Sunday, June 29, 2014

World Cup Update -- 12 Games to Go

There's always at least one odd team in the World Cup Quarterfinals.  In 2002 it was the United States.  In 2006 it was Ukraine.  In 2010 it was Ghana.  This year it was going to be Costa Rica or Greece.  Here's the tale of the tape:

Population:  4.6 million
2014 GDP (est.):  $48.5 billion
Per capita GDP:  $10,166

Population:  11.3 million (78th in the world)
2014 GDP (est.):  $249.4 billion (44th in the world)
Per capita GDP:  $22,594 (37th in the world)

And, very briefly, here's what happened:

In the 52d minute, Bryan Ruiz (who plays for Fulham in England) put Costa Rica up 1-0.

In the 66th minute, Oscar Duarte (who plays for Club Bugge in Belgium) was sent off for a second yellow card, thus leaving Costa Rica with only 10 men.

The 10 men hung on for a long time, but in stoppage time Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who normally plays for Borussia Dortmund in Germany, banged home a goal to tie everything up at 1-1.

The 10 men of Costa Rica then had to hang on for another 30 minutes of extra time -- which they did, thus forcing a shootout on penalty kicks.

After three rounds of penalty kicks, the teams were tied 3-3.  Then Costa Rica made their fourth kick, and Greece missed.

That meant that Michael Umana, who plays for Deportivo Saprissa in Costa Rica, could put his team into the quarter-finals by making the fifth penalty kick -- and that's exactly what he did.

Final score:

Costa Rica 1 - 1 Greece (Costa Rica win 5-3 on penalty kicks)

So now we have two quarter-final matches set:

July 4 (Fortaleza):  Brazil v. Colombia
July 4 (Rio de Janiero):  TBD
July 5 (Salvador):  Netherlands v. Costa Rica
July 5 (Brasilia):  TBD

Here are the latest odds to win the World Cup, according to the Brits:

Brazil:  12 to 5
Argentina:  7 to 2
Germany:  9 to 2
Netherlands:  9 to 2

The USA are still 80 to 1.

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