Thursday, June 26, 2014

Waning Seconds: Groups G & H

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.

Germany V.s. USA
The Germans and the Yanks are in prime position to qualify, if they just draw with each other they both move on. The conspiracy theorists were in heated supposition within three minutes of Portugal's equalizer, and until the match actually kicks off they'll stay just that tightly wound. It would like take a bit of German support to keep it close as the US will be coming in from the sweltering heat of Manaus on just three days rest after a gutting tie. But if they can just muster a point, they avoid the wait-and-see-hope-for-goal-differential game.

Ghana V.s Portugal
Both the Black Stars and the Portugese need some help from the other match. A slaughter of either side is the only thing to save Portugal's lousy goal differential (though their own victory would be a big help)..the truth is that these evenly matched sides may well play to a draw themselves, but that will be no help at all.

South Korea V.s. Belgium
The Taeguk Warriors have to get a win, and have not looked capable of it. But with Belgium on to the next round, they may be able to spring a surprising result and use that to their advantage. Even if Belgium doesn't rest up for the next round, they've scuffled against both the gritty Algerians and the haphazard Russians, so a win is not out of the question.

Russia V.s. Algeria
Russia HAS to get a win against Algeria, and at the start of the Cup I had predicted that Algeria would knock them out for good with a draw. I didn't think that a draw would be all Les Fennecs needed for a second place finish, but low and behold, that's the case. Whether Fabio Capello rediscovers his master touch, or the Algerians sort out another shock result, it's all up for grabs in the final match of the first round.

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