Tag Archives: Portugal

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.

European drama

12 Oct

Euro 2012 qualifiers continued today and I finally got to watch some of the action. (Yay for ESPN3 at work!) 

  • Germany absolutely dominated Kazakhstan and had Mesut Ozil been able to find the back of the net, the Germans could have won 7-0 instead of 3-0.   I love watching Germany play. They spread the field so well and move the ball up the field quickly on counterattacks. They currently sit top of their group with four wins out of four games.
  • In the same group, Azerbaijan upset Turkey, 1-0.  Turkey looked lackluster against Germany last week and obviously did not improve much today. Turkey can still qualify, but they have a lot less margin for error now.
  • Seriously, can Liverpool catch a break?  Both Dirk Kuyt and Daniel Agger picked up injuries playing for their respective countries and first reports say that Kuyt could be out until February.  However, I’m skeptical of that as he was able to walk off the field under his own power and did not look like he was in too much pain.  Guess we will just have to wait and see.
  • England was zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Oh, sorry, I fell asleep there. Yeah, that bad. Way to go Montenegro.
  • Spain was able to hold off a plucky Scotland, thanks to a late goal from Fernando Llorente. I have to give props to Scotland though for not sitting back against the defending champions of everything. They kept their calm after going down 2-0 and were close to pulling off a huge draw.
  • Robbie Keane missed a couple big chances to give Ireland a win over Slovakia.  He had a penalty saved and also skied a clear look at goal. Keane and Ireland had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
  • Of course all the teams I said that needed to win this week did. France, Portugal and the Czech Republic all got their campaigns back on track.
  • The Faroe Islands, yeah that team with a -13 goal difference and not a point to its name, frustrated Northern Ireland in a 1-1 draw. Way to go, little guys.
  • Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the chaos in Italy.  The match between Italy and Serbia had to be called off completely due to “crowd disturbances”. In other words, Serbian hooligans were throwing flares on the field towards their own team (I don’t get it either) and were generally causing massive amounts of trouble.  The game was originally delayed just over half an hour, but had to be abandoned only six minutes after starting. If you want a startling first-hand account, check out http://twitter.com/marcotti.

Euro qualifiers continue

8 Oct

Yes people, it’s time for another international break, which means it’s time for Euro qualifiers and a few friendlies scattered around the globe.  In Europe, France, the Czech Republic and Portugal are off to a rough start and would be helped greatly by wins this weekend. However, Denmark is no pushover for Portugal and Scotland can be dangerous for the Czechs. Germany and Turkey also play today in a rematch of the Euro semifinal in 2008 and it should be one of the day’s more intriguing match-ups. The day’s first result was a surprise as Armenia took out Slovakia, 3-1.

Elsewhere around the globe, the U.S. is playing Poland in a friendly on Saturday (since Poland automatically qualified as the host nation of Euro).  The U.S. has 13 players from the World Cup squad and is made up primarily of overseas players.  Brek Shea and Heath Pearce of FC Dallas are the exception.  Saturday’s game will be a chance for U.S. fans to finally see the first appearance of midfielder Jermaine Jones after many delays.

Euro qualifiers
October 8

Armenia 3:1 Slovakia (B)
Kazakhstan vs. Belgium (A)
Hungary vs. San Marino (E)
Andorra vs. Macedonia (B)
Georgia vs. Malta (F)
Cyprus vs. Norway (H)
Luxembourg vs. Belarus (D)
Czech Republic vs. Scotland (I)
Moldova vs. Netherlands (E)
Albania vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina (D)
Austria vs. Azerbaijan (A)
Serbia vs. Estonia (C)
Wales vs. Bulgaria (G)
Montenegro vs. Switzerland (G)
Germany vs. Turkey (A)
Northern Ireland vs. Italy (C)
Slovenia vs. Faroe Islands (C)
Ireland vs. Russia (B)
Greece vs. Latvia (F)
Portugal vs. Denmark (H)
Spain vs. Lithuania (I)

October 9
France vs. Romania (D)
Israel vs. Croatia (F)

World Cup results – June 29

29 Jun

We got our first penalty shootout of the tournament today as the remainder of the quarterfinal field was set.  Paraguay prevailed 5-3 on penalties after a boring 0-0 draw with Japan.  Yuichi Komano’s spot kick ricocheted off the cross bar and Paraguay’s Oscar Cardozo buried the game-winner to send the South American nation through.  With Paraguay’s win, four South American teams are in the quarterfinals for the first time ever.  There’s potential for the semifinals to be all-South American, but I think that’s rather unlikely.

Spain and Portugal battled it out for Iberian peninsula superiority (lame, I know, quarterfinal spot much more important) in the day’s second game.  Eduardo came up big in goal for Portugal after getting tested by David Villa and Fernando Torres in the first half.  After a scoreless first half, Spain broke through in the 63rd minute with who else but David Villa knocking in the game-winner.  Villa has now scored four of Spain’s five goals in the World Cup, not too shabby.  It was a solid display from Spain, but Portugal looked rather out of sorts on the offensive end of things.  Cristiano Ronaldo was hardly involved and that did not help their cause.

Tuesday, June 29 results
Paraguay 0 (5 pen)
Japan 0 (3 pen)

Spain 1 (Villa 63)
Portugal 0

Complete Quarterfinal field
Netherlands vs. Brazil – July 2 at 10 a.m.
Uruguay vs. Ghana – July 2 at 2:30 p.m.
Germany vs. Argentina – July 3 at 10 a.m.
Spain vs. Paraguay – July 3 at 2:30 p.m.

World Cup round of 16 set

25 Jun

The group stage is officially over and the round of 16 match-ups are all set. I made some predictions earlier at the beginning of the tournament and it turned out that I picked 13 of the 16 teams correctly, not too shabby. Anyways, there’s some very enticing matches coming up.  Germany and England has potential, as does Spain and Portugal.  Of course, at this stage, all the games should be close and exciting.  Let the drama begin!

Saturday, June 26
Uruguay vs. South Korea
USA vs. Ghana

Sunday, June 27
Germany vs. England
Argentina vs. Mexico

Monday, June 28
Netherlands vs. Slovakia
Brazil vs. Chile

Tuesday, June 29
Paraguay vs. Japan
Spain vs. Portugal

World Cup results – June 25

25 Jun

The final day of group games lacked any real drama.  In group G, Brazil and Portugal played a lackluster 0-0 draw to both advance to the round of 16.  Ivory Coast went out on a positive note, beating North Korea 3-0.  The Ivorians needed to make up a nine goal difference to surpass Portugal, a tall task by any stretch of the imagination.

In group H, every team was alive for a spot in the round of 16 going into today’s games.  Honduras and Switzerland each needed to win to have a chance at advancing, but it just wasn’t happening for either team as the game between the two ended in a 0-0 draw.  Spain clinched top spot in the group with a 2-1 win over Chile.  David Villa scored Spain’s first goal in rather spectacular fashion.  After Chile goalie Claudio Bravo cleared the ball way out of his area, Villa was in the right place to belt the ball into the empty net from about 50 yards out.   Andres Iniesta added the second only 13 minutes later.

Group G results
North Korea 0
Ivory Coast (Toure 14, Romaric 20, Kalou 82)

Portugal 0
Brazil 0

Group H results
Chile 1
Spain 2 (Villa 24, Iniesta 37)

Switzerland 0
Honduras 0

Final Group G standings
Brazil – 7 (+3)
Portugal – 5 (+7)
Ivory Coast – 4 (+1)
North Korea – 0 (-11)

Final Group H standings
Spain – 6 (+2)
Chile – 6 (+1)
Switzerland – 4 (0)
Honduras – 1 (-3)

Round of 16 matchups
Brazil vs. Chile
Spain vs. Portugal

World Cup results – June 21

22 Jun

Sorry for the delay in getting this posted.  Anyhoo, the biggest story of yesterday was Portugal’s 7-0 drubbing of North Korea.  After only scoring once in the first half, Portugal hit six in the second half.  Six different players scored with Tiago notching two.  With the loss, North Korea was officially eliminated from the tournament.  Portugal put itself in good position to advance as Ivory Coast would need to put at least 10 past North Korea to even have a chance.

Chile kept top spot in group H with a 1-0 win over Switzerland.  The Swiss played the last hour a man down after a dubious straight red card to Valon Behrami.  Mark Gonzalez scored Chile’s lone goal in 75th minute.  By all accounts, Chile should have put several more in the back of the net and the team’s lack of scoring could come back to haunt them as they only have a one goal advantage over second place Spain. 

Spain got a double from David Villa to notch a 2-0 win over Honduras.  Villa scored once in each half and had a chance for a hat trick but missed a penalty.  Honduras was completely outclassed in this match and if Spain had played like this against Switzerland, they probably would have won.  The last group game against Chile will be vital for Spain.

Group G results
Portugal 7 (Meireles 29, Simão 53, Almeida 56, Tiago 60, 89, Liedson 81, Ronaldo 87)
North Korea 0

Group H results
Chile 1 (Gonzalez 75)
Switzerland 0

Spain 2 (Villa 17, 51)
Honduras 0

Group G standings
Brazil – 6 (+3)
Portugal – 4 (+7)
Ivory Coast – 1 (-2)
North Korea – 0 (-8)

Group H standings
Chile – 6 (+2)
Spain – 3 (+1)
Switzerland – 3 (0)
Honduras – 0 (-3)