Thursday, June 10, 2010

Oh, It's ON

"You may be confusing the world of football with the IMF or the World Bank, the U.S., like Germany or China, has as much power as San Marino, Vanuatu or Belize."

- Michel Platini, FIFA Executive

Now, liking soccer in the US is a complex thing. Here in Ohio is it still sort of counter-culture. You may catch some of the cool kids talking about it over in the corner, or Dad who just started coaching youth soccer get interested. Other parts of the country get more into it. I know Northern Virginia is in. There always seems to be a player or two from the area on the national team. This year is Clarence E. Goodson IV (good VA name there). There are a few others from the surrounding area as well (Maryland). Anyway. I understand Mr. Michel Platini's comment above, it is very idealistic and the World Cup has proven that money is not the determining voice behind where the games are played... but man, watch out saying stuff like that.

Turns out Americans are making this year's WC happen. Snapping up more tickets then any other nation. As a side note... The only WC ever to sell out every game during the WC was when it was held in America. And as another side note, Mr. Platini, was it not FIFA that asked for volunteers to host this years WC if South Africa could not? and whoooom shall I say stepped up to volunteer? The US. Say what you will about the US. We know how to host a large event (I'm looking at you Canada, with a stink eye).

Man, I'm worked up now on the eve of the show. Nationality is skewing my remedial statistical math of who will win now. And just to tweak it a little more I was on a call with our Netherlands leadership team over there today at work... I brought up the WC (much to the blank faces of my co-workers) with them. I like those folks out there but they were so dismissive of any comment us Americans said about the topic. Rightly so, when looking at the numbers and history. But the blood is a boiling.

Arrrggghhh! Why does the US have to play England in the opener. I feel like I'm routing against myself in this game. Count to 3, count to 3.


The other group I haven't mentioned. Netherlands Group E:

9: Netherlands
9: Denmark
20: Cameroon
22: Japan

The top two here have a clear advantage. In none of my six KPIs do they fall past 2nd place. Denmark seems to play fast scoring 1.85 goals a game. Good for 4th best in WC history (13 games played). They allow 1.38, which is better then the average and .12 better then the mean. Goals against is a definite KPI. The best teams are at that top of that list. England, Italy, Brazil... In that order.

You know who is number 4?


My team.

Now if they could just get that offense going. No team in the bottom 50 percentile of goals against has ever won the WC. So, just looking at that, Denmark is in the running to have a good WC. The Netherlands has got a better history of preventing goals (1.06), which really plays to their advantage. But they tie more often. Not enough goal scoring. That said. Get NL out of the GS and I think they will make some noise.

Part of me hopes they play the US. Looking at the brackets... hmmm, it may have to be in the final. Bring it.

Tomorrow is the big day. Mexico (of whom, I'm pulling for) is opening up with South Africa. I'm hoping this sets the tone for the WC. A win by Mexico will send my data reeling. In a good way. Another game that will be making a lot of noise with only me will be the Greece v. South Korea game. Greece has a chance to win it's first ever WC match.. History is being made here. I can't wait.

Group B:

6: Argentina
12: Nigeria
18: Korea Republic
24: Greece

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