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Monday, June 02, 2014

OT: The Soccer Thread June, 2014

It’s go time!

June 12th Brazil v Croatia

June 13th Mexico v Cameroon, Spain v Holland, Chile v Australia

June 14th Colombia v Greece, Ivory Coast v Japan, Uruguay v Costa Rica, England v Italy

June 15th Switzerland v Ecuador, France v Honduras, Argentina v Bosnia-Herzegovina

June 16th Iran v Nigeria, Germany v Portugal, Ghana v USA

June 17th Brazil v Mexico, Belgium v Algeria, Russia v South Korea

June 18th Cameroon v Croatia, Australia v Holland, Spain v Chile

June 19th Colombia v Ivory Coast, Japan v Greece, Uruguay v England

June 20th Italy v Costa Rica, Switzerland v France, Honduras v Ecuador

June 21st Argentina v Iran, Nigeria vs Bosnia-Herzegovina, Germany v Ghana

June 22nd USA v Portugal, Belgium v Russia, South Korea v Algeria

June 23rd Cameroon v Brazil, Croatia v Mexico, Australia v Spain, Holland v Chile

June 24th Greece v Ivory Coast, Japan v Colombia, Costa Rica v England, Italy v Uruguay

June 25th Ecuador v France, Honduras v Switzerland, Bosnia-Herzegovina v Iran, Nigeria v Argentina

June 26th Portugal v Ghana, USA v Germany, Algeria v Russia, South Korea v Belgium

June 28th Group A winner v Group B runner up, Group C winner v Group D runner up

June 29th Group B winner v Group A runner up, Group D winner v Group C runner up

June 30th Group E winner v Group F runner up, Group G winner v Group H runner up

 

Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 02, 2014 at 10:03 AM | 9133 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: soccer, u-s-a u-s-a, world cup

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   2101. tshipman Posted: June 17, 2014 at 02:16 AM (#4728171)
Lalas is okay when talking about other squads, but hopeless when talking about the USMNT. Lalas seems to turn the cliches up to 11 when talking about more casual stuff, but can be interesting in asides. (As an example, after Spain, he asked Martinez, "Costa, afuera?")

Roberto Martinez is pretty good, as are Ballack and Rudy. They can be hard to understand if they don't speak slowly.

Overall, still just okay tho. Zonal Marking pointed out that the Argentina game completely changed when Argentina moved back to a 4-3-3 after half time. It went unnoticed on the set (that I can recall).
   2102. Baldrick Posted: June 17, 2014 at 02:58 AM (#4728173)
So I re-watched the first half on the tactical cam. Really neat way to experience the game. Some thoughts:

- I'm not sure what formation this was, but it would be really stretching things to call it a diamond. Certainly after Altidore went off, it pretty much just looked like a 4-4-2 with four central midfielders and minimal support from the fullbacks. Which definitely explain why things weren't going very well.

- The back line was doing a very good job of playing the Ghanaian attackers offside in the opening 20 minutes or so.

- Beasley wasn't quite as bad as I remembered. He was pressured, certainly, but wasn't getting torn apart.

- Howard was excellent. Few shots to stop, but commanded the area very well. There were a couple dangerous-looking crosses that he took nicely. There was a VERY dangerous throughball that he came out to stop which took him outside the box. I think a lot of keepers would have stayed back and potentially been burned. His distribution was okay. They were playing from the back much more than late in the game.

- Ghana basically got NOTHING down the left. Every time they tried, Johnson and/or Bedoya were a brick wall, and they had to shift things back to the right.

- Bradley was perfectly fine for 15 minutes or so, but then started giving away presents like it was Ghana's birthday. For the final third of the half, I'm not sure he contributed positively in any way at all. Very strange.

- As far as i could tell, from about the 6th to the 16th minute Dempsey touched the ball precisely once (and he was offside). But then just a few minutes later he had a lovely touch that linked up the play in the move that built up to Altidore's blocked shot. He rescued a 50/50 ball, had a quick one-two with Bradley, and then got the ball to Bedoya, who sent it racing down the wing to Johnson coming forward, who then whipped it into the box. That play was really excellent and was a couple of feet away from putting the US up 2-0. If Bradley had been two steps further forward he could have buried the ball in the net. And when it came to Jozy it was just a bit too far behind him so he had to collect and then couldn't get any power on the shot, which gave the defenders time to get in the way.

- I would definitely say that up until Altidore went off, the US were pretty clearly the better team. The tide had already started to turn a little bit at that point, and the US players were starting to send a lot more pointless long balls. But the big shift was definitely right at this moment. After he went off, they looked VERY lost. I almost feel like there has to have been a psychological element. It often seems like the 20 minute mark is kind of a natural lull, when a team with the advantage starts to cool off anyways. Add in the stress of losing Altidore and the necessity altering the game plan, and i can definitely see it causing them to start pressing. I don't think they tried a single attack down the wings for ages after it. They just were playing sideways passes in their own half and then hoofing it up the center of the pitch.

- For all that Ghana was firmly in control of the game for the last 25-30 minutes of the half, they really couldn't find much of a way through. And I don't think that's just down to them being poor or spurning chances. Their chances were mostly pretty terrible because they were exclusively working from the wing and weren't being given any angles. But it definitely helps to explain why the eventual addition of Prince-Boateng was so huge

- The quality of play for the last 20 minutes was not good at all. By either team. It looked a lot like Iran-Nigeria. Ghana was definitely better, in the sense that they successfully completed some of their passes. But honestly they weren't that much better. Lots of dumb and pointless giveaways by both sides.
   2103. Swedish Chef Posted: June 17, 2014 at 03:10 AM (#4728175)
FiveThirtyEight 9:17pm via Twitter Web Client

After today, the probabilities of advancing from Group G are:

#GER 98%
#USA 63%
#POR 27%
#GHA 12%


They're so full of ####, that would give Portugal roughly even odds in each game that they're clear favorites in. if they needed to win both. And they don't even need to win both, an alternative is to beat the US, draw Ghana and trust in Germany. I'd put Portugal around 50% (40% win-win and 10% win-draw, ger win-win).
   2104. Scott Lange Posted: June 17, 2014 at 07:08 AM (#4728181)
They're so full of ####, that would give Portugal roughly even odds in each game that they're clear favorites in.


538's numbers are based on their underlying "Soccer Power Index," or "SPI," which doesn't like Portugal nearly as much as everyone else does. For instance, SPI didn't think this was a particularly bad draw for the US because it views Portugal as beatable. I don't know whether that's right or wrong, but the chances of it being right definitely seemed to get a boost yesterday.

FWIW, 538/SPI has Portugal as 42% to win, 29% to tie, 29% to lose against both the US and Ghana. It has the US as 13% to win, 67% to lose, 21% to tie against Germany, and Ghana 12%, 67%, 20% against Germany.
   2105. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 07:27 AM (#4728184)
Yeah, I don't think Portugal's being wildly underrated by SPI. Three points and a fivespot on goal differential is a big hurdle to overcome, even if you think Portugal is 50/50 to win each of the next two games. I wouldn't give them more than a 40% chance of making it out of the group at this point. I wouldn't give Ghana more than a 20% chance, they lost against what's probably the easiest team for them to beat, and will be facing Germany and Portugal still.
   2106. ursus arctos Posted: June 17, 2014 at 08:14 AM (#4728195)
Have they adjusted the SPI to reflect the absence of Pepe, Almeida and Coentrao?
   2107. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 17, 2014 at 08:18 AM (#4728196)
Have they adjusted the SPI to reflect the absence of Pepe, Almeida and Coentrao?

The way they played, their odds might be improved by their absence.

Ugh, my head hurts today. Victory shots are a bad idea.
   2108. AuntBea Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:01 AM (#4728220)
538 updated the numbers overnight. Portugal decreased its rating, so now is basically 50/50 against the USA in that game (the teams now have virtually the same SPI rating, unbelievably). 36% chance to win, 35% chance to lose. 29% chance to draw.

SPI has Portugal at 23% chance to advance, with the USA at 67%.

Betting odds: Portugal/USA game: Portugal win: 59%, USA win, 19%, draw 32%. Quite a difference.
Betting odds: Portugal to advance: 44%, USA to advance 46% (very close to even).
   2109. Randy Jones Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:08 AM (#4728224)
Have they adjusted the SPI to reflect the absence of Pepe, Almeida and Coentrao?

The way they played, their odds might be improved by their absence.

Regardless of dickheadedness, Pepe is a good defender. And the Coentrao loss might hurt them the most. He is pretty key in linking up play with Ronaldo down the left side. If Coentrao is out, the US may be able to keep Ronaldo off the ball more than otherwise, or force him to fall back farther than he likes to pick it up.
   2110. AuntBea Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:12 AM (#4728232)
The USA/Ghana game has been the only one so far where the team which played clearly statistically poorer nevertheless came out with the victory.

Edit: The second best contender for this award might be England/Italy, though that game was fairly even and certainly many would say Italy had the better of it, scoreline or no.
   2111. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:14 AM (#4728234)
Have they adjusted the SPI to reflect the absence of Pepe, Almeida and Coentrao?

i believe i read where the spi does NOT account for such absences.
   2112. AuntBea Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:19 AM (#4728241)
i believe i read where the spi does NOT account for such absences.


This might be true, but it seems like their system could be sophisticated enough to account for players' availability on a given day, if you read the explanation. Whether or not they do so is another issue entirely. SPI explanation
   2113. bunyon Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:21 AM (#4728245)
Portugal seems an enigma to me. On the one hand, they have the "aura" (sorry to use that word) of being a great team. But they looked awful in all respects. Sure, they were playing Germany. I think if Portugal plays like they did against Germany, we have an excellent chance at beating them and a draw is certainly in line. If they play like Portugal, I'd be shocked if they didn't win. Given that the high odds of American advancement hinge on getting at least a draw with Portugal, which Portugal shows up is the key question. If we lose, we're probably done.

Given that, I think the betting line is a lot closer to the truth than SPI. We have a much better chance to advance than I thought previous to yesterday. And I think that is making everyone giddy and making them think that means we have a "good" chance. Basically, we're still at coin-flip when we expected to be dead. Happy and satisfied I am, but, realistically, getting a draw against Portugal (or Germany) is a high bar for US soccer.
   2114. puck Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:28 AM (#4728254)
Manaus's climate will throw some big fat question marks into the Portugal-US game as well. I imagine the climate will make the result more random, and since Portugal is favored, that should help the US's chances of a result.
   2115. AuntBea Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:31 AM (#4728260)
From the latest from Silver last night:

SPI is not sophisticated enough to account for the red card to Portugal’s Pepe (who will miss the match against the U.S.) or the injury to the U.S.’s Jozy Altidore


They put so much effort into player ratings, I don;t know why they can't toggle a flag to say who will be available on a given game, at the very least. This wouldn't be perfect (the team based ratings would still reflect as if the players were present), but it would be better.
   2116. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:47 AM (#4728271)
Even if Portugal is in a bit of turmoil, the players are better. I don't know if Portugal can play a possession game (I think they are more of a countering-type team) but they have the midfielders to do it. I can see them dominate the flow of the game the way Ghana did - add Ronaldo and they probably won't be as wasteful in and around the box. I still don't see how the US can be favored against Portugal.
   2117. SteveF Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:50 AM (#4728276)
Edit: The second best contender for this award might be England/Italy, though that game was fairly even and certainly many would say Italy had the better of it, scoreline or no.

Italy was much more effective in 'park the bus' mode than the US. England had a hard time completing passes or even getting service into the final third. Ghana had a number of penetrating chances.

Watching that game did you get the sense England had any chance to score again? I didn't.

Had the US looked like Italy with little to no possession, I would feel far, far better about their chances of earning more points in this World Cup.
   2118. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:03 AM (#4728291)
Watching that game did you get the sense England had any chance to score again? I didn't.

Rooney did have that great chance in the box that he flubbed.
   2119. bunyon Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:06 AM (#4728295)
Rooney was awful that game. He had a corner (I think it was him) that he shanked up in the stands behind the goal.

As I say, I really enjoy watching soccer but didn't play it long enough or watch it often enough to really know it. So, maybe he did lots of subtle things well. But he did a number of really obvious things horribly. So I came away, as I usually do with Rooney, wondering what all the fuss is about.
   2120. bunyon Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:08 AM (#4728298)
I could google this but I'll ask anyway: what is the best way to watch EPL (or other European leagues) in the US? I really love watching the World Cup and the odd EPL game or MLS game I can pick up. It occurs to me that I should make this the sport I watch when baseball is off. I enjoy college basketball, because I've been to many key teams and I played a lot in high school. But I'm not much of a football fan. It makes me realize, given my preferences, my American football:soccer watching ratio is off.
   2121. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:08 AM (#4728299)
Rooney wasn't good, but he teed Sturridge up for the goal and should have scored his own. Overall he was not great, though, which is par for the course for him when he plays for England.
   2122. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:10 AM (#4728302)
I could google this but I'll ask anyway: what is the best way to watch EPL (or other European leagues) in the US?

Just watch NBC Sports. They show EVERY SINGLE EPL game. And become a Tottenham fan or risk being a wanker. I'm just sayin...
   2123. DA Baracus Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:12 AM (#4728308)
MCofA with a shout out. Huge for your brand.
   2124. SteveF Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:13 AM (#4728309)
I could google this but I'll ask anyway: what is the best way to watch EPL (or other European leagues) in the US? I really love watching the World Cup and the odd EPL game or MLS game I can pick up.

They were showing a couple matches (live) starting early Saturday mornings on Fox (I think). (One at like 7AM and another at 10AM eastern time.) You could DVR it and watch at a more reasonable weekend hour. I'm not sure if Fox still has it next season.

Ah. It was NBC. Thanks Shooty.
   2125. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:17 AM (#4728312)
   2126. Randy Jones Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:28 AM (#4728322)
So I came away, as I usually do with Rooney, wondering what all the fuss is about.
Watch him when he plays for United. For whatever reason, he just doesn't play well for the national team.

I could google this but I'll ask anyway: what is the best way to watch EPL (or other European leagues) in the US?

Just watch NBC Sports. They show EVERY SINGLE EPL game. And become a Tottenham fan or risk being a wanker. I'm just sayin...

Also, for most cable systems, you get the Premier League extra or whatever it's called. Which gives you any game that isn't being broadcast on NBC or NBC sports, On Demand for free(while the game is live). Now for the other leagues, they are all on BeIn, which sucks.

Also, don't become a Tottenham fan, we have too many of them around here.
   2127. bunyon Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:30 AM (#4728325)
Thanks for the NBC tip. I'll set the DVR. Unlike American sports, I can pretty safely watch them recorded and remain unspoiled. Cool.
   2128. DA Baracus Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:31 AM (#4728326)
Rooney wasn't great this year for Man U either.

Also, don't become a Tottenham fan, we have too many of them around here.


Co-signed.
   2129. Randy Jones Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:34 AM (#4728330)
Rooney wasn't great this year for Man U either.
Agreed, but let's be clear. "Not great" for Rooney means he finished tied for 4th in goals and tied for 3rd in assists in the PL.
   2130. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:36 AM (#4728334)
If you have NBC Sports even if you don't get the Premier League extra you can watch on an ipad with the NBC Sports app (free). I disagree with Randy about BeIN, I think they are pretty good they just don't have the league I am most interested in.

I will add that if you enjoy soccer the MLS has really improved in recent years. With the proliferation of soccer specific stadiums you've got a greatly improved quality of atmosphere.
   2131. DA Baracus Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:39 AM (#4728337)
Agreed, but let's be clear. "Not great" for Rooney means he finished tied for 4th in goals and tied for 3rd in assists in the PL.


Yeah, he still had a really good season. But it just didn't feel that way, you know? The national team criticism is warranted, "only" 39 goals in 92 matches and no World Cup goals. It's like how for a little while Messi wasn't as great with Argentina. Still a hell of a player, but the greatness wasn't translating.
   2132. Randy Jones Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:41 AM (#4728340)
I disagree with Randy about BeIN, I think they are pretty good they just don't have the league I am most interested in.
My main problem with BeIn is that I don't get it in HD and I hate watching sports in SD. Also, I am sick of hearing Ray Hudson on every Clasico. He is entertaining for a bit, but his schtick gets old.
   2133. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:45 AM (#4728342)
Whenever Sturridge, Welbeck and Sterling had a chance to run at Italian defenders it caused problems. Rooney couldn't do that. He also loves the "Hollywood ball" which Gerrard loves too (and is better at it). I've said it before, unless Rooney plays striker, he's a liability. Hodgson may drop Rooney for Barkley - if Oxlade-Chamberlain is fully healthly I think Rooney would be dropped for sure.
   2134. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:16 AM (#4728371)
I've said it before, unless Rooney plays striker, he's a liability.


See I think Rooney is better playing a bit behind the striker where he can come back and get involved more. He's got a bit of a bulldog to him and I think when he gets into the mix he's better off.
   2135. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:29 AM (#4728381)
Also, don't become a Tottenham fan, we have too many of them around here.

This is not even possible.
   2136. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:29 AM (#4728382)
Well, speaking specifically about United - RVP is a better goal-scorer and Mata (and maybe Kagawa) is better than Rooney behind the striker. While a lot of people commend his heart and willingness to run and track back, he can't be trusted to do it all the time.

As for England, out wide, he doesn't do the defensive work and his influence on the game is lessened. Playing behind the striker would also be a defensive mess - everyone knows about Gerrard's issues covering ground. If he was put into the Sneijder role that Van Gaal used in the Netherland's first match it would work.

IMO, he's a second striker and not an advanced midfielder. While the distinction may be fine he can't be relied upon to be a midfielder. If your central midfielders are dominant (like in City or Juventus) then he works. United and England don't have those dominant midfields.
   2137. The Marksist Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:36 AM (#4728385)
Will this Belgium-Algeria game be worth watching? Debating a visit to the local watering hole for lunch and a big TV.
   2138. Randy Jones Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:38 AM (#4728389)
Belgium is everyone's dark horse pick because they are in the midst of a "golden generation". Just a ton of talent on that team and it's evenly distributed around the pitch(not 7 guys for 3 positions), so they should be worth watching.
   2139. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:40 AM (#4728391)
IMO, he's a second striker and not an advanced midfielder. While the distinction may be fine he can't be relied upon to be a midfielder. If your central midfielders are dominant (like in City or Juventus) then he works. United and England don't have those dominant midfields.


I'll buy that. When I think of a striker I think of a target man and I don't think Rooney is that. I think he's at his best when he can get involved rather than waiting. I agree that on the wing he is wasted. His game is not well suited for that.
   2140. DA Baracus Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:40 AM (#4728392)
Will this Belgium-Algeria game be worth watching?


It's better than doing work.
   2141. AuntBea Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:42 AM (#4728393)
Watching that game did you get the sense England had any chance to score again? I didn't.


Sure, they had chances to score again. But I was referring to the match as a whole, not just after Italy went up 2-1. At any rate, watching the game I thought Italy outplayed England by a little bit. Statistically speaking however that is debatable (for example, see MC_of_A's twitter summary), unlike all the other games where the team that outplayed the other statistically also won the game outright, with very little debate.
   2142. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:56 AM (#4728403)
Belgium: 1-Thibaut Courtois; 2-Toby Alderweireld, 4-Vincent Kompany, 5-Jan Vertonghen, 15-Daniel Van Buyten; 7-Kevin De Bruyne, 22-Nacer Chadli, 6-Axel Witsel, 19-Mousa Dembele; 10-Eden Hazard, 9-Romelu Lukaku

Come on you Spurs!
   2143. Swedish Chef Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:58 AM (#4728405)
I wonder what odds I can get on Suarez limping off in the first ten minutes against England, he is supposedly "100% fit".
   2144. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:59 AM (#4728406)
Oh, I forgot to mention that I went to the bar yesterday to watch the game. The first bar I went to was where I watched the Algeria match in the last World Cup - and there were so many more people there that I had go to a different bar. A lot of novices but for a Monday night, I was impressed (and annoyed - extra traffic and it took me a while to find parking). It just might be a big deal in the US.
   2145. ursus arctos Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:02 PM (#4728409)
Wilmots must have been watching Fellaini play for Manchester United.
   2146. DA Baracus Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:04 PM (#4728411)
It just might be a big deal in the US.


It's similar, though bigger (in part because of the playing times) to 2010: good ratings, packed bars to watch games. Americans watch top level soccer. It's getting them to watch other games that is the challenge. The steady growth of MLS attendance shows that's happening.
   2147. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:04 PM (#4728412)
Dilwas it my imagination or did the fourth official just make the Belgium coach out on a jacket because his white shirt looked like the Algeria jersey?
   2148. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:07 PM (#4728417)
Belgium: 1-Thibaut Courtois; 2-Toby Alderweireld, 4-Vincent Kompany, 5-Jan Vertonghen, 15-Daniel Van Buyten; 7-Kevin De Bruyne, 22-Nacer Chadli, 6-Axel Witsel, 19-Mousa Dembele; 10-Eden Hazard, 9-Romelu Lukaku


No love for Bentaleb and Algeria?
   2149. Baldrick Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:12 PM (#4728419)
Rooney was awful in the game against Italy. His cross for the goal was very good, but that is basically the only thing he contributed the whole game. Well, he also got himself into a good position to score a goal in the second half but then totally flubbed it. All the complaints about Dempsey apply to him - and he didn't have a broken nose. He also hit the worst corner I've ever seen in my life.
   2150. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:12 PM (#4728421)
de Bruyne looks like a tidy player. I'm a little sad that van Buyten cut off the ponytail.

edit: Scratch that. I got van Buyten confused with Demichellis.
   2151. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4728422)
No love for Bentaleb and Algeria?

Come on you Spur!
   2152. Ron J2 Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:14 PM (#4728423)
#2138 Not quite evenly distributed. Lots of really good central defenders and no fullbacks. I don't think they even have a natural fullback on the roster.
   2153. DA Baracus Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:20 PM (#4728427)
I don't think they even have a natural fullback on the roster.


They have one, Vanden Borre, but he's not a starter. Alderweireld, Vertonghen and Vermaelen have all played fullback here and there, they're not fullbacks but it's not like Belgium is putting four centerbacks out there and covering their eyes.

Still, his point is accurate: they don't have a bench full of 1Bs and four inferior players that are playing somewhere because somebody has to and the bench players can't--the talent is fairly evenly distributed for a national team, especially for a small nation going through a "golden generation."
   2154. Swedish Chef Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:23 PM (#4728430)
Well, that was unexpected.
   2155. President of the David Eckstein Fan Club Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:24 PM (#4728431)
Wow
   2156. Swedish Chef Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:24 PM (#4728432)
This is gonna be fun.
   2157. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:24 PM (#4728433)
That was classic Vertonghen. He usually gets away with that.
   2158. AuntBea Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:26 PM (#4728435)
well
   2159. Ron J2 Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:27 PM (#4728436)
#2153 Yeah playing top quality cb with some experience at the position isn't the worst thing that happens on a national team.

It's just kind of weird, and these days fullback play is so important to the attack and none of the guys on the roster can really provide that.

   2160. bunyon Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:27 PM (#4728437)
That was an amazingly obvious penalty. There was anyone else within 10 yards of him and he just yanked him down. I usually have a really bad eye as to what will be called in the box but, geez, that was crystal clear.
   2161. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:30 PM (#4728440)
Every country has its deficiencies. Spain has been looking for a striker forever and their CB can be lacking a bit. Brazil has an iffy goaltender and start Fred at the most glamorous position.
   2162. DA Baracus Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:33 PM (#4728444)
It's just kind of weird, and these days fullback play is so important to the attack and none of the guys on the roster can really provide that.


A little, but again, a small nation is always going to have roster holes. The reason Belgium's stand out is because they have so much individual talent elsewhere.
   2163. Baldrick Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:37 PM (#4728445)
Usually not a big fan of 'potshots from 30 yards' but they are CRUSHING them, and it sure seems like one of them might just work. Still, would like to see a bit more creativity like that mazy Hazard run a few minutes ago.
   2164. Baldrick Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:42 PM (#4728450)
Kevin De Bruyne looks like he's, maybe, 13 or 14 years old.
   2165. Swedish Chef Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:43 PM (#4728451)
Belgium is making it easy for Algeria, no movement without the ball.
   2166. President of the David Eckstein Fan Club Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:45 PM (#4728454)
Finally a good move from the Belgians. They've been unimpressive otherwise.
   2167. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:46 PM (#4728457)
what is the best way to watch EPL (or other European leagues) in the US?


As others said, NBC Sports is pretty excellent. I really enjoyed watching games on Saturday/Sunday morning this year. And why pick Tottenham when you can bandwagon onto Liverpool?! We've got the best player in the entire league, even if he's a racist psychopath.

Loving Algeria on top of Belgium. It's not even like Belgium are getting good looks at the goal.
   2168. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:57 PM (#4728472)
Belgium looks very Spursy in that first half. If I squint, it's like Tottenham vs Norwich City all over again.
   2169. Randy Jones Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:57 PM (#4728473)
And why pick Tottenham when you can bandwagon onto Liverpool?!
Better Tottenham than Liverpool. Rather a million more Spurs fans than any Liverpool fans(or Man City or Chelsea fans for that matter). In fact, we need more Arsenal fans here, become an Arsenal fan.
   2170. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:04 PM (#4728483)
Rather ONE more Bolton fan than more glory hunters. Gasp at the fancy footwork of Lee Chung-Yong! Marvel at the speed with which players who are stars on loan at Bolton become slugs as soon as they get a permanent transfer! Join me in my outrage that Tim Ream isn't at the World Cup!
   2171. Baldrick Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:06 PM (#4728484)
Agree that it would be nice to have some Arsenal fans around here. You can trade prickly jabs with the Spurs crew.

Or you can join me as a Reading fan! (note: you do not want to join me as a Reading fan).
   2172. Baldrick Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:07 PM (#4728485)
Witsel gets hit in the face by the ball. If he could have put any control on that, it would be level right now.
   2173. Ron J2 Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4728487)
For whatever reason, he just doesn't play well for the national team.


As others have noted, for a great player he's unusually affected by team tactical decisions. He's at his best in a 4-4-2 playing behind the other striker. He's rarely played well on the wings or as a lone striker.

It's funny. He's not great (but not useless) at holdup play. He doesn't have scary pace (though he's fast enough to cause worries) and he's not wonderful (but not the worst) in 1 on 1 situations.

The best analogy I can think of is Brett Hull in his prime. He just has a knack for turning up in a useful spot, very briefly getting open and getting a decent shot off quickly.
   2174. President of the David Eckstein Fan Club Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:14 PM (#4728493)
Lukaku off? That's interesting...
   2175. Baldrick Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:15 PM (#4728495)
I'm not at all familiar with Origi. What's the story here?
   2176. Swedish Chef Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:17 PM (#4728498)
Can somebody tell the Belgians about one-touch football?
   2177. DA Baracus Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4728500)
Is there a less inspiring word than uninspiring? Because that would describe Belgium today.
   2178. The Marksist Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:21 PM (#4728502)
Yeah. Dominating possession but bizarrely passive.
   2179. Swedish Chef Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4728507)
Tepid, lukewarm, bland.
   2180. Baldrick Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4728510)
Meh
   2181. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:24 PM (#4728513)
Ghanaesque.

I mean that was their problem last night. For all the possession they didn't generate much in the way of chances.
   2182. madvillain Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:24 PM (#4728514)
Fair to say of all the favorites, Belgium and Argentina have looked the most uninspiring?

I mean that was their problem last night. For all the possession they didn't generate much in the way of chances.


Yea I really don't agree with the opinion expressed by some that Ghana had "chance after chance". I saw a lot of hopeful crosses and not much combination play through the center. The US did a great job pushing them out wide and Howard and the defense were well organized when they did put balls into the box.

edit: madvillain jinx on the belgium game.
   2183. Baldrick Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:24 PM (#4728515)
Though, they've been pretty good for the last few minutes. If they play like this for the rest of the match, they're likely to get a goal or two.
   2184. Baldrick Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:25 PM (#4728516)
Fair to say of all the favorites, Belgium and Argentina have looked the most uninspiring?

Um, Spain.

Edit: also, I didn't think all that much of Brazil. Argentina were bad with the 5-3-2 but seemed fine once they switched back to their preferred system.
   2185. Swedish Chef Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:26 PM (#4728518)
The big oaf scored!
   2186. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:26 PM (#4728519)
Fair to say of all the favorites, Belgium and Argentina have looked the most uninspiring?


I think Spain have that title pretty well wrapped up.
   2187. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:27 PM (#4728523)
Uruguay I think deserves honorable mention too. Perhaps not a true favorite but to be beaten comfortably by a team like Costa Rica is in a lot of ways worse than Spain losing to the Dutch the way they did.
   2188. Dale Sams Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:28 PM (#4728527)
It's not that Portugal and Germany will crush the US 8-0...though 4-0 is reasonable...it's that the US we saw last night might get 2 shots on goal. There is counterattacking and there is 2 guys trying to take on 4 while 8 other guys stand around trying to catch their breaths.

Also the guy who just scored looks like Jon Hamm with a fro.
   2189. Swedish Chef Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:29 PM (#4728528)
I think that speed is why Origi is here.
   2190. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4728529)
Clearly the answer for Belgium is fewer Spurs.
   2191. DA Baracus Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:32 PM (#4728532)
Ghanaesque.


Yeah, it has that feel.

It's not that Portugal and Germany will crush the US 8-0...though 4-0 is reasonable...it's that the US we saw last night might get 2 shots on goal.


Especially if Altidore is out.
   2192. madvillain Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:32 PM (#4728534)
Oh yea, forgot Spain. Duh.
   2193. Howling John Shade Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:33 PM (#4728536)
Clearly the answer for Belgium is fewer Spurs.
Spurs may want to take note...
   2194. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:33 PM (#4728537)
It's not that Portugal and Germany will crush the US 8-0...though 4-0 is reasonable...it's that the US we saw last night might get 2 shots on goal. There is counterattacking and there is 2 guys trying to take on 4 while 8 other guys stand around trying to catch their breaths.


Dude relax. Last night was a great night, enjoy it for five days it's not like we get to celebrate this sort of thing too often.
   2195. Howling John Shade Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:35 PM (#4728542)
Really pretty.
   2196. Swedish Chef Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:36 PM (#4728543)
Nice counterattack.
   2197. simon bedford Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:36 PM (#4728544)
i hate soccer sometimes
   2198. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:36 PM (#4728545)
That was sensational.
   2199. frannyzoo Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:37 PM (#4728547)
Beautiful Mertens. Why he doesn't start for Napoli is always a wonder. Why he didn't start today is a bit of one as well. Still, all's right with the world for a bit now.
   2200. frannyzoo Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4728548)
Lousy connection here in Montreal...twice-posted.
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