22 June, 2014

World Cup 2014: Portugal vs USA Preview

5 GF 5 GA

That's the head to head matchup stats for Portugal and USA heading into tonight's anticipated match.

But that isn't the deciding factor. C. Ronaldo has been practicing for only 15-30mins for the last few days with the team (don't let the icing fool you, as we should all be doing that after games). Pepe, the Brazilian born Portuguese player, is out with a red card he stupidly picked up against Germany for a taunting scrape of a headbutt. Defender Coentrao and GK Rui Patricio are both out with injuries. That's a heady bunch of good players that Portugal is going to sorely miss.

For the USMNT, Altidore is out. This is arguably, just a big a loss for us as for Portugal to be missing several players as while Altidore has had trouble scoring, with only 2 goals for club/country since December... December (let that sink in) and both of those, while good, were against Nigeria in a warmup friendly. Wondowlowski is probably the closest forward that we have in terms of Altidore's style, but he's not as fast (although I think he's a more opportunistic forward in the mold of Joe Max Moore style scoring) and Johannson, the US born but lived in Iceland player who has better passing and vision than Altidore, and a respectable scoring rate in the Dutch Eredivisie. The US isn't really set up for Johannson's style which may likely see us settle on putting Dempsey and his broken nose up top alone.

We haven't played Portugal in nearly 12 years, but we did win the last two, including a surprise 3-2 win in Korea during the 2002 World Cup. Unfortuately, records don't mean much, and are only predictors. The important thing here is both teams need the win to get through. Portugal needs to come out hard as they need to overcome a 4 goal deficit and need to make that up against the US and Ghana (who just took Germany 2-2 yesterday).

Expect a high tempo game, and hopefully, we score late as our cheap attempts at possession/bunker defense are our biggest liability as seen against Ghana. Also be ready for some flopping in the box or near as C. Ronaldo taking free kicks is a dangerous sight. The US also needs to be careful on the counter attack as Dempsey is lazy coming back when losing possession and will be a defensive liability anywhere but up top, especially with his broken nose excuse.

Our prediction, a 2-1 result for the US (with Bethany Dempsey standing in for Clint and Irina Shayk for her man C. Ronaldo), with the US then automatically qualifying for the 2nd round.

Photo: USSoccer, SportsIllustrated,

13 June, 2014

World Cup: Australia vs Chile Preview

This one is going to be the anticlimactic finish to the day for most. Australia v Chile. So let's get to it. A few to choose from, but most are recent for Australia.
Mark Schwarzer 
Elias Figueroa

Schwarzer has been a steady rock in the back for Australia.  With a career some 20 years and 109 appearance for the Socceroos, Schwarzer has appeared in 3 World Cups, Uefa Cup twice, and been a team Player of the Year and nearly as long player in the EPL.  Schwarzer's abilities can't be looked over, and he can be perhaps considered the best Aussie player ever.  He finally announced his retirement this year.

Figueroa has 47 appearances for Chile with two goals to his name at the international level.  Perhaps the most visually/spacially aware player in the game in defense, Elias is by far the most storied Chilean player of all time.

World Cup 2014: Netherlands vs Spain Preview

Ooooo kids.  Pull up a chair and let me tell you about two of the most storied players in the game.

Alfredo Di Stefano


Johan Cruyff

Di Stefano, born to Italian immigrants in Buenos Aires,

World Cup 2014: Cameroon v Mexico Preview

Well, it's off and running.

Today we get our first full day of games, which of course seems to overlap with my USSF licensing class and drive there, but so be it.

I bring you your first matchup of the day:

Roger Milla 
 Cuauhtemoc Blanco

World Cup 2014: Brazil vs Croatia Highlights

Well... Brazil was looking pretty suspect along the back line yesterday and Croatia came out surprisingly to attack. Good to see teams want to win against them rather than lay back and try to draw.
That said, here are your highlights (*Warning: I've had to relink a video 3 times as FIFA has been ruthless in cracking down on any vids, even highlights):

Brazylia - Chorwacja 3:1 All Goals & Highlights... by GoldenNightpl

Two things of note, if Brazil can't shore up that defense before the 2nd round, they are going to more than the ref's help to win and there were some seriously suspect calls in this game. Sure, there was a hand on Fred's shoulder, but he dropped like a rock (which we here at TSI never like to see) and that whistled foul in the Brazilian box on a in air challenge was dubious as I've seen that same call in several other UEFA/CL games not be whistled as it was a 50/50 ball.  Would Croatia have scored? Maybe, maybe not, but to whistle that dead so quickly will make me question that ref next time.

Your final, 3-1 Brazil, just as we predicted. Video: Dailymotion

12 June, 2014

World Cup 2014: Brazil v Croatia Preview

Alright kids.  Last World Cup we did a WAGs matchup and we'll continue that with our Facebook page, but here, we'll show the true fans a matchup worthy of their time.

Today, at 3pm CST, Brazil v Croatia.

In our minds, it'll be:


Both phenomenal players for their countries.  We could have gone the easy route with Pele, but Socrates was more than a player, he was a statesman and all around great man of the people.

We'll give you a taste...

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