I guess many new soccer fans at home are wondering how you can lose a game and still win and I am equally sure that the talking heads on TV have been all over it.
I expect John Stewart, who played soccer at William and Mary, is spoofing it big time. But, it is no different than many sports that have play-in procedures to narrow the field before starting the single elimination games.
The simple version here is that you get 3 points for a win and 1 point for a tie. The top two teams in a group go on. By winning yesterday Germany had two wins and one tie for7 points. The US and Portugal both had one win, one tie and one loss and so were tied with 4 points.
The tiebreaker is determined by which team scored the most goals for and gave up the least goals. Portugal had to win by more goals than they got to catch us. If Ghana had won 2-1 yesterday, they would have gone through instead of us.
We don’t like Christiano Ronaldo for crossing the ball to the scorer for Portugal at the last seconds against us, but we thank him for scoring the needed goal for Portugal to win and send us through to the next round.
Of course, if we had lost to Germany by more than one goal, we would have had a problem too. Our defense stood tall against Germany all day and we sure had our chances to score.
Next we go to Salvador to play Belgium. Remember when I started this, I picked Belgium as a team to watch to surprise everybody. They are the second youngest team with an average age of 25. Their defense is led by Vincent Kompany who plays central defender for Manchester City in England where they won the premiership just a short time ago. One of their midfield players is Edin Hazard who plays for Chelsea and was premiership Young Player of the Year this year. In all, 11 of their 23 players play in England for top clubs.
The most visible player is the tall one with the Afro hairdo, Maruane Fellani. He is very good in the middle and often scores goals with his head on set plays, like corner kicks. He will be a challenge for either Jeff Cameron or Omar Gonzalez to mark in the box.
All of Brazil is focused on their next match with Chile, but they are also speculating about a Brazil vs. Argentina final. The Argentines have come over the border and envaded every fan festival in Rio, even when they did not have tickets. It is a rivalry like any great one and they talk about each other about like UNC and Dook. Might be a great game, if it ever gets to that. The stars Messi and Neymar, jr would truly have a time to shine worldwide.
The other fans we see everywhere are Mexicans. They are like “cucarachas”, they turn up everywhere. There is a cruise ship anchored here in Recife that brought 5,000 Mexicans to Brazil and turned them loose here to fly to their games or all over the country.
Speaking of flights, we are off tonight for another one of those crazy overnight flights. We leave at 2:45 AM and arrive in Rio at 6AM. Believe me we did not plan that to save on hotel costs, but that is about the only benefit. Hope I recover in Rio faster than I did here after another one of those night flights because tomorrow is going to busy in Rio and all will stop for the Brazil v Chile match.
Our game in the famous Maracana stadium will be the second game of the day between Uruguay and Columbia. We will be late getting there because we can’t leave until after the Brazil game is over.
I will leave you with the rumor of the Cup that the 2022 World Cup which had been awarded to Qatar will probably be withdrawn due to controversy over corrupted officials being paid off to vote for it and the great heat problems there too. Right now the rumors are that at their next Executive Meeting, FIFA will award the 2022 World Cup to the United States.