Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Waning Seconds: Groups C & D

Let's take a quick glimpse at exactly what must be done for teams to qualify, or, in the case of others not heading in to the last round of matches.

Costa Rica V.s. England
Coming into the cup if you had said that one of these teams would be qualified and the other would be mulling whether to prolong their vacation or head home, you'd have heard most Brits agree with you...but it's the Lions heading home and Los Ticos preparing for the next stage. Like Colombia, Costa Rica needs to decide how much to push versus how much to rest, luckily so does England.

Italy V.s. Uruguay
Here's a tantalizing match up. Both teams need points to get the second spot in the group (and could-- with a theoretically large enough margin of victory and a British win over Costa Rica--top the group themselves and avoid Colombia). Italy could be through with a draw but Uruguay won't just let that happen, and since Pirlo has been proficient at picking out strikers on long breaks, bank on the Azurri to let their rivals bring it on, in the hope of springing an attack right after.

Colombia V.s. Japan
Los Cafeteros are already through, but have been in fantastic form, so their question is do they keep the momentum going and build up to the next round, or do they hold back and rest for the pressure to come? That decision will have a major effect on Japan who has been sloppy and floppy in their last three halves of football. They need a win to have any chance at all, and don't look close to getting it from a full strength Colombia.

Cote D'Ivoire V.s. Greece
Les Elephants are on the verge of finally breaking through, finally giving Didier Drogba the knockout round shot he's deserved for 8 years. A draw would be a start--though they can't stand to see a two goal margin in Japan's favor as that would knock them out regardless of their victory over the Samurai, so it's safer to go for victory again. The Greeks are somehow still clinging to life, though they need both a win over the far more organized and energetic Ivorians and a Colombian win/draw against Japan. That's a lofty order, and the only thing lofty about the Greeks at the moment is their age.

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