Match Day 12- Or as I call it...Chaos Theory.
Sleep deprivation mode goes into over drive with all games going off after 10PM local time.
Last night was a lot of fun with portugal putting on the best show of the tournament. I like to call it "Weeeeee, I want to go again!". The first half of the game looked pretty much like I thought it would. Then, buoyed by their first goal, Portugal lightened up and opened up and turned the North Korean back line into an amusement park and almost everybody got a ride.
Chile just got by Switzerland despite any number of chances to break it open. The Swiss still managed to break the record for total minutes of scoreless defense previously held by Italy. Chile is in a good position but the last game brings some strange scenarios that could find them left out of qualification.
Spain did indeed get back on the horse by beating Honduras, but they may regret David Villa's missed penalty. Their next mission is to beat Chile and win big.
The last round of group stage games gets underway today. The format of this last round changes slightly as we will have four games each night with group games happening simultaneously as to prevent any lackadaisical play. While all of this is happening we have all these mathematical formulas working out in case any of these groups end in ties. So for your viewing pleasure I will break down tonight's match lessen as well as illuminate the tie breaker scenarios.
Should any of these groups end in ties for second or first, we go to a system of tie-breakers. I'll give out the top three tie-breakers. Obviously, top points means everything.
1. Goal differential. This is goals-for subtracted by goals-against. This rewards those who win big or don't give up any goals at all. This will be a factor tonight in Group A.
2. Goals scored. If the goal differential is the same, then they move to which team has the highest total of goals scored.
3. Head to head results against teams in group.
Group A- Walk in the park, or rumble to the death?
Current results: GD= Goal Differential
1. Uruguay 4 points +3 GD
2. Mexico 4 points +2 GD
3. France 1 point -2 GD
4. South Africa 1 point -4 GD
So Mexico and Uruguay merely have to shake hands and sit down to advance to the next round. The problem is that the whoever finishes second in the group probably has to face Argentina in the round of 16. There is plenty to play for, but a gentleman's agreement could seal it for France and South Africa. France has only pride to play for, but they don't even really have that. Nicolas Anelka insults the coach, gets kicked off the team. The team then revolts against the dismissal and refuses to practice. The director of the French Football Federation resigns after the team commits mutiny. The only real justice here is if South Africa gets the win tonight to exit with it's head held high.
Here are the scenarios.
Uruguay to advance- Draw or win v. Mexico
Mexico to advance- Draw or win v. Uruguay
France to advance- Win by at least 3 goals v. South Africa, Mexico must lose by at least 2 goals. Uruguay must lose by at 3.
South Africa to advance- Win by at least 4 goals v. France, Mexico must lose by at least 2 goals. Uruguay must lose by at least 3.
Scenario 1: Uruguay 0-0 Mexico. I hope I'm wrong about this, but it just feels like Mexico and Uruguay are going to have a nice kick around for 90 minutes.
Scenario 2: Mexico 1- Uruguay 0. If both teams play all out, I think Mexico edges out the win to take 1st in the group.
France 1-0 South Africa.
This shouldn't happen. If it does, it means the Universe rewards the heartless. France may pull it together just enough to beat South Africa, but it won't do it with the game plan written up by Raymond Domenech. South Africa deserves a win or at least a draw here, but I don't know what they can do against a much tougher defensive team.
Group B- Who likes second, hunh?
1. Argentina 6 points +4 GD
2. South Korea 3 points -1 GD
3. Greece 3 points -1 GD
4. Nigeria 0 points-2 GD
Wait Ryan, why is South Korea ahead of Greece? Well, the first reason is the that goals scored category. South Korea is at +3 vs. Greece's +2. In addition the next category is head to head in which South Korea already beat Greece. Argentina walks through on goal differential unless South Korea just goes crazy on Nigeria and Greece beats Argentina. All is not lost for Nigeria, but it requires a herculean effort to overcome.
Argentina to advance- They could fall asleep, miss the game and probably still advance. Win, draw or lose to Greece by less than 5 goals.
South Korea to advance- Win v. Nigeria. Draw v. Nigeria with Greece loss. Lose to Nigeria by 1 goal with Greece loss.
Greece to advance- Win v. Argentina. Draw v. Argentina with South Korea loss.
Nigeria to advance- Win v. South Korea by 3 goals with Greece loss.
Korea has a much easier time of it with a Nigerian team on the ropes. The Greeks have to play the game of their lives against an Argentina team that is playing for style points. Argentina may rest a lot of their starters or pull them early to make sure the subs get some quality time in the Cup.
Argentina 2-0 Greece.
Even Argentina's subs are enough to make Greece look silly.
North Korea 2-0 Nigeria. North Korea's speed should break down an already mentally exhausted Nigerian squad.
Now I just need to figure out where to go to watch two games at once...