Thursday, June 26, 2014

USA vs. Germany, Ghana In Chaos, Suárez Gets Four-Month Ban

Today's Schedule

We're freaking out! It all goes down today for the USA as they face Germany and attempt to advance beyond the Group Stage. And deal with a lot of rain. Can't watch the match? Come on, The Diving German took the time to write you an excuse!

Meanwhile, Ghana are in chaos after Sulley and Prince were sent home for getting really angry, apparently. The question begs, did they get any of the cash before they left Brazil?

Before we delve further into today's menu, let's review yesterday's events. France won Group E and Switzerland finished second. Argentina won Group F and Nigeria finished second. Here's your lot:

Argentina 3 - 2 Nigeria

Bosnia 3 - 1 Iran

France 0 - 0 Ecuador

Switzerland 3 - 0 Honduras

Amy Lawrence is wondering if Nigeria will be the only African team to advance. Let's hope not!

Luis Suárez: the brainwashing, the buck-passing, the deception. Daniel Taylor is in Rio an on the case as things continue to confound.

And...he's banned for four months. Good.

Michael Cox loves to write about tactics. Which is good for us, because we enjoy reading about tactics. Here's what he's got today: From Costa Rica to Holland, five World Cup teams with element of surprise.

USA vs. Germany
Marcus Christenson: Klinsmann and Löw face off
Roger Bennett: Judgement Day

Portugal vs. Ghana

South Korea vs. Belgium

Algeria vs. Russia

Oh, dear. We've gotta run. Here: The Mill. Plus One.



Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Bite Heard 'Round The World, Late Greece Penalty = Côte d'Ivoire Tragedy, Nigeria vs. Argentina

Today's Schedule

Some things are really weird. Like adults who bite people on a regular basis. Uruguay and Italy played an insufferably boring match filled fouls, dives, and whining. And then The Cannibal reared his ugly head and all hell broke loose (unless you're from Uruguay). We took a poll here at SSN Headquarters (we love doing that) and we all agree that the Ajax bite is still the best:

That said, this one was during a World Cup match, so... Anyway, Paolo Bandini was at the Estádio das Dunas and filed this report. As you might expect, the Interwebs are all aflutter. Ben Smith of the BBC was there, too, and his report is excellent. Surreal is a word that was floating around SSN Headquarters yesterday. Apparently, we're on the same wavelength as Jeff Carlisle.

That's enough of that for now. Let's hope SPECTRE FIFA have the guts to ban one of the stars of the tournament.

So, Italy go home and Pirlo's international career is over. That's rather sad. Zico thinks Italy paid the price for over-reliance on Pirlo and must rebuild. No argument here. Elsewhere, Greece pulled a shocker over Ivory Coast thanks to a late Samaras penalty. At first it looked like he'd dived, but upon further inspection, as he was preparing to shoot his foot hit the defender. Tough on Ivory Coast, but Greece were probably the better side on the day. Here's a report. And here's the Samaras incident:

In other action, Colombia won their group by brushing aside Japan, and England (snore) and Costa Rica failed to score. Here's a review of all of yesterday's action. Talking Points? Why, yes. There are a few. And, quite simply, what the hell happened yesterday?

There are four more matches today, as noted in The Schedule above. Nigeria/Argentina looks the most tasty on paper, while France and Ecuador could entertain. There's plenty to play for today. Here are some previews:

Nigeria vs. Argentina: Preview + Paul Merson's Prediction
Nigeria vs. Argentina: 50-50 Challenge

Honduras vs. Switzerland: Preview + Paul Merson's Prediction

U.S. fans have represented well down in Brazil. Why? How? Take a look. Also representing down in Brazil are players who play in Major League Soccer. Grant Wahl says they're representing quite well, in fact.

We need to check in on the latest gossip and rumors. And rumours. The Mill. Plus One.

Let's end today with some fun stuff, shall we? How about Five Crazy Things You Missed? Good.



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Brazil = 1, Mexico = 2, Holland = 1, Chile = 2, Italy vs. Uruguay Is The Biggie Today

Greetings, friends! By popular demand, we're going to begin today with The Schedule. Check it:

Got it? Good. We'll get to previews for the above later. Let's rewind first. Mexico continued to make CONCACAF proud by dispatching of Croatia and advancing to the Round of 16 and providing a new media darling in the form of their gaffer, Miguel Herrera. Neymar saved Brazil's blushes (they have issues, people) and, as expected, the hosts topped their group. The Holland/Chile clash was a bit of a bust as the Dutch cruised. And Spain? They won a match.

Brazil 4 - 1 Colombia: Stuart James at Estádio Nacional

Mexico 3 - 1 Croatia: Report
Andrea Canales: Mexico move on

Netherlands 2 - 0 Chile: Report

Sid Lowe is down in Brazil and since Spain is caput, he's changed his focus to Argentina. Take a look. Eduardo Alvarez is still thinking about Spain, however. Here are Five Things Del Bosque got wrong, according to Señor Alvarez.

See the link above for more fun with Miguel Herrera.
Amy Lawrence wants to talk about Arjen Robben. If it were anyone else, we'd balk, but since it's Amy, we'll allow it. She thinks that at the age of 52 30, Robben has FINALLY matured.

You want some Talking Points? Done.

As promised, previews for today's action!

Italy vs. Uruguay: Preview
Italy vs. Uruguay: Preview II

Costa Rica vs. England: Preview + Paul Merson's Prediction
Gabriele Marcotti: The rise of Jorge Luis Pinto

Greece vs. Ivory Coast: Preview + Paul Merson's Prediction

Let's go back to the USA for a moment. Michael Bradley has justifiably been criticized for playing below his usual high standard. Jeff Carlisle takes a closer look at the Yanks...and Bradley. 

"We play Japan today."
"We play Colombia today."
It is still the Silly Season, folks, so let's get to the gossip: The Mill. Plus One.




Monday, June 23, 2014

Best World Cup Ever

We thank you for your support.
OK, OK, so the refs have been atrocious at times, but the play has been spectacular. How many tournaments over the years have featured boring, conservative play? Most. Not this year. With a few exceptions (Belgium, we're looking at you), these countries have, quite simply, gone for it, and it's been a joy to behold.

Right. So, we're back. SSN Headquarters is once again fully staffed and we'll attempt to get back up and running with today's post. There is nowhere to begin but with the USA and Portugal. Ronaldo was ass, but even on his assiest day he can deliver a sick cross to break Yank hearts. And Michael Bradley? What's up with him? He's been poor, that's what's up. When he lost the ball in the middle of the pitch in stoppage time, we knew it was trouble. And it was. Let' get to the the fun.

Grant Wahl: Five Thoughts
Doug McIntire: Three Points

Here's what might happen if things happen that could happen:

Germany: Advance with win/draw vs. USA
United States: Advance with win/draw vs. GER
Portugal: Advance with win vs. GHA AND GER/USA do not tie, IF POR wins tiebreak with loser (see below)
Ghana: Advance with win vs. POR AND GER/USA do not tie, IF GHA wins tiebreak with loser (see below)

Win/draw vs. Germany
Loss and Portugal-Ghana draw
Loss and win tiebreaker vs. Portugal-Ghana winner

Germany and Ghana drew 2-2. Some German fans showed up in black face. Nice.

Men In Blazers has a nice compilation of headlines from a cross the country here. The Guardian covers the social media insanity here.

World Cup Talking Points? Bam. The BBC has a guide to the beautiful, the terrible & the funny of the World Cup. And we shall share it.

This guy...

Guess who else isn't pleased with SPECTRE FIFA? Dutch manager Louis van Gaal, that's who.

Oh, right. England and Spain are already out. Hah! No need for additional coverage of their failures here, but suffice to say, nobody at SSN Headquarters is shedding any tears. Wait, Nick Hornby has a piece about England's failure? We'll gladly make an exception for Sir Nick!

Let's play some more, shall we? Here's your lot for today:

Australia vs. Spain at who really cares?

Netherlands vs. Chile at 12:00pm EDT on ESPN
Gabriele Marcotti: Assessing Netherlands and Chile

Cameroon vs. Brazil at 4pm EDT on ESPN2

Croatia vs. Mexico at 4pm on ESPN

Predictions from these two clowns for the entire final round of the group stage:

And finally...because we need to ease back into the mode...Here's what the rest of the world thinks about American soccer fans.