Saturday, June 28, 2014

Tall Order for Mexicans in Brazil

Sunday brings on a tall order for the Mexicans against the Dutch, the tallest race on earth. The Netherlands and Mexico will square off noon EST in Fortaleza's Castelao stadium, where even in the shade of the northernmost Brazilian stadium, temperatures have reached over 90 degrees during the day. It's hard to imagine how these players will handle the action in the blazing sun, but they'll have to find a way if they want to move on to the Quarterfinals.

Unfortunately for Mexico, the Dutch are built around a strong counter-attack. If el Tri starts to wear down in the heat, Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie could run wild behind the Mexican defense. Guillermo Ochoa has been stellar in net so far for Mexico, but shutting down two of the world's greatest scorers is too much to ask of any keeper. Expect La Verde to employ a high line, especially late in the game, and pray they can draw the Netherlands attack offside, neutralizing their deadly over-the-top through balls. 

Although the odds-on favorite, the Netherlands face a Mexican side that in all likelihood, will dominate the ball. Their passing game has been world-class, even earning 49% time of possession in a 0-0 draw against the home-nation Brazil. In fact, the match against Brazil took place in Fortaleza, so the Mexicans may have some idea of what to expect from the conditions. Unlike the Brazilians, the Netherlands defense will send intense pressure to the ball to try and turn the Mexicans over and get out on their patented counters. If Mexico can keep the defense stretched while moving the ball quickly, they'll get their opportunities. 

The real question of the day: will the suspension of Jose Juan Vasquez prompt a start for "Chicharito" up front for el Tri? Tune in at 11:55am EST on SnapCall for all the action!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

10 Facts for Germany v. USA

When the United States was dropped into the group of death, this is the game they were worried about. Should the Americans lose, they'll need some help from Portugal and Ghana to move onto the knockout stage. A win or draw against the powerhouse German side, and the US advances. Many questions remain for the Americans...

Can manager Jurgen Klinsmann rise to the occasion and get a positive result against his homeland? 
These 10 facts may help in breaking down the matchup:

1) Jurgen Klinsmann was a prominent forward on the 1990 World Cup Champion West German team. Klinsmann also competed with the unified German team in the 1994 and 1998 World Cups. He became the first player ever to score at least three goals in three consecutive World Cup tournaments. The feat would later be matched by Ronaldo (Brazil), and Miroslav Klose (Germany).

2) Despite a surprising 3rd place finish in the 2006 World Cup as coach of the German team, and high praise from his home country, Jurgen Klinsmann declined to renew his contract after the tournament. He was never fired.

3) Current German manager, Joachim Low, was Klinsmann's assistant during that 2006 World Cup.

4) According to Nate Silver, famed American statistician, the US currently has a 76% chance of reaching the round of 16. They also have a 37% chance of reaching the quarterfinals, 13% to the semis, 4% to the finals, and just 1% chance of winning the World Cup.

5)  Germany and the USA have squared off nine times in their history. The Germans have won 6 of those matches, and there has never been a draw.

6) The Americans have scored a whopping 12 goals over their last four matches against the Germans.

7) USA has scored at least one goal in eight consecutive World Cup matches. That ties their best run since their first eight World Cup matches, starting in 1930.

8) Seven of America's last eight World Cup goals have come after halftime.

9) Despite scoring an incredible goal to get the Americans to this point, Jermaine Jones has largely struggled with the ball. He is the only US midfielder to complete under 86% of his passes, coming in at just 75%. Look for Germany to pressure him in the middle.

10) German striker Miroslav Klose scored his 15th World Cup goal last week and is now tied atop the all-time leading scorer list in World Cup history, aside Brazil's Ronaldo. Expect Klose to be a late sub.

SnapCall coverage of the big game starts at 11:55am EST. You can't miss this one!