Tag Archives: Russia

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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Russia gets 2018, Qatar nabs 2022

2 Dec

Russia will host the World Cup in 2018, four years after hosting the Winter Olympics. In somewhat of a surprise move, Qatar earned the right to host the 2022 cup. As a fan, I’ve got to say that neither of those locations is particularly appealing. 115 degrees in July? No thanks. Anyways, I’m swamped right now, but I will elaborate on the phenomenal choices of the FIFA Executive Committee later tonight.

Get excited for World Cup host announcements

30 Nov

Forget Brazil 2014. Well, for now. Right now, it’s all about who will host the World Cup in 2018 and 2022. The U.S. is gunning for the 2022 bid along with Australia, Korea, Qatar and Japan. The 2018 Cup will be decided between Russia, England, Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Netherlands. It’s looking like the U.S. is the favorite for 2022, but take that with a grain of salt.  The U.S. was also thought to be the favorite to land the Olympics in 2016 but ended up being eliminated in the first round of voting (granted a different voting body).

The 1994 World Cup was the most successful ever, in terms of attendance. If anything, the game has grown in this country since then so I would imagine even more interest in the beautiful game.  There’s not a lot of work to do as far as transportation or stadiums since they are already in place in all the possible host cities.  Of course, I would love for the World Cup to come back to the U.S.; I didn’t get to go in 1994, a fact I am still bitter about.

However, I would gladly attend a World Cup in Australia too.  The Aussies ran an extremely successful Olympic games in 2000, so there’s no reason to think they couldn’t pull off a World Cup despite having never hosted.  Korea and Japan combined to host the event in 2002, so it would be only 20 years between Asian World Cups, which doesn’t exactly seem fair to me.  Qatar is somewhat of an enigma. The country has spent a ton of money on celebrity endorsements as well as state of the art technology for stadiums, but is the size and politics of the country ready for the world’s biggest party?

England hasn’t hosted since 1966, but allegations of corruption and other shady dealings have dealt somewhat of a blow to the country’s bid.  Russia  has come on strong, while FIFA is said to be wanting to get away from joint bids. (That might be the worst sentence ever written.)

The annoucement of the hosts for 2018 and 2022 will be on Thursday, Dec. 2. It will be shown live at 10:00 a.m. (EST) on Fox Soccer Channel, ESPN, Univision, ESPN Deportes, CNN International and fifa.com.

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)

Big weekend for World Cup qualifiers

9 Oct

More spots in South Africa are up for grabs this weekend.  In CONCACAF, the US, Honduras and Mexico all  have a chance to clinch a place tomorrow.  The big match in Europe is Russia hosting Germany.  The winner of that match is through to South Africa, while the loser heads to a playoff. A winner has yet to emerge in five of the groups in Europe.  South America is home to a tight race as well.  While Brazil and Paraguay have already qualified, the final 2 1/2 spots are up for grabs in a very tight race that will come down to the final matches.  Bahrain and New Zealand start their two-legged playoff tomorrow as well.  In Africa, only Ghana has made it through so far.  The rest of the groups are still up in the air.

There’s a lot of excellent soccer to be played this weekend.  It’s hard to believe how many spots (22 to be exact) are still open.  It’ll be exciting to see who else books a place in the finals…only 243 days away!

Already in (10):

Australia, Brazil, England, Ghana, Japan, Netherlands, North Korea, Paraguay, South Korea, Spain