World Cup Analysis

The All Important 2nd Goal

Generally, the first goal of a such a low scoring sport like football is the important one. Google research shows a team who scores first is only about 10% likely to lose that match altogether. Not the case with the World Cup through eight matches. Four of the eight teams to concede a goal first have come back to win the game outright. Brazil, Netherlands, Costa Rica, and Ivory Coast have all appeared outmatched for major portions of their first halves. Each one of those games changed completely after the equalizer struck netting. In fact, it is the second goal which is all important. Six of the seven matches to feature two or more goals have been won by the team who scores second. It’s not uncommon to witness confidence flow from a team who has just scored, but those four games saw a dramatic shift in momentum post-equalizer. Not sure if the nerves of the initial World Cup match makes sense for this trend to continue, or we just have a bizarre first eight games.

Side note – We have seen the best celebration of the tournament just a few games in. Thank you Pablo Armero and the Colombian National Team.

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World Cup Analysis

Not Your Average CONCACAF Mexico Squad

Remember when this Mexico team was in a crisis? They couldn’t find the back of the net against the dreadful CONCACAF, shuffled three coaches, benched their biggest celebrity (Chicharito), and lost to a Costa Rican team with nothing on the line to probably miss the World Cup for the first time in seven cups. According to one source, World Cup qualification boosts the Mexican economy by around 600 million dollars. Luckily for their economy and obsessive fans, the USA bailed them out. The already qualified USA scored two late, needless goals against a desperate Panama squad to keep Mexico alive. Of course, El Tri went on to beat up a weak New Zealand team to sneak into the World Cup.

One game changes the whole narrative. Where did this confidence come from? Other than a ten minute stretch midway through the first half, it was complete domination. Cameroon looked like a team built around a past-their-prime star. Eto’o is not what he used to be and they didn’t have a back up plan. More disappointing than Eto’o, was the lack of interest or heart this squad displayed. These two teams were on different levels today. I can’t really explain it other than the new Mexican coach, Miguel Herrera. Unfortunately, I suffered through a few Mexico CONCACAF qualifying matches. El Tri hasn’t displayed this much confidence and flair with their football in a long, long time. Everytime I hear Herrera speak, he seems confident to the point of borderline crazy. However, I think it’s exactly what this Mexican team needed.

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