Monday 30 June 2014

World Cup Observations 16: Round of 16 Round-up Part 1

Brazil v Chile
  • Woke up for the second half (about 3am)
  • Looks like I was quite wrong about how close this match would be; I knew it would be close but not THAT close
  • The game looked incredibly open, with lots of pace and space. 
  • Was Hulk really handling the ball? On one view it looked like it hit his shoulder; on another view it looked like it hit his arm. Did his huge biceps have anything to do with the decision, depending on the angle looked upon?
  • It was a real shame that the Chilean number 9 couldn't have sealed the deal against the Brazilians at the last-gasp in injury time.
  • Some are saying that this match will be harder than the match against Colombia; others are saying Colombia has a good chance of upsetting Brazil. I'm not really so sure about either opinion, given that the way Colombia plays seems to be quite different to Chile
  • Brazil don't look like a champion team, but as I've said before, in a knockout competition all one needs to do is to scrape through each match no matter how ugly it is.

Colombia v Uruguay
  • I watched the first half and a bit of the second half
  • Didn't really observe anything extra special from the Colombians besides the obvious star they have in James Rodriguez (and his consistency in scoring)
  • I don't really have anything to say apart from the fact that they seem to be a consistent all-round team, and Cuadrado seems to be in good form.
  • My scoreline prediction was correct, but it was a bit fortunate given the nature of the first goal

Netherlands v Mexico
  • Woke up for the second half (about 3am)
  • Netherlands left it a bit late, but they got there - that's what matters! Despite tipping them, I didn't think they would be able to recover in truth.
  • To me the Dutch only looked threatening with set-pieces or corner kicks - they struggled to get the ball up the park
  • When that corner kick was given I remember saying to myself "It really is now or never for the Dutch", and sure enough they scored through a Huntelaar assist to Sneijder!
  • Apparently Robben deserved a penalty in the first half, and dived for another. Perhaps the penalty awarded was justified in that context, although it still looked like a penalty/clumsy challenge to me.
  • The REAL talking point for me however is why on earth did Mexico substitute Giovanni dos Santos off for what seemingly was part of a defensive manoeuvre or strategy to hold the 1-0 lead (but I'm not sure exactly what Aquino plays as though). This negative thinking probably led to Mexico's downfall.
  • The last gasp penalty reminded me of the way Italy won in the last minute against Australia in 2006!! The Mexicans must feel robbed 

Costa Rica v Greece
  • Woke up for the second half, again (about 7am)
  • Ruiz's first goal was incredibly slick and accurate, the goalkeeper seemingly unsighted
  • The 2nd yellow card leading to the red card was ridiculous - it nearly cost Costa Rica
  • Greece seem to always be a last-gasp side, as demonstrated through the equaliser with Papastahopoulous (who apparently, booked his wedding on the 5th of July presumably because he didn't expect Greece to make it that far?!!). However when it mattered most - when they had a 5 v 2 counterattacking situation in extra-time - they made some bad decisions and could not find the winner when they really should have
  • Cool penalties from all the Costa Rican lads. Tremendous saves, in normal/extra time and the shoot-out, from Navas. Gekas shouldn't be blamed
  • Surprisingly my scoreline prediction was correct

Comments on Tipping

As a sidenote, I tipped 28/48 for the group stage , which is actually quite a horrible score, even if it is in the top 4% in Australia (which is approximately in the top 4000).

A respectable score would probably be somewhere around 33 to 35 (48 less all the draws and less all the surprising results from Costa Rica = 48 - 8 draws - 2 surprising results = 38 less again "close" matches. I haven't counted what these close matches are so I'll just round down to the nearest 5).

In deciding what's respectable, I make the assumption that guessing a draw is unreasonable in most, but not all, situations [they are reasonable perhaps in the last round of group matches and where the opponent is perceived to be a difficult one]: this is because draws are (probably, though I have no proof) less likely to occur than either a win or a loss combined so a tipper would be unlikely to guess a draw. It usually takes tremendous skill and a large amount of "luck" to correctly guess a draw.

Currently I sit on 32/52, but I am quite sure I will get a few more wrong along the way. (As another sidenote, It bothers me that I didn't physically lock in Uruguay to win against England - I wrote it down on my wallchart but I didn't actually tip them on footytips for some reason)

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