Tag soccer (13)

amazing goal from the Netherlands
Mood: cheerful
Posted on 2014-06-15 20:56:00
Tags: soccer
Words: 37

In case you haven't seen it - Deadspin's calling it the "Rainbow Header", and I heard it somewhere else described as the "Flying Dutchman", but he looks more like a porpoise jumping out of the water to me :-)


World Cup: how many points do you need to advance?
Mood: geeky
Posted on 2013-12-08 21:45:00
Tags: soccer math
Words: 84

After the USA was drawn into the "Group of Death", I wondered how many points the USA would need to be relatively assured of making it out of the group. So I wrote a little Python script to do the calculation, and the answer is below:

Basically, 5 points (1 win, 2 draws) means you're almost guaranteed to get out of the group, while 4 points (1 win, 1 draw) means you have around a 50-50 shot.

So...now I know! And so do you!


Who really won the World Cup?
Mood: geeky
Posted on 2010-07-11 16:22:00
Tags: soccer math
Words: 579

Congrats to Spain, although the final game was not super impressive.

Anyway, before the World Cup, I bought an ESPN magazine guide. It included "measures of success" for all 32 teams, so I thought it would be fun to see who did the best relative to their predictions.

HH = Happy to be Here = 0 points
OG = Out of Group stage = 1 point
QF = QuarterFinal = 2 points
SF = SemiFinal = 3 points
F = Final = 4 points
W = Win it all = 5 points
(note that the score = 5 - log_2(# of teams left at that stage))

So, without further adieu: (mouseover flag for country name)

South KoreaBOGOG0
New ZealandFHHHH0
North KoreaGHHHH0
South AfricaAOGHH-1
Ivory CoastGSFHH-3

By group:

GroupTotal successTotal actualDifference

By continent:

Continent# of teamsTotal success (avg)Total actual (avg)Difference (avg)
Asia/Australia53 (0.60)2 (0.40)-1 (-0.20)
North America34 (1.33)2 (0.67)-2 (-0.67)
Europe1325 (1.92)15 (1.15)-10 (-0.77)
South America514 (2.80)10 (2.00)-4 (-0.80)
Africa611 (1.83)2 (0.33)-9 (-0.81)

- The least successful group was group C, the most successful was group D. (and of course both group D teams won their round of 16 game against a group C team)
- The group with the worst difference was group G, although the bar for success was very high.
- Group F was expected to be the least successful, but thanks to Paraguay winning their knockout game they got one more point than Group C.
- South America was the most successful continent on average and the one from which most was expected on average, but Asia/Australia was the "least disappointing", mostly because so little was expected. (indeed, if none of their teams had advanced to the knockout round they still would have been "least disappointing", which probably points to a problem with the methodology :-) )
- All but one of the top seeds coming out of the group phase won their next game. The exception was the good ol' USA.
- Exactly half of the teams either met or exceeded their criteria for success. Well done!
- The measure of success for three teams was to win it all (Spain, Brazil, Argentina), but no one's measure of success was just to make it to the final. Interesting...

I was going to make this a spreadsheet and try it with different weights on the various outcomes (probably 2^n-1) but that would be a lot more work and I'm not sure the results would be very interesting. If anyone does, let me know!


world cup links
Mood: happy
Posted on 2010-06-30 13:17:00
Tags: soccer links
Words: 292

Totally unrelated: happy 10 year anniversary to my wonderful husband!

Sadly, today is the first day since the start of the World Cup with no games. So, to pass the time:

- A cool visualization of which World Cup players play in which leagues - there's a lot more cross-pollination these days, with the English, German, Italian, and Spanish leagues benefiting the most.

- Why Lionel Messi is so awesome. Go Argentina!

Another fun soccer story:

In the 1994 Shell Caribbean Cup, Barbados and Grenada were playing their final group game, with Grenada ahead by 3 goal differential, so Barbados needed to win by 2 to advance. This tournament was played under weird rules, including the fact that no games were allowed to end in draws, and if the game was a draw after 90 minutes, it would go to sudden death extra time, with the winning goal counting double.

Barbados was up 2-0 until Grenada scored to make it 2-1 in the 83rd minute. Since Barbados needed to win by 2, and Grenada was playing very heavy defense, Barbados instead deliberately scored an own goal to tie it 2-2. That way, if they could manage to win in extra time, they would get the win by 2 they needed. (since the winning goal would count double)

It didn't take long for Grenada to figure out what was going on, and so they tried to score an own goal to put Barbados back ahead by 1. But Barbados was planning on this, and started defending both goals while Grenada tried to score on either one.

Amusingly enough, Barbados was successful in preventing Grenada from scoring, and it went into extra time where Barbados did in fact win! Here's a Snopes article about the whole thing.

1 comment

Fun World Cup fact of the day
Mood: surprised
Posted on 2010-06-28 16:34:00
Tags: soccer
Words: 136

In 1989, Chile was playing a World Cup qualifying game at Brazil. If they lost, they would be eliminated from the 1990 World Cup.

They were down 1-0 in the 70th minute when their goalkeeper, Roberto Rojas fell down, writhing and clutching his bloody forehead. A firecracker had been thrown from the stands and landed close by. The Chilean team refused to play on, claiming the conditions were unsafe, and the game went unfinished.

Except...video evidence after the fact showed that he had not been hit by the firecracker - his injury was self-inflicted with a razor blade he had hidden in his goalkeeper's glove!

So Chile got banned from the 1990 and 1994 World Cups, and Rojas as well as the doctor and coach were banned from FIFA for life. (although he was reinstated in 2001)

1 comment

more world cup goodness
Mood: okay
Posted on 2010-06-17 10:25:00
Tags: soccer links
Words: 108

I'm accumulating quite a stack of non-World Cup links, but to hell with them!

Nate Silver's World Cup odds update. To advance, the US has to either beat Slovenia tomorrow, or draw and then beat Algeria next Thursday.

My bracket which isn't looking too great.

Missed the England-US game? Here's a video recap with adorable Lego players.

The Guardian has this neat visualization of events during the games and popular terms on Twitter, so you can see how quickly Twitter reacts to goals, etc.

The Wall Street Journal is tracking every goal scored in the World Cup and breaking it down by player, team, country, day, stadium, etc.


Best World Cup commentating so far
Mood: amused
Posted on 2010-06-15 13:53:00
Tags: soccer
Words: 66

During the Italy-Paraguay game (paraphrased) - they had just been talking about how excited the Italian players were after winning the 2006 World Cup:
Commentator 1: They were doing some crazy things - some Italian player slept with his young daughter (slight pause) with the trophy in the bed.
Seriously awkward few seconds
Commentator 2: I gotta say that wasn't where I thought you were going with that...


Best story of the World Cup so far
Mood: amused
Posted on 2010-06-11 12:13:00
Tags: soccer
Words: 41

The final World Cup roster for each time has to have 23 players, 3 of which are goalkeepers. As the ESPN commentator put it, North Korea tried to "smuggle in" an extra striker by calling him a goalkeeper. (it didn't work)


The World Cup starts tomorrow!
Mood: excited
Posted on 2010-06-10 14:25:00
Tags: soccer links
Words: 108

and in its usual awesomeness, the Alamo Drafthouse is showing a bunch of games at Lake Creek and at least the US/England game at the South Lamar location. Tim League (the founder) recently took over as CEO of the Drafthouse, which means cooler events and preshow stuff at Lake Creek, like this!

A comprehensive calendar of World Cup games, organized by team, group, stadium, and date.

A neat visualization of which countries are most successful in the World Cup (hint: Brazil, Germany, Italy)

Personally I'm rooting for the US and Italy, but I picked Argentina to win it all, and I'm just happy to watch some good soccer!

1 comment

beckham scores
Mood: awake
Posted on 2007-08-16 09:08:00
Tags: soccer
Words: 34

He scored his first goal against DC United. Gotta find me some YouTube of it when I get home.

Just gotta make it until lunch then I get to run errands and such! Yay!


beckham's back, all right!
Mood: happy
Posted on 2007-08-10 09:09:00
Tags: soccer
Words: 929

Here's the ESPN story. The story of our evening is below:

I went back and forth for a while about whether to drive all the way down to RFK or take the Metro. After reading that 45000+ people were going to be there, I decided to take the Metro - seemed like it would handle more people, and we wouldn't be adding to congestion.

So we did, and I grabbed a copy of The Onion to read on the Metro. (after djedi pushed me to - thanks!) Good stuff. The final train we took was absolutely packed with people, many of whom were wearing soccer or Beckham shirts. Neat stuff :-)

We got out and walked to the stadium - it was pretty clear at this point there were a huge number of people. Been a while since I've been part of a crushing mass of humanity. It's fun!

Eventually we got in the stadium and waited in line to get some pizza for dinner, then found our seats, around 6 rows done from the very highest in the stadium. Whee. Incidentally, we left work at 5:30, got to the Metro stop at 6:00, and got to our seats right around 7:05, so it took a bit longer than I had expected. (and we missed the first five minutes of the game, which was fine)

Clearly, RFK stadium was not built for soccer, as the seats we had were pretty far away from the field, and a little corner was cut off from our view with other seats. This also meant that when there was action down by that goal, people would stand up and so you had to stand up to see what was going on. Suboptimal. The people next to us were DC United fans and yelled a lot during the game - they knew all the chants and "songs" and whatnot. (they weren't exactly songs, more like musical cheers. I'm glad I read the ESPN article that explained the "We sing better than your wife" banner - thought it was weird to have that there all the time :-) ) A few people behind us worked for sports networks and talked loudly, one of them said he had interviewed Beckham yesterday.

The atmosphere was pretty electric in general. The stadium was pretty darn full, and DC United played aggressively in the first half, getting lots of good chances and scoring a goal. It was fun to watch!

At the 36th minute (right before a goal kick) people started yelling and cheering, and we finally figured out Beckham was warming up on the sideline, running back and forth and stretching and whatnot. I think everyone stopped watching the game and started watching him running and stuff. It was awesome! You could see the flashes go off from everywhere in the stadium too. Everyone was waiting for him to come in, but halftime came and no Beckham.

A 15 minute halftime sure seems pretty short...maybe this is indicative of the fact that the last game I watched was baseball, but 45 minutes of action, then 15 minutes of not, then 45 more of action is a pretty darn good ratio. They set up a small mini-field on the field and kids played soccer.

The second half started and shortly after it started raining hard. At that point we noticed the upside to our seats - you had to be pretty close to the top to have them covered so we didn't get wet at all. Hah! I figured this was bad news for our chances to see Beckham since he was having ankle problems...wet grass only increases a chance of an injury. LA was playing better this half, just missed a few shots and such. Then Beckham started warming up again with more cheering and stuff.

Finally when he was on the bench he took his warmup jersey off, to great cheering. Then he took his shirt off and put on a jersey, to even louder cheering. (for the shirtlessness or the putting on of the jersey? You make the call!) Then he subbed in and everyone went wild.

I was worried about being able to keep track of him, but even from our height I was able to tell him apart from the other players. He definitely wasn't sprinting or anything, and looked like he was still getting his bearings, although he did make a few nice passes. Whenever he touched the ball people yelled and cheered, amusingly enough :-) He even took a free kick and bent it toward the goal, but to no avail.

DC United won 1-0 (despite the guy behind us's prediction that Beckham would tie it up in the 89th minute) and all were happy. We began the voyage home...

Since there were soooo many people there Metro was running buses to a different Metro stop, which we got in line for. I can't imagine what it was like at the Stadium stop but the whole station must have been packed with people. There were buses there but we didn't get in the first round, then it took a while for them to get to Union Station, then we had to change trains, and then finally we had to drive home. We were pretty hot (it's been quite hot here, even at night) and tired by that point. The game ended at 9 and we didn't get home until 11. I do hate driving in DC but if I had to do it again I might just drive and save some time. Yeesh.

So, good times. Glad we were able to go :-)


beckham doubtful tonight
Mood: hopeful
Posted on 2007-08-09 13:19:00
Tags: soccer
Words: 71

So I was hanging out in Gmail when I saw a link Beckham might make MLS debut Thursday. Hey, we have tickets to that game! Unfortunately, as the article points out, his ankle is still questionable, so he might play 10 or 20 minutes at best. Also, we just had lunch outside and it started pouring rain. So I guess we'll see how that goes tonight.

I miss the World Cup.


David Beckham to play in US!!
Mood: excited
Posted on 2007-01-11 11:49:00
Tags: soccer microresolution
Words: 32

Holy crap! I gotta get me some DC United tickets this season!

My microresolution from last time was a success! It's nice to occasionally see that I have some willpower.

David Beckham!


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