Tuesday, June 29, 2010

World Cup Thoughts: Tuesday, June 29th

Paraguay 0, Japan 0 (Paraguay wins 5-3 on PKs)

It took 120 minutes and then some to figure out which one of these teams would advance to the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time in their histories, and Paraguay was the team able to get the job done. After a very chess-like (read: unexciting) two hours of soccer, the game was forced to be determined by ten shots on goal from 12 yards away. While the penalty shootout proves for great drama, I've always found it a little distracting that the game has to be settled in such an arbitrary way, but I guess if nobody can score for two straight hours then you have to do something different.

In shootouts, it's usually the team that makes the mistake that exits. Often times you'll see a shooter either miss wide or hit a crossbar before you'll see a goalkeeper come up with a big save. In this case, it was Japan's Yuichi Komano who hit the crossbar on his country's third try, and that was all that it took. Paraguay made all of their shots, and have advanced to a game against the winner of the afternoon's game, one which they will surely lose.

Spain 1, Portugal 0

Ronal-DOH! Homer Simpson said it best in the popular World Cup commercial, and now the entire country of Portugal will be saying it as well, as Portugal was eliminated from the cup by their neighboring Spain. It didn't come easy for the Spaniards as Portugal kept fighting off their relentless attack, but that shouldn't be a surprise since Portugal has yet to give up a goal this World Cup. That all changed though in the 63rd minute, when David Villa followed his own rebound off the goalkeeper to net the game's only goal and send Spain through to the semifinals.

Looking back at my initial World Cup predictions, I ended up getting six of the eight teams in the quarterfinals (even though I mistakenly referred to it as the semis because I don't proofread enough), and I actually got two of the matchups right. Here were my predictions matched up with the actual pairings:

Prediction: England over Uruguay
Actual: Uruguay vs. Ghana

Prediction: Netherlands over Brazil
Actual: Netherlands vs. Brazil

Prediction: Argentina over Germany
Actual: Argentina vs. Germany

Prediction: Spain over Italy
Actual: Spain vs. Paraguay

I'm really trying to figure out why I haven't been betting this thing along the way...

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