We’re rounding out the second week of World Cup action, and there’s no dearth of fun topics to discuss. Yesterday alone gave us a wide range of excitement, with England grinding out a completely useless point in a 0-0 draw with Costa Rica (not very exciting), Colombia absolutely destroying Japan (fairly exciting), Greece pulling out a stoppage time winner over Ivory Coast to move on to the next round (very exciting), and Uruguay edging out Italy 1-0 (EXTREMELY EXCITING). Wait, a 1-0 victory doesn’t sound very exciting…OH RIGHT:
Luis Suarez = completely fucking nuts
Through all of this mayhem, I somehow managed to snag 2 points. Meh, I’ve done worse.
Brian’s Prediction Points Tally = 21
Today’s going to be different. I can feel it.
Poor Iran. After 90 minutes of superhuman defense against Argentina, they were felled by the inevitable: a wonderful strike from Lionel Messi. That 1-0 loss has put them in a strange position: they’ve actually got a chance to qualify if they beat Bosnia-Herzegovina and Nigeria lose to Argentina. The latter should almost certainly happen—Argentina only need a draw to take the group, but after two unconvincing wins, a show of force would do them well—but the former is certainly no guarantee. Bosnia were absolutely robbed in their last match, and they’re going to want to leave Brazil with as much dignity and reassurance regarding their quality level as possible. Add to that the fact that Iran have no idea how to score a goal, and it’s going to be tough for them to manage enough points to take second in the group. My prediction:
Bosnia-Herzegovina 0 : 0 Iran
I would very much like to see Bosnia win back some self-respect, especially considering that this is their very first World Cup, but they haven’t shown that they can really penetrate a defense, and Iran’s is better than most. The other game of the group should be much more exciting. As I mentioned, Argentina are going to want to put on a show, and while Nigeria’s defense hasn’t let in a goal yet, their offense has only scored one goal. I expect big things from Lionel Messi and co. in this one. My prediction:
Nigeria 0 : 3 Argentina
Even with a terrible loss, though, anything but an Iran win puts Nigeria in the next round, and they’ve also got a 2-point goal differential cushion to play around with. I was completely wrong about Ivory Coast moving on, though, so what do I know?
Sorry, but I’ve had this stuck in my head the entire World Cup. I want Nigeria to move on if only so I don’t have to keep hearing this song in my head.
Oh, these games are going to be fun! Somehow every single team in this group could still qualify for the round of 16, and every single team in this group could still be eliminated. It’s pretty difficult to imagine France going home, though, with their +6 goal differential. If France win, they win the group. If France draw, they win the group. If France lose by three goals, they win the group (unless Switzerland win by like a million goals). Basically, the only way for France to be eliminated is if they lose by three goals and Switzerland somehow win by at least 5. I foresee France winning this group. My prediction:
Ecuador 1 : 4 France
This is where it really gets interesting, because 2nd place in the group is still very much up for grabs. Assuming that France beat Ecuador, if Honduras beat Switzerland, the three non-French teams will all be level on 3 points. Honduras are only 2 goals behind Switzerland in goal differential, but because of tiebreakers they would need to win by 3. This would put them 1 goal behind Ecuador, meaning that the Ecuadorians couldn’t lose by more than 1. Of course, this doesn’t actually matter, because I think that Switzerland are going to win this game and take second. My prediction:
Honduras 1 : 2 Switzerland
I actually think that it’s going to be 2-0 in favor of the Swiss, but Honduras is in CONCACAF, and I’d be happy if they at least scored a consolation goal. If it ends up like this, I’ll have my first correctly predicted group in my ESPN fantasy World Cup bracket. I was about 30 seconds away from having my first yesterday, but then an Ivorian tackled a Greek and there was a penalty and ugh. I was really rooting for those Ivorians, too. Oh well, vive la France!