More World Cup Thoughts

Well, the first round finished, with all matches going roughly as predicted. I was surprised Paraguay and Japan came down to penalty kicks (the worst way ever to break a deadlock, I think). And Paraguay is now up to 326 minutes without allowing a goal in World Cup play; only 130 minutes or so from the record.

But I started looking back yesterday, and was interested to note a few things. Theoretically, the world rankings should be fairly indicative of talent, so we'd expect the top thirty-two teams to make it.

Surprises coming in
Missed out Made it in
Rank Name Rank Name
10 Croatia 34 Slovakia
11 Russia 36 Denmark
12 Egypt 38 Honduras
22 Norway 45 Japan
23 Ukraine 47 South Korea
26 Israel 78 New Zealand
28 Romania 83 South Africa
29 Turkey 105 North Korea

And, of course, #9 France only made it on a handball goal.

Getting out of the group stage, there were more surprises:

Group Stage
Missed out Made it in
Rank Name Rank Name
5 Italy 17 Mexico
9 France 18 Chile
13 Greece 31 Paraguay
15 Serbia 32 Ghana
34 Slovakia
45 Japan
47 South Korea

And moving to the round of eight, we've got:

Group Stage
Missed out Made it in
Rank Name Rank Name
3 Portugal 16 Uruguay
8 England 31 Paraguay
32 Ghana

So what does all this tell us?

Not a whole lot, I think, but it's interesting to see how these things play out. That is why they play the games, of course.

So who do I like, going forward? I'm picking Uruguay, Argentina, Netherlands, and Spain to move on.

And man, what about all the blown calls in the latest round? Spain and Argentina score while offsides, and England loses a legitimate goal. I've got to think that that's a record for most blown calls in one round. Portugal, in particular, was really hosed by that, given that that was the decisive goal.

And I love FIFA's reaction: we won't show the replay on the jumbotron in the stadium. Some people will never learn. How about something like, "We're not going to change the rules in the middle of a tournament, but we'll look in to reasonable changes to prevent this happening again once the Cup has been awarded." Is that just too easy?

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