World Cup 2014 Groups and My Opinions

Okay, I know it has been a while, but I have had a major event take place in my life: Mércia and I have moved to the state of Espírito Santo, Brazil for at least most of each year. The undertaking was vast and exhausting, to put it mildly: selling my apartment in Jackson Heights, NY, obtaining my permanent resident’s visa for Brazil, arranging all the documents for moving our household goods to Brazil via a 40 foot container, then packing all the goods and moving them. When we weren’t working, we were packing every night and on the weekends. Everything arrived largely intact with the exception of a couple of old bookcases that I can live without. At last I have a claim to fame: I will now have lived in three different countries on three different continents when the World Cup was taking place in that country (Germany in 1974 and the US in 1994 are the other two). I still have a number of issues to address, including finishing our house

But enough about me. I will at minimum try to post an open thread for each game, but have a somewhat dicey connection and will probably be unable to post much in the way of analysis. I will say this: while everyone will be pulling for the seleção (i.e., national team), I am told by my brother-in-law that the mood is markedly downbeat from what it was in 2010: no huge banners decorating our neighborhood as there was then, a public extremely fed up with the public outlay for this event, etc. Be that as it may, everyone who cares will certainly be pulling for the seleção – my bank had a sign on it this morning that said in English and Portuguese that this branch will only be open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on days when the seleção is playing.

So, some educated guesses on the group stage:

Group A: Brazil will win the group handily and Croatia will finish second.Mexico has stumbled and gasped their way into the WC and I don’t believe that they will go very far. Cameroon has to be more than Samuel Etoo and Alex Song to move ahead. Unfortunately, they’re not.

Group B: Spain will win the group with Chile also qualifying for the round of 16. It’s difficult to predict against the Dutch, but they’ve had some significant injuries, they’re not the team that made it to the last WC Championship and they have a coach who is probably busy thinking as to his next assignment at Manchester United.

Group C: Colombia and Cote D’Ivoire go through, although I won’t predict in which order. Even without Radamel Falcao, Colombia has enough talent to make it, especially in a group that I think is weak. For Cote D’Ivoire, I believe that they are balanced well defensively and attacking-wise. I love Yaya Toure and believe Serge Aurier is a gifted defender.

Group D: I believe that Uruguay will win the group and Italy will just pip England for second place, although I believe that the first game in the group between England and Italy in Manaus will determine one of the places.

Group E: Switzerland and France go through, with France winning the group. Didier Deschamps is not Raymond Domenech.

Group F: Argentina wins the group and Bosnia finishes second. Nigeria has failed to impress recently and Iran just doesn’t have the depth to beat the other teams.

Group G: Okay, here’s where I go out on a limb: Germany wins the group, that’s practically a given, but the US will pip Portugal for second place. I admire Cristiano Ronaldo’s enormous talent and dedication, but the rest of the team doesn’t impress me quite as much, and frankly some of them have more than a few miles on them (Hugo Almeida, Helder Postiga, Bruno Alves). Also, their first game is against Germany. If Germany wins and if Cristiano Ronaldo (who is already not 100%) is sufficiently physically drained from that experience, then he will have a tough time against the US in Manaus. As for Ghana, no question that they have talent, but their defense leaves a lot to be desired. If the US doesn’t lose to Ghana in their opening game in Natal, then they will be in a good position.

Group H: Belgium wins the group handily with Russia taking second place.

Three more days!

102 replies
  1. 1
    JGabriel says:

    Randinho @ Top:

    Okay, I know it has been a while, but I have had a major event take place in my life: Mércia and I have moved to the state of Espírito Santo, Brazil for at least most of each year. The undertaking was vast and exhausting, to put it mildly: selling my apartment in Jackson Heights, NY, obtaining my permanent resident’s visa for Brazil, arranging all the documents for moving our household goods to Brazil via a 40 foot container, then packing all the goods and moving them.

    Dude! That’s an awful lot of work just to move somewhere with a good soccer team.

  2. 2
    dedc79 says:

    Re Group G – for real or are you just telling us what you think we want to hear?

    I watched a good deal of the US team’s qualifiers and most of the friendlies since they’ve qualified and they still look incredibly uneven (both from game-to-game and within games). The defensive lapses the past few games, which seem in part to be the logical result of these guys not having played together very often, are particularly worrisome. Throw in the strength of germany and portugal and the bad history with Ghana and it’s hard for me to be too optimistic. I hope to be pleasantly surprised.

  3. 3
    Origuy says:

    I’ve heard a saying, claimed to be Russian: “A move is a third of a fire”. Meaning that you lose as much stuff in three moves as you would in a fire. Sounds like you got off really lucky.

  4. 4
    Raven says:

    Thanks mon!

  5. 5
    Randinho says:

    @JGabriel: Any port in a storm!

  6. 6
    Randinho says:

    @Origuy: The amount of stuff we had to do paperwise was mind-boggling. I would never do a move like this again.

  7. 7
    cmorenc says:

    The US has the strongest attacking side they’ve ever had, at moments even lethally good, even with Landon Donovan being left off the team. The US defense is better than it was in 2010, but they are still sometimes vulnerable to quick counterattacks, and could potentially lose a game they should tie or win in similar fashion to how they gave up two crucial goals to Ghana in 2010.

    As to Mexico, I watched the first half of their final friendly vs Bosnia-H. on t.v. and was shocked at how dominant Bosnia was in dominating possession and scoring chances.

    My prediction for the US: 2014 will look a lot like 2006 in that the US will reach the quarterfinals, put on a strongly competitive game against a powerful opponent (whomever that turns out to be) but end up losing by one goal, missing a couple of strong chances in the final 15 minutes to tie it up and set it to OTs. Or perhaps lose in OTs by that fashion.

    As to host Brazil…my, oh my would I hate to be on the referee team if they lose a close elimination-round game by one goal, especially if that one goal comes by way of a penalty or a red-card forcing Brazil to play down to 10. The ref team might need the entire Brazilian Army and Navy as well to be escorted safely out of the stadium (and out of the country).

  8. 8
    Morzer says:

    Group A – yes, Brazil are a shoe-in, but I suspect Mexico will just about find enough to take second place. For Group B I like Spain and Chile – largely because the Dutch are more of a myth than a reality these days. Group C could be a fun one to watch, although Greece will probably be a fairly dour team. I suspect that Colombia and Greece will win out, although Cote d’Ivoire are more talented player for player than the long-haired Achaeans. Group D is going to be Italy and England’s group, with England versus Uruguay as the key game. I think England will win that one 2-1. although it won’t be pretty. Group E will see Ecuador and France progress. Switzerland don’t have that much in the way of quality and the climate ought to favor Ecuador. Group G – I have to go with Germany to win the group, with Portugal second. The US doesn’t have the defense to beat either team. Group H will be Russia and Korea’s group -and I wouldn’t even be surprised to see Korea winning it.

    The world will now triumphantly prove me wrong about everything except my decision never to bet on sport.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    pseudonymous in nc says:


    Re Group G – for real or are you just telling us what you think we want to hear?

    It’s been the story that Americans have been telling themselves for the past couple of months, but it’s at least a credible argument. The US has established a habit in recent World Cups of slightly outplaying its ranking. Germany may have group victory wrapped up with six points by the time they play the US.

    I’ve got Portuguese-American friends who’ll be very very conflicted about this one.

    No World Cup predictions survive the first set of group matches unscathed, so I’ll hold off on making them. But there’ll be a couple of unlikely early exits, and I think Russia might be one of them, which may mean Putin annexes Sao Paulo.

  11. 11
    Morzer says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:

    I think you mean “liberates” Sao Donetsk when its ethnic Russian “majority” declares the city an autonomous “republic” .

  12. 12
    Amir Khalid says:

    Randinho!! You is back! We missed you!

    But with so many in-form Liverpool players in the England side, I have to hope you’re underestimating their chances, and that the English do more than scrape through into the knockout stages. I suspect Uruguay’s chances depend on whether “Hannibal” Suarez (blame burnspbesq for that nickname, not me) bites or not.

    In other Liverpool-related news, the quarter-century boycott of The Sun in and around Liverpool continues.

  13. 13
    Roger Moore says:


    Meaning that you lose as much stuff in three moves as you would in a fire.

    My experience is that you get rid of a lot of stuff during a move, but you don’t necessarily lose a lot. Even if you aren’t a hoarder, it’s really easy to accumulate junk. You save things because they might be useful sometime, and it’s easier to let them sit there than to figure out what needs to be gotten rid of. Unless you’re a compulsive neatnik, the only time you’ll ever go through and deliberately throw junk away is when you’re forced to, either by lack of space or by moving. Every time I’ve moved, I’ve wound up discarding a lot of stuff because it wasn’t worth the bother of moving it.

  14. 14
    Alex S. says:

    Welcome back, Randinho. I really wonder if the social conflicts will impact the tournament. Sometimes I think I should boycott it, but then I enjoy watching it too much… I’m weak.

  15. 15
    hoodie says:

    @dedc79: Admittedly, Nigeria played pretty badly in the last game, especially on defense, but their offense was more active. With that in mind, the US defense wasn’t bad until Beckerman and Beasley were pulled and the Nigeria front line was able to use their individual skills to make extended runs into the offensive end instead of getting waylaid closer to midfield. Looks like those guys could fall back to help defensively against an offensive minded team like Ghana and Bradley and Johnson would still be able to create up front. Dempsey had some great set ups but seemed about a step off, but that could change. Altidore looked pretty solid and seems to be pissed off enough to deliver a good performance in Brazil. This US team is one of the more talented ones I can remember, especially offensively. They won’t top the Germans but hopefully Portugal is a paper tiger like Randinho apparently thinks.

  16. 16
    dedc79 says:

    @pseudonymous in nc: I did catch a bit of Portugal’s final friendly, and they didn’t look as good as they have in prior tournaments. Usually you’d like to have one gimme match in the first round but the US won’t have any.

  17. 17
    Ash Can says:

    After googling Espirito Santo, that sounds like a fabulous move — maybe not the actual schlepping of stuff and navigation of paperwork etc., but what a lovely, fascinating area. Far more diverse than I would have thought, too.

  18. 18
    Randinho says:

    @Ash Can: It’s an amazing state, but suffers by the fact that it’s surrounded by Rio de Janeiro, Bahia and Minas Gerais. I never heard of Espírito Santo before I met Mércia.

  19. 19
    Paul in KY says:

    Congrats on your move. Best wishes on your new life!

  20. 20
    dedc79 says:

    @hoodie: People love to knock Altidore, but the fact is that despite his poor performance in the Premier league, the guy will be a major headache for whoever has to defend against him. His size and physicality allows him to basically post-up on offense and wait for and win possession when the ball comes his way. He can also be deceptively quick when he breaks to the net. Even if he doesn’t score he is going to pull defenders his way and should free up the other offensive threats.

    And agreed that the defense had its big lapse right at the end after subs. I was thinking more regarding the match with Turkey where the defense was on its heels for much of the match and had that big screw-up at the end.

  21. 21
    Randinho says:

    @Roger Moore: Me too, but because eelctronics are so expensive in Brazil, we bought a number of items as well.

  22. 22
    droog says:

    Chilean cheerleaders.

    I’m sure y’all don’t need translations to grok it.

  23. 23
    Randinho says:

    @pseudonymous in nc: IMHO he can have São Paulo, especially in exchange for St. Petersburg.

  24. 24
    Jose Arcadio Buendía says:

    @dedc79: There’s a few factors helping the US. First, as mentioned, Portugal faces Germany first. This helps not just to deplete Portugal, but potentially to put Germany into the lead. They play the US last, and it might be a meaningless game. If that’s the case, the US might get a point out of it, or at least have a better chance.

    But it all comes down to we. have. to. beat. Ghana. Getting through on 4 or 5 points might be possible.

    I doubt we’ll make it. It’s not as likely as the optimists say nor as unlikely as the haters think.

  25. 25
    hoodie says:

    @dedc79: I think Klinsmann had to be happy with that alignment and will definitely employ it against Ghana. Do you think Donovan being absent helps Bradley take control of the team, and that’s really why Klinsmann cut Donovan? Bradley really was strong throughout the Nigeria game and you wonder if it had something to do with no confusion as to whose team it is at midfield. Re Altidore, he could be a beast if he’s set up right, kind of like a low-post player in basketball needs a strong point guard. If Dempsey can get his timing with Bradley down, they could be a pretty dangerous offense.

  26. 26
    Onkel Fritze says:

    Just moved from Germany to Colombia last year myself, I feel you.
    People here in Colombia are….slightly over-optimistic (ie completely nuts) about their team. They are going to make the group-stage but not much more after that.
    I think you are seriously underestimating the Dutch. On a good day they can beat everybody and no team is going to win the Cup without good days.
    I believe that there are even chances for Ghana, the US and Portugal. The US needs to beat Ghana.

  27. 27
    virginia says:

    Oi, Randiho … Como Carioca te mando um beijo e um abraco. Viva o Campeonato e viva a Republica Brasileira. I get the politicization of the FIFA games in Brasil — and consider it always a good thing when the Brazucas go wild and are not sent to the cadeia — mas still … Amo o futebol do Pele e do grande Garincha. And the world is fucked up enough, Grande Otelo!

    Vamos, juventude brasileira. Carioca all my life from 55 on out. And lived in Rio from 65 to 72. Copacabana — Me Engana. Never thought during that time that I would live long enough to see my mother country come as far as it has. Love it and miss it in all its problems and glories todo santo minuto da minha vida.

  28. 28
    BGinCHI says:


    /rhymes with Gol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. 29
    BGinCHI says:

    I think the Swiss and Belgians are going to over-achieve, though the heat may mitigate that.

    Anyone else wondering whether the climate will be a huge factor in this tournament?

  30. 30
    Randinho says:

    @Onkel Fritze: Less a comment about the Dutch than more a positive comment about Chile.

  31. 31
    Morzer says:


    Swiss and Belgians

    You, Sir, are objectively a pro-chocolatierist, possibly with linked croissant-deviationism .

    I am not saying that’s a bad thing, mind you.

    I think the climate will punish the northern European teams to some extent.

  32. 32
    Randinho says:

    @virginia: Falou! Abraços!

  33. 33
    dedc79 says:

    @hoodie: I do think the Donovan move was definitely more motivated by who the coach wanted as the designated team leader. That said, if Donovan was still in top form, he’d have made the roster regardless.

  34. 34
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    So you’re saying that it’s going to be a tough couple of weeks for those of us that are fans of the Dutch? That would be a shame.

  35. 35
    Onkel Fritze says:

    @Randinho: Wasn’t really thinking about the group stage there. Chile has a good team but I’ll go out on a limb here and say that they are more likely to beat Spain then the Dutch. Which is not likely at all. They’ll finish third in the group.

  36. 36
    Morzer says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    Black will be the new Oranje.

  37. 37
    BGinCHI says:

    @Morzer: I’m pro-beer and cycling for sure. I was always in the bag for big chocolate.

  38. 38
    Morzer says:


    Milksop! A Real Man is always in two bags for big chocolate, if not three.

    Personally I regard cycling as golf on wheels when it comes to spoiling a good walk.

    On beer though your views are lucid and wise.

  39. 39
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    This is the one on which I differ with Randinho. I see the Dutch overcoming their injuries, playing their attacking style, beating Chile, cruising past Australia, losing a close one to Spain…And then crapping out in the first knockout game as they so often do, being frustrated and turning on each other. I’m still surprised that there was no Dutch meltdown in 2010.

  40. 40
    Yatsuno says:

    @Randinho: :: pounce ::


  41. 41
    BGinCHI says:

    @Morzer: I rode 150 fast miles this weekend. Not for the golfer or faint of heart.

  42. 42
    Morzer says:


    You have my sincere sympathies. All that time lost that could have been spent eating chocolate, drinking beer or drinking chocolate beer.

  43. 43
    Randinho says:

    @Onkel Fritze: Well, I believe that it will be close, but I still like Chile to go through.

  44. 44
    BGinCHI says:

    @Morzer: Oh, there was drinking. After.

  45. 45
    Randinho says:

    @BGinCHI: The climate will definitely be a factor for the gamed played in Fortaleza, Recife, Natal and perhaps Salvador, Cuiabá and especially Manaus. I’m six hours north of Rio and it’s comfortable here on the coast. Belo Horizonte is even cooler, especially at night. I’ve often worn a sweater there at night in June and July. São Paulo, Curitiba, and especially Porto Alegre even cooler.

  46. 46
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:


    Looking past the group stage: Does Spain have enough in the tank to pull this off?

    I made the mistake of going with my head rather than my heart for Euro ’12, picking Germany. I thought Spain had already lost it. Now I’m thinking they’ve only lost it in the back (Granny Puyol retiring, Pique looking a bit long in the tooth), and that may be enough to undo ’em.

  47. 47
    Anne Laurie says:


    Only the most dedicated soccer fans are happier to see you here than I am!

    That being said, have you seen SB Nation‘s flowchart rooting guide?

  48. 48
    Onkel Fritze says:

    @Randinho: They are going to meet each other in the last group game. Could be a good one.

  49. 49
    BGinCHI says:

    @Randinho: I have really good friends here in Chi from BH. Going over to their place Thursday for the opening match. I expect to eat a lot of cheese bread and other specialties, as well as getting good and drunk. OK, probably just a little drunk.

    They had a birthday party for their two year old a month ago or so: started at 5 and went til 3 AM. And these are very professional, solid citizens.

    The Brazilians just do some things at a whole different level.

    Are you in Bahia?

  50. 50
    guachi says:

    I would have predicted last place for us. But with Germany the final game of the round for the USA, we stand a reasonable chance of a tie if Germany has already squished Portugal and Ghana. Maybe 1-0-2 is enough to get through?

  51. 51
    Randinho says:

    @BGinCHI: I’m in Vitoria the capital of Espírito Santo at the moment, but will be living in a community nearby called Barra do Jucu when our house is finished.

    I love BH and Minas Gerais in general. BH has so many great bars and people there love to talk. It’s my wife’s home state. She makes the best pão de queijo (cheese bread).

  52. 52
    Randinho says:

    @Anne Laurie: Thanks! Love the flow chart.

  53. 53
    BGinCHI says:

    @Randinho: I love that damn cheese bread. And that soup stuff with the dried beef. And also Brazilian hot dogs.

    We were considering applying to do a Fulbright in BH, but looks like we are going to apply for Norway. Talk about contrasts….

  54. 54
    SRW1 says:

    Good to see you back, Randinho.

    True, it’s only three days until the tournament starts, but I still appear to have mislaid my enthusiasm for the beautiful game. Too much corruption and commercial shite in it and that godamn Blatter fellow apparently will announce five more years of it to the general acclaim of the convened FIFA nobles (well, maybe, Platini and some of his friends are going to sob in their hankies).

    German online papers today are full of speculation that Franz Beckenbauer may have been one of the guys on the take from Bin Hamman. The sad thing is that it wouldn’t even surprise me all that much should it turn out to be true. The Kaiser loves his comfortable lifestyle and he has a lot of alimony to pay.

    Your educated guesses look educated as usual, though I can’t believe you discounted Italy in group D. My guess is that unless Suarez is 100% it’s Uruguay that will probably go home after the group phase.

    Holland/Chile looks like it will be a close run thing. I wouldn’t dare place a bet and just hope it isn’t gonna be too gladiatorial.

    In Group H I would see the same teams qualify for the next round, though in reversed order.

  55. 55
    Morzer says:


    Septic Bladder has just announced that any suspicion of the Qatar 2022 fix is due to discrimination and racism.

    He modestly allows as how unity under his leadership is the best way to deal with the “attack” on Feefer.

  56. 56
    BGinCHI says:

    @Morzer: Every time I hear the name “Sepp Blatter” I think it must be German for a condition which renders one unable to hold one’s urine.

  57. 57
    BGinCHI says:

    @Morzer: Holy fuckity fuck I thought you were kidding!

    OMG. Peak Blatter.

  58. 58
    SRW1 says:


    Yeah, saw that. Apparently, this is what he also did last time. And from the reponse of the delegates of the African confederation it worked like a charm.

  59. 59
    Randinho says:

    @SRW1: Re: Italy. Look where they’re playing their first game: Manaus. They also drew with Luxembourg last week. Luxembourg.

  60. 60
    Morzer says:


    Those same delegates who were not a thousand miles from suspicion of corruption themselves.

  61. 61
    Morzer says:


    Those pre-tournament games mean little or nothing. The better teams will hold special players out of them or not go in hard for 50/50 chances so as to avoid injuries. Italy have a core of good players and a very consistent record of achievement at the World Cup. Betting against them is usually about as sensible as betting against Germany.

  62. 62
    BGinCHI says:

    @Randinho: England’s draw with Honduras was also not inspiring.

  63. 63
    BGinCHI says:

    @Morzer: Agreed. Gli Azzurri always find a way to win.

  64. 64
    SRW1 says:


    On the other hand Immobile was the opposite of his name in Italy’s last friendly against Flumminense: three goals and two assists.

    Also, too: England probably won’t like Manaus any more than Italy. Maybe we’re in for an exhausted draw.

  65. 65
    Morzer says:


    This is true. That said, it was a game that was played under ropey conditions against a team that tackled like maniacs, while Sturridge missed some good chances. I suspect that England will care more about getting out of there without injuries than anything else.

  66. 66
    Morzer says:


    I could easily see England and Italy ending up with a 1-1 draw after each side decides not to gamble too much early in the group stage. That’s why I think England-Uruguay is the key match in the group.

  67. 67
    BGinCHI says:

    @Morzer: I hear you, but let’s face it: every four years we hope England will compete at a high level even though we know they will probably not.

    Triumph of hope over experience.

    BTW, will be in London for the England-Uruguay match.

    Any suggestions for pubs to watch it in, anyone?? Or does it matter…..

  68. 68
    burnspbesq says:

    Anyone who is overlooking Belgium is going to be surprised when they make it to the semis.

    I’ll be happy to be proven wrong about this, but I think the USA is coming home with zero points. The only way we beat either Portugal or Ghana is in a run-and-gun shootout, and our finishing isn’t good enough to get four, even against defenses worse than ours.

  69. 69
    Morzer says:


    I don’t expect England to go much of anywhere. I think they’ll just about do enough to get out of the group stage, but they lack a midfield general, at least one quality defender (maybe two) and a proven, consistent ,international goal-scorer. A side can cover maybe one or two of those deficiencies on a match by match basis, but I don’t see how it covers all of them for very long.

    My view is that England haven’t really been close to being a top international side for roughly 20 years. I have serious doubts that Hodgson is the manager to change this. He seems like an old-fashioned tactician without the imagination or flexibility to make his team more than the sum of their disjointed parts.

  70. 70
    SRW1 says:


    Could see that happening. Hodgson is not one for gambling by his very nature. And while I suspect Prandelli might be up for it, he’s way to experienced to do something rash.

  71. 71
    Morzer says:


    Anyone who is overlooking Belgium is going to be surprised when they make it to the semis.

    Well stranger things happen at sea, but I just don’t see a path for Belgium to the semis.

  72. 72
    Paula says:

    Good to see you for the tourney, Randinho.

    As a USMNT fan, I’ll be spending the next week and a half figuratively breathing into a paper bag.

    How do the protests look from your vantage point? Too late to recover the money now, but I certainly hope that everyday working folks can wring as many concessions of funds as they can while they have the leverage.

  73. 73
    Randinho says:

    @BGinCHI: Well they didn’t win in 2010. That being said, I think you all are really underestimating Uruguay.

    Remember I do think Italy will go through, but England still fails to impress.They will miss Theo Walcott’s pace.

  74. 74
    Randinho says:

    @Paula: I doubt if that will happen, but we’ll see. They had a major transit strike in São Paulo, a city whose traffic under the best of circumstances is horrid.

  75. 75
    Morzer says:


    I look at Uruguay’s qualifying campaign, where they managed the 5th and last spot, and I see some pretty bad defeats to modest opposition. Maybe their record is deceptive, but they don’t look like a team that decent teams should fear.

  76. 76
    BGinCHI says:

    @Randinho: I didn’t say anything about Uruguay! I actually think they and the Argentines are going to be hard to beat: all the proximity of home field advantage and climate with much less pressure.

    Also maybe Columbia and Chile. The South Americans really should dominate, but as they say, that’s why they play the games.

  77. 77
    Randinho says:

    @Morzer: They finished in the same spot in qualifying for 2010.

    I hasten to add, England faced in its qualifying group Ukraine, Poland, Montenegro, Montenegro, Moldova and San Marino. None of those teams qualified. Uruguay faced three other teams that qualified.

  78. 78
    Morzer says:


    Which doesn’t mean much, in real terms. It’s a statistic, not a predictive factor. Still, we shall see how things pan out.

  79. 79
    LT says:

    Why the FUCK is Australia not even mentioned?

  80. 80
    BGinCHI says:

    @LT: Is Schwarzer their keeper? He is dogshit.

    But I agree they will probably play well. They are easily underrated. But then again, there are so many good teams in their group. They won’t get out….

  81. 81
    Morzer says:


    Because everyone is conspiring against them? Or possibly because Randinho is predicting the teams that will advance from the group stages and his view (and the general consensus) is that Australia won’t be one of them?

    To be fair, Group B does look to be a bit of a bear. Better teams than Australia might well curse their luck at being part of it.

  82. 82
    Randinho says:

    Uruguay lost to Bolivia in La Paz, and it was the only game they lost to a game that failed to qualify. I would argue that the competition in CONMEBOL is much more challenging than UEFA is at the group stage. I wish the US could play the Faeroe Islands or Malta some day.

  83. 83
    BGinCHI says:

    @Randinho: CONMEBOL is definitely the worst acronym ever.

  84. 84
    Randinho says:

    @LT: Okay I will mention them: they are staying here in Vitoria at a place called Ilha de Boi. It’s quite lovely and I hope that they enjoy it as they won’t be in Brazil for long.

  85. 85
    Morzer says:


    You might be right about CONMEBOL – but, on the other hand, the smaller European teams are no longer the amateurish rabbles of yesteryear. I think that Uruguay have slipped back in real terms – Forlan, for example, is pretty much on his last legs at international level and Suarez has been injured. Who do Uruguay have to carry the team forward? That’s what I think is going to doom them to an exit at the group stage. I will note, for the record, that I don’t think England will go very far in the tournament either.

  86. 86
    Randinho says:

    @BGinCHI: I beg to differ. This one is the worst acronym.

  87. 87
    LT says:

    @Randinho: GARG!

    We shall see, Randhino, we shall see.

  88. 88
    Randinho says:

    @Morzer: In answer to your question, Edison Cavani.

  89. 89
    LT says:

    @BGinCHI: @Morzer: Yes, collective gah here when groups were announced.

  90. 90
    BGinCHI says:

    @Randinho: Shitty acronym, menacing flag.

    I’m going to predict right now, in front of literally several people, that Algeria will make it out of group.

    The heat means nothing to them.

  91. 91
    Morzer says:


    When a team is relying on one player to carry it, there’s only one way that story ends at the world cup.

  92. 92
    Randinho says:

    @Morzer: We’ll see. Garrincha did pretty well in 1962. Germany scored a total of 14 goals in 2002, but 8 were against Saudi Arabia and they made it to the final.

  93. 93
    BGinCHI says:

    @Morzer: What is “tragically,” Alex?

    ETA: This is also a weakness in monotheism.

  94. 94
    Morzer says:


    I do think though that Uruguay-England is going to be the key game for that group. But hell, maybe Costa Rica will unleash the second, third and fourth Peles upon an unsuspecting world as Italy panic, England falter and Uruguay implode.

  95. 95
    Morzer says:


    The answer I was looking for was “Being fouled out of the game by the Italian defense in the quarterfinals” but I can accept “Tragically” as an abbreviated version of that answer.

  96. 96
    LT says:

    @BGinCHI: Schwarzer has retired. Mat Ryan is starter.

  97. 97
    Morzer says:


    Something about a goalkeeper named “Mat” doesn’t inspire complete confidence.

  98. 98
    LT says:

    @Morzer: I know nothing about these guys, but he’s apparently a promising young gun:

  99. 99
    Morzer says:


    I am not saying someone has to be called “Spreading Oak Tree” or “Crouching Tiger” or “Octopus” to be a good ‘keeper, but still, the name Mat doesn’t seem like the best of omens.

  100. 100
    LT says:

    @Morzer: I’m with you. It’s a bit like “Tad Wiener in goal today…”

  101. 101
  102. 102
    Jamey says:


    If you wanted to watch athletes from all the world’s great sporting nations play soccer, you didn’t have to leave Jackson Heights for Brasil; you could have just gone up Northern Blvd to Flushing Meadows/Corona Park and joined in a pick-up game ….

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