Yesterday Uruguay is thrashed by Costa Rica. Didn’t see that one coming. Impressive performance on both sides of the pitch by Costa Rica. Thinking too far ahead, England-Uruguay matchup is an intriguing one. I wouldn’t count Uruguay out of the Cup just right now.
Ivory Coast’s win over Japan was more dominant than the score indicates. While IC’s trouble in both halves in finding the goal is, well, a bit troubling, they have an impressive attack. And they manage to do much without cheap fouls and (relatively speaking) much theatrical flourishes. I stand by my depiction of them as a decent contender to go far.
Today is about contenders. An impressive Switzerland squad; perennial power France (looking for redemption after the travesty of 2010), and a Messi-led Argentina team. All three excellent all-around teams; all three primed to escape the first round with clear victories. I will say that all three of their opponents will be fortunate to put up two goals among them.
Here is a wonderful collage of WC photos courtesy of Huffington Post.
All the attention marbles are on England v. Italy, later this eve. Marquis matchup between traditionally great European powers. But these two teams have seen better days and this matchup, to me, bodes less-than-thrilling soccer. I predict a yawner 1-1 draw.
By contrast, I am very interested in watching Uruguay, a seasoned, well-coached So Amer squad that, with a favorable draw, could be a serious finalist contender. They matchup very well against Costa Rica, of course, but it will be interesting to see whether they can put together a big, bold (>4 goal) show. They have all the tools.
I also like the Ivory Coast-Japan matchup. IC is a dark horse, with a top player in Gervinho and an exciting style and setup. They could surprise folks. Japan, albeit a bit less formidable, is an interesting team to watch. Wouldn’t be surprised if they over perform, maybe snagging an upset against a good (but I think not much more than that) Colombia squad. My prediction is 3-2 Ivory Coast.
By the way, are there any Colombians left in Colombia. They are L O U D.
Little to add to the commentary about the Spain-Netherlands clash yesterday. Masterful offense and defending by the Dutch. Silva, Ramos, and Costa AWOL. This was a second half of total destruction. (The first half most notable for a sublime Dutch header, truly one of the best goals you will ever see).
Intriguing to me is how Spain’s cautious, slow-to-the-ball, spread attack is tailor made for beat-downs by fast, foot-forward squads from Latin America. Look at Chile’s attacking, especially when the match result was in doubt, versus Australia. And imagine a reenergized Brazil and a Messi-led Argentina. Uruguay and Columbia, too, look very well-matched against a Spain that was not only lackluster in execution, but seemed determinedly slow on the attack. Announcers speculated that the problem might have been the sheer fact of age and fatigue. I wonder whether there is a more tactical issue, and that is a South American style that will reward fast, aggressive attacking over the kind of methodical approach that furthered the ambitions of Spain most notably, but also Germany, Italy, and France in their dominating two-decade runs.
Think about this: No European team has won a World Cup on South American soil. Perhaps Spain’s beat-down provides a window into why this is so.
Postscript: Contrary evidence, of course, is provided by the amazing Dutch. Yes indeed. We may not know for a few days more how truly competitive is this squad. But, meanwhile, let’s give credit where credit is due. This was quite a performance.
NU prof. has published (with co-author) major new study on “Strategic Judicial Preference Revelation” in new issue of Journal of Law & Economics. Abstract is here.
This is part of a large and ambitious research agenda of Prof. Jacobi on judicial behavior and strategy — too, part of an expanding, influential literature of positive political theory and law. Northwestern Law faculty have been important contributors to this literature and Prof. Jacobi has been an especially creative and impactful scholar in this area. You can check out many more contributions in this vein, as described on her Northwestern website.
Nate Silver’s blog says 43% M > C, 27% C > M, 30% draw.
I have a 1-1 draw on my (currently 100% accurate) forecast.
Here is a good post from Grantland.
You’ll want to check out this blog for World Cup ruminations over the next month.
Here is what you should know for the purposes of my own street cred in this regard:
Yesterday, I began my World Cup pick ‘em pool by correcting picking the exact score (3-1) of the Brazil v. Croatia match. So, as of right now, I am 100% accurate in your WC forecasting.
Now, so far as yesterday is concerned, Brazil’s performance was, to me, a so-so endeavor. Flat in the first half (not including the “own goal” that gave Croatia a temporary taste of what might be). More European than Southern American in affect, in offense, and in attitude, the first half was an inauspicious beginning to what promises to be an exciting world cup.
Inexplicably, Croatia was cold during the second half and Brazil had its way in the last 50 minutes. Apart from a meaningless last-minute goal, Brazil could put only one penalty-kick goal (on a dubious call) in during a lackluster second period. Neymar yes, but Brazil needs to show more.
Today: Mexico begins on shaky ground — shaky because of their terrible road to qualifying, and shaky because apparently the Dunas arena in Natal has major construction defects. Egad. That said, Cameroon ought to put up a decent fight.
UPDATE: My prediction is 1-1 Mexico-Cameroon draw.
Kudos to alum Sharon Bowen (previously a partner at Latham & Watkins in NYC), who is a new member of the CFTC.
Interesting research reported about the liabilities of using laptops for note-taking in college classes.
One of the authors of this study has Northwestern Law connections: Pam Mueller, now a grad student at Princeton, and a former research assistant to law & psychology professors here at the Law School.