World Cup: Round of 16, who to cheer for

For a reminder, I did a ranking of who my favorite teams were by spreadsheet.  This is difficult because Uruguay has lost probably my favorite player, in terms of maximum entertainment value, do to his antics, but continues to have Diego Forlán, so I think I’m going to leave them at #2 and not readjust everything.  Also I’m lazy.

Cheer for Uruguay
Cheer for Uruguay

Updated list of 16 ranked:

  1. United States
  2. Uruguay
  3. Mexico
  4. Argentina
  5. Costa Rica
  6. Brazil
  7. Colombia
  8. Chile
  9. Algeria
  10. Nigeria
  11. Netherlands
  12. Greece
  13. Switzerland
  14. Belgium
  15. France
  16. Germany

Brazil v Chile (I’d be happy for Uruguay with a Chile victory, though)
Colombia v Uruguay
Netherlands v Mexico
Costa Rica v Greece
France v Nigeria
Germany v Algeria
Argentina v Switzerland
Belgium v United States

Can I add how exciting it would be to get to the next round with two african teams and no European teams.  #BigDreams

World Cup: Round of 16, who to cheer for

18 thoughts on “World Cup: Round of 16, who to cheer for

  1. 3

    This German guy goes along with 5 out of 8 of your prophecies *including* Germany vs Algeria. But no, there will be 3 European teams in the quarterfinals :France, Greece and Belgium.

    On a more serious note: You find Luis Suarez “entertaining”? Seriously? That was THIRD effing time that maniac bit his opponent on the playingfield and your willing to say “Well, it’s good for a laugh, ain’t it?”. Like to reconsider that?

  2. 4

    Minute for minute, Suarez offers a large number of goals and assists and fancy footwork. Plus he inspires memes that keep me entertained for days.

    Frankly, I think the biting is childish, but far less dangerous than the other injuries. Let’s talk to all the players about elbows to faces, cleats to knees and ankles, and knees to groins and stomachs. As a culture we might find biting repulsive, but he’s never even broken skin or caused any lasting damage from it. Let’s talk about concussions and the lasting damage they do. Let’s not kid ourselves that biting someone is even close to the most dangerous thing that happens on a soccer pitch. In terms of amount of injury, it really should just be a yellow card.

  3. 5


    I agree: the risk of serious injury for the opponent is far higher in more commonplace fouls. But I would argue that those fouls are not always commited malicously. Should a player be suspended if he jumps feet first into his opponent in an effort to get at the ball? Absolutely. But I would still say he *was* trying to snatch the ball, not deliberately trying to injure the other guy (well, in 8 cases out of 10). Biting your opponent achieves 0 toward assuring your teams victory. And I repeat: it was the THIRD time Suarez did this.

  4. 7

    I should say that hockey’s reputation for violence is largely overblowm (I recently heard someone claim – without a hint of irony or hyperbole) that the NHL averaged “2-3 fights per game” which is utter crap. The actual figure is about 1 fight per 3 games. And much like Suarez’ biting the body blows sometimes exchanged by hockey players in the heat of the moment are in reality far less dangerous than some of the high speed checking that happens entirely within the rules.

    In either case I can’t say I admire the players for losing their cool, but it’s understandable that things could get heated.

  5. 8

    OK… this might get me banned, shortly after delurking here. But what if someone started biting zeir protesting partner during previously consenting sex? Would me arguing “Well, ze got carried away” make me a rape appologist?
    Mind you, I’m aware that competing in professional sports is not really comparable to matters of sexual harresment. But aren’t (should’nt) there be rules of conduct as well as writen rules?
    Again, I would agree that the punishment of Luis Suarez was too harsh if he wasa first time offender… but it’s the third time he pulled of this shit.

    1. 8.1

      It won’t get you banned, but it is a terrible analogy. Players essentially do consent to a certain level of physical harassment and risk of injury by playing, in all sports. There’s a reason fouls are part of the rules. There are rules of conduct, the thing I’m saying is that I see no reason why Suarez giving someone a bruise gets worse punishment than someone breaking someone’s nose or why people are more horrified by it.

  6. 12

    As an Evertonian I’m probably biased, but I think Suarez is a despicable character. A truly great footballer with flair, passion and amazing dedication to his sport, but an absolutely horrible human being. Leave the four* biting incidents themselves aside for a moment.

    – He headbutted a referee after being sent off (during a youth game in Uruguay).
    – He quite clearly lied about the Chiellini incident in his statement to the disciplinary committee (“I lost balance and fell on Chiellini, in no case did I intend to bite.” Yeah, we’ve all seen the video.).
    – He racially abused another player (and lied about that too).
    – He dives and cheats and feigns injury to get other players booked/sent off (too many to list, but Jack Rodwell springs to mind).
    – He engages in as much (if not more) fowl and dangerous play as almost any other player (again, numerous occasions, but off-the-ball stamps on Kevin Mirallas and Sylvain Distin in the same match for example).

    To top it all off he projects an air of injured innocence and appears to believe pointing out the above facts amounts to a campaign of harassment and hatred against him. Beyond dark hints about xenophobia and jealousy of his talent, quite why he should be treated so badly is never made clear. That other supremely talented foreigners have not been so “hounded” is ignored in order to maintain the fiction that he is unjustly singled out for disproportionate opprobrium.

    Of course even if he had a spotlessly clean disciplinary record I’d hate that he always plays so well (and usually scores) against my team, but at least I’d be able to admire his talent.

    * In addition to the most recent one, and the ones while playing for Ajax and Liverpool, he also did it in a WC qualifier for Uruguay.

  7. 14

    I don’t see your comments about Suarez as a defense of him, but I think the analogies/comparisons to other violations in soccer are misplaced. This is a game, it’s a closed system with specific rules and he doesn’t simply risk injuring other players – if so then the comparisons would be sound. He consistently crosses lines that nearly no one else crosses (I can’t think of anyone off the top of my head) and demonstrates no remorse.

    Concussions are a serious issue and so are reckless fouls, but they are a feature of how the game is played and how it has evolved (just as diving is). While they should be dealt with seriously (and I don’t think any sports organization deals with such things seriously enough because most hold to “tradition” as if it were a valid reason to resist change) they can’t be compared to biting because biting is completely outside the system. Nevermind that it’s his third bite and he has several other examples of despicable behavior, some of it in the form of violent play, some that shows he’s a violent person with a persecution complex.

    At any rate, he’s a great player, but conversations about his behavior and subsequent suspension and about treating other sorts of issues in soccer seriously are entirely unrelated in my mind.

  8. 15

    ““Do to his antics”. Grammar, how it work?” – I have to invoke Skitt’s here: it’s a spelling, not a grammar, issue.

    As for the proceedings of the World Cup, all round-of-16 (stupid name, btw) matches have been played, and they turned out to be incredibly bizarre. *No* goals were scored in the first halves, most goals scored in the second halves were in the last ten minutes or overtime, and 6 out of 8 matches needed extra time of which half ended in penalties. Also, *all* group winners went through to the 1/4 finals. Not to mention individually bizarre games, like the last one, Belgium vs. US, during which the Belgian team tried to land a goal at least 40 times before finally scoring.

  9. 16

    Quarter finals guide?

    Here are my picks based purely on feelings rather than any uniform objective criteria:

    France vs. Germany
    – About time France got some measure of payback for Schumacher’s assault on Batiston in ’82.

    Brazil vs. Colombia
    – Had some great times in Brazil and loved the people, but can’t stand the incompetence and corruption of the authorities (both municipal and football) involved. Also, if in doubt support the underdogs.

    Argentina vs. Belgium
    – I want Messi to silence those who criticise him for never really delivering for his country, and I want Lukaku to have a stinker so his price drops and Everton’s chances of re-signing him improve. Also for my friends at Everton de la Plata.

    Netherlands vs. Costa Rica
    – #OviedoBaby

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