Tag Archives: Costa Rica

2014 World Cup Draw Set

6 Dec

Yeah, I know, it’s been forever and a day since I actually posted anything, but the World Cup makes a person want to blog again, if only to complain about how rough the US has it.  Anyway, the ridiculously drawn out official draw was today and while yeah, the US has it rough, spare a thought for the Aussies, who have an even tougher go.  And while almost everyone can complain about the groups right now, in the end it’s all about what happens on the field.  Anything can happen on any given day and that’s one of the things that makes the World Cup (and sports in general) so awesome.

Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon

Group B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia

Group C: Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan

Group D: Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy

Group E: Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras

Group F: Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria

Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA

Group H: Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea

I’ll admit that my initial thoughts were that the USA was on the receiving end of a brutal draw (In fact I think my exact words were ‘holy shit’).  But after thinking about it a little bit, I don’t think it’s nearly as bad as it could’ve been.  I think it’s great that the US will open against Ghana.  It’s going to be huge for the Yanks to start the tournament well and if they can do so against a team that’s knocked them out of the last two World Cups, so much the better.  There’s no doubt they’ll have the motivation to take down Ghana.  Portugal is tough, even if they only qualified through the strength of one Mr. Ronaldo, but I do think they are beatable if the US can play an entire 90 minutes.  I believe that Germany is the top team in the group and probably one of the favorites for the tournament.  That will be interesting if only for the storyline of Klinsmann taking on his home country.  I’ll chalk that one up for a German victory.

As I’ve said in the past, the key to US success on the big stage is putting together a solid 90 minutes. They can’t afford to have lapses and give up early goals like they did against England, Slovenia, Ghana x2 last time around.  Coming from behind to win/draw is not a sustainable model for success. The US has been playing well in the past year and I think Klinsmann’s system is finally starting to click.  It’s just a matter of whether they can show up when it really counts and play consistent football.

Now for the extremely premature predictions.  Of course a team’s chances could go to hell in a handbasket pretty quick with a couple key injuries and we all know that there is a lot of football to be played before we get to Brazil.  But based on how things stand currently, this is what my gut says:

Advance to second round (1st, 2nd)

Group A: Brazil, Croatia

Group B: Spain, Chile

Group C: Colombia, Japan

Group D: Italy, England

Group E: France, Honduras

Group F: Argentina, Nigeria

Group G: Germany, USA

Group H: Belgium, South Korea

Knockout

A1 vs. B2: Brazil vs. Chile – Brazil

A2 vs. B1: Spain vs. Croatia – Spain

C1 vs. D2: Colombia vs. England – Colombia

C2 vs. D1: Japan vs. Italy – Italy

E1 vs. F2: France vs. Nigeria – France

E2 vs. F1: Honduras vs. Argentina – Argentina

G1 vs. H2: Germany vs. South Korea – Germany

G2 vs. H1: USA vs. Belgium – Belgium

Round of 8

Brazil vs. Colombia – Brazil

France vs. Germany – Germany

Spain vs. Italy – Spain

Argentina vs. Belgium – Argentina

Semifinals

Brazil vs. Germany – Brazil

Spain vs. Argentina – Spain

Final

Brazil vs. Spain – Brazil

Going with the home country in this one.  France was the last team to lift the World Cup in their home country, but I think Brazil has the talent to get it done.  Spain’s got the experience though and Brazil will be under mountains of pressure, so I anticipate this final going down to the last minutes.

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World Cup field to be finalized Wednesday

17 Nov

The final six spots in the 2010 World Cup will be decided Wednesday.  Ohhhh the drama.  Nigeria, Cameroon and New Zealand clinched spots over the weekend.

Wednesday’s matches
Ukraine vs. Greece (0-0 aggregate)
Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Portugal (Portugal leads 1-0 aggregate)
Slovenia vs. Russia (Russia leads 2-1 aggregate)
Uruguay vs. Costa Rica (Uruguay leads 1-0 aggregate)
France vs. Ireland (France leads 1-0 aggregate)
Algeria vs. Egypt

Nine World Cup spots still up for grabs

13 Nov

23 teams are in. Nine more to go before the field in South Africa is complete. There’s going to be a lot of drama this weekend. In Africa, this weekend’s games will determine the three country that will advance to the finals. New Zealand and Bahrain will be playing a winner take all game since the first leg ended in a 0-0 tie, while European qualification begins the two-legged playoffs. Costa Rica and Uruguay will also kick off a two-legged playoff.

Teams already in: Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, United States, Mexico, Honduras, Denmark, Switzerland, Slovakia, Germany, Spain, England, Serbia, Italy, Netherlands, Australia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, South Africa, Ghana, Ivory Coast

Saturday’s qualifiers (11/14)
AFRICA
Mozambique vs. Tunisia
Togo vs. Gabon
Morocco vs. Cameroon
Rwanda vs. Zambia
Kenya vs. Nigeria
Burkina Faso vs. Malawi
Côte d’Ivoire vs. Guinea
Egypt vs. Algeria
Sudan vs. Benin

EUROPE (1st leg)
Russia vs. Slovenia – 10:55 a.m. ET/Setanta (Live)
Ireland vs. France
Greece vs. Ukraine – 1 p.m. ET/Setanta (Live)
Portugal vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina – 3:25 p.m. ET/Setanta (Live)

NORTH & CENTRAL AMERICA/SOUTH AMERICA PLAYOFF (1st leg)
Costa Rica vs. Uruguay

ASIA/OCEANIA PLAYOFF (2nd leg)
New Zealand vs. Bahrain – 2 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)

The USA is World Cup bound! (And so are seven other nations)

11 Oct

The United States scored three times in 13 minutes to defeat Honduras, 3-2 and clinch a spot in South Africa.  The Americans went down 1-0 immediately after halftime, but came back to score three straight.  Conor Casey scored the first two and Landon Donovan added the third on a free kick.  Honduras pulled one back minutes later.  The Hondurans had a chance to tie the game after being awarded a penalty for a handball in the box, but Carlos Pavon put the kick over the bar.  It was a huge win for the US as they clinched a spot in the finals and also showed that they could win in a hostile environment.

Mexico also booked their ticket to the final with a 4-1 win over El Salvador.  Wednesday’s US vs. Costa Rica game will be a big one for Costa Rica as they currently sit third.  If they beat the US, they will be in.

The teams that clinched spots on Saturday:  Ivory Coast, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Serbia, Mexico, USA, Chile

U.S. announces roster for final World Cup qualifiers

1 Oct

United States head coach Bob Bradley has announced his 22-man squad for the final two World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Costa Rica. The U.S. is currently in first place in CONCACAF and only needs to manage a draw against Costa Rica to finish in the top three. That’s no easy task though as the U.S. plays in Honduras (site of major political unrest and protesting and even without that, the U.S. struggles on the road) and hosts Costa Rica (a team that beat the Yanks, 3-1, earlier this year).

There’s no real surprises in the squad and I don’t think there will be any changes to the usual starting lineup.

GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton)
DEFENDERS (7): Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan), Jonathan Spector (West Ham)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), José Francisco Torres (Pachuca)
FORWARDS (6): Jozy Altidore (Hull City), Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Kenny Cooper (1860 Munich), Charlie Davies (FC Sochaux), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy)

U.S. wins; three more nations clinch spots in the finals

9 Sep

Trinidad and Tobago US WCup SoccerThe U.S. defeated Trinidad & Tobago tonight, 1-0, thanks to a 62nd minute Ricardo Clark goal (off a Landon Donovan assist of course).  The only way to describe their play is consistently inconsistent.  To quote Forrest Gump –  “You never know what you’re gonna get.”  Are you going to get the team that beat Spain or are you going to get the team that struggles against teams like Trinidad?  It’s frustrating to say the least, but props to the team for getting three points on the road.  This was a must win game for the U.S. and while it wasn’t pretty, they were able to get the job done.  The victory assures the U.S. at least a place in the 4th place playoff, but there’s still two more games to go, so it’s all still up in the air.  In the other CONCACAF games, Mexico beat Honduras, 1-0, to move into second place and El Salvador beat a reeling Costa Rica, 1-0.  The standings now look like this:

1. USA, 16 points (+5 goal difference)
2. Mexico, 15 points (+3)
3. Honduras, 13 points (+6)
4. Costa Rica, 12 points (-4)
———————–
5. El Salvador, 8 points (-2)
6. Trinidad & Tobago, 5 points (-8)

In other World Cup qualification news, there are now 11 teams that have made it to the finals.  England dismantled Croatia, 5-1, to book their spot, while European champ Spain is also headed to South Africa.  Out of the South America region, Paraguay earned a spot thanks to a 1-0 win over Argentina.

U.S. plays at Trinidad & Tobago Wednesday

8 Sep

World Cup qualifying continues for the U.S. as the team plays at Trinidad & Tobago Wednesday night (8 p.m. ET/ESPN Classic).  It’s a huge game for the U.S. as they need to win in order to separate themselves from the following mess:

1. Honduras, 13 points (GD +7)
2. U.S.A., 13 points (+4)
3. Mexico, 12 points (+2)
4. Costa Rica, 12 points (-3)
———————-
5. El Salvador, 5 points (-3)
6. Trinidad & Tobago, 5 points, (-7)

The Yanks are coming off a 2-1 come-from-behind victory against El Salvador. Getting three points on the road against a struggling Trinidad team will be clutch for the U.S. since their final two qualifiers are at Honduras and hosting Costa Rica.

The U.S. needs to come out and play strong the entire game. Lapses in concentration have allowed teams to get on the board first, and the U.S. needs to remedy that worrisome pattern. There also needs to be more consistency on defense. By that I mean: better communication and better clearances (ya know, like actually giving the ball to a U.S. teammate). And like I say every game, they need to finish their chances in front of goal. Too often, players miss a wide open look (I’m looking at you, Clint Dempsey).

In other hexagonal action, El Salvador hosts Costa Rica and Honduras plays at Mexico.