With the first round of world cup games complete, the below is a links post to review what's happened.
Round One World Cup Games
In the first game of the world cup, Brazil, surprise surprise, beat Croatia 3-1. Brazilians scored all four goals however, as in the eleventh minute Marcelo put in Croatia's only tally. Unfortunately, the wrong Marcelo took the heat for the own goal on Twitter.
Mexico fended off Cameroon, and perhaps the ref as well, to a score of 1-0. Giovani Dos Santos had two goals questionably called back, while the only goal that counted was put in by Oribe Peralta, former Sounders nightmare. Mexico's coach, Miguel Herrera, had good things to say about his team's win and their chance of leaving Group A, and was probably glad to put Mexico's qualifying stage firmly in their past.
The Netherlands put a good ol' fashioned revenge beat-down on Spain, to the tally of 5-1. There's been a lot of analysis of what happened in the game, including a quite a good article in the Washington Post, as well as a beautiful series of visuals from the New York Times, but really after this game only one thing is certain,
Spain will bounce back? the Dutch will continue their run of form? no one has any idea whats going to happen next in Group B. Except that Australia's not making it out. Spain no longer has a shot at this world cup?
Colombia put three in on Greece, making the final score 3-0, however the game was a lot closer than the score line suggested, with Colombia only outshooting Greece thirteen to eleven, and Greece controlling 52% of possession. After scoring his extra time goal, James Rodriguez went for a Roger Levesque-esque celebration, only to not be able to climb the ad boards.
In a game whose only surprise was having a few goals, Italy beat England 2-1. Roy Hodgson started both Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge in creative roles, leading Clarence Seedorf to believe that one of them needs to be benched for the upcoming game against Uruguay. Frank Lampard on the other hand, thinks that attention just needs to be turned away from Rooney. Andrea Pirlo completed an astonishing 103 out 108 passes, suggesting that England has a lot of work to do on defending stars.
Cote d'Ivoire went down early thanks to a rocket from Keisuke Honda, but were able to pull two back against Japan to complete the comeback. Cote d'Ivoire's goals were scored within minutes of each other, shortly after
Sounders prospect Didier Drogba came on as a sub, leading some to believe he inspired the comeback, despite not directly participating in either goal.
In one of the most surprising games of the tournament, Uruguay fell to Costa Rica 3-1. Uruguay was without Luis Suarez thanks to his continued injury, and certainly could have used him, considering they controlled the majority of possession, but were still outshot thirteen to nine. Group D still appears to be up for grabs.
Argentina beat Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-1 in a game that was surprisingly close. Argentina definitely has some questions to answer if they plan on proceeding very far in the world cup. Messi scored a very Messi goal, suggesting this might be his breakout World Cup. But even if he does lead Argentina to victory, he would still have a long way to go in the hearts of many Argentinians.
Switzerland came back against Ecuador in the final minute of stoppage time, 2-1, in a game many thought would be the first tie of the tournament. While the first half of the game brought back memories of the dreary 2006 and 2010 Switzerland teams, the second half was a good deal more interesting. Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld earned the praises of a few of his players.
France brushed past Honduras, 3-0, thanks to a brace from Karim Benzema that was centimeters away from being a hat trick. Apparently drones are in use in Brazil, with one spying over Frances practice. This combined with France's national anthem not being played before the game led some French to believe in a grand conspiracy against them.
The US defeated Ghana 2-1. The US defeated Ghana. The US. Defeated. Ghana. Excuse me if I'm still a little excited. Clint Dempsey scored a cracker in the first minute, dribbling past two defenders and slotting the ball far post in a fashion that many in Seattle are used to seeing. This was the fastest ever goal scored by an American, and the fifth fastest goal scored in World Cup history. Jozy Altidore was injured in the 21st minute of this one, with reports not sure of when he'll return. Some are saying that Clint Dempsey's first minute goal may have set the USMNT up to "grind out" a result. Though we on sounderatheart live in a soft and cozy and generally awesome soccer bubble, it's important to remember that most Americans probably reacted to the Ghana game like this.
Germany took Portugal down for 4-0 defeat, reconfirming them as favorites to win the cup. This game had a lot of good news for the USMNT. Pepe committed a senseless red card offense, criticized by many, including former coach Jose Mourinho, meaning he'll miss the US match. Both Fabio Coentrao and Hugo Almeida are set to miss the US game with groin and leg injuries respectively.
Iran and Nigeria played to a 0-0 draw in what many are calling the most boring World Cup game of 2014 so far. While Nigeria controlled 68.9% of possesion, they failed to create many chances. Perhaps a certain Nigerian forward who ranks in the top four in MLS in terms of both assists and goals could have helped.
Russia and Korea also came to a 1-1 draw, but the real battle here seemed to be "who can play worse in goal." Both goalies were directly at fault for their respective goals, with Russia's Igor Akinfeev bumbling a shot he's probably practiced taking thousands of times, straight into the net, and Korea's Jung Sung-Ryong hitting a rebound directly to Alexander Kerzhakov which he eventually put in.
Belgium beat Algeria 2-1, with Algeria's only goal coming off a questionable penalty kick. Marc Wilmots is being praised for his substitutions, putting on Dries Mertens and Marouane Fellaini in the second half, both of whom put in goals.
General World Cup
If you were wondering where world cup players make their homes when not playing for their respective countries, the Washington Post has a good interactive to show you. 44% of players in the world cup play their club soccer in England, Spain, Germany, or Italy, while about 2% play in MLS.
With the playing styles of many countries having changed since 2010, the New York Times has a write up of what changes to national styles we've been seeing so far.
In case you hadn't seen it yet, fivethirtyeight.com has an easy to understand interactive of their predictions for the 2014 World Cup.
US vs. Portugal
Rui Patricio, Portugal's starting goalkeeper came down with an unidentified injury in practice, adding him to the list of players that should be missing the US game. It's possible that Ronaldo also may miss the next game, having exited early from practice on the 18th.
Nate Silver has done an analysis on what the US needs to do in order to advance. His conclusion? We need at least a point against Portugal.
Non-Soccer Related World Cup News
A bomb killed thirteen people at a World Cup viewing party in Nigeria. Soccer is a game loved by many, and for me it puts a lot in perspective when people die supporting it. It definitely makes me feel lucky to be able to celebrate the beautiful game in safety.
With the protests in Brazil just before the World Cup, many were worried about how they would affect the games. Fortunately not too many incidents of violence have occurred so far.
Soccer in the Media
Clint Dempsey is going to release a new rap album. Get excited.