AnythingChicago

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  1. The tournament's first 12 matches ended without a draw, yet 3 of the last 5 matches have ended in draws, two of which ended 0-0. Let's hope this isn't a trend; I was really enjoying the decisiveness of this tournament until lately.
  2. Algeria played a solid first half, but once again the incredible depth of Belgium was key as ManU's Fellaini and Napoli's Mertens scored a pair of beautiful goals (thanks to a couple of perfect passes from former Chelsea teammates De Bruyne and Hazard respectively). The depth and talent of this Belgian squad is unbelievable. It's just going to be a matter of putting all the pieces together into one cohesive product. If they can achieve that, they'll pose a real threat in the knockout stage. As for Algeria, it was a great showing from them. Of course they would have liked to salvage at least one point, but there's really nothing they could've done about how well executed those two Belgian goals were. I had read before the match about how Algeria may be the most underrated team in the tournament, and I think they probably are (besides Costa Rica). It'll be interesting to see who comes out of Group H along with Belgium; I honestly believe that each team has about a 33% chance at this point.
  3. It was a pleasure to watch this incredible match from an American standpoint; 'twas a thriller from start to finish. Of course the start was magnificent, but from shortly after that point to the 89th minute, Ghana dominated, creating tons of chances due to a tired, hurting, and I must say poorly conditioned American defense. Luckily Timmy was up to the task; he was outstanding and influential as always. And of course nothing beats the storyline with Brooks and the U.S. bearing down to finish off Ghana. Klinsmann's decision making sub-wise was fantastic; Zusi is easily the best on the squad from set pieces and Jürgen knew that's what it would come down to. The Ghanians seemed arrogant before the match started. They really prided themselves on the disappointment they've caused Americans over the past few years and the fear they instilled into American minds because of their dominance over the USA in major tournaments. For a third world country like Ghana to dominate a world power and a country that prides itself on winning (the United States) is huge and the Ghanian team knew that. But in the end, I'm absolutely enthralled with the victory and having gotten off the schneid against Ghana. Revenge is so sweet after the way the U.S. have gone down to Ghana in World Cups 2006 and 2010, and now the United States have put themselves in a fantastic position in Group G. I don't think anyone would argue that the USA are the favorites to finish second behind Germany in the group (and play imminently Belgium in the Round of 16). All that being said, the United States will have to really acclimate itself to equatorial conditions for the forthcoming match against Brazil in Manaus. The defense will need to be much sharper, faster, durable, and better conditioned. Hopefully Altidore gets healthy, but if not I really think that the United States will be able to work Jóhannsson or Wondolowski into the offense effectively.
  4. Fabian Johnson is going to have to avoid advancing too far forward on the attack, or else Ghana's speedy attackers are going to exploit Johnson's area on the counterattack. Maybe a healthy balance of conservatism and choosing the right times to send men forward and outman the Ghanian defense would be the best option tactically for the U.S. in this match.
  5. Looks like we're in for a pre-primetime snoozer in Curitiba. I can't foresee any more than a goal or two in this so far poorly played match between Iran and Nigeria.
  6. I agree; at least a little bit of yellow would be appreciated.I have a feeling that if Bosnia-Herzegovina put together a nice showing in this World Cup, they'll attract a kit manufacturer that will do something creative with those kits in time for Euro 2016 in France (assuming they qualify) and hopefully the 2018 World Cup in Russia as well.
  7. The way the Bosnian back four have contained Messi and given the amount of comebacks from 0-1 deficits in this World Cup thus far, this match is far from being declared over.
  8. Maybe you aren't familiar enough with this Bosnia side. Anchored by Roma's Miralem Pjanić and Manchester City's Edin Džeko up front, a slew of Bundesliga defenders in the backfield, and plenty of options off the bench, this Bosnian squad will most likely finish second in the group and advance to the knockout stage. They should give Argentina quite a contest tonight, especially considering their motivation with all the tumult back home (and Argentina's startlingly mediocre and inexperienced defense).I think I predicted that this match would end 3-2 in favor of Argentina when I made my predictions earlier this week, so I'd expect a scoreline along those lines.
  9. What a great finish in the last minute or so there. Back and forth, and then the Swiss sub puts the nail in the Ecuadorian coffin. Switzerland only brought on two subs, and they both scored. Switzerland's game management won this match, both with the substitutions and playing two of those three stoppage minutes conservatively to play with the minds of Ecuador, and then risking it all in the last minute and making it worth it with the winning goal. Huge result for Switzerland, and a huge disappointment for Ecuador.
  10. Teams that score the match's first goal on a penalty kick in this year's World Cup: -Are 0-2-0 with a combined goal differential of -6 -Have failed to score again in that match -Have allowed 8 unanswered goals -Are former World Cup champions -Reached the semifinals of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa Can you guess which teams I'm talking about?
  11. Not to toot my own horn, but...I told you so. That Beauséjour goal at the end there was beautiful. It was also pretty cool to see Mauricio Pinilla come in as a sub and almost score at the end there considering his tenures for both my and Crash's LPI clubs.
  12. New York Red Bulls could use a little bit of that heading accuracy from Tim Cahill these days...
  13. Bring on David De Gea for Spain. After attending the Spain-El Salvador match at FedEx earlier this week, I thought that Spain would have some difficulties, but I could have never envisioned an absolute demolition like this. I'd expect the majority of Spain's starting XI against Chile to be players who didn't start in the Netherlands match. I liked this Dutch squad going in, but now I really like them. I'm looking forward to watching them in their coming matches.
  14. Judging solely by the rosters, Cameroon is the better team. But because of the intrasquad turmoil (Eto'o complaining about not getting passed to enough, Cameroon essentially being the 2008 Dallas Cowboys of this World Cup with Eto'o being T.O.), Mexico is dominating this match so far. The lack of team chemistry is really hurting Cameroon; Mexico are pretty mediocre on paper, but they're a much more cohesive team.
  15. So my thoughts on today's opening match: The first half was great; it was really intriguing to see Croatia almost dominate those first fifteen minutes or so and also monitor the crowd's reaction to the whole thing, especially the Neymar goal. The second half did not live up to the expectations I had for it; that penalty really should have been a yellow card on Fred for simulation, Croatia should have scored on that opportunity right before Oscar's chance, and Oscar's goal really should have been saved. Of the four goals, I'd say that they were all flukes of a sort; a little bad luck both ways and this could have been a 0-0 draw. And Torin, I also find the Arena de São Paulo to be strange. The grandstands are very geometrical, so the whole thing looks like a montrous rectangular prism. The one thing I like about it is how close the fans are to the pitch. I'm really looking forward to this weekend's fixtures. I'll be hoping for Cameroon to take it to Mexico in the matinée, and both Group B matches (ESP v NED and CHI v AUS) should be entertaining.
  16. Expanded/revised predictions: Group A Brazil - 9 pts. (CRO: W 3-0, MEX: W 3-0, CMR: W 2-1) Cameroon - 5 pts. (MEX: W 2-1, CRO: D 1-1, BRA: L 1-2) Croatia - 5 pts. (BRA: L 0-3, CMR: D 1-1, MEX: W 3-2) Mexico - 0 pts. (CMR: L 1-2, BRA: L 0-3, CRO: L 2-3) Group B Netherlands - 7 pts. (ESP: D 2-2, AUS: W 4-0, CHI: W 2-0) Spain - 5 pts. (NED: D 2-2, CHI: D 1-1, AUS: W 3-0) Chile - 4 pts. (AUS: W 3-1, ESP: D 1-1, NED: L 0-2) Australia - 0 pts. (CHI: L 1-3, NED: L 0-4, ESP: L 0-3) Group C Colombia - 7 pts. (JPN: W 1-0, CIV: D 0-0, GRE: W 2-0) Côte d'Ivoire - 5 pts. (GRE: D 1-1, COL: D 0-0, JPN: W 3-2) Japan - 4 pts. (COL: L 0-1, GRE: W 1-0, CIV: L 2-3) Greece - 1 pt. (CIV: D 1-1, JPN: L 0-1, COL: L 0-2) Group D Uruguay - 7 pts. (CRC: W 4-0, ENG: W 2-1, ITA: D 1-1) Italy - 5 pts. (ENG: D 0-0, CRC: W 3-0, URU: D 1-1) England - 4 pts. (ITA: D 0-0, URU: L 1-2, CRC: W 5-0) Costa Rica - 0 pts. (URU: L 0-4, ITA: L 0-3, ENG: L 0-5) Group E France - 7 pts. (ECU: W 3-0, SUI: D 2-2, HON: W 2-0) Switzerland - 7 pts. (HON: W 3-1, FRA: D 2-2, ECU: W 3-2) Ecuador - 3 pts. (FRA: L 0-3, HON: W 1-0, SUI: L 2-3) Honduras - 0 pts. (SUI: L 1-3, ECU: L 0-1, FRA: L 0-2) Group F Argentina - 9 pts. (IRN: W 4-0, NGA: W 4-1, BIH: W 3-2) Bosnia and Herzegovina - 6 pts. (NGA: W 4-3, IRN: W 2-1, ARG: L 2-3) Nigeria - 3 pts. (BIH: L 3-4, ARG: L 1-4, IRN: W 1-0) Iran - 0 pts. (ARG: L 0-4, BIH: L 1-2, NGA: 0-1) Group G Germany - 9 pts. (POR: W 2-1, GHA: W 3-0, USA: W 3-1) Portugal - 4 pts. (GER: L 1-2, USA: D 1-1, GHA: W 3-1) United States - 4 pts. (GHA: W 2-0, POR: D 1-1, GER: L 1-3) Ghana - 0 pts. (USA: L 0-2, GER: L 0-3, POR: L 1-3) Group H Belgium - 9 pts. (RUS: W 3-0, KOR: W 4-1, ALG: W 2-0) South Korea - 4 pts. (ALG: W 2-1, BEL: L 1-4, RUS: D 1-1) Russia - 4 pts. (BEL: L 0-3, ALG: W 1-0, KOR: D 1-1) Algeria - 0 pts. (KOR: L 1-3, RUS; L 0-1, BEL: L 0-2) Round of 16 Brazil 2, Spain 1 Colombia 0, Italy 0 (ITA 5-2 wins on penalties) France 5, Bosnia and Herzegovina 2 Germany 3, South Korea 0 The Netherlands 3, Cameroon 1 Uruguay 2, Côte d'Ivoire 1 Argentina 3, Switzerland 2 Belgium 2, Portugal 2 (Belgium wins 5-4 on penalties) Quarterfinals Brazil 1, Italy 0 France 2, Germany 4 The Netherlands 1, Uruguay 3 Argentina 2, Belgium 2 (Argentina win 6-5 on penalties) Semifinals Brazil 2, Germany 0 Argentina 3, Uruguay 2 Third place Germany 1, Uruguay 0 Final Brazil 3, Argentina 1 --------- If I find time later on, I'll add summaries for each team in the group stage, and match recaps for each Knockout Stage fixture.
  17. If they can overcome a 3-0 series deficit, there's no reason why they can't blow a 3-0 series lead. That being said, if the series does by some miracle come down to Game 7, we can all imagine how it would end.
  18. What a disappointment. Conor Doyle forces a penalty kick deep into stoppage time, and it seemed fitting that Fabian Espindola would drive home the PK and cap off a the FedEx doubleheader with a 1-0 last-minute win for United, but instead Espindola goes for the Panenka penalty and fails miserably. Goalkeeper Steve Clark didn't even budge. The whole place was up in arms. Make that two missed penalties on the day: first Cesc Fabregàs's miss way over the crossbar early in the first half of the first game, then Fabian Espindola's terribly executed Panenka penalty attempt. 0-0 finishes suck. Leaves so much to be desired.
  19. Not much going on at all in the DC United-Columbus Crew match at FedEx Field...a couple close chances for DC and a lot of possession but not much else at the Columbus end. Hopefully there'll be some scoring in the second half.
  20. Not the best showing from Spain against El Salvador today; La Roja could hardly penetrate the El Salvadoran defense in the first half, and Cesc Fabregàs missed a penalty. Substitutions helped Spain in the second half, in which David Villa scored two gimme goals to push Spain to a 2-0 victory. The Spanish defense was virtually impenetrable, allowing El Salvador essentially zero chances, but that's sort of expected against a team of that caliber. The Spanish attack will have to step up its game in Brazil in order to ensure Spain's advancement past the Group of Death.
  21. I'll be attending the Spain-El Salvador international friendly at FedEx Field this Saturday (and probably the DC United-Columbus Crew match after it because one ticket purchase gets you both ends of the "doubleheader"). It should be a blast!
  22. You're way too calm. Can you just flip your for a couple minutes and entertain us? C'mon, one last time this hockey season. You got some anger left between your toes. Uh, let's see. The Kings coach is a murmuring turd goblin who consumes the feces of feral cats. Dustin Brown is a backwoods child pornographer who lives in a bomb shelter in the offseason masturbating to pictures of corpses. Drew Doughty loves the sensation of melted butter drizzling across his butthole. Jonathan Quick peddles cocaine to celebrities out of a rental car on alternating weekends. Cujo drinks his own pee? I nominate this post for PotD.
  23. . After several seasons of being a closet Blackhawks fan, I finally decided to devote my time to this team after my interest in NHL hockey peaked this season due to this being my first season of fantasy hockey. Background story aside, it's devastating to see Chicago lose after how much time I've spent supporting the Hakes this spring, especially on a fluke goal like that. That being said, these Stanley Cup playoffs have been great. Not just the three Blackhawks' series, but the vast majority of the other series as well. It's a great time to be a hockey fan no matter what team you root for. Best of luck to the Rangers in their pursuit for their first Stanley Cup since 1994. I honestly thought it was destiny that the winner of the Kings-Blackhawks series would win the Stanley Cup because of how epic the series has been, and unfortunately I still think that. I'll be pulling for the Rangers, of course, but I just can't foresee the Kings losing. And if LA does lose, their sad excuses for fans won't even really care, at least not nearly as much as the Blackhawks faithful does now. In summary, kuck the Fings.
  24. Quenneville really wasn't trying to win that in regulation, instead opting to rest Kane's legs instead of have him on the ice for the last 2:00 in order to score the game winning goal. Ironically, he almost scored in the :20 he was on the ice at the end there....
  25. So the Cubs have the worst record in baseball at the moment, and it's safe to say that no one is overly surprised by that. But here are some stats that would suggest that the Cubs should have a record better than 20-33: -The Cubs' run differential is -9, which is better than the Rangers, Yankees, and most teams that are hovering around .500 at the moment. -The Cubs' pitching staff (particularly the starting pitchers) has been excellent; the Cubs are top 10 in the MLB in team ERA, opponent batting average, WHIP, and fewest hits allowed. Most impressively, the Cubs have allowed the fewest home runs in all of baseball at 33. Despite all that, at the end of the day the Cubs lose close games and are an all around poorly pieced together baseball team. The good run differential is a result of losing mostly close games and winning big on the rare occasions they do win, and the good pitching statistics are a result of the Cubs mostly losing low scoring games. So there you have it: my annual overly analytic Cubs post. I think I'll shut up and step back into my pool of Cubs-induced tears now.