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BBC Assessment of World Cup Groups
May 27, 2014 6:34 AM   Subscribe

The BBC assesses the World Cup Groups: Group A/ Group B/Group C/Group D/Group E/Group F/Group G/Group H.

In other World Cup news:

Bad news for England and Italy as Food confiscated from their WC hotels

Brazil's World Cup training starts amid protests

In other sports news: How To Spectacularly Fail At A Tennis Press Conference
posted by marienbad (76 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
My two cents: The United Stats will need several consecutive strokes of good luck, then a few miracles, to escape Group G-for-Germany. They need to not only beat Ghana, but they will need to score several goals more than necessary so their goal differential at the end might be enough for them to squeak by.

Then they will need a draw or win over Portugal, who will be playing a virtual home game. Very unlikely.

If they fail there, they will need to beat Germany, who will have had an extra day's rest going into that match. Remember, Germany is #2 in the world.

Good freaking luck, Eagles. =/
posted by andreaazure at 6:44 AM on May 27


I could see Spain winning this.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 6:49 AM on May 27 [1 favorite]


"The BBC asses the World Cup Groups"

Yup.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:50 AM on May 27 [4 favorites]


I was gonna link to comedian Andy Zaltzman's neutral's guide to picking a World Cup team but it's spread across 8 different pages and the host, The Independant, will only let you read 5 free pages a month so screw them, they get no traffic.
posted by BeerFilter at 6:56 AM on May 27 [1 favorite]


This is very cool, thanks for posting!

If y'all need a look-up table for which countries are in which groups (I do), it's on FIFA.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:00 AM on May 27


World Cup 2014: never mind team work, what about team rows?
posted by josher71 at 7:03 AM on May 27 [1 favorite]


Aw, man, I hate having to root against Ghana, they have the best team nickname!

But yeah, it seems like the US is screwed with this draw. Getting out of the group will be like winning the cup at this rate...
posted by Diablevert at 7:16 AM on May 27


Yes, that's quite a typo. You might want to fix that...
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 7:17 AM on May 27


I'm a big fan of the Black Stars, The Idomontiable Lions, and the Reggae Boyz as national team names.
posted by josher71 at 7:32 AM on May 27


If they really want soccer to take off in the USA, they need to put us in a grouping with suckier teams. I don't see the Eagles advancing at all.

GO BRAZIL!!!!
posted by Renoroc at 7:41 AM on May 27


If they really want soccer to take off in the USA, they need to put us in a grouping with suckier teams. I don't see the Eagles advancing at all.

Not to be confused with the Nigerian Super Eagles.
posted by josher71 at 7:43 AM on May 27 [1 favorite]


[Post spelling reassessed, carry on.]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:46 AM on May 27 [6 favorites]


Thank You, Gnfti.
posted by marienbad at 7:54 AM on May 27


In the last three world cups I have been living in Mexico, Canada, and the USA, respectively. I cheered for Mexico in '06 and the USA in '14. Canada might as well not have a soccer team, so I cheered for South Korea in '10, since I was living in Koreatown Toronto at the time. They did me well by making the quarterfinals as hosts and the neighbourhood was a nonstop celebration the whole time.

This year, I'm back in Toronto and am moving into a heavily Portuguese neighbourhood just as the tournament begins. As much as I'm not a big Ronaldo fan, I really think this could be Portugal's year, and I'll be backing them.
posted by 256 at 7:59 AM on May 27


The Brazil side is supposed to be in disarray or something but I still think on their home turf they have to be considered the favorites. Although my Brazilian friends are trying to convince me that it's actually not an advantage because the national pressure on the team is too high. They are terrified that Argentina will sneak in and steal "their" cup.

Personally, I think Germany has the deepest team with the fewest weaknesses. Spain is probably the most talented and have played together so well for so long, but they're also older and I'm not sure who will be their finisher.

The U.S. team has one of the best Goalkeepers still (I think), so you never know what could happen if their group of death has at least one team that's not them implode. But most US fans aren't and shouldn't expect anything this year, even if it does seem to be one of our better teams in awhile.
posted by cell divide at 8:11 AM on May 27


I protest against France and Italy having basically the same nickname for their national teams. Two such capable and creative countries should be able to do much better. See also Ecuador and Mexico.

Since when is the U.S. Men's team the Eagles? I'm used to just seeing them referred to as USMNT. If they are going to be eagles, shouldn't the U.S. try to top Nigeria by making them the Super Duper Eagles, Supreme Eagles, or the like? (Personally, I think the U.S. should be called the Pronghorns. The species is native to the U.S., looks cool, and is known for its ability to run at a very fast pace for a sustained period. Only Cheetahs are faster and they can't run for as long. The U.S. team is typically in great physical condition which sometimes compensates up for its relative lack of skill.)
posted by Area Man at 8:22 AM on May 27 [3 favorites]


The US Team is known as the Yanks, as far as I know.
posted by josher71 at 8:29 AM on May 27


Yep, this is also the first time I've heard them called the Eagles. I think the Yanks is far more common a nickname.
posted by maximum sensing at 8:31 AM on May 27


This is a useful guide. For something with a bit more "whimsy", I've been enjoying the Men in Blazers World Cup Preview.
posted by dyobmit at 8:44 AM on May 27 [5 favorites]


Oops, somehow I got all those years mixed up. It's strange how hard it can be to keep the order of my memories straight.

And to justify my drifting allegiances: As I said, Canada is a non-starter, so the traditional thing in this country of 95% immigrants is to root for the old country. But my family is Irish, so I have to adopt a World Cup team. You can believe that if Canada or Ireland ever qualify for another World Cup, I'll be the first aboard that gasoline soaked bandwagon to hell.

The fun thing about picking up teams as you move around is that you end up with a collection. I'll be backing Portugal this year, but after supporting USA in '10, I'll be cheering on both sides when they meet in June.

Actually, my wife is German and our daughter was born in the States, so I just realized I'll be living with an American and a German in a Portuguese neighbourhood. SO.... I guess, go anyone but Ghana in Group G!

Except, Ghana is awesome, so go Ghana!

posted by 256 at 8:49 AM on May 27 [1 favorite]


Four years should not a poet's fire quench,
Nor satiate the hunger for sweet rhyme:
And any author crippled thus by time
Should quit the contest for the restful bench.

But I, dear Metafilter, take the field,
Against you all, your honour to defeat,
In World-Cup sonnetry - a sport most sweet -
And to my call to play you must now yield!

On 14 June, I'll bet that England win -
So bet against, O you that would dissent:
A sonnet to the victor's nation shall be sent
In satisfaction of the loser's awful sin!

(If futher betting details you would know,
Please see this thread from four long years ago).
posted by the quidnunc kid at 8:50 AM on May 27 [3 favorites]


Yeah, looks like the US is hosed. If they had ended in Group H they would likely have come out on top but G is just going to stomp on them.
posted by edgeways at 8:53 AM on May 27 [1 favorite]


You think the United States has it tough? Australia is in the same group as Spain, the Netherlands and Chile - the Group of Death if ever there was one. We will be lucky to score a goal, let alone a point.

Socceroos the worst team in the World Cup
The bookmakers regard Australia’s World Cup possibilities as something worse than a snowball’s survival chances in hell. ...

While Sportsbet have priced up [Socceroos coach] Postecoglou’s squad at 500-1, they have four teams at even longer odds: Iran (1500-1) Algeria (2000-1), Costa Rica (2000-1) and Honduras (3,000-1).

Given what we have seen in the three matches Australia has played under their new coach (a 1-0 win in Sydney against an under-strength Costa Rica, a bizarre 4-3 defeat to Ecuador in London and the laboured draw with the South Africans) it is fair to ask, whether Australia is in the fact the worst team in the tournament. ...

[Article goes on to discuss how Iran, Algeria, Costa Rica and Honduras are all better credentialled than the Socceroos ...]
posted by bright cold day at 9:26 AM on May 27 [2 favorites]


Costa Rica is not a bad team in the least. Socceroos will struggle as usual, but it's hard not to root for them. I mean, they are named the Socceroos.
posted by josher71 at 9:32 AM on May 27 [3 favorites]


I'm used to just seeing them referred to as USMNT.

I wondered what that stood for in the other world cup thread, I had thought someone was hoping that Mutant Ninja Turtles would turn up.
posted by biffa at 10:08 AM on May 27 [1 favorite]


Since when is the U.S. Men's team the Eagles?

I know you won't let me down - cause I'm already standing on the ground.
posted by Segundus at 10:13 AM on May 27


The Guardian's animated histories are back for the World Cup! Starting with Brazil and then England (which does a good job of capturing the arrogance and futility of England).

The Socceroos are Soccerscrewed. (Terrible pun, my apologies.)

And I'm really going to try to make a go of supporting the USMNT this time around since Donovan's gone and I'm a woman of my principles, but they aren't making it easy. At least with England everybody knows they're not actually going to win. With the US, it seems like there's always insane hope. I don't get it.
posted by kendrak at 10:16 AM on May 27 [2 favorites]


Wikipedia lists three nicknames for the US national team, none of which are the Eagles. (The Stars and Stripes, the Yanks, and Team USA.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:22 AM on May 27


Is someone actually hoping the U.S. will win the World Cup? Wow. That's just delusional. I can't think a of scenario where that happens that doesn't involve the spontaneous death, injury, or illness of many of the world's best players.
posted by Area Man at 10:41 AM on May 27 [3 favorites]


Is someone actually hoping the U.S. will win the World Cup? Wow. That's just delusional. I can't think a of scenario where that happens that doesn't involve the spontaneous death, injury, or illness of many of the world's best players.


*evil laughter*
posted by josher71 at 10:42 AM on May 27 [4 favorites]


I feel bad for ESPN. They spent all that money to broadcast the World Cup, and they got one Cup where the USMNT did well. I'm worried that getting eliminated in group play might torpedo the nascent interest of their audience. I guess they hope no one will notice because, unlike last time, they don't seem to be going with the saturation hype.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:48 AM on May 27


Wikipedia lists three nicknames for the US national team, none of which are the Eagles. (The Stars and Stripes, the Yanks, and Team USA.)

All too often somebody (usually a well intentioned journalist) uses an odd sounding nickname for a team, such as the Eagles for the USMNT, and Wikipedia is cited as a source. This Wikipedia page doesn't have Eagles, which only goes to show that it's not totally reliable and even if some people do call them the Eagles, it's not really as prevalent as the Yanks. (If somebody called them the Eagles, first I would make a Crystal Palace joke, then I would probably assume the person either just read a rah rah USA piece from ESPN or Wikipedia.)
posted by kendrak at 10:49 AM on May 27


I'm just hoping that the inevitable failure to advance out of group play won't lead to a Landon Donovan was left off the team backlash. The US would be no more likely to advance from that group if he were playing. This view may have something to do with the level of 'whinging twitness' I assign to Mr. Donovan's character.

As much as I hate the Disney-fication of sporting franchises (Ducks/Angels) I could totally get behind calling the US Men's National Team the Ninja Turtles.
posted by Fezboy! at 11:00 AM on May 27


I'm worried that getting eliminated in group play might torpedo the nascent interest of their audience.

I sincerely doubt it. Interest in the World Cup in the United States isn't overly tied to the USMNT, and even a rosy projection in any given cup sees them into the second round before being knocked out.

Interest in the game in general keeps growing, and the interest is in top quality soccer-- the Champions League quarter and semifinals does hugely higher ratings than MLS playoffs.
posted by cell divide at 11:09 AM on May 27


> I'm worried that getting eliminated in group play might torpedo the nascent interest of their audience.

I'm hoping that it might make them desperate enough to tell us stuff about the other teams. Of course, spending time and energy whipping people into a froth over trying to place blame for failure is, if our politics are any indication, the more likely route.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:09 AM on May 27 [3 favorites]


Wikipedia lists three nicknames for the US national team, none of which are the Eagles. (The Stars and Stripes, the Yanks, and Team USA.)

Yeah, I'm not sure where a lot of the nicknames on that Wikipedia page are coming from. I have (thankfully) never once heard the Scotland team referred to as "The Tartan Terriers".
posted by neilb449 at 11:17 AM on May 27 [1 favorite]


I'm hoping that it might make them desperate enough to tell us stuff about the other teams.

Ha like that will happen.

I watch the World Cup on Univision despite having a Sesame Street level understanding of spoken Spanish because the ESPN announcers are so terrible.

I am rooting for Ghana because I'm still bitter about Uruguay's hand ball shenanigans last time.
posted by winna at 11:22 AM on May 27 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I'm not sure where a lot of the nicknames on that Wikipedia page are coming from

From what I can tell, sportswriters. Often English.

I'm convinced that the Eagles thing is because of our Rugby team and "hey, close enough."
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:33 AM on May 27


Germany -> Stark (Proclaimed Kings of the North a bit too early)
Spain -> Lannister (Has three children: two darlings in Real and Barca but the lil third, Athletico, is showing them all up)
Brazil -> Targaryen (Kings in exile)
England -> Greyjoy (Island nation with a bleak outlook)
Argentina -> Tyrell (Wealth of talent, biding its time)
Portugal -> Martell (Favored son is prolly gonna get whacked)
Italy -> Arryn

USA -> Night's Watch (mostly Stark castoffs)
Ghana -> White Walkers
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:38 AM on May 27 [2 favorites]


As an American, I'm forced to have a backup country during the World Cup. I like my World Cup soccer like I like my Metafilter background: Gli Azzurri all the way.

As for the USA nickname, we already have a football team called the Eagles in Philadelphia and this will be too confusing for the unwashed masses. The USMNT is NOT the Eagles.
posted by GrapeApiary at 11:40 AM on May 27


Ian Darke is not terrible. He is a world treasure.

That being said, everyone hates on Donovan and JK has made his decision and its going to,very likely, be his undoing.
posted by josher71 at 11:40 AM on May 27


The US Team is known as the Yanks, as far as I know.

When at best they could only really maybe with some luck be known as the Tugs.
posted by srboisvert at 11:55 AM on May 27


I'm forced to have a backup country during the World Cup.

Bitter experience tells me not to pick a back up until the group stage so you can see the cut of some gibs before you decide, then you can pick based on performance and other intangibles like 'not dirty hacking bastards'.
posted by biffa at 12:07 PM on May 27 [1 favorite]


I like to pick my backup team in advance and take my chances. I feel that picking any of the heavy favorites would be too emotionally easy, so how about the Netherlands? I like the color orange and several of my cousins are fans of the team (or at least they spouted off about it on Facebook during the last World Cup.)
posted by Area Man at 12:28 PM on May 27


Everybody knows the USMNT is the Von Trapps.

Their best chance is for Germany to roll in their first 2 games, and play backups in a meaningless matchup vs USAia.

what, you want it to make sense?
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:34 PM on May 27


I'm worried that getting eliminated in group play might torpedo the nascent interest of their audience.

Literally no one I know who is into soccer and/or who cares about the World Cup cares much about how the US team does, and they barely care about the MLS. My friends and family in California will go to LA Galaxy games, and sort of support them in a lukewarm way, but they all have rabid attachments to various other teams, none of which are American. I don't think soccer fans in America have the same loyalty to home teams that other sports do. Admittedly, most of the soccer fans I know are immigrants, so they either stick with their original hometown team, or they're just more familiar with Latin American or European soccer leagues.

So, uh, sorry if it makes me a traitor, but I'm rooting for Germany.
posted by yasaman at 12:53 PM on May 27


So, uh, sorry if it makes me a traitor, but I'm rooting for Germany.

It doesn't make you NOT a traitor, I'll put it that way.

I'm not sure who you are hanging out with in the USA likes soccer that doesn't care about hwo the USMNT does. That's really odd in my experience. I hardly follow MLS but that has zero to with supporting my country.
posted by josher71 at 12:58 PM on May 27


I pay taxes to support my country. I don't consider being from the US obligates me to support their soccer team.
posted by winna at 1:11 PM on May 27 [2 favorites]


Area man, I was thinking of the Netherlands when I wrote that, looked good before 2010, turned out to be thugs who hacked their way to the final.
posted by biffa at 1:11 PM on May 27


If somebody called them the Eagles, first I would make a Crystal Palace joke

You seem to have missplleded "Go Ahead Eagles".
posted by asterix at 1:21 PM on May 27


I pay taxes to support my country. I don't consider being from the US obligates me to support their soccer team.

Of course you aren't obligated. You are just really unUSAsian.

I kid! Sports fandom is inherently irrational. Do what you want.
posted by josher71 at 1:22 PM on May 27 [2 favorites]


So how does this backup team work then? Are you supposed to pick an underdog or just anyone? I mean, my team is England, I root for Argentina a bit because they generally play good football (and because Mario Kempes I still Love you!), so now I need an underdog to root for? Gotta be Iran then.

To be fair, when watching the WC, unless the result is relevant, I generally root for the underdog a bit anyway, as do most people.
posted by marienbad at 1:49 PM on May 27


Who Americans support in the WC (or not) fascinates me.

I support England and have done since I decided to follow the sport in 1991. It made sense since I was reading British papers in the library after deciding to support Sheffield Wednesday. (I was a weird kid.)

I really didn't notice the USMNT until 1994. While I thought Alexi Lalalas looked cool and respected John Harkes, I just couldn't jump on that train. In the subsequent years, I noticed there was the growing divide of people who supported the USMNT and people who liked soccer enough to care, weren't transplants, but didn't. I picked up Germany as a second team in high school because I was studying German and it seemed like a good idea.

But now that I play soccer (well, as long as I'm not injured), and I'm in contact with people with various levels of passion and enthusiasm, I see how capricious this whole racket is. And I know that to some, I probably sound nuts that I'm ready to give the US a shot since Donovan's retired, but hey - that's just my principles. I have disliked him since 2000, and I couldn't just turn that off for Merica. Especially since that's sort of the story of the USMNT. It's not quite the same with hating John Terry because I know a good chunk of England fans also hated him, and could openly mock him. I never felt like the US embraced Landycakes quite the same way.
posted by kendrak at 2:13 PM on May 27


I enjoy the heck out of the World Cup, something I never thought I would say about soccer in any way. And my national team sucks, so that makes it easier - I can just enjoy the play and the drama of the WC without any emotional investment.

That being said, my youngest son is playing community soccer (under-6) this spring, and as a result, I have seen several things that I think would be enhancements to the game:

-toddlers should be positioned at random intervals along the sidelines, to wander onto the pitch unpredictably during game play;
-if possible, the field should slope slightly (in any direction);
-have a cluster of trees somewhere near the pitch, as it makes for great fun when the ball goes into the trees and everyone has to search for it. Also, leave it unclear whether or not the trees are in or out of bounds (to a U6 team, everything is in bounds, but it might be harder to convince adults), as nothing beats a gaggle of soccer players running into the trees intent on continuing the play. Bonus points if the slope of the field from above is into the trees;
-players not on the pitch should be encouraged to engage in games of tag, hide and seek, and other silly randomness along the sidelines.

I think these changes would make the World Cup even more spectacular.
posted by nubs at 2:17 PM on May 27 [4 favorites]


If they are going to be eagles, shouldn't the U.S. try to top Nigeria by making them the Super Duper Eagles, Supreme Eagles, or the like?


Well- I'm pretty sure they can't do the second one, as the Supreme Eagles were an R&B group out of Dearborn, Michigan, who had a minor hit in 1963 called "Ain't It Magnificent" (B-side: "Do the Griddle Cake").
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:24 PM on May 27 [2 favorites]


What could be more American than an act of cultural expropriation that takes from people of color? Go Supreme Eagles!
posted by Area Man at 7:20 PM on May 27


I'm USian, so I will root for USA as long as we can stay in, but my loyalties will shift to Germany after we're out of the tournament, mainly because I'm an Arsenal fan and I really enjoy yelling MURDERSACKER very loudly at my TeeVee.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:53 PM on May 27 [2 favorites]


I want to cheer for the US, but that godawful USA-USA! chant bugs the shit out of me. It makes me think of Hacksaw Jim Dugan and his jingoistic battles against the villainous "not-from-here" wrestlers, cheered on by rabid nationalism.*

That's what gets me. I don't care for soccer, but I love the World Cup largely because of the (largely good-natured) displays of national pride. But once the USA chant starts up, it just kills it for me.

I humbly suggest we adopt the Team America:World Police theme. Imagine it, a low, rumbling "AAaAaaaAHHHMMMMMEEeEehhhuurrrrrRRReeeeeeeeEEEEEEKKkKaaaaaaah!" followed by a resounding "FUCK YEAH!!" It would have the absurdity of it to make it impossible to take seriously, but it would sound cool as hell.

*Disclaimer: I loved Hacksaw as a kid, back when I believed that Hacksaw beating Nikolai Volkoff was a matter of national pride and/or security. The USA chant reminds me of how gullible I was, and how ugly that whole era was.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:11 PM on May 27


USA, then Mexico, then Argentina. Wevs, I'll have a team in the finals. As far supporters of soccer in the US go, I must be a true outlier, in that anytime I can watch Liga MX futbol, especially when my team Cruz Azul is playing. Or MLS soccer, with my adopted team RSL. Or CONCACAF play. Don't believe me? Stop by in chat when a game is one and catch my goal-by-goal commentary. Usually in atrocious Spanish.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 12:34 AM on May 28 [4 favorites]


Of course you aren't obligated. You are just really unUSAsian.

I know I eat quiche too it is a great shame to my parents. Alack!

If we had a neat chant and I weren't still shuddering over the memory of a match we had against the Czech Republic I would wave a flag with all the fervor of a mattress store on Labor Day!

As it is, GO BLACK STARS!
posted by winna at 3:48 AM on May 28


I'm USian, so I will root for USA as long as we can stay in, but my loyalties will shift to Germany after we're out of the tournament, mainly because I'm an Arsenal fan and I really enjoy yelling MURDERSACKER very loudly at my TeeVee.

Pshaw. Should have been Robert Huth back there. (Arsenal-ist)
posted by josher71 at 9:32 AM on May 28


I actually quite like the "USA USA USA" chant but I see how it can be grating for others for all sorts of reasons.

Might I suggest this one instead?
posted by josher71 at 11:45 AM on May 28 [1 favorite]


As a Southern Californian, Mexico is always my backup team since it means I get to root along with my friends and more than half of my city. They may be bitter rivals when they play each other, but all of us close to Mexico have to admire the passion of the fans and support our fellow North Americans.
posted by cell divide at 12:26 PM on May 28 [1 favorite]


USAn here.

Rooting for Uruguay.

Diego Forlan stole my heart last WC, and still hasn't given it back. It's OK, Blondie. You can keep it for a little while longer.

Hence, Uruguay is Awesomeguay.
posted by spinifex23 at 7:45 PM on May 28


Well obviously Diego is wonderful, but supporting Uruguay means you are supporting the despicable Suarez. If there is justice in this world, Uruguay will meet Ghana sometime in this cup, and the Black Stars will destroy them (which point has been made already I see, on preview).

Not having a team in this cup I will be idly supporting Mexico (knocked my team out) and Bosnia and Hercegovina (small country, massive underdogs).
posted by Pink Frost at 9:06 PM on May 28 [3 favorites]


I totally want to see a Uruguay/Ghana meetup again, and see what happens if someone from Ghana blocks the ball with their hand.

But at least it was caught by the refs, and Suarez was sent off with a red card. Unlike the famous 'Hand of God' from Diego Maradona.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:00 PM on May 28 [1 favorite]


My coworkers and I also closely followed North Korea in the last WC, despite That Guy constantly berating us for supporting an evil Communist regime. We didn't 'support' them as much as reveling in the fact that we were watching a country play in the WC that we may never see again. But then, I found out what happened after they were eliminated, and I felt truly sorry for them.

He also got upset that soccer matches are called 'matches', and that matches can end in a tie left him particularly incensed.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:06 PM on May 28


I adore football, and am a huge Arsenal supporter, but have never been able to get into national teams. For one thing, I am not a patriotic guy, and find patriotism and nationalism a bit scary. I don't care much for the Olympics for the same reasons. Plus, I just think football is better at club level because the players spend so much more time together than when they are called up to the national team.

So when it comes to the World Cup, I watch as a neutral. I like to see good, clean football played. I often support underdogs.

That said, I will be keeping an eye on the USMNT because I am a supporter of Jurgen Klinsmann. He knows what he is doing despite what the American sport journalists — who I bet draw straws and whomever gets the short straw is forced to cover soccer — write. Landon Donovan is a good player, but his heart isn't in it lately, and he took time off from national duty. I don't care how many caps or goals he has, if there is a chance he isn't completely tuned in, he shouldn't be in the 23.

This year I will be behind the mic at my local, community radio station each Monday night to talk about the tournament. So my challenge is to learn as much as I can in the next few weeks about players outside of the Barclays Premiere League — and teams/players in The Champions League. Luckily it is only an hour-long show each week :) The BBC guide in this FPP will be bookmarked as a resource.

Come on you neutrals!
posted by terrapin at 5:55 AM on May 29


But at least it was caught by the refs, and Suarez was sent off with a red card. Unlike the famous 'Hand of God' from Diego Maradona.

Yeah, it was caught after some dithering, but I consider that it cost the Black Stars the game because they were so gobsmacked.

If they trounced Uruguay this time around it would be a beautiful adventure.
posted by winna at 5:58 AM on May 29 [1 favorite]


Despite his biting, cheating, and racist ways, I find myself a fan of Suarez. I wish I could tell you why.
posted by josher71 at 7:16 AM on May 29 [1 favorite]


Despite me liking Uruguay, I would not be upset if they get trounced by Ghana. Turnabout is fair play, etc.

Now, Uruguay vs USA, OTOH....I follow the USA team, and I get RAH RAH about them during the WC, but I don't really care about the details behind the scenes.
posted by spinifex23 at 7:29 AM on May 29


Love Forlan, kinda hate Suarez. Actually I love to see him make that "why doesn't everything go my way?" face when he's fouled/scuffs it/feels aggrieved. It's predictable and sort of endearing.

I went to the USMNT v. Azerbaijan match this week. Woeful. I did get to yell, "Donovan would have scored!" a few times at Altidore and Wondo. That was fun. Not much else to report.
posted by kendrak at 7:40 AM on May 29 [3 favorites]


Hey, Azerbaijan murdered Malta! They are no pushovers!
posted by josher71 at 8:35 AM on May 29


I saw the USA vs Turkey friendly online, it was an ok game, better to watch then England vs Peru (especially the first 50 minutes - hence the paper planes). US defence looked a bit shaky, especially in the first half. Did ok with crosses and corners though. Midfield was ok but Altidore was dire. Turkey pinged the ball about nicely and moved up into attack quickly, outflanking the US several times. It is hard to read much into friendlies, but Turkey played well, and looked most likely to score for a while, so they gave the US a good game, at a decent tempo, and looked at like that, the US are going to struggle at the WC.

Funnily one of the best players for the US was the old coaches lad, Bradley, who worked hard and was involved and trying to make things happen.
posted by marienbad at 1:39 PM on June 2 [1 favorite]


Michael Cox has started posting his team previews for Zonal Marking, which I enjoy for a window into some of the tactical stuff I don't really fully understand and also because he's one of the relatively few pundits who will talk about players on the more obscure teams beyond whoever scored the most goals in qualifying.
posted by Copronymus at 1:28 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Wow, I'm thrilled with what's going on right now in the Netherlands v. Spain match right now. What an ass-kicking!
posted by Area Man at 1:42 PM on June 13 [2 favorites]


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