World Cup Day 10 Open Thread

Submitted by Yeoman on June 21st, 2014 at 9:31 AM

Without futher ado:

Group E:

12pm EDT (ESPN)

Argentina vs. Iran


Schiedsrichter: Mazic (Serbien)
Group F:
3pm EDT (ESPN)
Germany vs. Ghana
Ed.: And that's what I get for posting the lineups early. Hummels in after a late fitness check; Mustafi out.
Schiedsrichter: Ricci (Brasilien)
Group E:
6pm EDT (ESPN)
Nigeria vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina
Schiedsrichter: O'Leary (Neuseeland)



June 21st, 2014 at 9:55 AM ^

Hummels out with injury (he took studs to the quadruceps and has a bad bruise, but will likely be available against the US). Boateng takes his spot in central defense; Mustafi moves in at RB. Germany otherwise unchanged, to my surprise: I thought they'd rotate their lineup a bit to limit fatigue but they didn't really have to work all that hard against Portugal so I suppose it's OK.

Essien joins Mutari in midfield for Ghana replacing Rabiu; Afful in for Opare at RB, Prince Boateng gets the start up front in place of Jordan Ayew. Except for Afful, those were the first two substitutions made against the US, so I guess they're no surprise.

Jerome v. Kevin-Prince. Half-brothers on opposing teams--you don't see that a lot in international play.


June 21st, 2014 at 10:50 AM ^

Switzerland CB Von Bergen has gone home with an orbital fracture.

I have to say, Ekoku's comment after the foul that "you have to be allowed to challenge for a ball like that" tops my list of bizarre annoucing moments so far. No, you don't have to be allowed to use your boot to challenge for a ball shoulder-high, and that's why.


June 21st, 2014 at 11:05 AM ^

I mean, how will that be managed? What about bicycle kicks, that's certainly part of the game, will those be allowed: Or are you suggesting any effort to use the foot to move the ball that is above the waist - not that you said wast but just to place a limit - should be disallowed? To limit the use of feet in a game where the foot is used as the primary mover of the ball is going to be difficult. 


June 21st, 2014 at 11:30 AM ^

That's exactly what the laws of the game provide for.

"A scissors or bicycle kick is permissible provided that, in the opinion of the referee, it is not dangerous to an opponent."  

Basically, the world is divided into a space where you can play with your feet and a space where you can play with your head. It's dangerous play to use your boot at head level when an opponent is within playing distance of the ball; it's dangerous play to duck your head down to chest or waist level when an opponent is within playing distance of the ball.

At least one of the refs on the bigsoccer forum thought it deserved straight red--it was universally acknowledged to need at least a yellow.



June 21st, 2014 at 12:39 PM ^

and it appeared the german player was looking for the ball when he kicked at it. I wouldn't make a determination based on just that view but it didn't seem like he was purposefully being dangerous; if he's allowed to kick like that and he wasn't seeing the other player going to head it, should it have been even been called a yellow? Would anything been called had he not made contact with Von Bergen? Tough call, but yeah, if players are kicking at the ball while others are trying to head the ball there's going to be trouble. 


June 21st, 2014 at 12:50 PM ^

You can't kick a ball at head level if there's an opponent there, and it's your responsibility to know whether there's an opponent there. (Yes, I know most referees are lenient when it's a bicycle kick for goal, but out on the field this gets called all the time.)

If it had been deliberate it would have been a straight red with no questions asked. Because he was looking at the ball it's just a yellow. If he doesn't make contact it still probably gets called a foul.

This isn't an obscure rule. If you look at FIFA's published version of the laws the illustration for "dangerous play" is a picture of a play just like this one.


June 21st, 2014 at 11:01 AM ^

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June 21st, 2014 at 11:02 AM ^

This piece in the Guardian reads like something that could have appeared on this blog.


...watching every World Cup game and halftime show produced for an American audience this weekend, it was hard not to realize just how wedded ESPN remains to everything else about The Brand™ that so dumbs down its coverage of every other sport to which it owns the broadcast rights. Anchors holding a tenuous familiarity. Soft-focus features high on emotion and low on data. An aversion to analytics and a commitment to game breakdowns based on intangibles, delivered by the "authority" of ex-jocks. A pathological fear of politics or social context whatsoever.


Why is ESPN's World Cup coverage all about ESPN? It could actually be good!




June 21st, 2014 at 11:53 AM ^

to get away from news about social unrest and other distressing news. It's escapism. Yet, this guy wants it to be a vehicle for social change and that' s not what sports is intended to be.

Contrary to what people think Jackie Robinson did not make Jim Crow or racism go away--even though we are told that. In my estimation, the desegregation of the military was much more important as the country finally was saying that a Black man had every much the right to die a "glorious death" for his country as the White man. In doing so the nation was finally saying that a Black man was indeed a Man for no profession defines "manliness" more than the military in these United States of America.

Sports is a adhesive. It binds together disparate peoples into a collective where social distinctions are temporarily forgotten or made irrelevant. Michigan fans are Michigan fans, not black or white Michigan fans.  That is one reason why sports is a great and necessary aspect of modern society. 

People who want sports to be movers of social agenda are much worse than the purveyors of schlock at ESPN. They are taking something that is a social glue and politicizing it.  We have enough politics in this world. Please leave it out of sports Politics is like religion--an endless debate no one will win.We saw at  the Munich Olympics what happens when politics is injected into sports. It doesn't end well. Oh and to risk a violation of Godwin's Law, Der Fuhrer sought to use Olympics as a political instrument. Does this Jeb Lund really want to follow Hitler's example?

Btw, we saw plenty of scenes of social disturbance up to and during the World Cup. I have no idea what this man was watching, but there was solid coverage of Brazilian unrest.


June 21st, 2014 at 12:37 PM ^

Within the context of the World Cup, sport is very politicized. You can't fully appreciate what Maradona did to England in 86 without the backdrop of the Falkland War. The same can be applied to some of the dogy decisions that have been made in the past, for example Argentina's World Cup in 78, I believe--the political situation adds an extra layer on what happened in that tournament. Of all the sporting events in the world, the World Cup is one that can't be removed from the politics of the countries involved. Too many examples of politics playing a role in World Cups--Ivory Coast civil war and the 2006 World Cup; Iran vs USA in 98; Holland vs Germany; even Germany vs Greece recently.

ESPN does dumbdown their coverage in this World Cup. The US-Ghana game was all about this revenge, nemesis, redemption narrative, when it should have been a time to demonstrate that the U.S. was a serious team that could make it out of the group. But the emotional "revenge" narrative plays well with American audiences. My buddy is one of the founders of the American Outlaw chapter in my college town--not once did he present the game as revenge or a rivalry. It was two teams who needed to win to set themselves to get out of this group. I'll end my ESPN rant.


June 21st, 2014 at 1:08 PM ^

data-driven analysis. You make the assumption that most people are math or science geeks who look at sports like they do an a mathematical equation or the search for the God particle.

Most people don't care enought to have the depth of coverage that you desire. Part of the fun of sports is arguing about why this player did this or why the coach made that decision. Actually discovering the problem through the application of the scientific method is not what most people are looking for.


June 21st, 2014 at 1:18 PM ^

Sorry, I meant to emphasize more my dislike of narrative-only approaches taken by ESPN. The over-use of cliches such as "they wanted it more" or "they played with more desire" is one of my biggest soccer pet peeves. Different fans want different aspects of the game to be highlighted. But resorting to these cliches (and it isn't just ESPN--the Brits are also guilty at times) oversimplifies the technical and tactical aspects of soccer. It is dumbing down. ESPN doesn't even have to go in-depth like what happens at Zonal Marking--a few diagrams of tactical decisions and how positioning or a player's movement influenced a game would be a simple, yet highly beneficial. To be fair to them, Roberto Martinez's inclusion has helped with some of the tactical explanations; it also wouldn't be difficult to find foreign players who speak very good English and are tactically adept. Get Gary Neville from SKY if they need to--they have enough money.


June 22nd, 2014 at 9:14 AM ^

ESPN does dumbdown their coverage in this World Cup. The US-Ghana game was all about this revenge, nemesis, redemption narrative, when it should have been a time to demonstrate that the U.S. was a serious team that could make it out of the group. But the emotional "revenge" narrative plays well with American audiences.

Oh come now, Ghana has been a thorn in the side of the US since the dawning of the Republic. Right up there with the Soviet Union, the British Empire, and the Confederacy. Don't criticize the WWL for playing up the angle that Americans HATE GHANA SO MUCH!!!!


June 21st, 2014 at 12:50 PM ^

Yes, credit to them for their defensive resolve and concentration. Nigeria not the most creative, but Iran defended well. Higuain currently the weak link in Argentina's offense. Maybe they'll bring in Lavezzi on the left. Who knows, with the way this World Cup has gone, Iran might get a set piece goal.

Avant's Hands

June 21st, 2014 at 1:47 PM ^

Depends on how you look at it. This would easily be the most surprising result of the tournament. And really Iran should be winning. Although the constant diving and stalling makes Iran painful to watch.


June 21st, 2014 at 1:48 PM ^

Credit to Iran--they've taken a battering, but have remained solid, and arguably should be winning. Argentina need to move a little quicker in offense--their movement and passing has been too slow.


June 22nd, 2014 at 11:01 AM ^

I was rooting for Iran in that one. Just like to see the underdogs beat the more highly-favored teams -- that holds true for all sports, unless, of course, I'm a fan of the favored team.


As a side note -- I actually watched most of a soccer game! That's big for me. Seriously. And, what's more, I didn't hate it. Can't say I love, or even like it, yet, but hey...that's also big for me. Baby steps, baby steps...