start, with goals and incentives (supposedly easily reached) up to 130 million.

I wonder where this leaves Eriksen and Spurs ...
   21. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 07, 2019 at 06:43 PM (#5849474)
MCoA had the game as just 1.6 - 0.5. The 0.5 definitely came in the second half, but that 1.6 is a little bit surprisingly low. In the end, not nearly as dominating a performance as it could have been, and definitely not as dominant as some of the performances in the men's WWC 2018.
   22. Baldrick Posted: June 07, 2019 at 07:19 PM (#5849477)
That number feels very very low. I'd have guessed 3.0-3.5.
   23. It was something about the man-spider and sodomy, Posted: June 07, 2019 at 07:38 PM (#5849482)
I'd like to see MCoA do a deep dive on that breakdown, because you could multiple France's XG by 3x and still not quite approach how dominant they were in that match.
   24. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 07, 2019 at 07:39 PM (#5849483)
Some discussion on twitter about whether xG should be the same (per type of shot) as in the men's game. The last 2 WWCs have had scoring similar to the men's, but prior to that the scoring was higher in the women's game. I recall the goalkeeping outside of one or two players like Solo was not particularly good a decade ago (and one reason why Solo was so valuable). Has that part of the game improved significantly over the last decade? It could be one reason why the scoring has come down, if that's a pattern rather than a fluke. NWSL last year seems to have similar (lower) goals per game totals.
   25. Baldrick Posted: June 07, 2019 at 08:01 PM (#5849490)
Goalkeeping has improved a lot. BITD, there almost literally wasn't any coaching for keepers. So that's maybe something.

I don't know enough about the mechanics of xG to know how it deals with high variance populations, but that's also maybe part of it. Is xG the same if you're in the Conference North or in the Premier League? Is the assumption that if talent is lower, it'll be lower across the board so it should all even out?
   26. bunyon Posted: June 07, 2019 at 08:40 PM (#5849494)
I can report from Argentina that the WWC is getting almost no coverage. I’m obviously not watching every station all the time but I’ve seen two semifinal games in the tournament for promotion from the third league to the second, a replay of every goal scored for or against Liverpool in CL play, two different 30 minute shows on possible moves for Boca after losing in the super liga final, endless gnashing of teeth over the U20 loss to Mali along with the usual slate of major games, highlights and transfer discussions. I’ve seen one report on the Argentina ladies. They beat Long Beach State 2-1 in a friendly.

France vs. South Korea was not broadcast.

That’s the report from soccer mad Argentina. They do not care about the WWC.
   27. It was something about the man-spider and sodomy, Posted: June 07, 2019 at 08:58 PM (#5849496)
That's really too bad. I have a feeling this particular WWC is going to be epic ...
   28. Baldrick Posted: June 08, 2019 at 08:00 AM (#5849571)
Bunyon,

Unsurprising, but still disappointing. Would you mind if I shared your experience? I might try to gather a couple other comments on how (if at all) it’s being shown in other countries.
   29. It was something about the man-spider and sodomy, Posted: June 08, 2019 at 09:56 AM (#5849580)
China was coming at Germany at the end of the half.

Much better match than I expected.
   30. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: June 08, 2019 at 10:07 AM (#5849582)
I think it is very easy to look at the standing of women's football in the rest of the world, from a uniquely US perspective, and come away with furrowed brows, and tut tutting about sexism, and so on (and of course by extension get to feel all enlightened and superior about oneself in the process). But I don't think sexism alone really explains the difference. There are some reasons that explain the popularity of the women's game in the US, that are unique, and don't translate into other countries.
And sexism alone would not explain, why the rest of the world treats e.g. women's tennis or women's athletics much more fairly. But treats women's football the same way the US treats the WNBA, which is the main reason I think the relative difference in standing has little to do with sexism. Not that I do not think some element of chauvinism is inherent in the way women's sports are viewed (there is), I just don't think the US is in any way exempt from it (and probably honestly worse than some of the more progressive democracies around).

I think the biggest factor, unsurprisingly, is simply that the US has dominated the WWC for as long as it has. The winning came first, and then came the popularity. Which is really the way it works in most sports. The teams with the most supporters, are the ones with the most successful history.
Obviously other countries didn't have that kind of run of success. And what's worse, they were usually going up against a team that is considered a juggernaut. In which case, what really is the point of getting invested.
Having lived in the UK, and in Germany, even the people there who care about Basketball, tend to not really give much of a damn about men's Olympic Basketball, because it is seen as a forgone conclusion that the US is going to wipe the floor with everyone, and that their country is going to get waxed probably sooner rather than later. So why bother?

The next point is the relative lack of top level competition in the US. I know MLS has been getting better, but that is still very recent (and still really not great). When you have more high level men's football than you could possibly ever hope to watch, then there is no real urgency to get into another competition. Being allowed to host 2 WWCs probably helped grow the popularity more than anything in the US. Particularly because they were starved for other top level content.
Which is why the NBA can try and promote the WNBA as much as they like. But while the NBA and the college game is sitting there churning out thousands of games a year, they just are not going to make any inroads on that.

And I think the final point is the way football is followed in most of the rest of the world. It is a quasi-religious affair. Where the team you follow is almost like extended family. There is a genuine connection and a bond (even if it goes one way for the most part) between fans and players (and to a lesser extent coaches). And because you follow them so closely, and they make up such a large part of your life, the emotional reaction to seeing someone succeed or fail, is that much stronger. And you know their tendencies, you know their strengths and their weaknesses, and what they are trying to do on the pitch.
All of that requires being basically constantly tuned in to the game. And following club football week to week. Which is basically impossible with the women's game. Even if the games were broadcasted in a way that made them easy to watch, most people I know simply do not have the time to get invested to that level in a whole nother game. Which means when the WWC does roll around, all these players are completely anonymous to them. And they have no real opinion, no real emotional investment, and ultimately no stake in the game.
Now I don't think all but a tiny fraction of the people in the US that follow the WWC, actually pay any attention to women's club games either. But I do think, strangely, Americans are more comfortable with not having an opinion on a player (or at least an informed opinion). Like 99% of NFL fans don't know if their teams left guard is good, average, or bad. Most baseball fans can't name the middle relievers on their own team. So I think on average they are more comfortable just tuning in and rooting for laundry.
   31. . Posted: June 08, 2019 at 10:21 AM (#5849583)
Closed division sports will virtually always (*) do worse in the marketplace than their counterpart open division version. It's always going to be an uphill battle when the players aren't the best in the sport, whether it's minor league baseball, MLS, college basketball, or the WNBA.

Speaking personally, I range from women's tennis, where I'm all-but-indifferent between it and the open (men's) competition, down to sports like women's basketball, where I have essentially zero interest. I'll likely check out the WWC when it gets to the semis or the finals. Then again, there'a a chance I won't.

(*) The qualifier "virtually" is probably unnecessary, but I didn't want to risk someone coming in and pointing out the relative popularity of something like the Nepalese U-20 cricket team compared to the Nepalese open team.
   32. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: June 08, 2019 at 10:59 AM (#5849587)
Baldrick (or anyone else);

A deadly quarterfinal. If the United States and France both win their groups, they will be on a collision course for a quarterfinal showdown between the two tournament favorites. It would take place on June 28 in Paris, in front of 50,000 fans.
(from Baldrick’s preview)

One of my little theories is that teams in the later groups are at a disadvantage. The US playing in Group F would be playing their fifth game in 18 days, for the French it would be 21 days. How big a deal do we think that is? That feels like a pretty significant difference of rest and recovery time.
   33. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: June 08, 2019 at 11:01 AM (#5849588)
That’s the report from soccer mad Argentina. They do not care about the WWC.


TalkSport had a discussion yesterday about the WWC addressing the issue I raised about the timing of the final and the competition on the same day of the Copa and Gold Cup. They mentioned Argentina specifically and South America generally as being well behind in terms of support for the women’s game. They did note that Argentina’s womens’ league is supposed to be going professional next season.
   34. Baldrick Posted: June 08, 2019 at 11:05 AM (#5849589)
One of my little theories is that teams in the later groups are at a disadvantage. The US playing in Group F would be playing their fifth game in 18 days, for the French it would be 21 days. How big a deal do we think that is? That feels like a pretty significant difference of rest and recovery time.

It's a real disadvantage, though the US is deep (and fit) enough that it shouldn't end up mattering that much. We'll have to see if Ellis actually does any rotating, but she really really should.

Even so, the only competitive game the US will play is the one against Sweden, which is the literal final game of the group stage. So if you want your preferred XI to have any meaningful match experience, you probably want to play them there. Which means you likely need to rotate in the second game. If I were in charge, I would almost literally start the second XI for that match (against Chile), and give the starters a week of rest.
   35. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: June 08, 2019 at 11:40 AM (#5849590)
Thanks for that. The depth sounds like it will be key.

U20s make a change in goal with Ochoa who started against Qatar getting the start. So far he’s looked unsettled, some miscommunication on a cross and then fumbled when trying to collect a ball with one of the Ecuadorians bearing down. Ten minutes in and Ecuador are the better team.
   36. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: June 08, 2019 at 11:49 AM (#5849591)
SOme dude almost got clobbered by a Weah shot. He was texting and Weah had a go from distance and it smoked the chair next to him.
   37. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: June 08, 2019 at 12:09 PM (#5849592)
Golazo for Ecuador, Weah equalizes a few minutes later. Ecuador still better but US has definitely come into the game the last 15-20 minutes.
   38. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 08, 2019 at 12:16 PM (#5849593)
Was the Ecuadorean player ahead of the ball? It wasn't clear on replay.

edit: announcers were not thinking about the ball position relative to the recipient of the pass when it was played, only the defender's position versus the recipient. That's not the right way to think about it.

edit2: the announcers explained it correctly two minutes later.
   39. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 08, 2019 at 12:22 PM (#5849595)
The US is not good on defense (collectively or individually). The game is very open so that is probably on the midfield. The US have had a fair amount of full and half chances.
   40. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: June 08, 2019 at 12:28 PM (#5849597)
Yeah, I can see the US getting another goal but I can’t see them holding a clean sheet in the second half.

Ochoa hasn’t impressed. The goals aren’t his fault but he’s looked uncomfortable in pretty much every aspect of the game.
   41. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 08, 2019 at 12:35 PM (#5849598)
South Africa has taken a shock lead against darkhorse Spain in the WWC. Stats say they only have 1 shot so far.
   42. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 08, 2019 at 12:35 PM (#5849599)
Kgatlana with an excellent strike for South Africa's first ever World Cup goal, the keeper was out of position but it was still a great strike from outside of the box to the far top corner.
   43. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: June 08, 2019 at 01:00 PM (#5849603)
Great save by Ochoa! Keeps the US hope so alive at 68 minutes in.
   44. Baldrick Posted: June 08, 2019 at 01:02 PM (#5849605)
Kgatlana with an excellent strike for South Africa's first ever World Cup goal, the keeper was out of position but it was still a great strike from outside of the box to the far top corner.

She wasted a couple decent breakaways immediately before the goal, but more than made up for it. Kgatlana played for Houston last year and was pretty solid, though nowhere close to one of the league's best. But any fast striker is going to be happy when the other team basically just ignores you.

Spain are very Spain. The wide players keep pinching in which does nothing useful in the attack AND opens up space for wide counterattacks.
   45. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 08, 2019 at 01:33 PM (#5849611)
Spain should thank their lucky stars for that stupid SA penalty.
   46. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 08, 2019 at 01:43 PM (#5849615)
Ugh, VAR for a second penalty, and the red card.
   47. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 08, 2019 at 01:43 PM (#5849616)
#### VAR.
   48. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 08, 2019 at 01:44 PM (#5849617)
Yikes. The wheels come off. Looked like a good call. Doesn't matter what else you do, you can't put the studs up into the opposing player's thigh.
   49. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 08, 2019 at 01:54 PM (#5849620)
Spain got some breaks today, but South Africa had no business winning anyway, at least statistically. I only watched the last 20 minutes (during which time South Africa did absolutely nothing positive).
   50. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 08, 2019 at 01:56 PM (#5849621)
SA was much, much better in the first half, and deserved their lead. Their counters in the first half were pretty darn good.
   51. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 08, 2019 at 01:59 PM (#5849622)
SA was much, much better in the first half, and deserved their lead. Their counters in the first half were pretty darn good.
That seems quite surprising, considering they only had one shot in the first half. One would think a good counter usually leads to a shot.

edit: official stats show South Africa with 5 shots, not just the 2. Still outshot 27 to 5.
   52. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 08, 2019 at 02:22 PM (#5849626)
Gah. Actual official stats show 4 shots for South Africa, 2 of which were blocked. Only the single one for a goal in the first half. One in the 95th minute.
   53. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 08, 2019 at 03:43 PM (#5849630)
Spain had a lot of shots in the first half, but only forced one actually decent save.

Man, this Nigeria-Norway game is wild. Norway up 3-0 in the first, but it's been way more even than that.
   54. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 08, 2019 at 03:48 PM (#5849632)
We are not yet through the first full day of the WWC, and 538 already has 6 teams at 99% or more to make the second round (though one is England, so they could be a little lower as we discussed), another at 98%, and two more at 97%. That's hardly ideal.

A lot of these games are glorified friendlies. This problem is happening in the men's game as well, for example much of the Euro qualifiers are like this now.
   55. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 08, 2019 at 03:49 PM (#5849633)
Spain had a lot of shots in the first half, but only forced one actually decent save.
Full game xG was 2.4 - 0.5. Or 3.9 to 0.5 if you include penalties.
   56. bunyon Posted: June 08, 2019 at 04:20 PM (#5849635)
28, Baldrick, feel free. And I’ll update now that actual play is underway. Can’t report much today. I guess I can tell you the Iguazu airport cafeteria is showing rugby, not WWC. Though maybe games are over for the day.

Also, I think Fancy has a lot of good points in 30. All I would add is that the difference in how many young girls play soccer vs young boys in South America is obvious just walking around. That has to contribute.

The outliers on the closed competition always loses out are, of course D-1 men’s basketball and football. I’d say they’re more akin to local clubs that bring a “family” relationship.
   57. bunyon Posted: June 08, 2019 at 04:27 PM (#5849636)
And, yeah, Argentina women are apparently terrible so it’s hard to get excited.
   58. It was something about the man-spider and sodomy, Posted: June 08, 2019 at 06:56 PM (#5849660)
This was the early game, so I mostly dozed through it, but what's your take on this take, Baldrick?

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Germany’s 1-0 win over China at the Women’s World Cup on Saturday was that the game finished with only 26 fouls.

France and South Korea on Friday had 22 total, split evenly between the two teams. But those fouls were largely insignificant, the polite and expected collateral damage of a one-sided game, where one team is lunging desperately to halt a superior attack and the other has so much control that the easiest way to prevent counterattack chances is sometimes just to knock down the person running with the ball.

China-Germany was not one of those games. It was ruthless, full of high boots and heavy tackles and wincing spectators (at least on one couch that I know of). The play led to some unconventional rooting interests by game’s conclusion:

Michael Caley
‏ @MC_of_A
at this point at least half my emotional energy is just hoping no one has their leg broken in the last few minutes here
7:49 AM - 8 Jun 2019



Slate
   59. bunyon Posted: June 08, 2019 at 08:38 PM (#5849667)
Central Cordoba beat Sarmiento to gain promotion. There are two rugby replays on and some sort of worldcup volleyball. Iran beat Argentina 3-1.

Now Eurocopa 2020 highlights. Will let you know when I see some women.
   60. bunyon Posted: June 08, 2019 at 08:47 PM (#5849673)
Geez, Russia/San Marino was a debacle.
   61. bunyon Posted: June 08, 2019 at 09:06 PM (#5849677)
Hey! (I’ll stop after this). A nice 8-9 minute piece on the Argentine women’s team and then good highlights and discussion of the games today. Cool.
   62. Omineca Greg Posted: June 08, 2019 at 09:35 PM (#5849692)
Geez, Russia/San Marino was a debacle.

You shouldn't be shocked...San Marino's Armed Forces still have Crossbowmen!

They don't win anything.

Not even Eurovision!
   63. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: June 08, 2019 at 09:48 PM (#5849707)
We are not yet through the first full day of the WWC, and 538 already has 6 teams at 99% or more to make the second round (though one is England, so they could be a little lower as we discussed), another at 98%, and two more at 97%. That's hardly ideal.


Obviously some of that is the lack of parity but how much is the format? You've got a 24 team tournament and 16 teams make the knockout stage. When the men had that set up in 1994 every team that had four points made the second round except Norway which was in a group where all four teams had four points. The four teams that have already won a game have effectively punched their ticket for the second round.
   64. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 08, 2019 at 11:31 PM (#5849731)
Obviously some of that is the lack of parity but how much is the format? You've got a 24 team tournament and 16 teams make the knockout stage. When the men had that set up in 1994 every team that had four points made the second round except Norway which was in a group where all four teams had four points. The four teams that have already won a game have effectively punched their ticket for the second round.
Yes format was discussed on this page. In similar format men's tournaments, 4 points has almost always been enough to reach the round of 16. 3 points was enough something more than half the time, if I remember correctly. I posted on this a few years ago.

A large part of it is definitely lack of parity though. Most of the teams haven't played any games yet, and others (norway and spain) have only beaten the bottom teams of their group.
   65. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 08, 2019 at 11:48 PM (#5849732)
Just looked it up again. This or a similar format has been used quite a few times in the world cups, euros, women's world cups, copa americas and gold cups. I'm sure other tournaments as well. In these (adjusted to 3 points per win), 4 points is almost always enough, 3 points is enough about half the time or slightly more, and 2 points is very occasionally enough.
   66. Baldrick Posted: June 09, 2019 at 02:11 AM (#5849743)
My thoughts on the Germany-China game, and the other issues from the day. tl;dr - the referee completely failed, and it basically ruined the game.
   67. bunyon Posted: June 09, 2019 at 07:07 AM (#5849746)
Alright, I know I said I’d stop but there are no games on my 77 channels. Two sports stations are showing highlights shows. Everyone is still very taking with central Cordoba ‘s promotion. One is rugby and one is car racing. Another is a paid commercial.

I’m sure the game can be viewed but I have whatever cable plan that comes with my temporary apartment.

Brazil is next. I’ll try to check if it’s on. Meanwhile going to try to find a game online.
   68. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 09, 2019 at 07:12 AM (#5849747)
Great run and breakaway goal from Italy right through the back line. Looked inches offside though, and VAR agreed. Lineswoman got it right.
   69. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 09, 2019 at 07:40 AM (#5849748)
Lovely break by Australia, who made all the right passes with just the right pace. The free header was right at the keeper though.
   70. bunyon Posted: June 09, 2019 at 09:44 AM (#5849752)
French Open final, auto racing (same race on two channels - it’s an Argentine race so a big deal), more highlights, now looking at promotion and relegation st the third level, and a fitness show featuring very lovely ladies not wearing many clothes.

If they’re not showing Brazil I have to think they’ll only show Argentina games. Maybe the final.

As I said, I only get 77 channels so a full Directv or equivalent might get the game. But I get two Fox sports channels, two ESPN channels and a national sports channel. Maybe weekday games with no French open to compete?
   71. It was something about the man-spider and sodomy, Posted: June 09, 2019 at 09:58 AM (#5849754)
Is one of the ESPN channels showing England v Switzerland?
   72. Baldrick Posted: June 09, 2019 at 10:00 AM (#5849755)
I was at Australia-Italy and it was WILD. Especially when you consider that for anyone who only follows women's soccer, this tournament is their very first introduction to VAR so all the delayed offside calls and pulled-back goals were particularly baffling. I'm a big fan of Australia, and would love to see them do well, but this game showed exactly why people are down on their chances. Their defense isn't great in any case, and their centerbacks are in terrible form on top of that. Especially Polkinghorne, who I would bench ASAP.

Thrilled for Italy, though. The first underdog to pull off a win, and they played much better than the others who had a chance. Barbara Bonansea scored the goals and will deservedly get the plaudits, but the whole frontline was excellent at exploiting Australia's weakness.
   73. Baldrick Posted: June 09, 2019 at 10:01 AM (#5849756)
If you have a chance to watch the game on right now, definitely keep an eye on Bunny Shaw for Jamaica. One of the up and coming superstars in the game. Could be one of the very best in the world very soon.
   74. Baldrick Posted: June 09, 2019 at 10:46 AM (#5849762)
Of course, you could also keep an eye on Cristiane, who already is one of the superstars of the game, even if she's not quite the player she was five or six years ago.
   75. bunyon Posted: June 09, 2019 at 10:53 AM (#5849764)
Baldrick, you’ve probably said, but what are ticket prices running?
   76. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: June 09, 2019 at 10:55 AM (#5849765)
That’s the report from soccer mad Argentina. They do not care about the WWC.

I guess they figure women's soccer can't be real soccer if Americans are good at it...
   77. Baldrick Posted: June 09, 2019 at 10:57 AM (#5849767)
Baldrick, you’ve probably said, but what are ticket prices running?

Very cheap. For the group stage, the cheapest tickets are 9 euros, with I think only the opener being more expensive. I think the most expensive zone is maybe three or four times that much.

For the final and two semis, I got three tickets for 50 euros.
   78. It was something about the man-spider and sodomy, Posted: June 09, 2019 at 11:07 AM (#5849770)
At least England and Switzerland are providing a ... long amount of football.

[edit] ESPN announcers now openly mocking the quality of the match, the decision to go to ET and the decision to have a 3rd place match at all ...
   79. bunyon Posted: June 09, 2019 at 11:22 AM (#5849773)
England/Switzerland is not on here either.
   80. It was something about the man-spider and sodomy, Posted: June 09, 2019 at 11:49 AM (#5849777)
PICKFOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORD!

Should have skipped the match and gone straight to pens.
   81. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 09, 2019 at 12:16 PM (#5849780)
Man, that was a handball but ugh.
   82. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 09, 2019 at 12:25 PM (#5849781)
Apparently the "it's coming home" chants have started amongst the crowd in Nice.
   83. Baldrick Posted: June 09, 2019 at 12:43 PM (#5849787)
England fans are gonna England, any chance they can get.
   84. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 09, 2019 at 12:57 PM (#5849789)
Scotland was distinctly second best, they were utterly pushed around by England on the sequence leading to the second goal. Would love to see Cuthbert steal one back, though, to make it interesting.
   85. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 09, 2019 at 01:36 PM (#5849794)
GOL!
   86. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 09, 2019 at 01:40 PM (#5849796)
3 goals or more now in every game except for Germany/China.
   87. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 09, 2019 at 01:51 PM (#5849800)
And 3 penalties today, in three matches, which all had three goals scored.
   88. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 09, 2019 at 01:57 PM (#5849801)
Maybe no one caught the South Korea/Senegal U20 QF, but it was apparently one for the ages. South Korea equalized in the 98th minute to make it 2-2, and Senegal returned the favor in the 120th minute to make it 3-3. South Korea even went behind 0-2 in the shootout before winning it 3-2.
   89. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 09, 2019 at 02:04 PM (#5849802)
Yeah already 5 penalties in 7 games, all resulting in goals, though Kerr missed hers on the first attempt. That's a lot.
   90. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 09, 2019 at 03:26 PM (#5849808)
Netherlands can't get it going against Portugal at all, which is a surprise. They looked good against England, and Switzerland had plenty of chances against Portugal just a few days ago. Essentially no shots for the Netherlands so far. Portugal with a bunch of half chances.
   91. spivey Posted: June 09, 2019 at 04:13 PM (#5849811)
Portugal is apparently really good and exciting. I've found them to be pretty awful to watch most of Ronaldo's career, but they have some real talent these days. Bernardo Silva may just be on my best starting XI in the world. His workrate is absolutely incredible.
   92. spivey Posted: June 09, 2019 at 04:24 PM (#5849815)
Taylor Twellman is such a clown.
   93. spivey Posted: June 09, 2019 at 04:29 PM (#5849816)
This Rafa Silva character needs to come to Tottenham post haste.
   94. spivey Posted: June 09, 2019 at 04:31 PM (#5849817)
Ajax got all of the headlines for their amazing young team this year. Rightly so. But Benfica is loaded with young talent. Kind of a bummer they had such a poor UCL group stage last year.
   95. Baldrick Posted: June 09, 2019 at 04:35 PM (#5849818)
Yeah already 5 penalties in 7 games, all resulting in goals, though Kerr missed hers on the first attempt. That's a lot.

This new handball rule/interpretation + VAR is going to make for some weird games for awhile.
   96. It was something about the man-spider and sodomy, Posted: June 09, 2019 at 06:28 PM (#5849826)
13.49 BST: Newcastle's potential new owners are already preparing a huge move, with the Sunday Mirror reporting Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan is targeting Jose Mourinho as the club's next manager.

The Sheik's reported £350m is not yet official but is expected to be completed soon. Rafa Benitez's future remains in doubt.


Uh, I don't think I'm going too far out on a limb here to state that this would seem a remarkably dumb move ...
   97. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 09, 2019 at 06:57 PM (#5849829)
If you're going to hire Mourinho, how much money do you have to promise him to build Newcastle's team up?
   98. It was something about the man-spider and sodomy, Posted: June 10, 2019 at 02:19 AM (#5849890)
If you're going to hire Mourinho, how much money do you have to promise him to build Newcastle's team up?


I'm just going to hope and pray that this "news item" is straight bat country, because ... I have a soft spot for The Toon and especially Rafa and it just doesn't seem fair to either that Mike Ashley's reign of cheap, mendacious stupid would be replaced be someone dumb enough to think hiring Jose Mourinho as manager is the right way forward ...
   99. Baldrick Posted: June 10, 2019 at 05:44 AM (#5849893)
As I said, I'm not going to spam everyone here with all the stuff I'm writing, but I put together a twitter thread where I'll post links to everything as it comes (seven articles so far through three days of the tournament!) if you want to check in.

And here's the thing that's (by far) gotten the most reach: Ada Hegerberg doesn’t owe you an explanation. I'm obviously not in the US, so have been thankfully spared from having to watch the Fox coverage, but it sounds like they have been tres annoying about this Hegerberg thing.

Heading over to the Parc des Princes in a few hours to see Argentina v. Japan. I fear for Argentina, and frankly just hope they're able to scrape together a goal, so it's not another 3-0 or 4-0.
   100. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: June 10, 2019 at 06:22 AM (#5849894)
Can we all just agree to call him DJ Khaled by the way? I suck with names, there is no way I am remembering all that.
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