The last two days of group play were kind of disappointing, with two games (Brazil-Portugal and Spain-Chile) barely being contested in the second half, as the teams involved were sure to advance, and just sort of kicked the ball around idly in the middle of the field until the clock ran out. In a just universe, the teams involved would be punished with embarrassing losses in the first eleimination game; as they play each other, that’s not going to happen.
Note that seven of the final sixteen teams are countries where How to Teach Physics to Your Dog has sold. Of countries who have purchased translation rights, only Italy failed to advance, because somebody forgot to tell the Italians that you need to actually play, no matter how awesome (you think) you are. France, where translation rights have not sold, was eliminated in humiliating fashion, though Germany did make it through. Still, if I were a German publisher with an interest in the World Cup, I’d be on the phone to Scribner right about now…
The last round of group play games saw four ties and 34 goals, so at the three-quarters mark in the tournament, we have 14 ties and 101 total goals. the naive linear projection for the final totals would thus be 19 ties (that is, five games in the elimination rounds decided on penalty kicks) and 135 goals. Asthe Uncertain Principles World Cup poll specifies “closest without going over” the number of tie results, Tom Spencer looks to be in good shape, despite wildly overestimating the scoring. Matt Leifer still has a chance, but even one penalty-kick shootout knocks him out of contention.
US-Ghana this afternoon in the Ethan Zuckerman Cup. We’ll probably be on the road to Boston to pick SteelyKid up after her weekend at Gammy’s, but then the US team has played a lot better when I wasn’t watching on tv or Internet, so that’s probably to the good.