World Cup 2014: open thread

by Chris Bertram on June 14, 2014

Despite there being a post on this very page entitled “What’s the score?”, we haven’t yet had a World Cup thread. So let’s rectify that anomaly now, before the England-Italy game. What to say so far? Bad refereeing. If Croatia’s goal was disallowed then so should have been the third Dutch one against Spain. Brazil were lucky. And Mexico had two perfectly good goals disallowed, so if they go out on goal difference at the end of the group stages, they’ll have a justifiable grievance. The goal of the tournament so far: Van Persie’s header against Spain. But there’s a long way to go. England: my prediction, they won’t make it past the group.



Sasha Clarkson 06.14.14 at 1:51 pm

The current Private Eye cover is brilliant! :D


Sasha Clarkson 06.14.14 at 1:55 pm

… as is John Oliver: The Sausage Principle, soccer as religion and FIFA.


Ronan(rf) 06.14.14 at 2:00 pm

This is my prediction for England in the WC : )


godoggo 06.14.14 at 2:16 pm


Neville Morley 06.14.14 at 2:30 pm

Thucydides suggests Argentina ahead of Germany, followed by Brazil and Spain – but that was before last night – and England to go out in the last 16 on penalties.


John Garrett 06.14.14 at 2:38 pm

Brazil was …. lucky? At home in the most corrupt major sport in the world (I’d argue it even beats boxing)…


Ronan(rf) 06.14.14 at 2:40 pm

Ah come on, Football isn’t the most corrupt major sport in the world. In certain respects FIFA are corrupt, for sure, but the games ain’t fixed.


Metatone 06.14.14 at 2:55 pm

It may be optimistic delusion, but I have the sneaking suspicion that Italy will find “New Model England” (and in particular Daniel Sturridge) more of a challenge than previous games against Albion.

I find the Spain game interesting because it would seem to show that counter-attacking teams have the advantage. Unfortunately, that may make for some boring games when two teams attempt to provoke the other into making the first move…


Agog 06.14.14 at 3:01 pm

“. . . some boring games”

Greece! That’s your cue!!


Agog 06.14.14 at 3:08 pm

Prediction: no Eastern Hemisphere nations to make it to the semi-finals. Except maybe Greece. A Brazil vs. Portugal final would be fun.


Agog 06.14.14 at 3:12 pm

Clarification: England, France, Spain, and Ghana all count as Eastern Hemisphere as part of the main territory of each lies within said half of the earth’s surface. Is that OK?


foosion 06.14.14 at 3:14 pm

Three decisive bad calls in favor of Brazil playing at home when FIFA really needs the Brazil populace to support the game (riots are not good for countries thinking of hosting) isn’t corrupt? It may be that you shouldn’t attribute to malice that which is explained by incompetence, but the refereeing went way beyond incompetence.


Agog 06.14.14 at 3:17 pm

And Algeria, sorry.

[If this thread were a game of Monopoly, I’d be doing OK]


Ronan(rf) 06.14.14 at 3:19 pm

And Portugal ? ; )


Agog 06.14.14 at 3:25 pm

Western, man!


Agog 06.14.14 at 3:33 pm

Prediction #2: Group G to finish with all four teams on four points. Portugal and USA qualify, somehow.


Ronan(rf) 06.14.14 at 3:40 pm


Agog 06.14.14 at 3:59 pm

Mmm, improbably I have Greece beating Chile 4-3 in the quarters, then losing 1-0 to Portugal, who go on to lose 5-0 to the USA in the final. This should in no way be construed as investment advice.


Ronan(rf) 06.14.14 at 4:11 pm

I dont know how it happened, but I got an Ireland/Brazil final. (With Messi drafted in on the grandmother rule)


Christiaan Hofman 06.14.14 at 5:26 pm

To Ronan(rf) #7:

Actually, there are increasingly rumors (and more!) that many games, or at least parts of them, are fixed by betting agencies. And FIFA just flatly refuses to investigate this. This makes them complicit. So you;re wrong, the games are fixed, and it’s partly a result of the corruption of FIFA.


Ronan(rf) 06.14.14 at 5:31 pm

At what level ? At the lower levels sure, but not so much in the top leagues(exception being the Juve scandal a few years ago) or major comps .. what are you thinking about specifically ? Match fixing occurs in a lot of sports at the lower levels, but not sure how you could even do it with any consistency in the top tiers?


Igor Belanov 06.14.14 at 6:21 pm

People are always very negative about England’s chances, I’m not entirely sure why. Holland beat Spain 5-1 yet only three Dutch players would even make it into England’s squad IMHO. Italy won the 2006 World Cup but were hardly well-fancied coming into it, while Greece managed to win the 2004 European Championships out of nowhere. Even if the result goes against England tonight, I think Uruguay will be relying on Suarez and Cavani to perform very well against England, because Forlan is injured and their captain Lugano can’t even get a game for West Brom.


js. 06.14.14 at 6:35 pm

The Van Persie header was jaw-droppingly outrageous. And the first Robben goal wasn’t half bad either.

I generally don’t rate England at all, but I think they’ll make it out of the group. If they can shut Pirlo down, they should win tonight. And that may not be as big of an if as it was a couple of years ago.


Ronan(rf) 06.14.14 at 7:25 pm

@22 – I think the negativity is usually in reaction to the *insane* expectations that are heaped on the team coming up to every major tournament. The prediction machine @17 tells me I think they’ll get to the 1/4s, but I don’t think there’s a chance of them winning. (Also their big stars are consistentally hyped, in my lifetime anyway from Beckham on .. I’m not sure if anyone has ever matched that hype, perhaps Gazza – though his best was before my time – perhaps at times Rooney, anyone else .. ? )

Whether they’re better than the Dutch ? I don’t really know the Dutch team well enough to say, though I watched the game with my Dutch uncle who was pretty optimistic from the start..(make of that what you will, ie probably better to disregard)


Harold 06.14.14 at 8:12 pm

Monty Python Philosopher Football


Igor Belanov 06.14.14 at 9:15 pm


Like the 2012 European Championships, there seems to be a lot less hype surrounding England this time compared to previous tournaments. I’ve heard many cynical comments about England’s prospects, not as many pubs are showing games on TV and there haven’t been anywhere near as many flags attached to houses and cars.
This regained sense of proportion makes the whole experience far more palatable for non-jingoist types like myself.


Hix 06.14.14 at 11:19 pm

Game fixing at the worldcup is very implausible. 2:1 for Italy btw.


Andrew Burday 06.15.14 at 12:03 am

If you are on Twitter and you aren’t already following him, you want to follow @tejucole. I normally couldn’t care less about kickballs, or whatever the hell this game is called, but Cole is actually making me interested.


John Quiggin 06.15.14 at 2:07 am

Now that Australia has lulled everyone into a false sense of security with our brave 3-1 loss to Chile, the fairytale narrative is set to commence, beginning with thrilling upset wins over Spain and Netherlands, and ending with the injury-time goal that gives us the Cup at last.


Andrew Burday 06.15.14 at 2:27 am

John Quiggin, 29, just a flesh wound, eh?

We’ll call it a draw.


Agog 06.15.14 at 1:34 pm

Good call re: Teju Cole, thanks. How’s his novel (Open City) – anyone?


Ronan(rf) 06.15.14 at 2:23 pm

Agog- I haven’t read Open City but his first book(which has only been released in English) ‘Every Day is for the Thief’, is pretty good.(and short)


Layman 06.15.14 at 2:38 pm

Cote D’Ivoire! Woof woof!


js. 06.15.14 at 9:23 pm

Hix @23: Nicely done!

I thought Italy looked way better on the field than they did on paper, but maybe I was just reading the paper wrong. Oh, and the Pirlo dummy on the first goal was glorious.


Agog 06.16.14 at 9:23 am

Ronan, thanks. One review I saw of Open City made a comparison with Sebald, which is interesting. Though I just finished, and enjoyed, Xavier Herbert’s Capricornia (which is maybe somewhere between Joseph Conrad and Jeffrey Archer), so maybe I’ll wait til my mood changes…


stostosto 06.16.14 at 1:49 pm

“Italy won the 2006 World Cup but were hardly well-fancied coming into it, while Greece managed to win the 2004 European Championships out of nowhere. “

Denmark 1992, anyone? (Also the Euro, not the WC, still definitely out of nowhere — they didn’t even qualify but were let in when Yugoslavia was excluded due to its war).


stostosto 06.16.14 at 1:54 pm

Chris’ o.p. says: “If Croatia’s goal was disallowed then so should have been the third Dutch one against Spain. Brazil were lucky. And Mexico had two perfectly good goals disallowed, so if they go out on goal difference at the end of the group stages, they’ll have a justifiable grievance. ”

I think the Brazilian penalty was the worst case of bad refereeing, by far, until now. Didn’t see the Mexican game, though.


Philip 06.18.14 at 7:50 pm

Great performance from Australia against The Netherlands, it’s looking like they’ll play spoon in a wooden spoon decider for the group (Cile currently 2-0 up) and might win it. I haven’t been impressed by Brazil in their first two games but I wouldn’t be surprised if they came good in the knockout games. Chile and Costa Rica have been surprisingly good, it’s shaping up to be a classic World Cup, hopefully England can add something to it.


Agog 06.19.14 at 8:30 am

Re: Australia, I saw Tim Cahill play at the New Den once ten years ago. He was rubbish: missed an easy chance.


js. 06.20.14 at 10:45 pm

After last weekend’s matches, I thought Uruguay made Costa Rica seem much better that than they actually are. Turns out that it was England making Italy look much better than they are!

Anyway, CB was right; I should’ve stuck with the generally not rating England at all.

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