Thursday, 26 June 2014

The Last Rites of the First Rouind

The Brazilian language is based on Portuguese as opposed to Spanish, as Brazil was a colony of Portugal from the year 1500 until independence in 1822. Today, we are likely to witness the exit of the mother country, Portugal who only have a very slim chance of going through as the final day of first round matches kicks off at 16.00 GMT with Portugal V Ghana and Germany V USA.

The first part of the equation is simple, if the game between Germany and USA ends in a stalemate, both those teams will advance and the result in the Portugal game will be academic. The USA are managed by Jurgen Klinsmann, a talismanic German striker in his time, and who also happened to be the previous manager of the NationalMannSchaft and there are suggestions, of course strongly denied by all involved, that both teams would be happy with a draw and may play so.

How can this be, I hear you all shout. Well there is previous for this. The reason both final group games are played at the same time which one would think is not good for television, as the viewers have to choose a match to watch, is that in 1982, the then West Germany played Austria in a game where all that was needed was a 1-0 victory by the Germans for both teams to advance at the expense of Algeria who had played the day before.
The Germans scored after 10 minutes and did not create another chance, and the game became known as the Nichtangriffspakt Von Gij√≥n (Non-aggression pact of Gijon) or in Algeria, as the Anschluss, after the unification of Germany and Austria enacted by the Nazis in 1938.

Now I am not a conspiracy theory type of guy, but there are a lot of people out there who are. Mesut Ozil the German midfielder who is a descendant of Turkish Gastarbeiter was quoted on ESPN as saying that Germany will not be playing for a draw. The mere fact that he did this lends weight to those conspiracy theory lovers.

Of course all the above will be irrelevant if there is a positive result in this game. I am going for a win for the NationalMannschaft.

2 to watch Clint Dempsey and Thomas Muller

Assuming as I wrote that there is a result in the above game, then the Portugal V Ghana game takes on more significance. It is a little complicated as goal difference features in a large way. If Germany and Ghana both win 1-0 then Germany and USA would go through as goal difference and goals scored would be identical, but Ghana lost to the USA. The same outcome but not both 1-0 would see Ghana through. 

Of course USA could beat Germany, but at the moment the Shermans have a +4 goal difference which should see them safe even with a defeat. What about Portugal, they need to win by 5 goals to have a chance of qualifying.   2 to watch The Ayew brothers for Ghana

Ghana to win, but not maybe go through

The final games of the first stage 20.00 GMT see Belgium who are already through take on S Korea who have been disappointing so far and Russia face the surprisingly good Algeria. Algeria only need a point to progress.  A win for Belgium and Algeria getting what they need are my predictions here.

2 to watch Origi for Belgium and Feghouli for Algeria, the other teams are not worth watching


  1. way to go out on a limb there... "Ghana to win but maybe not to go through". portugal is playing for a lot of pride. they barely eked out a tie against the 13th ranked team in the world (portugal was fourth coming in and germany second: so now the portuguese want to show everyone who's the boss. ronaldo hasn't really left his mark on the tournament and he is obviously not 100% fit- but his bugaboo has scored 4 goals- he wants to get his.

    portugal wins this one....

    1. sjmybt, thank you for your interesting comments, you are obviously American , glad to see you know a little about football. By Bugaboo, I assume you are refering to Messi, (not everyone who reads your comment would have known that). it is precisely because Ronaldo is not 100% fit that he will not leave his mark on the tournament. At Real Madrid , he is supported by Bale, Benzema and Di Maria, with Portugal he is supported by...... ?

    2. Nani! ^__^

  2. that world ranking table is interesting when you comapre it to who is still left in the tournament. maybe FIFA actually knows what it is doing with that system (sure spain and italy and england are gone, but the round of 16 will have a number o fteams from the top 16...)

  3. benzema might be moral support- nothing more. he is the french version of fernando torres.ronaldo has had time to get fit- this was portugal's plan all along....they were banking on winning the USA game. pepe's absence and cointreau's injury hurt them. they will be slvaging pride....

    and be proud of yourself that you understood bugaboo