07 July 2014

World Cupdate

I thought of that witty title all by myself.  :)

How fantastic have most of these games been!?!  So many goals in the group stage games, smashing all sorts of records.  And also setting record marks for come from behind victories and late game (even stoppage time) goals.  When Netherlands brought on a subsitute goalkeeper in the final minute of extra time to set the stage for penalty shootout drama, I thought I'd seen it all. 
Great stuff.  I was sad to see Columbia and Costa Rica go home, but definitely tip my hat to them both.  Same with Algeria and Mexico. 
But, here we are.  Four teams.  And four that many people probably picked from the beginning. Brazil (now without Neymar and Thiago Silva), Argentina (now without DiMaria), Germany and Netherlands.  Two South American teams and two Europeans.
In our friends & family pool, lots of people in the top half with three of the four semifinalists picked correctly. And many with their champion pick still alive.  Well done!

I came across this bit of statistical analysis this morning on ESPNFC.com and was shocked by how far off I would've been if I had tried to guess "How many minutes (out of the full 90+ minute match) is the ball in play?" and I had to share it here...
"It can take them 30 seconds to take a throw-in and the referee does nothing about it." Marc Wilmots' grapes were, in truth, a little sour after Argentina beat his Belgium side in a more comfortable fashion than the 1-0 scoreline suggested, but he had a point here. The ball was in play for 53 of the 97 minutes in Brasilia, a figure that was not too far short of the tournament average.
It's far from the most damning statistic of its kind: of 96 minutes' engagement between Brazil and Colombia, the ball was active for a hardly believable 39; when the Colombians met Uruguay in the second round, the figure was 49 minutes from 94; when Brazil and Chile faced each other for 128 minutes in Belo Horizonte, they only used the ball for 70 of them. Confronted with figures like these, it is hard to escape the conclusion that the nigglier, rotationally fouling sides are seeing the odds stacked in their favour.
There is a mitigating factor to partly explain the mean of 56.8 minutes: it's hot out there, and it is consequently difficult to demand that matches move at 100 miles an hour. But when nearly, and sometimes over, half a game's allotted time is spent standing around and doing nothing, something feels wrong. There is a cultural factor at play to some extent, with the pace of the play in Latin American football tending to differ from that in Europe, but stronger refereeing would surely have given sides such as Belgium and Colombia a better chance of getting back into their games -- and provided the spectacles we'd hoped for."


  1. lost my post... like my picks .. ha ha.. I think I have to hope that Brazil gets beat by Netherlands who wins it all :)

  2. lost my post 1st time too... weird.

    I would have guessed ~70 or 75 min, never 39

  3. I checked the group stages to see if the "Group of Death" was really that tough. I figured the group with lowest standard deviation among points scored should mean most evenly matched opponents. (I bounced this idea off middleson who either agreed or didn't have the time/heart to disabuse me of this notion)

    Group/St Dev of points scored

    G 2.45
    D 2.75
    E 3.10
    A 3.40
    C 3.40
    F 3.40
    H 3.56
    B 3.87

  4. I looked at the overall leader on ESPN today....the guy had a nearly perfect bracket. 2 wrong picks at the group stage. WOW.