Clint Dempsey: our first homegrown world class player.
Let’s give our World Cup degeneracy a home. Here’s some picks and notes on the round of sixteen. The lines are as of Saturday PM. Straighten me out soccer people because as it stands, I think being a non-soccer guy has actually been an advantage in that I didn’t bring preconceived ideas about Spain or Italy.
Nigel de Jong on Xabi Alonso last World Cup.
Netherlands (Regular Time) -105
Mexico (Regular Time) +280
Netherlands v Mexico – Goal Line (Regular Time)
Netherlands -0.5 (-105)
Mexico +0.5 (-125)
The play: TIE +260.
Holland playing best of any team in tourney now but Mexico also top five like. A lot of heart there. Holland wins in extra time. De Jong is getting DQ’d before the tourney is over. Holland’s big three are playing like a big three — Robben particularly impressive, RVP also very good, expecting Sneijder to break through today. Gio Dos Santos looks like Manny before roids. Ochoa top GK still standing? Now that URU is out, I think yes. Holland wins but in extra time or on PKs.
Costa Rica (Regular Time) +125
Greece (Regular Time) +240
Costa Rica v Greece – Goal Line (Regular Time)
Costa Rica -0.5 (+125)
Greece +0.5 (-155)
The play: Costa Rica +125.
Much respect for Greece’s play, they max out their talent. Kinda the Princeton Basketball of soccer? Costa Rica is playing on a different level. To my untrained eye, their touches are softer and their passes are crisper than any other team. Their group win no fluke. Their play and Mexico’s raise the stature of CONCACAF and caused me to think better of USA.
$20 two play parlay pays $142.
France (Regular Time) -238
Nigeria (Regular Time) +650
France v Nigeria – Goal Line (Regular Time)
France -1.5 (+130)
Nigeria +1.5 (-160)
The play: France -238.
Nigeria +650 gets my attention –that’s way too high and I’ll have to throw something at it– but I really like France to go deep. Wait.., no not deep… but to play Germany in the quarterfinals anyway. Their game against Switzerland had the look of a finalist. Pay no mind to the Ecuador game, they didn’t play the same. Benzema a legit Golden Boot contender.
Thomas Müller’s game winner vs. USA.
Germany (Regular Time) -370
Algeria (Regular Time) +900
Germany v Algeria – Goal Line (Regular Time)
Germany -1.5 (-130)
Algeria +1.5 (even)
The play: Germany -370.
Algeria looked special against Korea but not so much against disciplined Russia. Germany is Russia on steroids. Much as I like Osil, I’m down on myself for not climbing on the Müller bandwagon at the start of this. Germany is truly different with Klose. I agree with our new friend Fox Lechner
that you don’t start Klose; you try to win through suffocation and bring him in only if needed. But damn he has a gift for being in the right places. Do believe several of the crossing passes in the first half versus USA would’ve been buried if Klose were playing 9.
$20 parlay pays $16… sorry… not seeing a longshot on this day. (If you take a flier on NGA+GER $20 pays ~$160.)
Argentina (Regular Time) -227
Switzerland (Regular Time) +600
Argentina v Switzerland – Goal Line (Regular Time)
Argentina -1.5 (+125)
Switzerland +1.5 (-155)
The play: Switzerland +600.
Argentina finally showed up with some very nice offense in their last game against Nigeria and but then let in two goals. Still it was the first game where they looked the part of WC contender. Swiss owned scrappy Honduras while everyone was watching Ecuador-France. (Shaqiri hat-trick.) The line seems too high; potential homerun. SUI won the U-17 World Cup in 2009… that makes those World Champs now experienced 22 year olds? So there’s talent there that you might not expect. I may be underestimating Messi’s contribution to ARG just as I underestimated Suarez absense from URU. But mainly, I just like that +600.
DeAndre Yedlin playing for Akron. Way under appreciated Northeast Ohio sports story.
Belgium (Regular Time) -105
USA (Regular Time) +275
Belgium v USA – Goal Line (Regular Time)
Belgium -0.5 (-105)
USA +0.5 (-125)
The play: USA +275.
(I must report that I was unable to pull for the national team against Germany but I’m looking forward to joining you all moving forward.)
If USA didn’t fold up for Germany, they won’t for Belgium. USA +275 is the best value on the board. Again deferring to Clint Dempsey is the first homegrown player we’ve had who … who is a top ten worldwide player. Maybe top five. I know I always underrate US players, most do. But off the top of my head, the top players in the WC now are:
- Enner Valencia (hate to see you go buddy),
- Gyan (you too),
- Van Persie,
- (fine) Messi,
- Vidal (now also out) ..
and Dempsey belongs in this group. I want more Yedlin and Wondolowski and Zusi. Notable that Johannsson hasn’t been back, don’t think we’ll see him again. Fox L. observed that Klinsmann has them playing a compact defense that shifts well. Or as he put it
The US team stood very compact against Germany. A very, very good effort. Defense and Midfield rotated and shifted into a perfectly organized defensive block. To achieve that you need a) a sort of ant like group intelligence or b) one or two players who can align and direct the other players.
It gave Germany trouble and the USA was one long ball away from getting the first goal and changing everything. Germany is better than Belgium. Expect a US win.
And since the first quarterfinal is set, let’s take an early look at this.
Brazil (Regular Time) -125
Colombia (Regular Time) +350
The play: Colombia +350
Damn Chile. That was brutal. Brazil is not unbeatable. Colombia might be a smidge better than Chile and Chile outplayed Brazil.. by a lot.