Monday, June 30, 2014

World Cup Update -- 11 Games to Go

No time for much of a preview or team lists today.  Basically, this is a very straightforward day:  two of the biggest European powers -- France and Germany -- will be taking on the last African teams in the tournament (Nigeria and Algeria respectively).

The Brits are saying that the odds on France going through to the next round are 1 to 5, while the odds on Germany are 1 to 7.  So we have two pretty heavy favorites today.

We won't have the line-ups, but here's some demographic info for you (did you know that there are over 170 million people in Nigeria?):

FRANCE:
Population:  66.6 million (19th in the world)
2014 GDP (est.):  $2.89 trillion (5th in the world)
Per capita GDP:  $45,123 (19th in the world)

NIGERIA:
Population:  174.5 million (7th in the world)
2014 GDP (est.):  $316.0 billion (38th in the world)
Per capita GDP:  $1,816

Nigeria and the USA are the only two countries left in the World Cup that have English as an official language.

GERMANY:
Population:  80.7 million (16th in the world)
2014 GDP (est.):  $3.876 trillion (4th in the world)
Per capita GDP:  $47,893 (17th in the world)

ALGERIA:
Population:  38.7 million (34th in the world)
2014 GDP (est.):  $219.5 billion
Per capita GDP:  $5,670

47 comments:

  1. Not a great uniform matchup in the France/Nigeria game, because the French are wearing their white shirts instead of their traditional blue. Nigeria is in their usual all-green.

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  2. 25 minutes:

    France 0 - 0 Nigeria

    Nigeria has already had a goal disallowed for offsides. A lot of energy in the game so far.

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  3. 35 minutes:

    France 0 - 0 Nigeria

    I'm going to predict right now that it will not take Belgium 35 minutes to score tomorrow.

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  4. 40 minutes:

    France 0 - 0 Nigeria

    Nigeria had a corner, and a France player was holding a Nigerian player. The guys on ESPN Radio screamed for a penalty, but no penalty was awarded. That's at least two generous calls in favor of France.

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  5. Half Time:

    France 0 - 0 Nigeria

    Entertaining game, but still no scoring. The longer this goes on, the more cautious both teams will become.

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  6. On Univision, they're showing that one corner kick by Nigeria. There is a Nigerian player in a great position to go up for a header, and the French defender just puts his arms around him so that he can't jump. And then the referee talks to the French player, but makes no call.

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  7. The Guardian has also been enjoying this match, which provoked the following comment from a Guardian reader:

    "I find interesting that you consider the match excellent (albeit the lack of goals)," writes João André. "I am watching it on german TV and the comment at the end was how disappointing it was. I can understand both: the English found it exciting, the German too chaotic. Maybe this helps explain the why Germany is successful in international football and England is not."

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  8. 60 minutes:

    France 0 - 0 Nigeria

    That comment about the Germans is now haunting me. I think they're probably right about this game, and the ball is just pinging around with little purpose.

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  9. 65 minutes:

    France 0 - 0 Nigeria

    Lots of caution now.

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  10. 70 minutes:

    France 0 - 0 Nigeria

    France almost scored a few minutes ago, but a Nigerian player cleared the ball off the line before it could enter the goal.

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  11. 75 minutes:

    France 0 - 0 Nigeria

    France are now starting to take control. They're going to take a real shot at winning this game in the next 15 minutes.

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  12. And there's the goal. France has been all over the Nigerians for the last 15 minutes, hitting the crossbar, forcing save after save, setting up corner kicks. And in the 78th minute, after yet another French corner kick, Paul Pogba loops in a header. France are on top!

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  13. 80 minutes:

    France 1 - 0 Nigeria

    This has been well-played by France. For about 65 minutes, they soaked up the pressure from Nigeria, getting some lucky calls along the way. And then late in the game, they turned up the pressure. Now they've scored and Nigeria has very little time left to respond.

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  14. 90 minutes:

    France 1 - 0 Nigeria

    Five minutes of stoppage time, but Nigeria really haven't come close since France took the lead.

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  15. And there's a second goal for France!

    France gets yet another corner. This time, instead of the usual long boot toward the goal, they do a little kick just along the line. The Nigerians are all over the place, and a French player scoots along the baseline before setting up a teammate for a very easy tap into the goal. Master class stuff from France.

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  16. That last goal was actually an own goal, as the Nigerians were trying to prevent a Frenchman from tapping in the ball, but tapped it in themselves.

    Still this has been very solid play from France -- they let the Nigerians wear themselves out, and then they simply tore Nigeria apart in the last 25 minutes.

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  17. Full Time:

    France 2 - 0 Nigeria

    The favorites are 5 for 5 so far in the Sweet 16. France very much deserved to win this game.

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  18. The USA is now the last English-speaking country in the tournament.

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  19. And now Germany v. Algeria. The big story here is that Algeria is trying to get revenge for a game in the 1982 World Cup when West Germany and Austria supposedly cooperated on a 1-0 scoreline that allowed both the German-speaking nations to advance, and bundled Algeria out of the competition.

    Germany is wearing their traditional white jerseys, with a red and black band across the top front of the shirt. Algeria is in all light green. And I mean really light green. They look like a team of highlighters.

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  20. It says something about the world that France and Germany fought two massive wars against each other within the last 100 years, but they could meet with no drama in the quarterfinals -- while Algeria is spitting with rage over the result of a 1982 soccer match.

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  21. 10 minutes:

    Germany 0 - 0 Algeria

    Not much so far. Germany has had most of the ball, but Algeria had one good counterattack.

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  22. Whoa! In the 16th minute Algeria appears to have scored on a header. But the Algerian player was offsides. The Algerians continue to look very dangerous on the counterattack.

    Germany 0 - 0 Algeria

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  23. 25 minutes:

    Germany 0 - 0 Algeria

    Germany is now taking Algeria a little more seriously, and is doing a better job of keeping the ball.

    Watching Germany play soccer is incredibly reminiscent of watching Dean Smith's teams at UNC. They have that same unruffled air that used to drive me nuts whenever I watched the Heels. And, of course, they almost always win.

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  24. 35 minutes:

    Germany 0 - 0 Algeria

    A lot of action, but neither team is really coming close to the goal.

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  25. By the way, this game is being played in Porto Alegre, in the far south of Brazil. It's a very comfortable 57 degrees, which is leading to a bright and entertaining game.

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  26. 40 minutes:

    Germany 0 - 0 Algeria

    Real end-to-end stuff now. Germany are starting to fire away from long range, but Algeria still looks dangerous in response.

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  27. 50 minutes:

    Germany 0 - 0 Algeria

    Both teams still racing back and forth.

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  28. 60 minutes:

    Germany 0 - 0 Algeria

    This was about the point at which France started to take over their game with Nigeria. We'll see if the Germans can do the same.

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  29. 70 minutes:

    Germany 0 - 0 Algeria

    Germany has pretty much stopped the Algerian counterattacks, but they haven't yet been able to break through.

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  30. 75 minutes:

    Germany 0 - 0 Algeria

    And then Algeria comes back with two quick counterattacks. The last 15 minutes are going to be intense.

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  31. 80 minutes:

    Germany 0 - 0 Algeria

    OK, it's getting real now. Germany had two point blank shots, but both were saved by the Algerian keeper.

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  32. 85 minutes:

    Germany 0 - 0 Algeria

    Germany had another great chance, as their striker did a great job to gather the ball in front of goal. But he shoots just wide.

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  33. 90 minutes:

    Germany 0 - 0 Algeria

    Germany have a free kick in front of the goal, but can't do much. They also have a header that is saved by the keeper.

    4 minutes of stoppage time.

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  34. Full Time:

    Germany 0 - 0 Algeria

    30 minutes of extra time coming up.

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  35. So far, we've had two matches go to extra time, and no goals were scored in either of those matches. Can Algeria hold off Germany for another 30 minutes?

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  36. As it turns out, Algeria cannot keep Germany out for two more minutes. The Germans have yet another attack -- and this time they finally beat the Algerian goalkeeper. A beautiful cross, a backheel flip, and Germany has the lead.

    After 92 minutes:

    Germany 1 - 0 Algeria

    I won't be surprised if Germany gets at least one more.

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  37. 100 minutes:

    Germany 1 - 0 Algeria

    Algeria has had to come out and attack.

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  38. 105 minutes:

    Germany 1 - 0 Algeria

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  39. 115 minutes:

    Germany 1 - 0 Algeria

    Before you write off Germany, think about how much trouble UK used to have breaking down schools like Auburn and Georgia when there was no shot clock.

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  40. And there's the second goal! As we expected. Algeria kept pressing forward, desperately trying to tie the game -- and eventually Germany caught them at the back. Germany got numbers, tore the Algerian defense apart, and added a second goal.

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  41. But in the 120th minute, Algeria launch another desperate attack -- and this time they score! With about 30 seconds of stoppage time left, here's the score:

    Germany 2 - 1 Algeria

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  42. Full Time:

    Germany 2 - 1 Algeria

    Algeria actually did get one last header, but the German keeper caught the ball.

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  43. So the favorites are 6 for 6 in this round. Here are the quarter-finals so far:

    1. Brazil v. Colombia
    2. France v. Germany
    3. Netherlands v. Costa Rica
    4. TBD

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