Tag:World Cup
Posted on: May 1, 2011 12:20 pm
Edited on: May 1, 2011 12:38 pm

Maradona's sidekick, Claudio Caniggia

How Maradona set the world on fire but Claudio Caniggia was a big part of the engine of the Albiceleste that was such a power.


Caniggia played for the Rangers. Good article on his play. I'm not positive, I use to have recordings of it but I think he and Maradona teamed up for an important goal to win the 1986 World Cup versus West Germany. Perhaps Claudio was not in a World Cup until the 1990 edition.


You learn something every day!!!

We all knew Cameroon in one of the most famous World Cup upsets defeated reigning champions Argentina in the 1990 Italia tournament.

But I didn't see it, I didn't know a Cameroon player was sent off for a vicious tackle on Caniggia of all things.

Then Caniggia set off on a solo run that carried him from deep into his own half towards the Cameroon penalty area. He survived two attempts to bring him down, but not the third: Massing's tackle was so late that the ball was practically in a different time zone. He was sent off, but it was a strange dismissal: referee Michel Vautrot showed the red card, followed by a second yellow to a player who had already been cautioned. It meant that, despite an offence that regularly appears among lists of the worst fouls committed, he was technically dismissed for collecting two bookings.

Eh? Sounds a bit like some revenge for the Hand of god play in the 1986 World Cup.
Category: Soccer
Posted on: May 1, 2011 12:03 pm

Cruising around the World Rankings.

For those that are unfamiliar with them, the ELO ratings http://www.eloratings.net/world.htm

Here for comparison are the Fifa rankings: http://www.fifa.com/worldfootball/r

I think the Elo ratings are slightly better.

Our United States is at #27 currently. That doesn't seem quite right. We defeated Spain in the Confederations Cup it seems not too long ago. Mexico is over a hundred points better than our 1735 and Mexico is with Italy, 10th in the rankings. Mexico obviously has some very good players playing for the big teams in Europe such as the case of Chicharito at Manchester United but there seems to be a fair number all over. The US is number 22 in the Fifa rankings, Mexico is actually below us at #26.

It's always worth checking out ELO ratings and in turn to look up every match a country has played. Of course, I don't think they are able to get every single one but they make the effort.

The ELO current rankings see:

1. Spain 2099 points (FIFA, 1857 points)
2. Netherlands 2089 points (FIFA, 1702 points)
3. Brazil 2061 points (FIFA, 1452 points)

And from there, one can look at the rest of the rankings.

Posted on: April 19, 2011 11:38 am
Edited on: April 19, 2011 11:43 am

"The Game of their lives"/"Miracle Match" Movie

I once wrote this review of the movie depicting the game between the USA and England at the 1950 World Cup where of course, the USA won. 'Hoosiers' the basketball movie is one of the greatest sports movies ever if not the best one of all. The producers of that came up with this movie too but I personally think the movie is a sham. I probably even gave it too high of a rating.

By the way, there is also a movie called "The game of their lives" about North Korea's 1966 World Cup effort. It is viewable in full at youtube. The link speaking about this movie with the same name is here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0354594
. Most countries are probably somewhat enemies to the oppressive Communistic regime of North Korea, however, I don't fault the players for where they come from and it is still a good story. The BBC aired the documentary. The film on North Korea will likely be enjoyed by all football fans especially how the City of Middlesbrough largely adopted the team as their own as NK were playing in that city.

Here is the Internet Movie Data base's discussion of the American movie "The game of their lives."

Suffice it to say, the story of the USA defeating England in the World Cup in 1950 is a great story. Unfortunately, this movie was highly inaccurate. The movie is based on a book. That book is recommended and not too long at around 200 pages I'd say.

As an action soccer/football movie: 5 stars
As a movie in general: 4 stars
As a historically accurate movie: 3 stars

This is quite a bit different than the book and in most ways the book is better. I had some quibbles about the storyline being faithful to the original event, then I read what a few others found faults with the motion picture fact-wise and now, I'm not sure if this movie should even be recommended. For example, the movie seems to state Sir Stanley Matthews did not play in this game because he went on holiday in Rio...yet, I believe Sir Stan's own book The Way it Was: My Autobiography says simply that he was not picked to play and after this debacle, yes, he got to play for England subsequently but the tourney seemed to be a bust for the 3 Lions. Natthews was not in the prior starting lineups for England in games England won. This is the simple reason he was not picked to play in the game vs. the USA. We all know we would not see such a player having a 'flippant' attitude about sunning himself on the beach while his team faces the stars and stripes. It does count against a movie if its portrayal of events seems to play fast and loose with the actual facts.

This film has some of the best action scenes of any football movie made, the movie moves along rather smooth and harmoniously in regards to how it is written and plot development.

Still, I must say, I do believe the screenplay writer might have had a bit of a personal agenda as to his outlook of this movie, I believe the slant is a bit emphatic on the St. Louis end of the team, so on that basis, you could give it a 4 star rating. I think the book itself has the St. Louis slant too but in a fair and balanced manner. I'm not sure if historically, he's fair to the England team at that and if historically, the presentation is truly factual in other aspects as well. Players in England at that time struggled and did not make great wages yet, I think this movie portrays them as arrogant. Is the speech by Stanley Mortensen fact or fiction?? I don't believe it's in the book. In a way, you could compare it to Braveheart, good action movie but is it truly an honest account of the history in question? Maybe not.

It's definitely a Rah-Rah feel-good movie for USA fans of which I count myself but I do believe there are some glaring errors in how this story is told and that disappoints me.

Posted on: March 18, 2011 7:08 am
Edited on: March 20, 2011 1:20 pm

Run the World Cup like the NCAA Tournament?!

  1. Blogging is therapeutic, thus here I write down some thoughts. Once I read on the BBC 606 forums in fact and I don't know where the writer got the idea but what if the World Cup was run like the NCAA 64 (or 68) team tournament. Provocative idea. The writer even went so far as to say it could be done every year, well, that would probably be a bit to often.

    Still, it is an intriguing idea. I believe the number of games that would be played are close to the same amount under the NCAA system or the World Cup Fifa system, around 64 games by each version. I know many people would not like this and say, there are already too many teams when the World Cup has 32 teams. That may be correct.

    and http://www.fifa.com/worldfootball/r

    1. I don't know about "fantasy" sports too much but it makes for a fascinating scenario. Of course, some sorts of brackets would need to be devised with highly seeded teams and the lower seeds. Though it might have some obviously lopsided results in the beginning, I really think one could see some very exciting matchups and it would make teams strive to be more highly rated. After all, chances are with the last World Cup, there were teams that were rated even lower than 64th in the Fifa rankings, at least one, North Korea and perhaps 2 with Algeria. Still, an argument could be made that real strength starts to peter out around ranking 50 where Scotland is currently. Oh, and Canada likely could nose in usually among the 64 top teams, perhaps we'd see Thailand in there.
    The Fifa format is good for a tournament I must say. It's weaknesses are probably in other departments like officiating.

    Just an interesting idea. Perhaps we'll work on this some more.

Going by the ELO ratings for ease of use, let's make a "hypothetical bracket of 16" to be among 4 brackets, so I will try about every 4th team out of 64 to have a random nature to this because after all, there would be 4 brackets.  The number in the parenthesis ( ) is the ELO rating.

Ex. Bracket A vs. having "East" or "West" etc. brackets.
  1. Spain (1)
  2. Argentina (5)
  3. Uruguay (9)
  4. Italy (13)
  5. Russia (17)
  6. Paraguay (21)
  7. United States (25)
  8. Greece (29)
  9. Czech Republic (33)
  10. Romania (37)
  11. Bulgaria (41)
  12. Cameroon (45)
  13. Belarus (49)
  14. Slovakia (53)
  15. Belgium (57)
  16. Morocco (61)
So, I would assume, in the 1st round, the schedule of games would be top seeds vs. bottom seeds, something like:

Spain versus Morocco
Argentina vs. Belgium
Uruguay vs. Slovakia
Italy vs. Belarus
Russia vs. Cameroon
Paraguay vs. Bulgaria
United States vs. Romania
Greece vs. Czech Republic (Czechia)

With Spain, Argentina and Italy in the same bracket, this looks very strong, yet, what would be group "B" would likewise have it's strengths starting out with Netherlands, England, etc.

Fifa Rankings, same scenario, every 4th team for a random value. The number in the parenthesis ( ) is the Fifa ranking.

Bracket A.
  1. Spain (1)
  2. Brazil (5)
  3. Portugal (9)
  4. Russia (13)
  5. Slovenia (17)
  6. Australia (21)
  7. Ivory Coast (25)
  8. South Korea (29)
  9. Ukraine (33)
  10. Belarus (37)
  11. Northern Ireland/Burkina Faso (41)
  12. Tunisia (45)
  13. Ecuador (49)
  14. Costa Rica (53)
  15. Bosnia/New Zealand (57)
  16. Austria (61)

Fifa rankings games might go this way in the 1st elimination round, highest seed vs. lowest:

Spain vs. Austria
Brazil vs New Zealand (or Bosnia, tied at Fifa # 56)
Portugal vs. Costa Rica
Russia vs. Ecuador
Slovenia vs. Tunisia
Australia vs. Burkina Faso/Northern Ireland (If Australia played Northern Ireland, though Australia surely is better, I'm sure N.I. could make a game effort)
Ivory Coast vs.Belarus
South Korea vs. Ukraine
Not sure if I have the system down correctly, I think the ELO matches look better.


This was such fun, that though a bit tedious, let's see what the other groups could look like as well. ELO ratings in brackets after country. Any ties in ranking resolved arbitrarily.

Bracket B. ELO

  1. Netherlands (2)
  2.  England (6)
  3.  Portugal(10)
  4.  Sweden (14)
  5.  South Korea (18)
  6.  Norway (22)
  7.  Colombia (24)
  8.  Iran(28)
  9.  Ecuador(32)
  10.  Venezuela (36)
  11.  Poland(40)
  12.  Jamaica(44)
  13.  China(48)
  14.  South Africa(52)
  15.  Iraq(56)
  16. New Zealand (61)

Netherlands vs. New Zealand
England vs. Iraq
Portugal vs. South Africa
Sweden vs. China
South Korea vs. Jamaica
Norway vs. Poland
Colombia vs. Venezuela
Iran vs. Ecuador

Some good matchups.




Bracket B. Fifa matchups

  1. Netherlands (2)
  2. England (6)
  3. Greece (10)
  4. Chile (14)
  5. France (18)
  6. Slovakia (22)
  7. Montenegro (26)
  8. Sweden (30)
  9. Republic of Ireland (34)
  10. Honduras (38)
  11. Cameroon (42)
  12. South Africa (46)
  13. Scotland (51)
  14. Lithuania (54)
  15. Israel (58)
  16. Belgium (62)
Netherlands vs. Belgium
England vs. Israel
Greece vs. Lithuania
Chile vs. Scotland
France vs. South Africa
Slovakia vs. Cameroon
Montenegro vs. Honduras
Sweden vs. Republic of Ireland

Another fairly strong bracket. Also, once upon a time, Belgium was a very respectable Soccer power, Israel has not done too bad in the recent past yet, they are ranked very low as of now.

Group C , I think we've seen enough of this now. Thank you for reading.



Category: Soccer
Posted on: February 4, 2010 11:44 am
Edited on: February 18, 2010 9:21 am

World Cup Analysis

Very tentative analysis for this World Cup, I like to pick underdogs, contrary picks to conventional wisdom however, I don't toss out total pragmatism, one figures, Brazil will ace their group though it is tough this time, they could find themselves battling but should still take first.

Group A –  Mexico, France, South Africa,  Uruguay

Group B –  Argentina, S. Korea, Greece, Nigeria

Group C – England, USA, Algeria, Slovenia

Group D –  Serbia, Germany, Australia,  Ghana


Group E – Holland, Denmark, Japan, Cameroon

Group F – Slovakia, Italy, Paraguay, New Zealand

Group G – Brazil,  North Korea, Portugal, Ivory Coast
Group H – Spain, Chile, Switzerland, Hondura,

1st round

1.)Group A1 vs. Group B2  Mexico vs. S. Korea
2.)GroupB1 vs. Group A2 France vs. Argentina
3.)Group C1 vs. Group D2 England vs. Germany
4.) Group D1 vs. Group C2 Serbia vs. USA


5.) Group E1 vs. Group F2 Holland vs. Italy
6.) GroupF1 vs. Group E2 Slovakia vs. Denmark
7.) Group G1 vs. Group H2 Brazil vs. Chile
8.) Group H1 vs. Group G2 Spain vs. N. Korea

Category: Soccer
Tags: World Cup
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