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A.S.
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I tend to group the teams into tiers, by difficulty. Here are my tiers, roughly by difficulty: Tier 1: Brazil, Spain Tier 2: Netherlands, England, Germany, Argentina, Italy, Portugal, France Tier 3: Chile, Mexico, Uruguay, Cameroon, United States, Ivory Coast, Serbia Tier 4: Australia, Denmark, Greece, Switzerland, Paraguay, Nigeria, Honduras, Japan Tier 5: Slovenia, Ghana, South Korea, Algeria, Slovakia Tier 6: South Africa, New Zealand, North Korea I would be very happy with Ives's draw. I'd take a group with two Tier 5 teams any day.
No, I don't think this is right. USA has a 1 in 8 chance of drawing South Africa, as any team in Pot 2 can draw any team in Pot 1. The only Pot that is affected by the restrictions on number of teams from a confederation in a group is Pot 3.
Ives, my objection to FIFA's method is more general than which confederations go in which Pots. My objection is, rather, that they use the confederations (and the fact of being a host) *at all* in determining which teams are in which Pots. It seems to me that this method is inherently unfair to the highly ranked (but non-Pot 1) teams, since this method increases the likelihood that these highly ranked teams are placed in a Group of Death. It seems to me that Ivory Coast should get another team seeded 25-32 in lieu of South Africa, not a team seeded 1-7. Perhaps this isn't the exact right post for my more general objection to be included as a comment - it just seemed to me that it fit in with the topic when discussing which teams are in which pots. (SBI-I see what you're saying. Based on FIFA's rules, a quality African team like Ivory Coast ends up at a disadvantage. I agree with that. I took issue with you mentioning Ivory Coast as having been a nation burned by FIFA's latest maneuver of seeding based on rankings.)
SBI says "(SBI-I don't think Ivory Coast can really complain to be honest.)" Really? Ivory Coast has a 100% chance of being in a group with one of the top 7 teams in the world. CONCACAF teams have only an 87.5% chance of being in a group with one of the top 7 teams in the world (and a 12.5% chance of being in a group with South Africa). CONMEBOL teams have only an 83.3% chance of being in a group with one of the top 7 teams in the world (and a 16.7% chance of being in a group with South Africa). (SBI-Right, but NONE of that changed TODAY, so why would Ivory Coast complain about TODAY's actions? My comment was in reference to your jabs at FIFA's "decision-making process." Not having South Africa face African teams in the same group isn't some new decision, that's a long-standing rule. Now, if Africa had been magically grouped with Asia somehow THEN they could have complained. As it stands, Ivory Coast always knew they couldn't face South Africa, so what's the issue here?)
I will add that I approve of FIFA's decision to simply use the FIFA rankings in seeding decisions. The FIFA rankings have been greatly improved in the past couple of years (by moving to a modified ELO system), so the prior objection - that the FIFA rankings were so terrible - is less true today. Moreover, I like the idea of moving away from basing the seedings so heavily on performance in a mere handful of games that occurred 3 1/2 and 7 1/2 years ago.
But the draw procedure is convoluted in any case - we know that none of the African teams can be placed in South Africa's group, and the none of the Comnebol teams can be in Brasil or Argentina's group. So it's not like they have a simple, straightforward draw in any case.
FIFA's continued insistence on using geography as the sole determining factor in which countries are placed in Pots 2, 3 and 4 is maddening. The is absolutely no reason that FIFA could not seed all 32 teams (i.e., the top 8 seeds in Pot 1, seeds 9 - 16 in Pot 2, etc.), to make each of the groups relatively equal in strength. Seeding all 32 teams can easily be made consistent with FIFA's decision that no group have more than one team from a region (or 2, for UEFA), so that does not present a coherent objection. In the end, it seems to me that FIFA's decision-making process is intended to screw high ranked teams from outside UEFA, such as the US, Mexico and Ivory Coast. (SBI-I don't think Ivory Coast can really complain to be honest.)
"FC Barcelona went from club in danger of being eliminated to first club to advance from its group after posting a 2-0 win vs. Inter Milan at the Camp Nou." The post isn't exactly clear, but if you are saying that Barca are through to the knockout round, I don't think that's correct. As far as I can tell, Barca can still be eliminated in the group stage if they lose to Dynamo Kiev by at least 2 goals on the final mathcday (playing in Ukraine) and the Inter-Rubin game doesn't end in a tie.
Ives, As usual, there are a ton of questions about potential moves from MLS to Europe in the upcoming transfer window. From Landon Donovan to Rico Clark and Ching, Holden, etc. My question is - should players hoping to play extensively in the World Cup really try to move clubs in January? In many cases, they will be trying to break into an established team, and will likely have a lot of difficulty getting playing time. In Landon's case, if he transfers/goes on loan in January, he will have played for more than 2 years straight - Galaxy, National Team (including Confed Cup), Bayern loan, and whoever his new team will be. He's going to be exhausted come June, no? It seems to me that the best plan of action for all those guys - at least if the World Cup is their top priority - is to stay with their MLS clubs until the August transfer window. Thoughts?
Toggle Commented Nov 23, 2009 on It's Q&A Time at Soccer By Ives
No, Ives, I think your numbers are wrong. I get 6-2-3 in matches Beckham played in (21 points, or 1.91 PPG), and 6-4-9 in matches in which Beckham didn't play (27 points, or 1.42 PPG). And after April, LA was 6-3-5 in matches in which Beckham didn't play (23 points, or 1.64 PPG). So the Galaxy were better with Beckham even if we are just looking at the post-April matches. That said, it looks to me that the Galaxy turnaround really began with the 1-0 win over Houston on 6/28 - before Beckham arrived. Beginning with that match, the Gals began a stretch of 4 wins in a row, and 7 wins in 10 matches. (SBI-You're right A.S., I had an extra win, where LA had lost. LA was 4-1 in its five matches without Beckham from that Houston win on, and 6-2-3 in matches with Beckham. LA really came together in June as it learned to play without Donovan (who was at Confederations Cup) and kicked into another gear with Donovan and Beckham. Yes, Beckham played great when he was here, but the notion that Beckham sparked LA out of a funk and "taught" LA how to win is misleading. Beckham had some great games and helped LA finish first in the West, but he still didn't do enough to make MLS Best XI.)
Toggle Commented Nov 17, 2009 on SBI's 2009 MLS Best XI at Soccer By Ives
LA Galaxy pre-Beckham: 1.41 PPG (equivalent of a 42 point season) LA Galaxy with Beckham: 1.85 PPG (equivalent of a 55 point season) So, obviously, they improved a lot when he returned (as you'd expect). Still, I agree with Ives - not enough games. (SBI-You got me on the stats A.S.)
Toggle Commented Nov 16, 2009 on SBI's 2009 MLS Best XI at Soccer By Ives
My recollection was that he requested the trade, but would have stayed in NY if they paid him the same salary as he got last year (~$250,000). Obviously, they didn't want to pay him that much.
Toggle Commented Nov 16, 2009 on SBI's 2009 MLS Best XI at Soccer By Ives
"Third Team ... Dave Van Den Bergh" Some of us who commented on last year's trade noted that Dave vdB was the Red Bulls' MVP last year, and it was a huge mistake trading him. Turns out we were absolutely right. I hadven't followed Dallas that much, but it looks like he played as well as last year or even better. And the Red Bulls walked away with basically a couple of draft picks. Just another huge mistake by JCO and the Red Bulls hierarchy. (I know, I know, he requested the trade, but the Red Bulls could have kept him on - or at the very least gotten a lot more for him.)
Toggle Commented Nov 16, 2009 on SBI's 2009 MLS Best XI at Soccer By Ives
NOT the Bradley/Benny pairing in midfield, please. We already know that that pairing is *awful*. We saw it again against Slovakia - Bradley and Benny simply do not play well together. Even though Slovakia was sitting back and allowing us possession, that pairing created exactly *nothing*. Especially with Donovan out, we need the central midfield to do something to create chances, and that pairing proved once again that they are completely incapable of doing so.
Nice performance today by Chelsea. Certainly deserved the win. It's been a long time since Chelsea have been this healthy - only Bosingwa is injured. At this point they are simply a better side than ManU.
Fire Pelligrini. Then Villareal can fire its new coach and pick Pelligrini again.
I don't know who of the candidates listed should go. But if it were up to me, I'd fire Juan Carlos Osorio again. Just to be sure.
Toggle Commented Oct 28, 2009 on Which MLS coach is the next to go? at Soccer By Ives
When Gerrard gets back, Rafa has to find a way to get Torress, Gerrard, Kuyt and Benayoun on the field together.
Yes - Ngog finishes it off.
Dang, Owen is dangerous.
Torres off? WTF???
Nice pass by Benayoun on the goal, too.
1979 - Cosmos vs Tampa Bay Rowdies(?). First live pro soccer game I ever went to. 2008 USA-Argentina game was great too.
I am not going to get excited until I see him on the field in a US team uniform.
This seems to work well.