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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 Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine 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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   301. AuntBea Posted: June 08, 2014 at 01:18 AM (#4721202)
Also, since 1998, almost exactly 1/2 the teams achieving 4 group points have advanced. Of course, if the second and third place teams in the group both have 4 points, one will advance and the other not. But, there are other scenarios where 4 points finished 3rd, and 4 points finishes second. These have almost precisely cancelled each other out.
   302. AuntBea Posted: June 08, 2014 at 01:21 AM (#4721203)
Since 1998, 4 points has been enough to advance from the group almost exactly half the time (but it has not been enough to win the group since 1994, sadly). Of course, if the 2nd and 3rd place teams tie with 4 points, exactly one of them will advance. However, under some other scenarios 4 points will achieve 3rd, and in some others will achieve second place. These have essentially cancelled each other out since 1998.

I would be quite pleased with 4 points in the group, even if the US did not advance.
   303. AuntBea Posted: June 08, 2014 at 01:22 AM (#4721204)
Well, I should have flopped, rather than retype an entire post in new words, thinking my last one had gotten eaten.

Also,I am reposting my post 300, because I want these all to be in the same place, and dammit I retyped the last one so I must deserve it.

Repost of 300:

I would be absolutely thrilled with 5 points from this group, even if the US failed to advance with 5 (it's always very unlikely to be eliminated with 5 or 6 points in the group). It won't be easy to run up the score on Ghana (any type of win would be huge), and Ghana has a decent chance to draw with one of the other two teams in the group anyway.

Since the World Cup moved to its current format with 8 groups of 4, top 2 advancing in each group (1998), no team achieving 5 (or 6) points in group play has been eliminated. The last time this could have arisen was back in 1994, when all 3 of Nigeria, Bulgaria, and Argentina advanced with 6 points (there were only 6 groups back then, so 3 teams advanced out of some groups). In that same year, a group did manage to finish with all 4 teams having 4 points exactly (much to my continued amusement back then). Mexico, Ireland, Italy, and Norway, with only Norway eliminated on total goals scored. (Yes, all 4 teams did also manage to have the same goal differential of 0, which is not that surprising when you consider that there were only 3 games with victories, and each with a 1 goal margin.)

Edit: in 1994, another group also finished with 3 teams on 6 points, all 3 advancing: Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, and Belgium, with Morocco the eliminated team.
   304. DA Baracus Posted: June 08, 2014 at 01:27 AM (#4721205)
i think the plan in brazil will/should be to run up the score against uganda, and then play for a tie against germany and portugal in the hope that you advance on GD.


Run up the score? Winning 1-0 against Ghana would be excellent.
   305. AuntBea Posted: June 08, 2014 at 01:37 AM (#4721209)
One final note. In 1990 a 4-team group almost finished with 6 draws. It took a goal by England's CB Mark Wright in the second half of the last group game against Egypt (played simultaneously of course with the other group game) to avoid this ignominious fate. Especially of interest to English fans was that in that year, 3 points by the 3rd place team was known to be sufficient to advance to the knock-out round before the group's final games were played, so only one team would be eliminated if all 6 games were to end in draws. A 0-0 draw for England would have relegated them to last place in the group (on total goals scored of course, as all the games ended in draws) on account of their prior 0-0 and 1-1 draws. So the goal allowed them to move from last place (and the only team in the group to be eliminated) to first place.

While I was happy for England, I was extremely disappointed that not all 6 games ended in draws.
   306. Baldrick Posted: June 08, 2014 at 01:55 AM (#4721211)
A win against Ghana and drawing the other two is pretty optimistic for all three matches. I would be shocked, genuinely shocked, if the US loses zero group games. I mean, New Zealand managed that last time, but they were in a weak group and that was pretty random. We are going to lose, and possibly lose badly, in at least one game. If not two or three.

Edit: in 1994, another group also finished with 3 teams on 6 points, all 3 advancing: Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, and Belgium, with Morocco the eliminated team.

This really ought to have happened against in Group H in 2010. If Switzerland could have scored a goal against the not-very-good Honduras in their final match it would have put them, Chile, and Spain all on 6 points.
   307. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 08, 2014 at 01:56 AM (#4721213)
Whether or not the US advances four points would be an excellent World Cup. I'm thrilled that Jozy had the good game tonight, hopefully that can get him rolling.
   308. AuntBea Posted: June 08, 2014 at 02:03 AM (#4721214)
This really ought to have happened against in Group H in 2010. If Switzerland could have scored a goal against the not-very-good Honduras in their final match it would have put them, Chile, and Spain all on 6 points.


Ah right. I remember this now. The problem for Switzerland though was that even a 1-0 win was going to be insufficient, unless someone else were to have scored again in the Spain/Chile game (the last goal in that simultaneous game was at the 47 minute mark). Switzerland would still have gone out on total goals scored. So it looked bleak halfway through the second half.
   309. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 08, 2014 at 07:42 AM (#4721222)
Four points would be a good World Cup. Anything more than that would be a great World Cup.

Doesn't idi Amin still play goalie for Uganda?
   310. Mefisto Posted: June 08, 2014 at 10:25 AM (#4721239)
Yeah, 4 points would be a great outcome for this bracket.
   311. AuntBea Posted: June 08, 2014 at 10:58 AM (#4721249)
Oh Malcolm Gladwell. When were you ever right about anything? From Outliers:

We think that starting all-star leagues and gifted programs as early as possible is the best way of ensuring that no talent slips through the cracks. But take a look again at that roster for the Czech Republic soccer team. There are no players born in July, October, November, or December, and only one each in August and September. Those born in the last half of the year have all been discouraged, or overlooked, or pushed out of the sport. The talent of essentially half of the Czech athletic population has been squandered.
So what do you do if you’re an athletic young Czech with the misfortune to have been born in the last part of the year? You can’t play soccer.


[In the quote above, Gladwell is referring to the then-current Junior Czech team, in 2007]

Current Czech National team, seven years later. The average birthdate is approximately June 15.

How did I know this would be true? At the time Outliers was published, I did the extremely complex research of looking up the actual birthdates of the Czech national (senior) team. No surprise... they were spread evenly throughout the year. But don't let that get in the way of telling a good yarn, Gladwell!

For those who don't remember, Gladwell essentially made the extraordinary claim that if we had schools that grouped kids by age twice a year (instead of the current system of once per year), we would have twice as many successful adults.

If all the Czech and Canadian athletes born at the end of the year had a fair chance, then the Czech and the Canadian national teams suddenly would have twice as many athletes to choose from
   312. Mefisto Posted: June 08, 2014 at 11:10 AM (#4721253)
Gladwell still has a point, though one not as strong as he made. Anybody who participates in youth soccer knows that the older kids within a given age year generally are the ones most often chosen for things like AYSO all-stars. The big BUT is that kids who are younger within an age group have more development time and if they stick with the sport will eventually catch up and maybe even surpass the older ones.
   313. DA Baracus Posted: June 08, 2014 at 11:11 AM (#4721254)
If all the Czech and Canadian athletes born at the end of the year had a fair chance, then the Czech and the Canadian national teams suddenly would have twice as many athletes to choose from


My head hurts.
   314. AuntBea Posted: June 08, 2014 at 11:13 AM (#4721257)
Anybody who participates in youth soccer knows that the older kids within a given age year generally are the ones most often chosen for things like AYSO all-stars.


Despite this being interesting and true, it was never Gladwell's point.

The big BUT is that kids who are younger within an age group have more development time and if they stick with the sport will eventually catch up and maybe even surpass the older ones.


This last sentence is almost precisely the antithesis of Gladwell's point.
   315. Mefisto Posted: June 08, 2014 at 11:32 AM (#4721260)
Despite this being interesting and true, it was never Gladwell's point.


I read him as making this point preliminary to his main one.

This last sentence is almost precisely the antithesis of Gladwell's point.


Yes and no. Depends on how strong the "if" is. Some younger kids probably do get discouraged, but Gladwell assumed either that they all did or that the cumulative advantages of the older kids would always outweigh the extra development time of the younger ones. Either way, he overstated the point.
   316. AuntBea Posted: June 08, 2014 at 11:39 AM (#4721262)
I read him as making this point preliminary to his main one.


I don't really want to get into a semantic argument, but I clearly understood this as being evidence for his point, not the point itself. Here is the chapter, for those who would like to read it. Link
   317. Mefisto Posted: June 08, 2014 at 11:49 AM (#4721269)
I clearly understood this as being evidence for his point, not the point itself.


That's fair.
   318. Baldrick Posted: June 08, 2014 at 01:46 PM (#4721313)
I posted my WC preview on my blog.

I don't have nearly the tactical acumen of many folks here, and I just haven't been able to follow as much in the last two years as I would have liked. So I'm likely wrong about any number of things. But what I lack in quality I will make up for with quantity, since I'll try and post a wrap-up for each day of the tournament.

I'm predicting Argentina, Brazil. Spain, and Germany in the semifinals. Which of those will I wrong about?
   319. DA Baracus Posted: June 08, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4721328)
I'm predicting Argentina, Brazil. Spain, and Germany in the semifinals. Which of those will I wrong about?


Germany because of attrition but I wouldn't put more than a dollar on it.
   320. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 08, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4721375)
Aren't those four the ones with the best betting odds?
   321. Baldrick Posted: June 08, 2014 at 04:10 PM (#4721386)
Aren't those four the ones with the best betting odds?

Yes. I wanted to try and argue for someone to displace them, but couldn't quite convince myself to do it. I think it's quite likely that one or two of them gets knocked out before that, but I don't have a particularly good guess about who it'll be.
   322. AuntBea Posted: June 08, 2014 at 04:30 PM (#4721397)
Aren't those four the ones with the best betting odds?


The betting odds very strongly favor those four teams. Belgium is a very distant 5th, followed closely by a large group made up of France, Italy, England, Uruguay, Portugal, and the Netherlands, all with relatively similar odds. Odds indicate two more dark horses, Columbia and Chile. The rest are longshots (Russia, Switzerland, Ivory Coast, Japan, Mexico, Croatia, Bosnia), to virtually no chance (Ecuador, USA, Ghana, Greece, Nigeria, South Korea, Cameroon), to absolutely no chance (Australia, Algeria, Iran, Costa Rica, Honduras).

I think it's fair to say that anything less than a semifinal for the four favorites would be a disappointment, and anything greater than a quarterfinal for any of the rest would be looked at as a significant achievement.
   323. Spivey Posted: June 08, 2014 at 04:47 PM (#4721408)
Spain is still the best team in the world in my mind, and Italy/Belgium/Netherlands have really attractive odds. I think I'd bet those teams, maybe holding the Netherlands because of their group.
   324. DA Baracus Posted: June 08, 2014 at 05:05 PM (#4721424)
Can't bet against Brazil at home.
   325. steagles Posted: June 08, 2014 at 06:18 PM (#4721467)
I'm predicting Argentina, Brazil. Spain, and Germany in the semifinals. Which of those will I wrong about?
i haven't looked very closely at the exact format so i'm not close to being an expert (you don't say), but is it possible that the format of the tournament plays out in such a way that two of those teams play before the semifinals?

if germany (or spain or whoever) gets a 2 seed instead of a 1, could that put them on a collision course with one of those other teams in the loser bracket something?
   326. ursus arctos Posted: June 08, 2014 at 06:26 PM (#4721471)
Yes, it assumes that they all win their groups.

For example, if either Spsin or Brazil (but noth both) finish second in their group, they would meet in the Round of 16.
   327. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 08, 2014 at 08:00 PM (#4721536)
OK, I'll play;

Group A - Brazil and Croatia - Brazil are going deep into the tournament and I like Croatia's midfield. I feel like Modric is going to make a name for himself beyond soccer circles.

Group B - Spain and Chile - Everyone is writing off the Dutch and I'll join the fun.

Group C - Greece and Japan - This is entirely because I like Keisoke Honda's hair. Greece kind of sucks but they are going to snooze their way to the knockout stage. Gus Johnson will be watching on TV and say to himself "even I couldn't get excited watching these guys play."

Group D - Italy and England - I think this is likely to be the most final day drama with England getting an ugly three points against Costa Rica and Italy doing what they need to do against Uruguay. Similar to the way 2010 played out for the US and England in that group.

Group E - France and Ecuador - Honestly, I got nothin' here.

Group F - Argentina and Nigeria - As will become apparent I'm not a huge flavor of the month fan and that's how the Swiss feel to me.

Group G - Germany and USA - Germany because y'know, duh. The US because if there is ANYTHING to motivation they'll have it. Klinsmann will play it up and you can't tell me the guys in that dressing room, whatever they are saying, are thinking "hey ####### media, stop talking about Landon ####### Donovan who abandoned us during qualification and start talking about the 23 guys on the plane" and are going to play with desperation. Yes, I'm a homer but #### it, there aren't too many times I get to root for a US team that is legitimately an underdog so I'm all in.

Group H - Russia and South Korea - Belgium has been getting the ball washing for three years now without actually accomplishing anything. If the US are going to play the "everyone's against us" card the Belgians are coming in feeling fat and happy.

Semi-Finals: Brazil, Italy, South Korea, Argentina - South Korea will upset an overrated German side in the upset of the tournament and then France to advance.

CHAMPION - ARGENTINA over Brazil

Mock and ridicule at your leisure.
   328. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: June 08, 2014 at 08:10 PM (#4721540)
Group F - Argentina and Nigeria - As will become apparent I'm not a huge flavor of the month fan and that's how the Swiss feel to me.

Switzerland is in Group E.

Group H - Russia and South Korea - Belgium has been getting the ball washing for three years now without actually accomplishing anything. If the US are going to play the "everyone's against us" card the Belgians are coming in feeling fat and happy.

Belgium won a reasonably tough qualification group with ease and the talent is there. South Korea struggled through Asian qualification and barely got through over the mighty Uzbekistan.
   329. AuntBea Posted: June 08, 2014 at 08:11 PM (#4721541)
Group F includes Bosnia, not Switzerland. Out of Nigeria and Bosnia, I would certainly pick Bosnia.
   330. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 08, 2014 at 08:14 PM (#4721545)
Oops. Reverse the comments for groups E and F..
   331. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 08, 2014 at 08:17 PM (#4721547)
Yeah, it's not a vintage South Korea team and the African teams have all looked poor the last year. I think Japan and Mexico are the best bets to keep South America and Europe from having it all their way into the knockouts. That said, I'm much more optimistic about the Nats after yesterday. They seemed much more compact and, in his current form, I think Michael Bradley might be one of the best mids in the world. I think he can dominate this tournament the way Schweinsteiger did in South Africa.

I'm taking Brazil to win it even though that is so very boring. I think they showed at the Confed that the pressure of playing at home won't cause them to wilt.
   332. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: June 08, 2014 at 08:26 PM (#4721552)
And since it's mean to mock without my own calls (especially with a fellow Red Sox fan!), here's my picks. At first I was worried that I'm so EU centric (particularly over SA teams) but on reflection I think that whole factor is a little overstated. The best players on the best SA teams play in Europe anyway.

Group A: Brazil/Croatia. Brazil is easy. The rest of the group had pretty uninspired qualifying campaigns, so I'm going to go with the best players, which are Modric/Rakitic.

Group B: Spain/Netherlands. I was originally going to pick Chile with Spain but there's suddenly this huge anti-Netherlands sentiment. Their qualifying group may have been easy, but they demolished it like they should have. Chile are good, particularly Alexis and Vidal, but Netherlands do still have Robben and van Persie, in case anyone forgot.

Group C: Colombia/Japan. Tough to choose between Colombia, Japan, and Ivory Coast. I think Colombia have enough even without Falcao and I just like Japan better than the current incarnation of Ivory Coast, without much rational reason for it.

Group D: Italy/England. I think Uruguay are overrated based on what they did four years ago and two specific players. They were 5th in an SA qualifying campaign without Brazil, and on top of that Suarez does not seem to be fully fit and Cavani didn't have a great year. It almost pains me to pick England, but I think they're better than Uruguay right now.

Group E: France/Switzerland. This may be ignorance more than anything else. I don't know much about Ecuador, and I consider both France and Switzerland quite good.

Group F: Argentina/Bosnia. I actually think second place in this group could be any of these teams. Dzeko is probably the best player among those teams, so Bosnia it is.

Group G: Germany/Portugal. I wavered a bit because of homerism and Ronaldo maybe not being fully fit, but I just don't have that much confidence in the US. (Or Ghana).

Group H: Belgium/Russia. In online circles, there's been a curious anti-Belgium sentiment in recent months, probably as a reaction to the hype. I don't buy the lack of experience as a good argument. There are only so many big international tournaments, and these players have lots of experience in big club tournaments. And these players are good. Again, I think any of the other three teams (even Algeria) could get second in those group, but I'm going with Russia, even though I've probably already picked way too many EU teams to progress.

Ro16:
Brazil > Holland
Colombia > England
France > Bosnia
Germany > Russia
Spain > Croatia
Japan > Italy
Argentina > Switzerland
Belgium > Portugal

Mainly favorites, but I wanted one upset, and I don't like Italy, so there. NOT RATIONAL.

Ro8:
Brazil > Colombia
Germany > France
Spain > Japan
Belgium > Argentina

Picking one more upset here. Belgium have good defenders and I think they can limit Argentina just enough and score past Argentina's weak defense.

Ro4:
Brazil > Germany
Belgium > Spain

Going one further with Belgium. Partially because it's time for Spain to go out 'early', and partially because I'm on the Belgium train.

Finals
Brazil > Belgium

Not going quite that far. I do think this is Brazil's tournament, even though that's the easy call to make.
   333. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: June 08, 2014 at 08:30 PM (#4721556)
I don't actually think 12 European teams will get through, of course, but the ones I picked are my slight favorites in those groups, is all. In pretty much every group where I picked two EU teams I think there's a decent chance I'm wrong. The problem I had is that none of the Asian, African, or North American teams really impress me much. Ghana is probably the best African team but they're in the toughest group. Same for the US and North America. I think Japan is easily the best Asian team and I have them through. My most likely wrong calls are Netherlands > Chile and England > Uruguay, I think.
   334. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 08, 2014 at 08:35 PM (#4721559)
So the sponsors don't mind people dying but they are troubled by bribery. Eh, whatever puts heat on FIFA to get out of Qatar.
   335. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 08, 2014 at 08:40 PM (#4721561)
So the sponsors don't mind people dying but they are troubled by bribery. Eh, whatever puts heat on FIFA to get out of Qatar

Sports can be very depressing. But, man, whatever it takes to get the dying to stop. Whatever it takes.
   336. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 08, 2014 at 08:49 PM (#4721565)
I think France is the most talented of that cluster of countries just after Belgium (based on the bookies). It's all or nothing with them. I may ask my friend who lives in Vegas To put 50 on them. The Dutch defense is even worse than the past couple of tournaments - don't know if playing a three man defense will overcome that.

If I had some balls I would bet Italy, but I think they're too old in the wrong places (déjà vu)
   337. Sean Forman Posted: June 08, 2014 at 11:36 PM (#4721628)
John Oliver, whose show I will now watch every week, just did a pretty good takedown of FIFA, hitting pretty much every single aspect of their evilness spot on.
   338. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 08, 2014 at 11:59 PM (#4721635)
I think Michael Bradley might be one of the best mids in the world.


For the grief I do give Klinsmann, I give him full credit for recognizing Bradley's skill-set, realizing that it was something the USMNT was missing and moving MB into a position where he could really make an impact. I don't think I'd say he's elite, but he's undeniably dangerous when played as an AP and he makes all of his fellow attackers much more dangerous (it certainly doesn't hurt that he's also a rock-solid defender when the team is not in possession).

I'm far more confident with the formation they played on Saturday (with the exception of Bedoya on the left wing) and can imagine them pulling at least 4 points out the group without having to squint too hard.

Whether or not that will be enough is certainly very much in the air, but personally, I'll be satisfied with a close, hard-fought 3rd place finish.

John Oliver, whose show I will now watch every week, just did a pretty good takedown of FIFA, hitting pretty much every single aspect of their evilness spot on.


His takedown of the net-neutrality fiasco last week (or the week before, I forget) was pretty epic as well.

Anyone know where clips are posted for replay?
   339. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 09, 2014 at 12:53 AM (#4721649)
If you have HBO2Go you can get clips and full episodes there.
   340. Sean Forman Posted: June 09, 2014 at 09:11 AM (#4721693)
   341. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 09, 2014 at 09:45 AM (#4721714)
A lot of the best stuff also goes up on the show's Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3XTzVzaHQEd30rQbuvCtTQ

I'm a huge fan of Oliver, and this show has made me even happier. It has led to fewer and shorter Bugles, but I figure that will improve once he's settled into a rhythm with Last Week Tonight. I especially like that he's doing a 10-15 minute segment on one particular topic a week that's not at the forefront of the news, it gives him the ability to cover things in more depth that his progenitors.
   342. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 09, 2014 at 11:32 AM (#4721804)
So much good stuff here.

Evidently, enslaving poor immigrants and killing them is NOT racist, but being against bribery and human rights abuses IS racist. Thanks Sepp. Another good one:

Blatter, 78, who is running for re-election in 2015, told the African delegates in São Paolo that bonuses to African member associations from World Cup profits would be increased, pledging: “It’s for you, for us, for everyone.”

He insisted that age limits for sports administrators was “a form of discrimination,” and appealed to the delegates to support his bid for another term in office. “I still have the passion burning inside me,” he said. “You will tell me yes or no and decide what you want.”


See, Mohammad bin Hammam, THIS is how you bribe. Meanwhile, the Cameroon team almost didn't get on the plane to Brazil because the Cameroon FA keeps pocketing all that FIFA money and not giving any to the players.
   343. DA Baracus Posted: June 09, 2014 at 11:44 AM (#4721814)
Meanwhile, the Cameroon team almost didn't get on the plane to Brazil because the Cameroon FA keeps pocketing all that FIFA money and not giving any to the players.


It's a World Cup tradition that an African team nearly strikes because they weren't paid. Good job FIFA.
   344. ursus arctos Posted: June 09, 2014 at 11:47 AM (#4721817)
As a follow up to Sepp's tour de force described in 342, the CAF has now passed a resolution condemning the "defamatory and discriminatory" British media.
   345. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 09, 2014 at 12:05 PM (#4721839)
As a follow up to Sepp's tour de force described in 342, the CAF has now passed a resolution condemning the "defamatory and discriminatory" British media.

Doesn't it seem weird that the sport is trapped by FIFA? There seems to be no escape. There seems to be not a single brave man/woman in the entire sport.
   346. Swedish Chef Posted: June 09, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4721846)
There seems to be not a single brave man/woman in the entire sport.

Mmmmm... Joey Barton?
   347. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 09, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4721848)
Mmmmm... Joey Barton?

Well, psychopathic violence is a kind of bravery, I guess.
   348. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 09, 2014 at 12:32 PM (#4721859)
Brad Friedel signed a one year extension with Spurs. He's old! He's bald! He's all ours!
   349. Mefisto Posted: June 09, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4721862)
Ok, group stage predictions:

A Brazil, Mexico
B Spain, Netherlands
C Colombia, Ivory Coast
D England, Uruguay
E France, Ecuador
F Argentina, B-H
G Germany, Portugal
H Russia, Belgium
   350. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 09, 2014 at 12:39 PM (#4721866)
News! Seedorf sacked and replaced by Inzaghi is official. Bwahahaha! Steve Sidwell signs for Stoke.
   351. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 09, 2014 at 02:11 PM (#4721945)
Doesn't it seem weird that the sport is trapped by FIFA? There seems to be no escape. There seems to be not a single brave man/woman in the entire sport.


What would it take to break FIFA? The problem that I see is that you need a sizable number of nations to work together before you can do it. England alone can't do it, Germany alone can't do it, etc...You'd need probably a dozen big nations to really initiate things. Not saying it shouldn't happen but as wrong as some of this stuff is there is a hell of a lot worse in the world that we do for money.

This probably sounds cynical but what's the motivation for anyone to get out of FIFA? The English FA doesn't give two shits about some Nepalese ditch digger who can't get his passport back. The Board of Directors at Coca Cola just wants to make sure a billion people "have a Coke and a smile" while they watch a soccer game.

To be clear, it all sucks but as long as you and I are tuning in there is little motivation for any serious change. And the reality is that you, me and a couple billion other people ARE going to tune in in 2022.

I agree with you on everything you say about Qatar specifically and FIFA in general but I just don't see any motivation for the people with the power to change things to make it happen. Sadly "it's the right thing to do" really won't ever carry the day.
   352. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 09, 2014 at 02:13 PM (#4721947)
Having said that what we need is a few insanely rich people to come together and create some kind of alternative. If ten of the richest 100 people in the world banded together and created a FIFA alternative with money and TV equivalents that could probably get some teams moving. Of course the number of people among the 100 richest in the world who aren't exactly the sort of scumbags we are fighting against is disturbingly small.
   353. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 09, 2014 at 02:19 PM (#4721954)
To be clear, it all sucks but as long as you and I are tuning in there is little motivation for any serious change. And the reality is that you, me and a couple billion other people ARE going to tune in in 2022.

Like I said, after this Cup I see myself just tuning out on international soccer. I've been so invested in this cycle I just don't have the willpower to drop it cold turkey. I think this is it for me, though. FIFA has just ruined it for me.
   354. DA Baracus Posted: June 09, 2014 at 02:21 PM (#4721955)
Yeah, there is no motivation for anyone to speak up, they gain nothing.

The English FA doesn't give two shits about some Nepalese ditch digger who can't get his passport back. The Board of Directors at Coca Cola just wants to make sure a billion people "have a Coke and a smile" while they watch a soccer game.


Spain would make the most noise, but they would never do it.

An alternative tournament would be cool, but it's unfeasible. The two years after the WC are continental championships and the year before is WCQ. You'd be getting B teams, which would benefit a lot of second tier teams but wouldn't draw a lot of viewers or sponsors.
   355. ursus arctos Posted: June 09, 2014 at 02:25 PM (#4721959)
You need an existential threat to the status quo, which means a potential end to the gravy train.

That's what happened with the IOC, when North American sponsors and networks became so concerned about the Salt Lake City shenanigans that it appeared possible that the cycle of endlessly rising rights and sponsorship fees could be broken. And yet the reform at the IOC was far from comprehensive; it basically went only as far as was needed to get the sources of gravy back onside.

That's why I have always thought that a re-vote on Qatar is more likely than any kind of fundamental reform of the process.

That said, Sepp's latest seems to indicate a belief that he can tough this out, which may in the end be right.
   356. Howling John Shade Posted: June 09, 2014 at 02:36 PM (#4721969)
FiveThirtyEight's predictions.

They like the South American teams a whole lot.
   357. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: June 09, 2014 at 03:26 PM (#4722008)
The only semi-feasible end for FIFA is from the club teams, and not the nations. If the 20 or so biggest teams in Europe decide they have had enough of FIFA/UEFA raking in cash that could be theirs, and form their own super league, FIFA is toast. They hold the registrations of 98% or so of the world's most marketable players, and if they decide to withhold their entry into the WC et cetera, FIFA is finished.

Other than that, there is no realistic scenario that kills FIFA.
   358. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: June 09, 2014 at 03:28 PM (#4722010)
They like the South American teams a whole lot.

I wonder if they baked some home continent bonus based on historical tournaments into the model. I think the reasoning for applying it today is specious at best, but a lot of people seem to be doing it...
   359. Baldrick Posted: June 09, 2014 at 03:29 PM (#4722011)
The 538 ranking say that four of the six CONMEBOL teams will win their groups and the other two will finish second. I like these teams a lot but it seems like they may be over-valuing the home continent effect.

I also think it's nuts to say that Brazil has an 85% or better chance of winning each of their group games. I certainly think they're more likely to win them than lose them. But 85%?
   360. jmurph Posted: June 09, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4722018)
Looks like I've got:

A Brazil, Croatia
B Spain, Netherlands
C Colombia, Ivory Coast
D Italy, Uruguay
E France, Ecuador
F Argentina, B-H
G Germany, Portugal
H Belgium, Russia

Brazil over Netherlands, Columbia over Uruguay, France over B-H, Germany over Russia, Spain over Croatia, Italy over Ivory Coast, Argentina over Ecuador, Belgium over Portugal

Semis: Brazil over France, Argentina over Spain
Brazil over Argentina
   361. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: June 09, 2014 at 03:38 PM (#4722021)
I also think it's nuts to say that Brazil has an 85% or better chance of winning each of their group games. I certainly think they're more likely to win them than lose them. But 85%?

You think that is bad? They apparently have them at 80% to win each of the semi final and the final.

Against probably 2 of the best 4 teams in the world? Come on that doesn't even pass the smell test.
   362. ursus arctos Posted: June 09, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4722029)
It's a terrible, terrible "model".
   363. Baldrick Posted: June 09, 2014 at 03:45 PM (#4722032)
You think that is bad? They apparently have them at 80% to win each of the semi final and the final.

Against probably 2 of the best 4 teams in the world? Come on that doesn't even pass the smell test.

Yeah, this was interesting to look at for 5 minutes, but I can't say that I'll be checking back in on them.
   364. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 09, 2014 at 03:48 PM (#4722035)
Yeah, this was interesting to look at for 5 minutes

Blech. I hated the way it looked even separate from its content. More importantly, there are "visual journalists" now? I feel like we're through the looking glass.
   365. AuntBea Posted: June 09, 2014 at 03:48 PM (#4722036)
I wonder if they baked some home continent bonus based on historical tournaments into the model. I think the reasoning for applying it today is specious at best, but a lot of people seem to be doing it...


They might have a large home country advantage, but they seemingly have no home continent advantage. Look at the SPI and the prediction for the England/Uruguay game (essentially same rank, essentially equal odds to win the game).

Rather, the issue seems to be that all the South American teams have very high rankings in their system. 5 out of the top 8 teams in the world are from CONMEBOL, with Ecuador at 13 (ahead of Portugal and Italy).
   366. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 09, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4722040)
According to Fox Sports Latino, Beckham wants David Moyes to manage the Miami Flamingos are whatever they'll be called. Does Moyes not know what that Florida sun can do to a Scotsman's fair skin?
   367. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: June 09, 2014 at 03:53 PM (#4722042)
They might have a large home country advantage, but they seemingly have no home continent advantage. Look at the SPI and the prediction for the England/Uruguay game (essentially same rank, essentially equal odds to win the game).

Rather, the issue seems to be that all the South American teams have very high rankings in their system. 5 out of the top 8 teams in the world are from CONMEBOL, with Ecuador at 13 (ahead of Portugal and Italy).

Ah, GIGO then...
   368. DA Baracus Posted: June 09, 2014 at 03:54 PM (#4722043)
538 is really disappointing.

More importantly, there are "visual journalists" now?


Even worse is "explainer journalism."
   369. Baldrick Posted: June 09, 2014 at 03:57 PM (#4722046)
Blech. I hated the way it looked even separate from its content. More importantly, there are "visual journalists" now? I feel like we're through the looking glass

Yeah, I should have said: "that held my interest for five minutes while I tried to puzzle through the anti-intuitive visual design and discover whether the content was any good."
   370. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: June 09, 2014 at 03:58 PM (#4722048)
Rather, the issue seems to be that all the South American teams have very high rankings in their system. 5 out of the top 8 teams in the world are from CONMEBOL, with Ecuador at 13 (ahead of Portugal and Italy).

Well Portugal and Italy can improve their RPI if they just stop scheduling those out-of-conference cupcake opponents.
   371. zack Posted: June 09, 2014 at 03:59 PM (#4722051)
FIFA, like all sports federations, is a weird beast because it only exists so long as people put up with it. I thought I could recall examples of existing governing bodies being replaced by new ones, but the only example I could come up with in 10 minutes of research was the UCI, the governing body for cycling. But that happened 114 years ago so it probably not particularly relevant (and was analogous to the formation of FIFA itself, really).

Anyway, I don't see reform for FIFA as so hopeless. All it would take would be a handful of soccer powers to secede and the body would follow the money.
   372. Swedish Chef Posted: June 09, 2014 at 04:01 PM (#4722053)
All it would take would be a handful of soccer powers to secede and the body would follow the money.

So where is FA going to find the money to pay off Wembley if they sit out a championship cycle?
   373. DA Baracus Posted: June 09, 2014 at 04:03 PM (#4722055)
FIFA, like all sports federations, is a weird beast because it only exists so long as people put up with it. I thought I could recall examples of existing governing bodies being replaced by new ones, but the only example I could come up with in 10 minutes of research was the UCI, the governing body for cycling.


Though it's not quite the same, the CART/IRL split comes to mind. And it was a disaster.
   374. ursus arctos Posted: June 09, 2014 at 04:05 PM (#4722058)
There were actually some fairly serious rumblings about national cycling federations bolting the UCI over its complicity in Armstrong's doping. but those appear to have been quieted by the election of a reformist leadership. It's also worth noting that the Cycling World Championships don't have the dominant position in the sport that the World Cup does.
   375. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: June 09, 2014 at 04:06 PM (#4722059)
I thought I could recall examples of existing governing bodies being replaced by new ones, but the only example I could come up with in 10 minutes of research was the UCI, the governing body for cycling.

This happened in darts, though nobody outside Britain and Holland cared. The original organization (BDO) is now sort of like the league where you prove yourself and then move up.
   376. DA Baracus Posted: June 09, 2014 at 04:10 PM (#4722064)
The other thing to consider is what are the ripple effects if teams split off? Would UEFA, CONMEBOL, CONCACAF, etc not allow them to participate in Euros, Copa America and the Gold Cup? I imagine that would be a dealbreaker for teams leaving.
   377. ursus arctos Posted: June 09, 2014 at 04:13 PM (#4722067)
That's why you need a critical mass of a major federation to split, and even then you do so at the risk of not being able to sign players from other federations. In the case of an individual sport like darts (or tennis, for any of you who remember the pre-"Open" era) it is much easier for the outstanding individuals to get together and bolt.
   378. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 09, 2014 at 04:16 PM (#4722074)
Is this for real: http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/jun/08/cameroon-squad-refuse-travel-brazil

Because, holy crap!
   379. ursus arctos Posted: June 09, 2014 at 04:19 PM (#4722076)
It was real, but they have since reached a settlement and gotten on the plane.

It's also not uncommon for Cameroon, who are embroiled in disputes with their federation more often than not.
   380. jmurph Posted: June 09, 2014 at 04:58 PM (#4722105)
It's also not uncommon for Cameroon, who are embroiled in disputes with their federation more often than not.


Good time as any to plug The Feet of the Chameleon: The Story of African Football, by Ian Hawkey. It's a good read.
   381. Baldrick Posted: June 09, 2014 at 05:26 PM (#4722122)
Nate Silver's comments on the World Cup model.

My thought is: when your model disagrees so profoundly with the betting markets, maybe that should be an indication that there's something wrong with your model.
   382. Howling John Shade Posted: June 09, 2014 at 05:50 PM (#4722132)
My thought is: when your model disagrees so profoundly with the betting markets, maybe that should be an indication that there's something wrong with your model.
The Brazil thing almost seems like it has to be a math error. I can buy the system liking South American teams slightly more than common wisdom, but how could you possibly think that Brazil has an 80% (or more) chance to win every one of their knockout games? Also, I can't find a working link to the actual SPI rankings.
   383. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: June 09, 2014 at 05:55 PM (#4722137)
Following #375, the shift in darts was kind of like the NIT being eclipsed by the NCAA tournament circa 1970. The NIT wasn't in any way affiliated with the NCAA until ten years ago.
   384. AuntBea Posted: June 09, 2014 at 06:01 PM (#4722140)
Also, I can't find a working link to the actual SPI rankings.


I can't either, but the "knockout stage" tab of the link to the predictions contains a full listing of the SPI numbers for the 32 WC teams.

Edit: and to correct an error in my previous post, Ecuador is ranked 12th out of the teams that made the WC, not 13th.
Edit: It's possible that Sweden or Ukraine or some other country that did not make the WC has a higher SPI rank then Ecuador, but highly unlikely they have a better rank then Uruguay.
   385. Rob_Wood Posted: June 09, 2014 at 06:03 PM (#4722141)
1970 is at least 10 years too late re: NIT & NCAA
   386. AuntBea Posted: June 09, 2014 at 07:50 PM (#4722186)
2-0 Ghana in an exciting but poorly played first half in the Ghana Korea game. Ghana looks very poor on defense, in this game at least. Korea had many decent chances.
   387. ursus arctos Posted: June 09, 2014 at 08:00 PM (#4722191)
They are definitely weak at the back, and better going forward.
   388. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 09, 2014 at 08:05 PM (#4722193)
Here is the link


Thanks!

That was very good stuff, very funny and appropriately vicious.

I've been impressed with Oliver's long form stuff, the segment on Net Neutrality last week was also really well done.
   389. CWS Keith plans to boo your show at the Apollo Posted: June 09, 2014 at 10:10 PM (#4722244)
My thought is: when your model disagrees so profoundly with the betting markets, maybe that should be an indication that there's something wrong with your model.

It would be nice to know whether those involved with SPI have actually put money on Brazil. The betting markets are giving Brazil an implied 25% chance of winning it, so we're not talking about a difference that's within the range of error. Skin in the game, as Nassim Taleb would say.
   390. Padgett Posted: June 09, 2014 at 11:35 PM (#4722287)
So, BTF Twatball league?
   391. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 12:26 AM (#4722307)
Nate Silver seems to be getting high on his own supply these days. I'm very disappointed, especially since his book was in part about the perils of overconfidence. He seems to be worse since he started his website, maybe he feels like he has to defend it? Or maybe his coke habit is catching up to him?*

*I have no clue if he has a coke habit or has even tried the stuff, but he's certainly come off that way since opening 538, from his bonkers written in one weekend "manifesto" on.
   392. AuntBea Posted: June 10, 2014 at 01:05 AM (#4722320)
SPI must be giving an enormous home advantage to Brazil. Anyway, they have the odds for Brazil to outright win the first game (against Croatia) at 88%, whereas the betting odds have it at a much more realistic 75%. This extends across the board to Brazil's games, and yields crazy results.
   393. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 10, 2014 at 09:15 AM (#4722367)
Aston Villa signed Joe Cole. They seem to be on a path to nowhere this summer.
   394. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 10, 2014 at 09:16 AM (#4722368)
So, BTF Twatball league?

Is someone going to create a team? We did pretty well last time, no?
   395. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 10, 2014 at 10:04 AM (#4722418)
Italian media is claiming that Angelo Ogbonna's reps are in London to meet with Tottenham about a transfer. Please let this be true!
   396. Grunthos Posted: June 10, 2014 at 10:08 AM (#4722424)
The road Villa are on only has one fork. Lerner has clearly pulled the plug on all funding that might improve the squad* until there is a sale. Either they get sold soon, or they're getting relegated in the upcoming season.

* Released Albrighton outright. Declared the manager had to bring Bent and Hutton back into the squad and use them, since they can't be sold and their wages are too high to mitigate properly with loans. Now signing old castoffs (Senderos, Cole) on free transfers. The math isn't hard to do here.
   397. Red Menace Posted: June 10, 2014 at 10:34 AM (#4722446)
*I have no clue if he has a coke habit or has even tried the stuff, but he's certainly come off that way since opening 538, from his bonkers written in one weekend "manifesto" on.

Based on this I'd say marijuana is more likely.
http://fivethirtyeight.com/tag/burrito-bracket/
   398. Sean Forman Posted: June 10, 2014 at 10:53 AM (#4722464)
Created a bbtf league for Twatball http://twatball.co.uk/?item=group&id=95&plain=1
   399. Ron J2 Posted: June 10, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4722517)
Thanks for the Oliver link. I really enjoyed the piece.
   400. Sean Forman Posted: June 10, 2014 at 11:57 AM (#4722524)
flop
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