World Cup round of 16 degenerate thread.

hi-res-7399044_crop_north

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.


TODAY
Nigel-de-Jong-006

Nigel de Jong on Xabi Alonso last World Cup.

Netherlands (Regular Time) -105
Mexico (Regular Time) +280
TIE +260
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.1  Holland wins but in extra time or on PKs.
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seleccion_nacional-seleccion_de_estados_unidos-hexagonal-mundial_brasil_2014-estadio_nacional_aldima20130906_0079_3

Joel Campbell.

Costa Rica (Regular Time) +125
Greece (Regular Time) +240
TIE +230
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.2 Their play and Mexico’s raise the stature of CONCACAF and caused me to think better of USA.
$20 two play parlay pays $142.3

MONDAY
Karim+Benzema+France+v+Finland+oFMX6HjK-icl

Karim Benzema.

France (Regular Time) -238
Nigeria (Regular Time) +650
TIE +360
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.

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_75869080_muller_mm_getty

Thomas Müller’s game winner vs. USA.

Germany (Regular Time) -370
Algeria (Regular Time) +900
TIE +500
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.)


TUESDAY
swiss-goal-1

Xherdan Shaqiri.

Argentina (Regular Time) -227
Switzerland (Regular Time) +600
TIE +350
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.)4  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.
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DeAndre Yedlin playing for Akron.  Way under appreciated Northeast Ohio sports story.

DeAndre Yedlin playing for Akron. Way under appreciated Northeast Ohio sports story.

Belgium (Regular Time) -105
USA (Regular Time) +275
TIE +270
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:
  1. Müller,
  2. Robben,
  3. Benzema,
  4. Enner Valencia (hate to see you go buddy),
  5. Gyan (you too),
  6. James,
  7. Neymar,
  8. Van Persie,
  9. (fine) Messi,
  10. 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.

$20 parlay pays $505.

James Rodriguez.

James Rodríguez.


And since the first quarterfinal is set, let’s take an early look at this.

FRIDAY
Brazil (Regular Time) -125
Colombia (Regular Time) +350
TIE +240
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.


Here’s my ranks without respect to who’s where in the tourney, just looking at how they’ve played.
  1. Netherlands
  2. France
  3. Germany
  4. Brazil
  5. Chile
  6. Colombia
  7. Mexico
  8. Costa Rica
  9. USA
  10. Ghana
  11. Croatia

I see you Argentina.  And I see you my Buenos Aires reader.. straighten me out if need be.  Argentina’s offense reminds me of Mike Brown’s Cavs:  dribble dribble clear out and let LeBron (Messi) win it.  But they did look much crisper against Nigeria (in a game with no pressure).


Apropos of nothing, have we all seen Severa the Portugal fan dog?


  1. Really impressed with Colombia and kicking myself for getty cocky taking URU without Suarez.  Cripes, they lost their first game without him and killed it with him.  Dumb. [back]
  2. I actually underestimated Italy, which tells you what I thought of them coming in.  And England… Sterling and Sturridge will be stars come next World Cup but damn, their game against Italy in Manaus was dreadful. [back]
  3. All Sunday’s plays died in extra time.  This is why you don’t do chirpy handicapping blog posts. [back]
  4. Shaqiri is Serbian.  Can you imagine how stacked a team of the old Yugoslavia would be this year? [back]

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  • mgbode

    As a completely untrained soccer watcher, Columbia and France have looked like, by far, the best teams thus far. Argentina has not only looked weak even though most are calling for them to advance far, but has gotten really shady calls against them (feeding into S.America hates Argentinian angle).

    Going off my own observations for what is left and already set up:

    Germany big over terrible Algeria side
    USA-Belgium a toss-up (so I’ll go national pride and say USA)
    Swiss over Argentina

    Columbia over Brazil
    Holland over Costa Rica

    and France is going to beat Germany with more ease than expected

    • welp theyre thru. id say fox l nailed it in the 5 questions world cup thread:

      “the German Tiki-Taka is a very uninspired one. Born from a certain degree of helplesness. The Germans lack the wit, the sudden tempo changes and vertical passes to play a successful Tiki-Taka.”

      and i’d add there were several moments where the germans werent playing together. not on same page, playing individual ball, not passing where needed or passing to wrong spots.

      havent seen the line yet, expect germany to be favored but they probably shouldnt be.

      • mgbode

        Looking back, I did okay on that thread for the underdogs I was pulling to make the knock-out stage.

        Greece, Costa Rica, Chile, Switzerland, Nigeria

        Missed on: South Korea, Croatia, and Ivory Coast

    • here it is, germany favored against france.

      • mgbode

        Is that like Notre Dame football (big base of bettors driving up one side)? Why would anyone think Germany is playing better than France unless they haven’t watched this WC?

        • i dunno maybe. you look at that list of top paid players and youve got lahm, gotze, schweinstieger and that’s before you get to name brands like muller, ozil, klose, neuer, boateng, podolski, kroos, mertesacker. i know nothing about club football and even i’ve heard those names. but cripes they play some dull ball.

          2:1 for france to win in reg time vs this choppy german side seems a very good bet.

    • mgbode

      And that right there is why not to bet on sports you are not invested in (no, I did not place wagers, thankfully).

  • Petefranklin

    Heading to over 110 degrees in Vegas.Was going through old Emails and a friend sent me thishttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxSoB0CZu5w&feature=em-share_video_user

  • jpftribe

    Dempsey is not even close to a top 10 player in the world. Not even top 50 in the EPL. He was the striker for Fulham, and they were relegated. Messi, Van Persie, Renaldo, Ya Ya Toure, Baloteli, Muller are in a completely different class (and I’m sure there are a bunch of Russians you can insert here as well). Villa, Tevez, Falcoa, Suarez are light years ahead of Dempsey, and those are just strikers.

    In the very short time I’ve followed world football, last five years, Messi is the finest player I have seen play the game. Yeah it helps he plays for Barca, but what he can do with a ball is truly phenomenal.

    Not knocking Dempsey or the Americans. I would love to see them go deep, and I am already rubbing it in hard with my English mates over here. He’s a good player on a solid team with a superb Manager.

    • Fox Lechner

      I agree that Dempsey is not even close to be one of the top players in the world. And to be perfectly honest no one (aside from C.Ronaldo) is in Messi’s league when it comes to club play. ButI have not seen one great game of Messi or Ronaldo when it comes to WC play yet. However, this is a tournament and guys like Gareth Bale aren’t even in it. So let’s keep the list to guys that actually play in the WC: Baloteli and Suarez were huge disappointments. Falcau istn’t playing. Toure, Villa, and Tevez!? Come on!

      What I am trying to say is that league achievements mean nothing during the WC. And Dempsey is having a decent campaign so far. Top ten? I don’t no – but def one of the better players of the tournament.

      I remember Toto Schullaci in Italy ’90. What a great striker he was back then: Six WC goals. And after that: Nothing – maybe he did score some goals in J-League. I did not follow his games in Japan… Grosso played great for Italy in 2006 – after that: meh.
      And that is why the myth of the German “Turniermannschaft” (tournament team) is my favourite world cup cliche.

      • i remember andrey arshavin crushing it for russia in (looks it up) euro 2008. i thought he would become the next big thing. signed w arsenal and never heard from him again. (although russia getting knocked out by slovenia in 2010 had a lot to do with it.)

    • just for fun i found a list of the top 20 footballers and dempsey’s 8M/yr salary = 5.9€ which looks like it might be maybe a top 100 salary. #20 is gigi buffon at 12.9€.

      list goes from: buffon (ita), matuidi (fra), lahm (ger), gotze (ger), suarez (uru), schweinsteiger (ger), bale (not playing-wales), touré (civ), torres (esp), ribery (fra-inj), hazard (bel), silva (bra), agüero (arg), falcao (col-inj), ibrahimovic (not playing-sweden), rooney (eng), neymar (bra), ronaldo (por), messi (arg) (41€/yr = 56$/yr).

      so you’re definitely right that dempsey isn’t on the same planet pay-wise. i don’t watch much any club ball and don’t know much about any of these guys. but just from the tournament, i’ll stand by that list. above. (like someone’s gotta explain why asamoah gyan is playing in UAE for 8.4€/yr because all i know is that every four years he looks like one of the top players in the world.)

      but dempsey’s ghana goal is as world class is the RVP header or the muller finish. he’s a factor on the field that must be accounted for.

      (also worth noting: dempsey’s pay is higher than arjen robben’s 5.5€ at bayern munchen.)
      http://youtu.be/kjvvC2uqRRU

    • uh oh, deleted tweet. (that always works.)

      • Petefranklin

        But It’s cool for Mexicans to act like jackasses(throw knives and stuff on the pitch) when they play the US in the US right? Adios whiny bitches!
        Missed France -1(-110) so I’m staying on the sideline today.

        • the odds on ger and fra too low to bet.
          my homerun today is ties. if both come in, 20 pays 600.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      jk,
      I am a futbol moron, but I still believe in my skills as a talent scout. Pure speed, is my favorite measure, (I am not referencing that Robben guy, he is amazing), I want to throw some money at a USA bet because their players in specific positions may be less talented than those Flemish chumps, but they are much faster.
      I wish to bet on the advantage of pure speed. How may I bet on the USA v.Belgium? (Please email me if their may be some legal issues.) As Pelham Grenville Wodehouse would say, “this is a sitter”.

      • i suspect belgium is faster than USA.

        if you want to play the speed angle, you might play france +700 to win it all. to my eye, they are the fastest side.

        • actovegin1armstrong

          jk,
          I appreciate your superior knowledge, but my question was….
          How may I place a bet?
          Will I be able to collect if I win?
          I have found plenty of gambling sites on the magical interweb, but i was forced to take pause when I realized one of those gambling sites was probably part of a group that used my credit card to buy a couple of dozen Dell Gen 10 servers 5 years ago.
          Is there at least a semi reputable gambling site?

          • theres lots of online betting sites. but you can never collect what you win.

            kidding of course but i use sportsbook.ag and i think it’s like a 60 day wait and then they’ll cut you a paper check, something, something. be assured it’s a lot easier to deposit than to withdraw.

            if anyone knows a decent betting service that let’s you take money out simply, please along the info, thanks.

          • Petefranklin

            5 dimes, they will let you deposit with a CC but you have to send them copies of utility bills to withdraw, but they also let you Western Union or money gram in which case I think they send a prompt check, or wire money, for payouts. And the best part is that they have -105 juice, which reduces your break even point to 51.6 % or so winners.
            Bookmaker is one of the originals(Bet Cris) and are very solid, or at least they used to be.
            SBR(sports book review) will keep you up to date and let you know who is giving what bonuses for signing up. The best bonuses are before football.

            Also make sure the check comes out of Canada, I got a check from Costa Rica just under the reportable transaction amount, customs opened it, and I got audited a year and a half later even though I never did claim winnings. I’ve never had a problem with checks out of Canada.

          • great info, thanks.
            have you ever used a VPN tunnel to change your IP to use a foreign book like William Hill?
            more succinctly, i guess the question is: are there any US-blocked sites that are worth the hoop-jump to access?

          • Petefranklin

            Yes. Pinnacle. Low juice and as solid as they come. A canada ip works to open as far as I know.