Posts about Sports

2014 NFL season preview: NFC West

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No reason to believe otherwise: this is the NFL’s best division. But just because it’s the best division in football, doesn’t mean that it’s going to be the toughest to figure out. As a whole, it’s led to believe that this will be a down year for the division. The Seahawks are still the favorite but are dealing with minor issues to coincide with the Super Bowl hangover. The rest of the division is simply dealing with lots of injuries and we could see less of a dominance with their out-of-division games. How will things shake out for each individual team?

Seattle Seahawks: I’m sure that I don’t need to stress how difficult it is to repeat as Super Bowl champions. If Seattle were to accomplish the feat, it will have been the first time we’ve seen a team do that since the Patriots of the early 2000s. Despite the obstacles, this Seahawks team is the first team with a real chance to repeat in a long time. There’s a real chance that we’ll see them regress from last season but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t the favorites to win the division, and the conference, once again. Questions linger on the offense: how will Marshawn Lynch do and who is Russell Wilson going to to throw the ball to? Combine that with a few key departures on defense, mostly in the backfield, and we have a less potent team. Seahawks still win the West, but it’s not as impressive.

San Francisco 49ers: My argument still stands: the 49ers were the best team in the NFL the past two seasons. Unfortunately they had to deal with playing in the best division in football and suffered losses that felt more unfortunate than telling. Did San Francisco’s window close a bit after last season? Now that Colin Kaepernick got his big “but team friendly” contract, how does the pressure affect him? A healthy Michael Crabtree plus Steve Smith will certainly help things but the offense will need to be much more effective, seeing as their defense is dealing with some injuries and off-the-field issues that will result in suspensions. Can this team rely more on their offense? Some say that if they don’t compete once again for a title, this might be Jim Harbaugh’s last season. There’s potential for regression, but I think the Niners are, at worst, the second wild card.

Arizona Cardinals: By default, the Cardinals are the dark horse of the division. Especially with the Rams’ chances going down the drain. Arizona has been a playoff-caliber team for the past two seasons but are unfortunately in tough spot to actually make the postseason. Can they finally overcome their obstacles? Carson Palmer must, MUST, cut down on the turnovers. Their defense was solid last season but a couple of key players will be missing, so much like the 49ers, the Cardinals need to rely more on their offense. I like a big year from RB Andre Ellington and more focus on WR Michael Floyd. It’ll also be interesting to how well their secondary does with the return of Tyrann Mathieu. I like the Cardinals more than most people but maybe, just maybe if they were in another division, they could see success.

St. Louis Rams: This Rams team was showing signs of a breakout season, the only thing holding them back was a decent and healthy season from Sam Bradford to get things going in the right direction. But this is the NFL and sometimes, the worst of your team’s injuries occur before the season has even begun. Bradford tears his ACL during preseason and just like that, St. Louis’ season is pretty much lost. Their defense, particularly their front line, will be great but it won’t be enough. Bradford isn’t en elite quarterback by any stretch but he’s better than every single back up in the league. Now the topic turns from  “Can the Rams be a playoff team?” to “Do the Rams part ways with Bradford?” because of one play in a meaningless game. With their starting QB gone, the Rams are looking at a long season.

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2014 NFL season preview: AFC East

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We’re ten days, that’s right TEN, away from the NFL regular season getting underway. The preseason has teased us a bit but now that the more important of the four games have been played, the roster cuts begin and teams will look officially ready for the season. I waited as long as I could to preview each division mostly because of injuries. Just look at what’s happened to Sam Bradford (torn ACL), Cam Newton (fractured rib), Wes Welker (concussion) and many other players around the league. And the NFL hasn’t even played a game yet! The show must go on and so will we. I’ll be doing a division each day, switching from conference to conference, while leaving the toughest divisions to decide for the last few days.

New England Patriots: As it has been for the past decade-plus, the division starts and ends with the Patriots. As long as Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are there then it’s just assumed that they will win over 10 games and take the division title. The Jets challenged them for a few years (sometimes successfully) but this isn’t one of the years. The Patriots are healthy, getting back Rob Gronkowski and key players on their defense. The acquisition of Darrell Revis vastly improves what was an abysmal secondary last season. So what’s going to determine their season? Well, Brady’s weapons and their health. Last year Gronkowski went down early and the offense was so different. That and how effective they will be at running. Despite what problems may occur, I don’t seem them giving up the division.

Miami Dolphins: If the Patriots were to concede the division to another team, which team steps up to take it from them? I have a feeling that it’s going to be the Dolphins. All the signs are there. Miami did a nice job signing players in the offseason that fit their needs. Better players on both sides of the line and more weapons at play-making positions. But it’s all going to come down to Ryan Tannehill. The young QB, with the hottest wife in the league, has been getting plenty of buzz as one of biggest breakout stars of the season. I’m a bit hesitant to agree because he’s never been able to stay upright and his deep passes aren’t too crisp. Fixing the o-line and improving the receiving core will help both of those things immediately. Miami will be better this season but challenging New England for the division is a bit of a stretch.

New York Jets: The Jets. Even when they’re not good, they’re still getting plenty of attention because of their bizarre way of doing, well, everything. The circus doesn’t stop this season with the signing of Michael Vick and Chris Johnson. Those two names immediately create discussion but what about the rest of the Jets team? Geno Smith is named the starter for week 1 but how will the rest of the offense step it up? I mean, it’s not like offense can be worse than last season, right? Eric Decker should be a nice go-to target but i’m worried about their secondary and their inability to create turnovers. Coaching is always a question with Rex Ryan around. All signs point to a mediocre/.500 team and I think that’s exactly when they’re headed. Maybe even a bit worse.

Buffalo Bills: Of all the teams with playoff-less droughts, the Bills might be the most disappointing of them all. They’re one of about three teams that are predicted to “make the leap” year after year, but they always come up short on their goals. Last year was the first year of the EJ Manuel era and while he showed a bit of promise to start the season, the injury bug didn’t want to let him do. The Bills are gambling by selecting WR Sammy Watkins so high in the draft (ie. ATL with Julio Jones) so we’ll have to see how that plays out. Yes, the pieces are there as they are most years but how will everything pan out? The potential of the entire franchise being sold will loom over everything and it won’t have a positive result. Potential not fulfilled turns into disappointment. Bills bring up the rear of the division.

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2014 FIFA World Cup: Germany wins their 4th title

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Today’s World Cup final between Germany and Argentina was not for the faint of heart. There was only one goal during the length of the match but it was still an exciting one, filled with plenty of chances for both teams. There were also some controversial calls, hard fouls, great fan reactions and one incredible late goal. Mario Götze, at only 22 years of age, becomes a national hero for Germany after he scores on a brilliant volley in extra time to win Germany’s 4th World Cup title. Götze was initially a starter for the German squad but had been benched after a somewhat unimpressive campaign. No more. Götze will be forever remembered by German football fans around the world as “super-sub Mario” after the young man came off the bench in the 88th minute, and scored with only 7 minutes left in extra time. The addition of Götze seemed to energize the German offense, taking advantage of a well-rested squad and they looked like the team with more legs as the game went into added extra time. Germany wasn’t as impressive today as most thought they would be but they did enough when it counted most. They controlled the pace of the game and despite a couple of key mistakes, they never allowed Argentina to take control of the game for more than a few stretches throughout the game. Argentina had the clearest chances but aside from a few nice break away plays, they never really got into rhythm.

This was supposed to be the game where Lionel Messi ascended into greatness and could very well ended the debate of who the greatest football player of all time. It didn’t quite occur that way. Sure, when given a bit space or a nice through ball, Messi looked poised to make a great play but overall #10 for Argentina was largely absent. Argentina’s attack was mostly limited to the outside wingers as they tried to control the ball in order to force Germany into some mistakes. They happened but the “albiceleste” team didn’t take advantage and they’re left with a handful of what ifs. I thought that if Messi had a bit more help, the offense could’ve been more fluid but with Angel Di Maria out and only one half of Sergio Aguero, there wasn’t enough firepower up front. Striker Gonzalo Higuain failed to capitalize on a huge German mistake in the first half and had an unimpressive game overall. I gotta give it up for the Argentine fans. They were among the best of the tournament and their presence was felt throughout a game that featured a nice flow from end of end. No one really thought that Argentina would make it to a World Cup final that is being held in Brazil but they did it and while their night might end with tears and disappointment, they have nothing to be ashamed about. But what else are we going to take away from this World Cup?

I can’t imagine it being a better World Cup when we head to Russia four years from now and if FIFA does go through with Qatar in 2022, that might end up being the worst of all time. But we’ll get to those tournaments when they’re closer to us. Let’s praise Brazil for a moment. After months of scrutiny for a number of reasons, Brazil was able to overcome, hosting a brilliant tournament that accounted for some of the best world football that we have ever seen and i’m pretty we’ll look back at this World Cup as one of the best ever. Did the “right” team win it all? I think so. Germany was the most impressive team of the tournament from start to finish and they held the concept of team more than any other nation. Were there other team that were worthy of winning the title? Yes, and no. Netherlands certainly had their stretches, as did teams like Brazil, Colombia and France. But they all had one or two glaring issues that were certain to doom them. Germany only held minor issues and seemed to be the best, most complete tournament. Also, I may or may not have wagered on Germany before the tournament and may, or may not, have collected some sort of prize today. Ich danke Ihnen sehr Deutschland.

Thank you Brazil. Thank you to all the players, all of the coaching staffs, the wonderful fans (especially the pretty ladies) in the stands and for a great month of high-level world football. See you in four years.

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LeBron James will return to the Cleveland Cavaliers

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The NBA free agency is always an interesting one. Unlike the NFL and MLB (somewhat), pro basketball teams actually make trades and the possibility of a big name changing teams is likely. That’s what we’ve gotten so far this season. Most of the world is focused on the tournament down in Brazil but here in the United States, the sports world was waiting for something to happen. Because this off season, LeBron James was going to make a move. There were other big names out there like Carmelo Anthony, who could very well leave New York, but the entire league took a step back and waited for LeBron to make a move. It’s hard to imagine a time when one single player could affect the process of an entire league but that’s what we got. Social media networks sprouted rumors and statements with “sources say” from people around the NBA but nothing was set in stone. I had a feeling that only LeBron, and whoever was going to break the story, knew exactly what he was going to do. That part of this process was one that I liked. While ESPN and other sports networks built the story up with random developments, Sports Illustrated did the actual reporting. LeBron James will opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat and return to the Cavaliers; in a simple message he simply stated “I’m coming home” to all of his Instagram followers.

We can go on and on about the Miami Heat and their fan base, always putting quotation marks when referring to them. And as much as I dislike the Heat, let’s not make it about them. This is about Cleveland now. This is about a city that has had their heart broken and about a player trying to mend whatever wounds he caused. Things ended very salty between LeBron and the city of Cleveland but now he’s trying to fix that while adding something else to his legacy. Let’s not forget that he was emphatically boo’ed when he first returned to play in the Cavaliers arena while wearing a different team’s uniform. Those same fans will now have to support James as both sides try and leave the past where it is. LeBron stated that he talked to Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert “face-to face and man-to-man” and by all accounts they’re on good terms now. It’s interesting but at the same time, what other narrative is there to take? But wait, shouldn’t we be talking about this from a basketball standpoint?

LeBron was never going to leave the eastern conference. Why would he? The conference is in such bad shape that just by him moving to the Cavaliers, they’re automatically the favorites to win the east. Several teams are on the rise (Raptors, Hawks, Wizards and Hornets) while no one knows what’s going to happen with the Pacers. Let’s also add that reports indicate that Chris Bosh will end up in Houston, so who’s left to represent the conference in the Finals? Unless Melo decides to join the Bulls, the Cavs are the de facto best team in the eastern conference. The Bulls are also a candidate but i’m waiting to see how Derrick Rose recovers and how they fix their scoring issues. So right now the Cavaliers starting five consists of Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins in the backcourt, LeBron, Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao in the frontcourt. Not exactly world-beaters and they still have some chemistry issues but with LeBron, anything really is possible. LeBron’s future is with the Cavaliers remains with a bit of mystery but he’s made his decision and the sports world must accept it, for better or worse.

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2014 FIFA World Cup: Germany destroys Brazil to reach final

Brazil v Germany: Semi Final - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

Earlier today, I had moved some things about in my normal life to make some room for the match between Brazil and Germany. A part of me was hesitant to have such high aspirations for a game that would be missing two of the five, or six, most important players on the field. But the pure sports fan in me wanted to say “Brazil is at home, it’ll be a competitive game” just for the mere fact that fans around the world deserved a competitive match. I mean, this is one of the semifinals in the World Cup. Right? As we’ve learned throughout the history of professional sports, the word “deserve” should seldom, if ever, be used. We get some feel good stories here and there, but for the most part it’s just whoever decides to show up that day. Germany showed up today and Brazil did not, plain and simple. Playing without two of your best players in tough but playing like you shouldn’t even be on the same field as your opponent, well that’s a completely different story. Brazil started the match off well, attacking and risking as they forced Germany to drop back and hold their own on defense. I watched, thinking Brazil might get the early lead and “park the bus” or something of that sort. Not even close. Germany scores their first goal on a massive defensive mistake and it’s a barrage of German goals from there. From the looks of it, the game looked like Brazil was trying to recover from their first goal and all of a sudden, they were down 2-0. Then 3-0, and so on. Halftime arrives and football fans around the world are wondering, trying to comprehend, just what in the world we just witnessed.

After Germany’s first two goals were in the back of the net, it was pretty obvious that they were going to advance to the final. But then only six minutes later and Germany had scored as many goals, in one match, as Brazil had received so far in the World Cup. Astonishing. To put it frankly: it was men against boys out there. The cameras kept showing the tearful and bewildered Brazilian fans in the stands, turning the game turn into a sad affair. Then again, how sad can one really feel for Brazil? Winners of five titles and perennial favorites from competition to competition. Brazil also didn’t help themselves by playing with the swagger of a team that figured it could just cruise into the final of the tournament they were hosting. Not to mention that because of their perceived preferential treatment from the referees, fans that supported Chile or Colombia, among others, had little sympathy for the men in yellow jerseys and their fans.

What of the winners today? I’m sure that the German beer was flowing heavily throughout the match and it might still be flowing as i’m typing this out. Not since their 6-1 win over Armenia (last friendly) and their 4-0 dominant win over Portugal in the group opener has Germany looked so dominant. Germany was balanced, focused, tactically sound and knew when to strike, turning the match into a rout. Oh yeah, among their shocking win over Brazil, Germany also made history. 84-year history in that they matched Brazil’s largest defeat ever and were the first team to beat them in their home stadium in an international competition since the mid-70s. Also, veteran striker Mirosav Klose became the sole leader of most goals scored in a World Cup over an entire career; passing Brazil’s own Ronaldo, who watched in agony from the stands. With a 5-0 lead in their pocket, the Germans spent much of the second half passing the ball around and holding off Brazil’s best efforts. Two more goals for the Germans, the second of which (7th overall) came on a quality finish from Andre Shurrle. Oscar managed to put the home team on the board but Brazil will do some heavy soul-searching. Meanwhile, Germany will watch tomorrow’s match between Argentina and Netherlands, learning about the future opponent, fully knowing that they are now the team to beat and the favorite to lift the trophy after their impressive win.

Prediction: We saw what injuries can do to a team. But Argentina still has their best player and Messi will be the best on the field tomorrow. Netherlands risks too much and Argentina takes advantage, winning 2-1.

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2014 FIFA World Cup: on to the semi-finals

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Before the World Cup began, Brazil was the favorite to win it all, followed closely by Argentina, Germany and Spain. With the exception of Spain’s unorthodox early exit, the addition of Netherlands, we’re more or less where everyone expected before the tournament began. The Dutch were a potential threat to advance this far but the group they were put in and their chemistry issues had people doubting. And they haven’t done much to convince people. They were inferior to Mexico for most of the game and while they should have scored multiple times against Costa Rica, they still needed to survive penalties in order to make it this far. Just goes to show how interesting and, frankly, chaotic this World Cup has been from the start. The only downside is that after seeing so many goals, the action slowed down in the quarterfinals. Teams were unwilling to take as many risks because they knew that the slightest mistake would cost their team and their country the chance to lift world football’s most coveted trophy. Just take a look at the goals: Argentina scores after an awkward/favorable bounce, Germany appeared to have fouled Varane on their goal and Brazil’s first goal was on a clear defensive mistake that came in a game filled with fouls and sloppy play. The only quality goal of all four quarterfinal games was David Luiz’s incredible free kick that is my personal favorite of all the goals in tournament. The only shame greater than the goals is that we’re going to be absent from two of the better players in the world. Neymar’s back injury and Di Maria’s thigh injury are keeping us from some great football but they’re also hindering their teams, who just so happen two of the favorites to win it. Is Brazil more likely to perform or is Argentina the more likely?

It’s tough to say. The obvious answer is that Argentina will still be near their top level because while Di Maria has been key, it’s not on the same level as losing Lionel Messi. Which would be equivalent to what is going on with Brazil. But can Brazil REALLY lose at home in an international competition? Hasn’t happened since 1975 but it’s going to be very tough for the home team to win against Germany after the personnel that won’t be participating. We can’t forget to mention that center defensive-back Thiago Silva will also miss the match after getting another yellow card on one of the silliest plays that I’ve ever seen. Two key players missing for Brazil has the Germans thinking that they could finally be back in a World Cup final since their loss to Brazil during the 2002 World Cup in South Korea/Japan. It’s hard to imagine that we’re going to have a real chance that it’s going to be two European teams in a final that is being held in South America. Especially after the group stages, when it felt like the UEFA teams were falling like flies and there wasn’t a doubt that a non-European team would be winning the title. The script has flipped. Can Argentina take down the Dutch? The “albiceletes” didn’t look impressive for any of their group stage games and needed heroics from Messi in order for their World Cup campaign to not be an embarrassment. They seemed to have gained some form but they haven’t been through the toughest of competitors. Yes, Belgium was the token “dark horse” team before the Cup began but they still carried lots of questions. As expected, all eyes will be on number 10 as he tires to lead Argentina against all odds.

Predictions: I’m still torn on Netherlands-Argentina so i’ll wait until tomorrow night to predict them. Too big of a loss for Brazil as Germany dominates the pace and wins 2-1.

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2014 World Cup: transition to the quarterfinals

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From an entertainment standpoint, it’s been the best World Cup that I’ve ever witnessed. The ’98 France World Cup was about as dramatic as we’re going to get, but I was only 11 years old when it happened so I was more into imitating the star players, rather than actually analyzing their play. This time around, Brazil, despite the obstacles they were facing, has produced some excellent game play that has refused to slow down even as we’re through the first round of the knockout stages. My two favorite teams, Mexico and USA, both were eliminated in heartbreaking fashion but while their demise still stings at the sight of highlights, i’m still intrigued in every single game. I’ve been watching about as much as one can but I haven’t been able to discuss on here as much as I can. My favorite underdog of the tournament was Chile from the start and they put up a solid effort in their nail-biting game against Brazil. Big props to them and other teams like Greece who over-performed and gave us, at the very least, some really entertaining games in the first phase of the knockout stages. And while we can continue to go on about the losing team’s efforts, they’re no long part of the competition and it’s time to look forward to the quarterfinals.

So, which looks like the favorite to win it all? Right now the clear choice is Colombia. Them, and France, were the only two nations to win their previous game by a score that wasn’t a single-goal difference. But i’d say that Suarez-less Uruguay is tougher competition than a complete Nigerian team. It’s also impossible to ignore how good Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez has been; a 22-year old player who has risen his game above anyone else’s and is the undisputed best player in this World Cup. Just like Diego Forlan did four years ago, Rodriguez has led his national team with excellent play. He’s scored several goals but his volley against Uruguay the other day stands as the best of the tournament, so far. How high is his ceiling? Rumor has it that several of the biggest club teams in Europe are already starting their bidding war. But luckily for us, we won’t have to wait until club play in order to see more of him. Colombia faces off against Brazil tomorrow and the way things are going, this could be one of the best and most important World Cup games of all time. Yes, of all time. Brazil has been “champion or bust” since the start of the tournament and if they’re eliminated by a fellow South American team, expect lots of backlash. We also have Neymar, another player who has carried his team, go head to head against Rodriguez. Also, Colombia has never been made it this far into a World Cup and every single game going forward is their most important of all time. If you’re going to watch one game this World Cup, make it Colombia-Brazil tomorrow.

Hold on a minute: don’t we also have a huge European battle before that? Of course we do! Germany, who appeared to be the most balanced team in the World Cup, struggled to find rhythm in the opening match and needed extra time to take down Algeria of all teams. Now they’re up against a French team that has looked more comfortable but many wonder whether or not they’re more a product of their opponents rather than actually being that dominant. France has the individual player potential, while Germany looks to use their stack midfield players to control the pace of the game. This is the quarterfinal game that i’m most confused about and that i’m finding hardest to predict. My gut feeling (aka I have money on them) is to go with Germany. The Germans have looked like the more balanced team and faced tougher competition so far in the tournament. Yes, Algeria was lucky to be there, but they played the type of game that works well against Germany and I don’t think France will be as effective. Although, the Frenchmen’s attack is tempting with all of their talent. Forward Karim Benzema is looking for the tournament’s golden boot (most goals) and along with Mathieu Valbuena, they have been a deadly one-two combination for any defense. In the end, i’m leaning towards Germany their balance. I expect it to be a close game that might even go into extra time and quite possibly penalties.

Predictions: Germany edges out France; Colombia shocks the nation of Brazil. If you’re going watch some matches, do it during the holiday weekend.

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2014 World Cup: Groups C and D finish group play

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Officially, we have locked in the top half of the brackets. That means that for the knock out stage, we’ve assembled eight teams out of the 16 possible. Uruguay had a close win over Italy, surrounded by story lines, while Costa Rica secured their top spot in the group after a meaningless draw against England. We’ll get the Costa Rica-England game out of the way because neither team really anything to play for. There was a chance for Costa Rica to lose their top spot, but it would take a monumental loss or a lopsided win by either Italy or Uruguay for that to happen. The Costa Ricans were playing not to lose and their opponents, the English, well, they were just playing for pride’s sake. And with nothing at stake, little was expected. The play was mediocre, the crowd wasn’t very into it and it was just a lackluster atmosphere overall. England had a few chances but when they didn’t have the ball, Costa Rice focused on possession, passing the ball to make the English players chance. The Costa Ricans even managed to get a few “Ole!” chants from their compatriots in the stands. Let’s just move on to the bigger focus of the day: Italy-Uruguay. Despite their big win over England, the pressure was on Uruguay to come out on top. Italy only needed a single point (tie) to advance into the next round and they looked seemed pretty comfortable with that situation. The match produced a stagnant first half but in the second half, the action picked up and so did the incidents. Uruguay takes advantage being up a man, scoring a late goal despite some rather familiar antics by their star Luis Suarez. The red card received by Italy was justified, in my opinion. I can’t defend Suarez’s actions, no matter how much hilarious content continued to fill social media long after the match was over. Believe it or not, Suarez managed to overshadow LeBron’s headlines in a matter of under five minutes with his actions. It’s still undecided as to what FIFA will do but I can’t imagine that they’re just going to turn their head in the other direction. Still, Costa Rice and Uruguay are in the knockout stages.

The second half of day was left for Group C to sort themselves out. Colombia had already qualified, but needed a point to secure the top spot, while the rest of the teams were vying for a second place spot. I gotta give it up for Japan. They played their hearts out for their entire match against Colombia, who was clearly the superior team. The Japanese had plenty of chances and continued to play at an aggressive pace, but eventually it caught up to them and Colombia took advantage of the situation, turning the game into a rout. The Colombians are one of the few teams that have mounted to 9 points, and they have looked impressive in every single one of their games. Sure, they didn’t have the hardest group but I expect them to continue to play well going forward in the tournament. Japan showed lots of heart and had some of the best pound-for-pound fans, but they weren’t able to close things out when key situations presented themselves. The other side of the group featured Ivory Coast and Greece, with the Greeks needing a victory to advance into the next round. Oh, what a crazy finish we witnessed. After a last minute penalty decision, the result is a heart-breaking loss for Ivory Coast and an almost dream-like win for Greece. And if you’re wondering how I feel: yes, I do think it was the right call. The Greek forward was going to have a decent attempt at the goal but I still thought the foul was unnecessary from the Ivory Coast defender. It appeared that the Africans were going to be the first representing their continent in the next round but they let Greece attack much too easily at the end. Gotta give the Greeks some credit, because the continued to attack, hitting the goalposts on multiple occasions and finally, a little luck went their way. Colombia and Greece advance from their group.

Tomorrow’s games (June 25th): Group F Argentina-Nigeria and Bosnia & Herzegovina-Iran (both 12 pm ET); Group E Honduras-Switzerland and France-Ecuador.

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