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Thread: World Cup 2014

  1. #1

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    Default World Cup 2014


    The World Cup may not be must-see TV for the majority of Americans, but for those of us who love the game of soccer (to me, ftbol), El Mundil is nothing short of a celebration.

    I grew up living largely in Latin America (1960, when I was born, through 1976), where the original football is as much religion as sport. Part and parcel of my experience was the taking of (mostly good-natured) grief from native friends, who never ceased to delight in pointing out to me the sweet irony that was the world's most powerful nation being but the south end of a north-going gnat circling the world's most popular sport.

    Things of course are different now.

    After qualifying for the 1934 World Cup, and withdrawing in 1938, the [U.S. Men's national team's] next World Cup participation came at the 1950 tournament, causing an upset by defeating England 10 in their second group match. After 1950, the US didn't qualify for the World Cup again until 1990.

    After the 1990 World Cup, the US qualified automatically as hosts of the 1994 World Cup, eventually losing to Brazil in the round of sixteen. From then on, the team has qualified for every World Cup since, up to and including the 2014 World Cup. The national team improved on an international level, reaching the quarter-finals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, where they lost to Germany 10. In 2009 they reached the final of the FIFA Confederations Cup, eliminating top-ranked Spain 20 in the semi-finals before losing to Brazil 32 in the final.
    In June, the U.S. team heads south to Brazil to try their luck again. Incredibly, based on where we started, we are no longer neophytes and party-crashers but a side that would make more news by failing to qualify for the Cup than by qualifying. That said, we are also still a goodly distance away--probably a good decade or two--from taking the next step to being a contender at the World Cup level. What we have done is establish ourselves as an opponent to be taken seriously, and a side that at any given Cup, depending on the draw, is a threat to advance beyond group play.

    In 2014 advancing will be, well, a bitch. The United States has drawn in their four-team group (Group D), Germany and Portugal, the 2nd and 3rd ranked teams in the world (the U.S. is 14th). The fourth squad, Ghana, is 38th, and the only team the U.S. will be favored to beat. Anyone who has watched the past few Cups, however, will know that no African team is to be taken lightly--the Ghanaians will be loose, fit, and play with reckless abandon. For the U.S. to have any chance to advance, they will need to keep their wits about them and defeat Ghana, then probably have to steal one outright from either Portugal or Germany. A draw against either of those powerhouses might give mathematical hope for advancing, but you wouldn't want to stake any body on it.

    So for those of you (us) who want to celebrate the World Cup here on BGO, you are cordially invited to do so here. In addition, please feel free to share your own soccer experiences, impressions, war stories, etc.

    Me? I have ties to four teams in the world's top 20 in this year's Cup. I'll live and die by the USMNT of course, for as long as they are alive, but I've also lived, and have in my blood, Argentina (7th), Chile (13th) and Mexico (19th).

    Que rico.

    *

    Some links for easy reference:

    2014 FIFA World Cup

    FIFA Rankings

    US Soccer

    *

    Oh, and a prediction for the Final:

    Brazil 2, Spain 1
    Last edited by Om; 05-16-14 at 11:21 AM.
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  2. #2

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    I'm definitely not a full time avid soccer fan but I get in to all the big events and any chance to be patriotic is one I'll jump at :-)

    Ooh Ess Aaay!
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  3. #3
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    Nice thread Om, will be tuning in. Now that Ashley Cole's been ditched, it's one less detestable turd in the England squad, making them vaguely likeable again. Problem is, they're perpetually hopeless. My ambition stops at 'watching some good games' for this tournament. My one to watch would be Everton's Ross Barkley. Potentially our Paul Gascoigne circa Italia '90 wildcard.

    Any USA 'under the radar' players to look out for?

    FIFA rankings, as I'm sure you know, are deeply, deeply flawed. Switzerland and Greece in the top 10 is laughable, and Portugal 3rd best in the world? Not a chance. The USA are a hard working and well organised side, (from the little I've seen of them!) and I'd give them a shout against Portugal. Ghana are very beatable. The Germans? Despite a bruising to the pride of their domestic game via the Champions League, I'd put them top 3 behind Spain and Brazil to win it. Think you might lose that one.

    Even without Alcantara and Valdes, Spain will be the team to beat. They are still head and shoulders above the rest of world football at the moment. If it was in Europe, not sure I'd have Brazil top 5... so Spain for me.
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  4. #4

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    UK, thought I might hear from you on this one.

    For the record, I would LOVE to see England make noise in 2014 ... that they have not been a powerhouse for as long as it has been has always been something of a mystery to me. Get on that, ok?

    Agreed that the rankings are, at best, flawed. We've lived with the rankings nonsense in college football here for so long that those meaningless numbers have somehow attained meaning. Still and all, I'm encouraged to hear from someone who has followed the international game better than I that you wouldn't be surprised to see us take Portugal.

    As to who will emerge as champion ... to me the host team, if it is a contender, gets a HUGE benefit of the doubt. I would never bet against, say, France, or Italy, or Germany, or Argentina, playing on their own soil. If had to bet my own money in 2014, I'd put it on Brazil. I DO love Germany's chances by the way; the only reason I didn't put them in the final is the bracket. I can't see Brazil or Germany not winning their groups ... so that dream matchup will have to be a semifinal (unless I'm recalling my bracket wrong).

    The Brazil vs Spain final I'm seeing may well come down to penalty kicks--it will be that close. I just can't get past my feeling that the home side, somehow and someway, will have angels on their shoulders.
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  5. #5

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    As far as guys for the US who will play well, obviously Dempsey, Altidore and Thomas need to have great tournaments, but I'm hoping this will be the breakout tournament for Wondolowski.

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    Huge World Cup fan here...I guess if there's good news for the US Men's squad, it's that every game will be do-or-die from the outset, so they'll be under a lot of pressure to be at their best. Not sure when things kick off, but hoping they are still involved during beach week Mark! We definitely need some of the younger guys to step it up and take it to the next level, having moved on from some of the more experienced vets (like Eddie Johnson).
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  7. #7

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    John, looks like we have to watch the Portugal (Sun. 22) and Germany (Thu. 26) games at the beach.

    One does what one must.

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  8. #8

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    Default

    Om, you beat me to this thread. I was looking at starting one in about a week.

    I'm stoked for every match, not just the US matches. The 2010 WC in South America is why I am soccer fan today (Spurs in the EPL and Galaxy in the MLS).

    I think the US can take both Ghana and Portugal. Hell, if they play it right, they might could take Germany. Frankly, I no longer believe any team is unbeatable by the US and I don't think there is a team in the world that looks forward to playing us. Sure, we aren't as difficult as some but we aren't pushovers anymore either and on any given day have the horses to win any match.

    This should be a fun one to watch.

    ESPN's new WC commercial
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  9. #9
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    I love this thread.

    I've been a soccer fan since players like Johan Cruyff played for the Dips. What an amazing time to be a kid in the DMV.

    I was lucky enough to see two Dips defenders fight over Pele's jersey in one of his final games. With three minutes left in the game, and I assume for his own safety, Pele threw his jersey onto the ground and ran off the field quickly. Two Dips defenders fought over his jersey, and ended up ripping it into two equal pieces.

    Dips/Cosmos was the bomb. That Cosmos team was loaded. Rodney Marsh with the Rowdies didn't suck either.

    I freaking love the World Cup. Hate Italy, love Gerrard UK and pulling for the US.
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  10. #10

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    I've probably mentioned this before, but we were Diplomats season ticket holders and went to every game until the NASL went defunct. I remember not only Cruyff, but Alan Green, Sonny Askew, a lot of other players. And yeah, the Cosmos games with sold-out RFK crowds (although to be honest, I think they gave about half the tickets away) were something to behold. I also saw Pele play several times at RFK.
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  11. #11
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    Well then Boone, you may have seen this guy get injured in a match before a Diplomats game at RFK. It was a scrimmage between us and the team a year older from the same town. They talked a lot of smack before the game because they were jealous we'd just won the State Championship...we tied 1-1 only because they scored on me after the player intentionally took me out, that did not get called, when we both went up for a ball in the air. I was the goalie and he outweighed me by about 30 pounds. I think I was 13 or 14.

    Anyway, the Diplomats were a huge part of my youth. I went to 2 Camp Git Yer Kicks that the Diplomats and Sonny Askew hosted. Funny...I forgot that name until you mentioned it. In the camp I attended that was hosted at RFK, I got an award for outstanding goalie my age group.

    As for this WC...I hate to say it, but the US is not getting past round one.
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    The more things change...the more they stay the same. It's like deja vu all over again.

  12. #12

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    Germany is good, no doubt, but if anyone can lead the US to an upset of the Germans, it's their former coach.

    Portugal, as noted, isn't nearly as good as their FIFA rank. The Americans have a really good shot against them.

    And frankly, they're due against Ghana.

    It's the overly biased homer in me for sure, but I could easily see the US getting out of the group stage. They will need Dempsey to play his best soccer yet, and Altidore and Wondo to also play extremely well.

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    This is different.

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    Florida Atlantic

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    Somewhat expected, but for the first time since 1998, Landon Donovan will not play for the US in the World Cup.

    Full roster: http://deadspin.com/heres-the-u-s-wo...ter-1580332296



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  17. #17
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    Last edited by Boone; 05-22-14 at 06:57 PM.
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    Marine Corps Virginia

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    So who are the leaders on this team now? Dempsey? Beasley? I don't recognize a lot of these young faces....
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    Dempsey became captain for the team last year, so his play will be huge.

    And Tim Howard in goal is awesome. We almost always (no thanks Tony Meola) seem to have great keepers.
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