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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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   401. Sean Forman Posted: June 10, 2014 at 11:58 AM (#4722525)
Reposting the bbtf league for Twatball http://twatball.co.uk/?item=group&id=95&plain=1
   402. ursus arctos Posted: June 10, 2014 at 12:12 PM (#4722530)
UEFA delegates again telling Sepp that it is time for him to go, advice that is likely to go completely unheeded, given his ability to rely on the votes of the Havelange coalition of CAF, CONMEBOL, AFC and CONCACAF.
   403. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 10, 2014 at 12:23 PM (#4722534)
UEFA delegates again telling Sepp that it is time for him to go, advice that is likely to go completely unheeded, given his ability to rely on the votes of the Havelange coalition of CAF, CONMEBOL, AFC and CONCACAF.

His money for everybody! slogan has really struck a chord with those FAs. I have no doubt Blatter will win reelection and the money for all those "academies" and "soccer pitches" for Mauritius and Dominica and Guyana will keep on flowing...
   404. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4722540)
Twatball 2014!
Joe Hart (keeper)
Pepe (defender)
Sergio Ramos (defender)
David Luiz (defender)
Sergio Busquets (midfielder)
Nigel de Jong (midfielder)
Marouane Fellaini (midfielder)
Javier Mascherano (midfielder)
Mario Balotelli (forward)
Wayne Rooney (forward)
Luis Suárez (forward)
   405. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 10, 2014 at 12:56 PM (#4722560)
Predictions!

Group Stage
Group A: Brazil, Croatia
Group B: Spain, Chile
Group C: Colombia, Cote D'Ivoire
Group D: Uruguay, England
Group E: France, Switzerland
Group F: Argentina, Bosnia
Group G: Germany, USA! USA! USA!
Group H: Russia, Belgium

Knockout Round
Brazil over Chile
Colombia over England
France over Bosnia
Germany over Belgium
Spain over Croatia
Uruguay over Cote D'Ivoire
Argentina over Switzerland
USA! USA! USA! over Russia

Quarterfinals
Brazil over Colombia
Germany over France
Uruguay over Spain
Argentina over USA

Semifinals
Brazil over Germany
Uruguay over Argentina

Third Place
Argentina over Germany

Final
Uruguay over Brazil 1-0 on a Luis Suarez handball goal.

Brazil explodes into violence, invades Uruguay, commits genocide. Luis Suarez becomes the wandering Uruguayan, cursed to roam the earth for all eternity.
   406. Mefisto Posted: June 10, 2014 at 12:59 PM (#4722564)
Michael Cox has his team notes up here.
   407. Swedish Chef Posted: June 10, 2014 at 01:04 PM (#4722570)
My twatball team (playing 4-4-2 of course):

Howard
-------
Evra
Martins Indi
Ramos
Yepes
--------
Lampard
Mascherano
Tiote
Khedira
--------
Balotelli
Neymar (gotta have a round in the chamber when playing Russian roulette)

   408. Swedish Chef Posted: June 10, 2014 at 01:15 PM (#4722575)
A: Brazil, Cameroon
B: Netherlands, Chile
C: Ivory Coast, Colombia
D: Italy, England
E: Ecuador, France
F: Argentina, Nigera
G: Germany, Portugal
H: Belgium, Korea

Chile over Brazil (RIOTS!!!)
England over Ivory Coast
Nigeria over Ecuador
Germany over Korea
Netherlands over Cameroon
Italy over Colombia
Argentina over France
Portugal over Belgium

Chile over England
Germany over Nigeria
Italy over Netherlands
Argentina over Portugal

Germany over Chile
Argentina over Italy

Argentina wins.

And then they are disqualified for that Falklands banner.
   409. Textbook Editor Posted: June 10, 2014 at 01:57 PM (#4722604)
Stupid question...

If the US is playing a "diamond" within what's being called a 4-2-3-1, why don't they just call teams that play with a diamond formation 4-1-2-1-2? I'm probably missing something...
   410. Sean Forman Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4722619)
My Twatball team
Vincent Enyeama Nigeria (0)
Pepe Portugal (0)
Omar Gonzalez USA (0)
Giorgio Chiellini Italy (0)
Marouane Fellaini Belgium (0)
Granit Xhaka Switzerland (0)
Javier Mascherano Argentina (0)
Paulinho Brazil (0)
Antonio Valencia Ecuador (0)
Ismael Tiote Côte d'Ivoire (0)
Wayne Rooney England (0)
   411. DA Baracus Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:13 PM (#4722622)
If the US is playing a "diamond" within what's being called a 4-2-3-1


Within a 4-4-2, not a 4-2-3-1.

why don't they just call teams that play with a diamond formation 4-1-2-1-2? I'm probably missing something...


Semantical preference. 4-4-2 Diamond and 4-1-2-1-2 are the same thing, the former is a little easier to type.
   412. Baldrick Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:16 PM (#4722623)
4-1-2-1-2 does describe what they're doing, but is a) very unwieldy and b) implies a lot more stability than is really there. They aren't really designed to be spread up the pitch in five different zones.

Really, it seems like you've got one holding guy who basically sticks to the back of the diamond and one attacking guy who sticks to the top, and then two other guys who are primarily there to connect things but also have a lot of freedom to play a number of normal midfield type roles. So Jones can drop back and turn it into a 4-2-3-1. Bedoya can push out to the side and play more like a winger. They can both push forward and it turns into a 4-1-4-1. And even: Beckerman drops further back and lets the fullbacks get forward and suddenly you've got something like a 3-5-2.

I like the opportunity that the diamond offers for quick shifts in style. But I'm terrified of the way it exposes the midfield. It gives us a lot of guys who could potentially exploit holes, but that also means we're at risk of creating tons of holes of our own.

Against Germany and Portugal, I wouldn't be at all shocked to see it play pretty similar to a standard 4-2-3-1, in which case we might get torched by Jones not really being a great holding midfielder - and the inability to build from the back resulting in us losing possession pretty quickly any time we do manage to get the ball.
   413. DA Baracus Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:32 PM (#4722646)
Against Nigeria they were dropping back to a 4-3-2-1, which I liked. It keeps Bradley in position to do damage on both sides of the ball, and when Jones wonders off it doesn't leave them exposed as much as it does in the diamond, and it's a solid reactive shape. With Dempsey in the 2 on the left and Altidore naturally working on the right, they can immediately get width and not have to rely on Zusi/Bedoya and Johnson to get up and out in a hurry. It's a good formation for the classic counter attacking we're used to by the US until Klinsmann arrived. They're going to get over run by Portugal and Germany if they stick to the diamond, and possibly by Ghana too.
   414. Sean Forman Posted: June 10, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4722654)
AcK: I meant Besler instead of gonzalez
   415. ursus arctos Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:19 PM (#4722692)
Soccer "notation" is very conservative. For a long time, the convention was that you could only have three lines of players, no matter how they actually appeared on the field.
   416. madvillain Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4722695)
Soccer "notation" is very conservative. For a long time, the convention was that you could only have three lines of players, no matter how they actually appeared on the field.


Interesting, this seems to be the gist of what I picked up from Inverting the Triangle. Like most NFL coaches, it's better to be safe and use tradition then cutting edge and open yourself up to critique. Seemed it was mostly up to the smaller nations and teams to find tactical advantages.

Frankly I don't really care how the USMNT plays, I just want to see them win soccer matches. If they have to bunker a bit and start Beckerman that's fine but if they are feeling good in possession and bring on Mix late in a game I won't mind it either. Just win baby.

Klinsy wants the US to get better on the ball and in possession but he can't magically take our players and give them Spain's technique or France's dribbling and skill on the wings.
   417. Swedish Chef Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:26 PM (#4722697)
Soccer "notation" is very conservative. For a long time, the convention was that you could only have three lines of players, no matter how they actually appeared on the field.

Wasn't also every formation shoehorned into a 2-3-5 long after anybody played like that?

But really, if one squints enough, every modern formation can be seen as a variant of 2-3-5...
   418. DA Baracus Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:40 PM (#4722708)
Seemed it was mostly up to the smaller nations and teams to find tactical advantages.


No different than any other sport really. A lot of tactical innovation comes from small programs trying something nuts because there's no pressure, so the coaches can freely experiment. Plenty of football innovation came from Valdosta State, Memphis, Portland State, and high school programs to name a few off the top of my head.

In other words, Spain has no reason to try anything new. Australia's best chance of pulling an upset against them though is probably by doing something they haven't seen before. Or better yet Wigan playing brilliantly a few years ago by moving to the 3-4-3, which wasn't a tactical innovation but you get the point.
   419. DA Baracus Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:43 PM (#4722713)
But really, if one squints enough, every modern formation can be seen as a variant of 2-3-5...


Agreed. Early in the season Man City was essentially playing a 2-4-4 when their fullbacks were getting up the field, and then the wide players would push even further up.
   420. DA Baracus Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4722714)
Just how big is the game vs Ghana? This big.

Going back to World Cup 1998, when the tournament expanded to 32 teams and just two teams per group were able to advance, only nine percent of teams that lost their first World Cup game (4 of 46) advanced to the knockout stage. Meanwhile, a tie in the first game was hardly a killer—56 percent of those teams (20 of 36) advanced from their group.

The best thing to do, of course, is to win your first game. From ’98 on, a whopping 87 percent of teams that have gotten three points from game one (40 of 46) have advanced to the Round of 16.
   421. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: June 10, 2014 at 03:55 PM (#4722725)
Twatball!

THREE SIX ONE (but playing a 5-3-2):
GK: Maty Ryan (AUS)
DEF: Bruno Martins Indi (NED), Pepe (POR), Philippe Senderos (SUI), Omar Gonzalez (USA), Michael Umaña (CRC)
MF: Nigel de Jong (NED), Stephane Mbia (CMR), Ramires (BRA)
FWD: Wayne Rooney (ENG), Luis Suarez (URU)

High risk, high reward up top. Either one of them could score a half-dozen goals, and either one of them could get sent off 12 seconds into a game.
   422. Tike Redman's Shattered Dreams Posted: June 10, 2014 at 04:27 PM (#4722770)
My entry is a pretty attack-minded 4-3-3. I may live to regret this--I didn't re-read the rules before picking the team.

GK: Júlio César (BRA)
D: Pepe (POR), Sergio Ramos (ESP), David Luiz (BRA), Jérôme Boateng (GER)
M: Paul Pogba (FRA), Ismael Tiote (CIV), Mesut Özil (GER)
F: Luis Suárez (URU), Mario Balotelli (ITA), Antonio Cassano (ITA)
   423. puck Posted: June 10, 2014 at 05:02 PM (#4722800)
This might have been mentioned...but remember when I asked about World Cup previews? Looks like Zonal Marking put one up for each team the last couple days.
   424. Sean Forman Posted: June 10, 2014 at 05:25 PM (#4722819)
I think I'm hooked pretty bad by soccer as I read at least 25 of the zonal marking previews today.
   425. DA Baracus Posted: June 10, 2014 at 05:52 PM (#4722844)
Again, "clearly vomiting, urinating, or defecating on the pitch or immediate surrounds" should be more than 6 points.
   426. ursus arctos Posted: June 10, 2014 at 05:52 PM (#4722845)
They are quite good.
   427. madvillain Posted: June 10, 2014 at 06:33 PM (#4722865)
So does anything think that Klinsmann told Brooks and Green they'd be guaranteed a spot in Brazil if they chose the UMSNT? I really can't see a reason either is on the roster.
   428. DA Baracus Posted: June 10, 2014 at 06:54 PM (#4722874)
Green's denied it but in the pre-game for Turkey they had a piece on him and his dad, recalling when he made the decision and why he picked the US, said Julian told him "because it's the World Cup."

And of course when he's actually played he hasn't shown he's ready.

Brooks you could make a better case for earning a spot but then you have to consider Klinsmann refused to tell the guy he beat out for that spot, Goodson, why he cut him.
   429. Mefisto Posted: June 10, 2014 at 07:01 PM (#4722880)
I think you can make an argument that Brooks is more useful than Goodson (e.g., Brooks is left footed and more mobile). Neither is all that good, but Brooks at least might develop.

Green's case seems like a clear promise for the future. I'm not opposed to that per se; I'll bet the English team regrets not making a deal like that with Giggs or Bale (assuming Bale's eligible; I don't know if he is).
   430. DA Baracus Posted: June 10, 2014 at 07:29 PM (#4722897)
I think you can make an argument that Brooks is more useful than Goodson (e.g., Brooks is left footed and more mobile).


Brooks on the team (and Goodson not) doesn't bother me as much as Green, at least unlike Green he actually plays for his team, and 4th CBs almost never see the field. And maybe he did earn it fairly. But when you consider that Brooks is dual nationality German and Klinsmann's own players think he favors them, that he barely played for the US--and didn't look good--but is getting his roster spot over a guy who played in qualifying games (which in fairness happens on other teams too) and this:

"I asked Jurgen for an explanation. It was something that he was unwilling to give me. He said that he would speak with me after the World Cup about it, and I said that I thought I certainly deserved an explanation. And it was something that he was unwilling to give."


Well, it's tough for me to say Brooks cleanly earned the spot.
   431. Mefisto Posted: June 10, 2014 at 07:47 PM (#4722911)
I don't think it's possible to say that Brooks earned the spot. There's plenty of reason to suspect Klinsmann on that score. I just think it would be possible to justify Brooks over Goodson, so that the decision floats in that indeterminate space where coaches have discretion.

From what I've seen, Green doesn't belong on the team on merit, unless "merit" gets defined to include "possible future WCs".
   432. AuntBea Posted: June 10, 2014 at 08:17 PM (#4722939)
WTF was Neto doing, trying to get injured?
   433. AuntBea Posted: June 10, 2014 at 08:19 PM (#4722943)
Ronaldo is either embellishing in a friendly, or really is afraid of getting hurt again
   434. AuntBea Posted: June 10, 2014 at 08:24 PM (#4722946)
Ronaldo complaining about the slightest touch... and the ref gives the foul. Disgusting.
   435. DA Baracus Posted: June 10, 2014 at 08:28 PM (#4722950)
From what I've seen, Green doesn't belong on the team on merit, unless "merit" gets defined to include "possible future WCs".


Yeah there is no argument for including Green other than he was promised a spot so they'd have him for 2018. Which of course there is no guarantee he will good enough to play in.
   436. vortex of dissipation Posted: June 10, 2014 at 08:45 PM (#4722956)
Green's case seems like a clear promise for the future. I'm not opposed to that per se; I'll bet the English team regrets not making a deal like that with Giggs or Bale (assuming Bale's eligible; I don't know if he is).


Yes, Bale's Grandmother is English, which would make him eligible for England.
   437. DA Baracus Posted: June 10, 2014 at 09:16 PM (#4722966)
Interesting angle we hadn't discussed:

If Qatar is stripped of the World Cup, it might well decide to go ahead with the tournament anyway, and freely offer significant appearance fees to African, Asian and Caribbean federations, which might well tempt them. After all, the FIFA World Cup has only ever been won by European or South American nations and that doesn’t look likely to change soon. What do the other federations have to lose?
   438. Textbook Editor Posted: June 10, 2014 at 09:24 PM (#4722973)
Again, "clearly vomiting, urinating, or defecating on the pitch or immediate surrounds" should be more than 6 points.


Hmm... Messi might have to be a Twatball pick if you can get a quick 6 points for vomiting. If Messi vomits, it's a lock to be captured on video, and he seems to have made a habit of it of late, especially (apparently) while playing for Argentina.


   439. Textbook Editor Posted: June 10, 2014 at 09:30 PM (#4722978)
Yes, Bale's Grandmother is English, which would make him eligible for England.


TE, Jr. has often complained that the rule does not extend to Great-Grandmothers; if it did he technically would be eligible to play for Italy. Alas, he's 8 so he doesn't quite grasp that "eligible to play for Italy" wouldn't necessarily be equal in meaning to "would be picked to play for Italy..."

And thanks to everyone who explained the diamond/formation numbers thing--I need to dig out my copy of Inverting the Pyramid and re-read it...
   440. Padgett Posted: June 10, 2014 at 09:34 PM (#4722981)
Reposting the bbtf league for Twatball http://twatball.co.uk/?item=group&id=95&plain=1
Thanks for setting it up, Sean.

I suppose this is sort of an unbalanced 4-5-1:

Maty Ryan (Australia)
Pepe (Portugal)
Gary Medel (Chile)
Michael Umaña (Costa Rica)
Emilio Izaguirre (Honduras)
Marouane Fellaini (Belgium)
Jermaine Jones (USA)
Mile Jedinak (Australia)
Ismael Tiote (Côte d'Ivoire)
Senad Lulic (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
Mario Balotelli (Italy)
   441. AuntBea Posted: June 10, 2014 at 11:43 PM (#4723031)
This thread has been neck and neck with the NBA thread since the beginning of the month.
   442. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 11, 2014 at 12:21 AM (#4723054)
This thread has been neck and neck with the NBA thread since the beginning of the month.


That ought to last ... about another 1 1/2 days.
   443. richie allen Posted: June 11, 2014 at 07:19 AM (#4723109)
Hi

Rarely post these days but have been around since Primer.

Anyway, sorry if this is a bit wrong but I've just written a book about England manager Roy Hodgson. For various reasons I ended up self publishing, which means if I'm to sell any I have to do everything myself. Finding an audience is pretty hard.

So against that backdrop, if you are half-interested in how an ordinary man who wasn't very good at football became England manager, the book is available as a paperback from www.godsfoot.com and on kindle here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Roy-Hodgson-Football-biography-Englands-ebook/dp/B00KC13D2E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402479594&sr=8-1&keywords=roy+hodgson or here: http://www.amazon.com/Roy-Hodgson-Football-biography-Englands-ebook/dp/B00KC13D2E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402485552&sr=8-1&keywords=roy+hodgson in the US.

Thanks
Rich


   444. Flynn Posted: June 11, 2014 at 08:04 AM (#4723120)

TE, Jr. has often complained that the rule does not extend to Great-Grandmothers; if it did he technically would be eligible to play for Italy. Alas, he's 8 so he doesn't quite grasp that "eligible to play for Italy" wouldn't necessarily be equal in meaning to "would be picked to play for Italy..."


Not familiar with Italy's citizenship laws or the oriundi, are we?
   445. Baldrick Posted: June 11, 2014 at 11:58 AM (#4723305)
Anyway, sorry if this is a bit wrong but I've just written a book about England manager Roy Hodgson. For various reasons I ended up self publishing, which means if I'm to sell any I have to do everything myself. Finding an audience is pretty hard.

Have been meaning to get this. Now that I know you're a Primate, I'll have to!!

I always thought CCN sounded Primer-ish.
   446. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 11, 2014 at 11:58 AM (#4723306)
Congrats on the book Rich. I will give it a look over.
   447. DA Baracus Posted: June 11, 2014 at 12:05 PM (#4723315)
Landon Donovan will be an in-studio analyst for ESPN. This could be interesting.
   448. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 11, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4723322)
This could be interesting.

Maybe if he didn't have the wussiest voice imaginable. Honestly, I hate listening to Donovan speak.
   449. Mefisto Posted: June 11, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4723346)
I love Landon as a soccer player, but he sucks on TV.
   450. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 11, 2014 at 01:15 PM (#4723385)
HIs voice is bad - but is it worse than Beckham's? Still take him over Wynalda.
   451. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 11, 2014 at 02:09 PM (#4723441)
HIs voice is bad - but is it worse than Beckham's?

Beckham ain't going to be on my tv!

Here's a weird one...it's being reported by a few sources now that Dejan Lovren handed in a transfer request because no one at Southampton would return his phone calls. They seem to be in some kind of weird flux down there.
   452. DA Baracus Posted: June 11, 2014 at 02:14 PM (#4723444)
Roberto Mancini has left Galatasaray.

Man City only has to field 5 home grown players, not 8. So now they need to find 5 home grown players.
   453. Rennie's Tenet Posted: June 11, 2014 at 02:21 PM (#4723448)
Is Mathew Ryan of Australia a #### in some way, or are people just picking him because Spain, Chile, and the Dutch get to use him for target practice?
   454. DA Baracus Posted: June 11, 2014 at 02:23 PM (#4723454)
US-Belgium closed door game tomorrow is cancelled because of traffic.
   455. jmurph Posted: June 11, 2014 at 02:29 PM (#4723460)
Register, DA, register. They will be fielding no such number. But yeah, point taken, letting Barry and Lescott and potentially Milner go will make that a bit trickier than it should be.
   456. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 11, 2014 at 02:29 PM (#4723462)
US-Belgium closed door game tomorrow is cancelled because of traffic.

That's not good. That backline could use the tune up. Have you seen pictures of the pitch in Manaus? It looks like a below average high school field. I'm guessing they'll spray paint it green before the England-Italy game. I mean. how hard is it to keep the grass green in the middle of a rain forest?
   457. DA Baracus Posted: June 11, 2014 at 02:30 PM (#4723464)
Register, DA, register. They will be fielding no such number.


You know what I meant.
   458. DA Baracus Posted: June 11, 2014 at 02:33 PM (#4723467)
how hard is it to keep the grass green in the middle of a rain forest?


Just as bad, how awful must your preparations be if a team doesn't want to drive 40 miles for a tune up game because of traffic?
   459. DA Baracus Posted: June 11, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4723487)
   460. puck Posted: June 11, 2014 at 03:26 PM (#4723523)
How hot and humid will it be in the non-Manaus locations? Will it be enough to affect matches?
   461. Ron J2 Posted: June 11, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4723530)
#456 It's more than just the field. Security doors hadn't been installed as of yesterday. Power cables just dangling from walls. They were laying asphalt as of yesterday.
   462. jmurph Posted: June 11, 2014 at 03:40 PM (#4723532)
If you guys aren't on the twitters, our own MCoA is officially burning it up as a media presence. We just need to get him to start plugging this thread now like Kevin Pelton (of ESPN fame) has done with the NBA thread...
   463. jmurph Posted: June 11, 2014 at 03:41 PM (#4723534)
You know what I meant.


It was as much for me as for you. Upon initial reading I momentarily panicked that they had to actually play that many homegrown players.
   464. DA Baracus Posted: June 11, 2014 at 03:50 PM (#4723537)
It was as much for me as for you. Upon initial reading I momentarily panicked that they had to actually play that many homegrown players.


At least they have some in house solutions lying around. Hull needs four for Europa League and they currently have none.
   465. puck Posted: June 11, 2014 at 04:04 PM (#4723546)
Kids play soccer vs elephants in celebration of the World Cup. Seems safe.
   466. puck Posted: June 11, 2014 at 04:09 PM (#4723549)
If you guys aren't on the twitters, our own MCoA is officially burning it up as a media presence.


Hmm, yeah. Here are his numbers-driven world cup predictions. Algeria 2nd in group H?? US 4th...sad face.
   467. puck Posted: June 11, 2014 at 04:16 PM (#4723556)
Hmm, does xG factor in home/away? MCoA's approach has Group E France-Ecuador-Switzerland-Honduras. Is Ecuador going to be very good away from altitude? In qualifying they earned 22 of their 25 points in Quito.
   468. Howling John Shade Posted: June 11, 2014 at 04:19 PM (#4723559)
If you guys aren't on the twitters, our own MCoA is officially burning it up as a media presence. We just need to get him to start plugging this thread now like Kevin Pelton (of ESPN fame) has done with the NBA thread...
And here is his excellent group by group preview.

It seems much saner to me than the 538 model (28% Brazil win vs. 45%). According to his stats, we're overrating Germany, Argentina and the Netherlands and underrating Spain, Portugal and France. His model also likes all of the CONMEBOL teams to advance out of group play.

Edit: Coke to puck
   469. jmurph Posted: June 11, 2014 at 04:22 PM (#4723561)
Hmm, does xG factor in home/away?


I believe so. He tweeted the other day about the difficulty in evaluating Ivory Coast, I believe it was, due to their lack of recent home games.
   470. Howling John Shade Posted: June 11, 2014 at 04:22 PM (#4723563)
Algeria 2nd in group H?? US 4th...sad face.
He mentions that the stats for African qualifiers are a lot less reliable, so Algeria may be a result of that. But hey, I'm all about this being a breakout world cup for Bentaleb.
   471. Howling John Shade Posted: June 11, 2014 at 04:27 PM (#4723566)
Hmm, does xG factor in home/away? MCoA's approach has Group E France-Ecuador-Switzerland-Honduras. Is Ecuador going to be very good away from altitude? In qualifying they earned 22 of their 25 points in Quito.
It does, but in the comments he says that it's possible it's not fully accounting for Ecuador's extreme home field advantage.

Edit: Also, read the Appendix. It's a great explanation of the model. For example on home field advantage:
The model includes three further adjustments to the least squares method. First, expected goals are adjusted for home field advantage. Winning the xG battle 2.1- 1.5 at home is effectively the same as drawing, while it is a solid result either on the road or at a neutral site. So for every match, xG is adjusted for the very large international home field advantage. Solid evidence of "home continent advantage" is very difficult to identify, given how rare truly international tournaments are. This factor, while it may be real, could not be identified or quantified with any confidence. So it is not included in the model.
   472. Mefisto Posted: June 11, 2014 at 04:27 PM (#4723567)
Good work by MCOA. I'm very happy to see that I got the same top 2 for 6 of the 8 brackets (I had Russia over Algeria and Netherlands over Chile).
   473. AuntBea Posted: June 11, 2014 at 04:40 PM (#4723580)
I really like the idea of expected goals models, and certainly when I watch soccer games I generally determine which team is playing better by looking primarily at number and quality of chances created. One potential problem with this type of analysis is that when teams are level or certainly behind they will generally try much harder to create chances than when they are ahead. Therefore, scoreline is another critical factor when determining how well a team played, completely independent of the number of chances created. One would generally not expect a team ahead by 2 goals to continue to press hard for more chances, and would thus expect them to create fewer (and give up fewer as well, but there is no particular reason to believe that these even out, especially for great teams that always create more chances than they allow. Such teams when playing kickball with a lead surely forgo many more extra chances than they thereby prevent).

So, in a perfect world where both goal differential and expected goal differential models were robust and gave relatively unbiased results, I would probably include them both, with a greater weight on expected goals models.
   474. Baldrick Posted: June 11, 2014 at 05:08 PM (#4723599)
Predicting international competitions is just really difficult. There's the inherent randomness from it only being a few games. There's the difficulty in deciding how to assess previous results - how to weight friendlies, whether it matters what a team did several years ago, particularly if the lineup has changed tremendously. There's the issue of form, injuries, etc. There is the question of how intrinsically good some players are - versus how they play for their club versus how they play for their country. It's hard enough to predict club matches where we have a LOT more recent data.

Given that, all that I ask of a prediction is that it give me some additional information to think about. The Zonalmarking ones are obviously great in that respect. I'm not positive that Michael Cox is really that much more likely to be able to accurately predict results than me, but he sure knows a bunch more about the teams. So I really enjoy reading and learning.

MCOA's model is also really good in that respect. It produces a few slightly strange results, but that's what you WANT from a model. It might not be correct, but it provides a frame of reference for thinking about what matters. If the model is missing something, we can look it over and try to figure out what specifically that might be. It is basically a humble theory. The write-up on Argentina is a great example. Rather than trying to build in an 'x factor' for incredible individual talents who can convert chances to goals at an extraordinary rate, he just acknowledges that this is something the model doesn't include. We can then decide for ourselves whether and how much weight that deserves. There's no pretense of scientific precision, since we don't currently have the data to justify it.

The 538 model, on the other hand, is worse than useless I think. Its strange results aren't just weird - invitations to more investigation - they're outlandishly silly. Which just leads me to think there's something basically and structurally flawed about the whole enterprise. I think they have added in a bunch of stuff, and excluded a bunch of stuff, without any good justification. So I have no further interest in trying to study the places where I disagree with it. It's GIGO.
   475. Howling John Shade Posted: June 11, 2014 at 05:50 PM (#4723612)
I wonder whether the home advantage in the World Cup is more extreme than the home advantage in a generic international? You would expect more rabid crowds (and thus more biased refs, etc), plus you get the effect of a prolonged stay away from home on visiting teams as the tournament progresses. I know that there is (or at least was) an observable second-leg effect in home-and-home ties that suggests that as the importance of a match increases, so does the home field advantage.
   476. DA Baracus Posted: June 11, 2014 at 05:55 PM (#4723616)
I wonder whether the home advantage in the World Cup is more extreme than the home advantage in a generic international?


I think you'd have to look at that in the knockout rounds. In the group stage the home nation usually gets a favorable draw, for obvious reasons.

And immediately after writing that I see this:

@jayjaffa: Of the 19 World Cups, 6 hosts have failed to win their opener (Eng, Mex, Spa, USA, Jap, SA). All six drew = a host has never lost 1st game..

And winning the first game dramatically improves the odds of advancement.
   477. Baldrick Posted: June 11, 2014 at 07:09 PM (#4723641)
Some fun trivia I've dug up today:
- Brazil is responsible for 11% of all World Cup victories over the history of the tournament.
- They've won their 67 matches in 97 chances. The 47 bottom teams took 369 chances to get 66 wins.
- Brazil has the most goals (210), but is only four ahead of Germany. Those two have been way ahead of the rest of the pack since the 70s, with Brazil usually 10-15 goals ahead. But they were as close as three goals apart in 1990. Brazil has been #1 in the all-time ranking ever since 1950. Their closest competitor in the 50s and 60s was Hungary.
- Mexico has the most losses in the tournament (24). Argentina and Germany both have 20, but obviously have won (a lot) more than Mexico.
- Italy (obviously) has the most draws. Who else?
- Over the past three World Cups, only four teams have lost their opening match and still escaped the group. One is Spain in 2010, who lost their first match and then only conceded one more goal on their way to victory. The other three were Ghana in 2006, Ukraine in 2006, and Turkey in 2002. Ghana lost to Italy, who went on to win. Turkey lost to Brazil, who also went on to win. Basically: if you lose your opening match, you better be the best team in the world or have lost to the best team in the world. Otherwise, you're pretty much toast.
   478. Baldrick Posted: June 11, 2014 at 07:50 PM (#4723663)
Poll of people in 19 countries asking them who they expect to win, who they're rooting against, and who plays the most beautiful football. Some really strange and interesting results.

Everyone in the world except Argentina, Spain, and the US think Brazil will win. People in Argentina and Spain pick their own teams to win. As, hilariously, do people in the US. Everyone else picks Brazil.

Lots of people rooting against the US, including Iran, Mexico, and Russia for obvious reasons. But also Australia? And Italy. And the US! Lots of Argentina-hate from the other South American countries. Lots of Brazilians rooting against Brazil. The Germans really hate Honduras for some reason (?). Europe is really anti-Iran. People in Argentina really freaking hate England. Japan and South Korea really hate each other.

Brazil and Spain dominate the list of who plays the most beautifully. People in Japan and Australia picked England #2, which are the only two results for anyone besides Brazil/Spain/Germany. That's pretty funny.
   479. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: June 11, 2014 at 07:58 PM (#4723668)
Is Mathew Ryan of Australia a #### in some way, or are people just picking him because Spain, Chile, and the Dutch get to use him for target practice?
I actually think he's pretty good, I just picked him because Australia's going to get crushed.
   480. frannyzoo Posted: June 11, 2014 at 08:44 PM (#4723690)
People in Argentina really freaking hate England. Japan and South Korea really hate each other.


Polling probably not needed for either of these sentiments.

As for Germany and Honduras, maybe it's one of those "miserable fat Belgian bastards" things. A bit wonderfully dated, that sketch, or is it?
   481. puck Posted: June 11, 2014 at 09:06 PM (#4723699)
That's a great poll. Do Germans dislike rolling around and other timewasting?

Hilarious that the US is rooting against the US and thinks the US will win. That seems like us.
   482. Dolf Lucky Posted: June 11, 2014 at 09:35 PM (#4723708)
My hatred ranking, 2014 style:

1. Mexico
1a. Mexico
1b. Mexico
2. France
3. Italy
4. Costa Rica
5. Algeria
6. Spain
7. Ghana
8. Iran
9. Honduras
10. Ecuador
11. Uruguay
12. Portugal
13. Argentina
14. Colombia
15. Bosnia
16. Croatia
17. Chile
18. Greece
18. Russia
20. Belgium
21. Cameroon
22. Nigeria
23. Japan
24. Korea
25. Germany
26. Brazil
27. Ivory Coast
28. Switzerland
29. Australia
30. Holland
31. England
32. USA
   483. Textbook Editor Posted: June 11, 2014 at 09:56 PM (#4723714)
Not familiar with Italy's citizenship laws or the oriundi, are we?


Nope. Just looked it up.

OK. But I'd have to think if FIFA all of a sudden made it so that "Great-Grandparents" counted instead of "Grandparents" that Italy and every other country would adjust/recalibrate, since it would open up all sorts of new players to go and poach for their national team.

But, yes, TE Jr. remains tied to Team USA. At least he seems upbeat about their chances--he sees no reason they can't win all 3 games if they really play well! (Ah, to be 8 and filled with optimistic thoughts...)
   484. Baldrick Posted: June 12, 2014 at 12:31 AM (#4723777)
Teams I'm actively rooting against:
Greece - My family is Turkish so that's the theoretical explanation, but mostly I just hate watching them.
Russia - Nothing against the team, particularly. Just the Russian state.
Uruguay - Just because of Suarez.
Algeria - Just because of how awful they were to watch in 2010. But it sounds like this new batch is a lot more fun, so I may upgrade them to neutral if that turns out to be true.
Portugal - I blow hot and cold on Cristiano. I love watching him when he plays well, and I also love watching him being incredibly frustrated. Also anything bad that happens to Pepe is good news for everyone else.

That's really it. I love the US/Mexico rivalry, and I'd rather see us beat them more than anyone else. But I have no particular desire for them to lose to anyone else. I suppose I'm also vaguely rooting against Brazil, just because I find it really boring when the hosts do well. But really that just means I'd like to see one of the other great teams win a bit more than I'd like to see Brazil do it.
   485. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:16 AM (#4723786)
Mancini leaves Galatasaray by mutual consent. Too bad, those colors looked great on him.
   486. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 12, 2014 at 07:35 AM (#4723819)
On a few questions--

To AuntBea, yeah, game state is a concern. It's something I haven't studied fully to get a handle on. In initial looks, there's not quite as big an effect in chances as you say, because the chances a team creates when leading tend to be of much higher quality due to lesser defensive pressure. As far as I can tell, the larger issue is that shot conversion rates are affected by game state, again as an effect of greater/lesser defensive pressure. Benjamin Pugsley is the guy who's written the most on this. The problem for me that I haven't been able to solve, is whether shot conversion differences at different game states should be factored in to the model, or to what degree. Did the team really produce a better chance, or did the underlying game state just make the goal more likely? I don't know.

The other issue, as Baldrick said, is that the model is already really complex and I don't want to keep fitting and fitting and fitting it to every effect. Game state is probably big enough that it needs to be included even so, but I have a bit of an aversion to adding more things to the model. I prefer something that's interesting, plausible, and can be explained. And if it misses, as I'm pretty confident it misses on Argentina, that's gonna happen.

On Ecuador, yeah, they're on my docket. The least squares model certainly could miss on them due to extreme HFA. At the same time, theoretically a team with extreme HFA should average out just like any other team because their away losses should be proportionally larger. Ecuador look kind of interesting -- the only team in South America which falls on the "heavy on crosses / attacks down the flank" side of the spectrum, and they're quite extreme. Another possibility then is that Ecuador are sort of tactically thinking outside the South American box, where all the national teams are super prograssive and passing and building attacks through the center. They might be getting results also by playing an unusual (for South America) style of ball. So I want to look more closely at their results. Hopefully will be able to do that today for a piece Friday.

On 538, I still can't figure out their Brazil rating. And especially their Spain rating. When I run the least-squares fit using goals instead of xG, it helps Brazil a bit, but Spain remain 2nd in the world and roughly in the 20% range. So I don't know what Silver is doing to kill Spain's rating. My best guess is that the supposedly small/weak travel adjustment is actually having a quite large effect. This could also explain Brazil's outlying high win%. If all 31 other teams in the tournament are getting docked a small amount for travel, that could add up to a big margin for the one team not taking any demerits.

I wrote a response to Silver's model, explaining why I prefer expected goals "in one chart" as they say on the internets.

And yeah, I'd love any feedback on the model, which is detailed pretty extensively in the Appendix. Always appreciate a good peer review.
   487. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 12, 2014 at 07:37 AM (#4723822)
Doing the model and trying to break into sportswriting vaguely has totally changed my rooting experience of the Cup, and in a really dumb way. I think I'm going to be rooting primarily for the teams the model likes so that it does well. Ride or die Portugal. I'm worried my heart is going to be traitorous during our group match.
   488. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 12, 2014 at 07:46 AM (#4723823)
Oh, and on WC HFA. It's certainly possible that WC HFA is larger than usual. But (1) the data is massively insufficient, as even home champions only play seven matches, and (2) it's not uniform, so you'd need first a rating of how good the WC host was beforehand to figure what sort of HFA they had. That's the sort of study that will almost certainly produce a number that means nothing.

And I would probably be a bit skeptical it's that different. The HFA for normal competitive international fixtures is already about 40%. It's huge. At a World Cup you have less of a travel effect, as teams get to go and train for a while before. The referee effect, which is probably the largest thing, will be affected by the crowds, but you also get the whole of the world watching and top refs from everywhere, which should dampen that a bit. It's possible, of course. Boosting HFA in my model would take my Brazil rating beyond that of the bookies, so I'm happy keeping it where it is.
   489. Swedish Chef Posted: June 12, 2014 at 07:57 AM (#4723828)
, but you also get the whole of the world watching and top refs from everywhere

I don't know about that, thw top refs from outside Europe and South America aren't really fit to referee at this level.
   490. DA Baracus Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:11 AM (#4723853)
I don't know about that, thw top refs from outside Europe and South America aren't really fit to referee at this level.


Yeah, they don't take the best refs, they take the best refs from around the world. Which sounds the same but isn't. In 2010 they took one ref from England and two from New Zealand. That's how you get Koman Coulibaly.
   491. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:25 AM (#4723866)
Damn I really wish I could take the afternoon off.
   492. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:31 AM (#4723872)
Yes, you're all right about the refs thing. But I stand by my nigh-impossible to quantify and too small a data set issues.
   493. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:39 AM (#4723880)
By the way, my Group A / Mexico / Brazil preview piece has a graph I think that Tottenham Hotspur Think Factory will appreciate. Paulinho led EPL midfielders last year in expected goals per 90 minutes. He was consistently excellent at getting into goal-scoring positions. From there obviously his finishing failed him, but even over a 2000 minute sample there's a good chance that was just a cold streak. He'll be key for Brazil's attack, especially in the knockouts.
   494. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 12, 2014 at 09:48 AM (#4723893)
I think I'm going to be rooting primarily for the teams the model likes so that it does well. Ride or die Portugal. I'm worried my heart is going to be traitorous during our group match.


It's like your emotional investment in Victorino last year. If he had had a bad year we might have found you wandering the streets muttering incoherently.
   495. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: June 12, 2014 at 10:32 AM (#4723916)
Things I want to see happen, in order of importance, with the full knowledge that #1 is ludicrous:

1. USA wins. Duh.
2. Mexico eliminated as early as possible. Because screw those guys.
3. England eliminated as early as possible. Because I'm sick of a country with less major tournament wins than Greece and Denmark in the past 45 years acting as if they're somehow superior to the US.
4. If (okay, *when*) the USA doesn't win, Germany wins.
   496. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 12, 2014 at 10:33 AM (#4723917)
I maintain, and I've fought with other Spurs fans about this, that Paulinho is going to be our most important player under Pochettino. He was already pretty good last season but this season I think he takes the leap. There's a reason he's been linked to Chelsea and Real Madrid. DO NOT SELL, LEVY.

Speaking of Pochettino, he does speak English!

A few media outlets have taken his joke about triple sessions seriously and so justified his reluctance to speak to them at all while at Southampton.
   497. zack Posted: June 12, 2014 at 10:33 AM (#4723918)
Jesus, the first US game isn't until next Monday? And group H doesn't play any games until Tuesday? Is it always this drawn out?
   498. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 10:38 AM (#4723920)
Just submitted the appeal I had due this week! Now time to go get a shitton of beer and prepare for four straight days of WORLD CUP!

GET HYPED!
   499. DA Baracus Posted: June 12, 2014 at 10:48 AM (#4723923)
Jesus, the first US game isn't until next Monday? And group H doesn't play any games until Tuesday? Is it always this drawn out?


Another way the home team gets an advantage--they have the longest amount of time between matches, assuming they make it out of the group stage.
   500. ursus arctos Posted: June 12, 2014 at 11:03 AM (#4723930)
Fabregas to Chelsea now official
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