Saturday, June 28, 2014

World Cup Update -- 14 Games to Go

Some background on Colombia v. Uruguay:

Uruguay won the World Cup in 1930 and 1950 -- an ever since then this tiny nation has fought to maintain its status as one of the world's great soccer powers.  Pinned in by Brazil and Argentina, the Uruguayans are at a huge disadvantage.  But they have tremendous heart, and they don't mind hating and being hated.  Four years ago, they enraged the world when they used a blatant handball to knock Ghana out of the World Cup.  But they didn't care, and they scythed their way to the Final Four -- an amazing accomplishment for a country with fewer people than Kentucky.  Last week, Uruguay again found itself at the heart of a global controversy, as their best player -- Luis Suarez (who had scored two spectacular goals to knock England out of the competition) -- bit an Italian player.  But Uruguay sent Italy home with England, and lived to fight another day.  Suarez has since been banned from even entering a soccer stadium for the next four months -- and the Uruguayans are mad as hornets about that -- but the bottom line is that Uruguay is still playing and Italy has gone home.

Colombia has a very different history.  For most of the last 80 years or so, they have been a punching bag for the big powers in South America.  Their best team went out in disgrace in the 1994 World Cup, losing to the United States, of all teams.  But this year they're back with a bright, peppy squad that crushed all-comers in Group C, outscoring the competition by 9 goals to 2.  By contrast, Uruguay was thumped in their first game by Costa Rica, but survived by grinding out upset wins over England and Italy.

So who will win?  In games between a team that's just happy to be there, and a team that has to win, it's usually a good idea to bet on the team that has to win.  But Uruguay will really be hurt by the loss of Suarez, and Colombia has looked really good.  So I have no idea what to expect.

Tale of the Tape:

Population:  47.4 million (27th in the world)
2014 GDP (est.):  $387.7 billion
Per capita GDP:  $8,125

Population:  3.3 million (133d in the world)
2014 GDP (est.):  $58.3 billion
Per capita GDP:  $17,121

Here are the teams:

Goalkeeper:  David Ospina (Nice) (France)

Defender:  Juan Camilo Zuniga (Napoli) (Italy)
Defender:  Cristian Zapata (Milan) (Italy)
Defender:  Mario Yepes (captain) (Atalanta) (Italy)
Defender:  Pablo Armero (Udinese) (Italy)

Midfielder:  Abel Aguilar (Toulouse) (France)
Midfielder:  Carlos Sanchez (Eiche) (Spain)
Midfielder:  Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (Fiorentina) (Italy)
Midfielder:  James Rodriguez (Monaco) (France)

Forward:  Jackson Martinez (Porto) (Portugal)
Forward:  Teofilio Gutierrez (River Plate) (Argentina)

Goalkeeper:  Fernando Musiera (Galatasaray) (Turkey)

Defender:  Maxi Pereira (Benfica) (Portugal)
Defender:  Jose Maria Gimenez (Atletico Madrid B) (Spain)
Defender:  Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid) (Spain)
Defender:  Martin Caceres (Juventus) (Italy)

Midfielder:  Alvaro Pereira (Sao Paulo) (Brazil)
Midfielder:  Alvaro Gonzalez (Lazio) (Italy)
Midfielder:  Egidio Arevalo Rios (UANL) (Mexico)
Midfielder:  Cristian Rodriguez (Atletico Madrid) (Spain)

Forward:  Edinson Cavini (Paris-St. German) (France)
Forward:  Diego Forlan (Cerezo Osaka) (Japan)


  1. Uruguay famously beat Brazil in the final of the 1950 World Cup -- the only other World Cup played in Brazil -- and the Uruguayans would love another chance to beat their more famous neighbors.

  2. Another great game for uniforms. Uruguay in their legendary light blue shirts and black shorts; Colombia in their yellow shirts with the royal blue sash and white shorts.

    I really like how Uruguay and Argentina, who are both neighbors and rivals, use the same color but with slight variations. Argentina's shirt has white and light blue stripes, while Uruguay is solid light blue. Brilliant!

  3. By the way, can we agree that from now on, every World Cup should be played in South America? South America is like the SEC of soccer; their fans and teams are a joy to watch.

  4. Oh, my! In the 28th minute, James Rodriguez of Colombia catches the ball on his chest, boots it before it hits the ground, and whacks an absolute perfect shot into the top the Uruguay net from about 30 yards out. What a goal!

    Now Uruguay will have to come out of its defensive shell and go on the attack, which will make for a better game.

  5. Half Time:

    Colombia 1 - 0 Uruguay

    Uruguay came out of its shell, and made a few decent attacks, but could not break through.

  6. In the 49th minute, Colombia strikes again. Uruguay is pressing forward, trying for the equalizer, when Colombia launches a devastating counter-attack. A beautiful exchange of passes leaves the ball at the feet of James Rodriquez, only a few yards from the goal, and he hammers the ball home to give Colombia a 2-0 lead. Rodriquez has two goals in this game, and FIVE goals in the tournament. Colombia look great. If they play like this, they could give Brazil some real headaches in the next round.

  7. 65 minutes:

    Colombia 2 - 0 Uruguay

    Uruguay, which almost never attacks, is attacking now. And they've come close a few times. But they can't break through.

  8. 75 minutes:

    Colombia 2 - 0 Uruguay

    Colombia looks very comfortable right now.

  9. 80 minutes:

    Colombia 2 - 0 Uruguay

    Uruguay almost got the goal that would have pulled them back into the match, but were thwarted on a nice save by the Colombian goalkeeper.

  10. 85 minutes:

    Colombia 2 - 0 Uruguay

    Not long now.

  11. Full Time:

    Colombia 2 - 0 Uruguay

    A great, great win for Colombia, although Uruguay will wonder what would have happened if they could have played Luis Suarez.

  12. This will be the first time that Colombia has ever played in the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

  13. I didn't realize that Uruguay is so small.