Among his other numerous attributes, Stephen Hawking is also apparently a big soccer fan.
In this ad for Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, Hawking notes that as a theoretical physicist, he is “marginally more qualified to make predictions than Paul the Octopus.” Hawking then employs general logistic regression modeling to offer the best conditions for an England World Cup win: England should use a 4-3-3 formation, hope for a European referee and a 3:00 kick-off. Hawking acknowledges, though, that when it comes to penalty kicks, “We couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo.”
Will England heed Hawking’s advice? Perhaps the team should. Paddy Power places England’s odds of winning the World Cup at 28:1. England last won the prize in 1966.
Most Americans aren’t paying that much attention to the World Cup taking place in Brazil. But the rest of the world is glued to their televisions, especially South America. The moment Chile beat Spain was a great moment indeed in Santiago.
Mamu Vásquez took out his camera the just as Chile beat Spain and captured the intense moments that followed. You can literally hear the city cheering in delight! This video has instantly gone viral with over 700,000 hits!
Kramer suffered a head injury against Argentina and attempted to keep playing.
1. Germany’s Cristoph Kramer was knocked out after this nasty collision during the 14th minute of the World Cup Final vs. Argentina. He stayed in the game, but in the 32nd minute, Kramer fell to the ground again and needed to be helped off the field.
Germany’s Christoph Kramer leaves the field in a daze after suffering a head injury vs. Argentina.
3. The 23-year-old midfielder told German paper Die Welt he “can’t really remember much of the game.”
“I don’t know anything at all about the first half. I thought later that I left the game immediately after the tackle. I have no idea how I got to the changing rooms. I don’t know anything else. In my head, the game starts from the second half.”
5. FIFA opened the investigation last week after it was reported that Mexican supporters were heard chanting “puto,” which is slang for “fag,” “man-whore,” or “coward,” during the team’s first two World Cup games.
6. FIFA says it “takes a firm, zero-tolerance stance against any form of discrimination and racism.” FIFA’s disciplinary committee said Sunday it was opening an investigation against German fans who wore blackface to Germany’s match vs. Ghana.
Instagram user selma_slim, who attended the World Cup, uploaded the picture on Saturday with the caption: “So far I’ve counted 8 Germans in black face. Worst, people are lining up to take pictures with them. Poor form, #Germany. #racism #racists #worldcup”
8. ESPN said it would try to limit chanting being heard during its broadcast of Mexico’s final group stage match vs. Croatia on Monday.
Argentine soccer fans in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday.
2. A crowd of about 3,000 Argentina soccer fans clashed with police Saturday in Rio de Janeiro. The conflict happened in the Copacabana area of the city, as the crowd massed on the wide sidewalks lining the beach, according to Argentine media.
Brazil’s goalkeeper Julio Cesar celebrates with teammates after a penalty shootout at the end of the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Brazil and Chile at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Saturday, June 28, 2014.
Image: Andre Penner/Associated Press
Frayed nerves. Jittery dispositions. Haggard faces and sunken eyes. As the humans of planet Earth return to work on Monday, we’ll see the same symptoms, country by country.
But fear not — this isn’t the start of some global pandemic. It’s simply the understandable after-effect of an opening weekend of World Cup knockout play that delivered enough drama, excitement and emotion to last Earth’s seven billion people for years.
We’re just getting started, however, with half the World Cup’s round of 16 still to come, followed by the quarterfinals, semi-finals and July 13 title match.
But first, let’s take a moment to consider a truly epic World Cup weekend. We saw one all-time classic match, the continued emergence of a transcendent talent, a controversial, devastating heartbreak and a nation of just 4.8 million people extend its improbable Cinderella run.
Here’s everything you need to get up to speed.
A true heart-stopper
There would be no easing into this World Cup weekend. In Saturday’s opening knockout match, South American upstart Chile, who so unceremoniously dumped defending champ Spain in group play, took host Brazil down to the wire in a match that exceeded regulation’s 90 minutes, didn’t see a goal during 30 minutes of extra time and wasn’t decided until Chile’s fifth and final penalty kick.
Chile was a tough side anyone would have struggled with, but Brazil’s win came via another unconvincing performance that has to have fans of the Seleção nervous heading into the quarterfinals. Had Chile’s Mauricio Pinilla placed this rocket just three inches lower in the final minute of extra time, he would have single-handedly triggered a nationwide emotional crisis in Brazil.
Instead: A 1-1 stalemate to end extra time, penalties to decide the outcome, and tension that ratcheted up to inhumane levels. Just how dramatic did things get? Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar was seen weeping on the field before the mano-a-mano penalty kick session even began.
“I was crying because several teammates came to be supporting me and telling me nice, beautiful things.” he said after stopping Chile’s first two shots to lead the victory. “What will crown this is to kiss and hold the World Cup with millions of Brazilians.”
The sterling performance offered sweet redemption for Cesar, who was the goat of Brazil’s quarterfinals loss to the Netherlands in in 2010. Meanwhile, wunderkind striker Neymar delivered — as he has all tournament — by placing home Brazil’s fifth penalty try with trademark panache.
But amid Brazil’s joy and relief, you had to feel for Gonzalo Jara of Chile. Jara missed his penalty try after Neymar’s — failing to send the match into sudden-death penalties, thus ending Chile’s run — after appearing to help deflect in Brazil’s first-half score earlier on.
Ultimately, Chile can head home proud of its performance at this World Cup, while Brazil is left with more questions than answers heading into a quarterfinal showdown with red-hot Colombia.
A superstar emerges
The first match of Saturday’s double-header offered drama from every angle. But its sequel, Colombia vs. Uruguay (sans the suspended and disgraced Luis Suarez), was all about one man: James Rodriguez.
The 22-year-old midfielder has taken on a starring role for Colombia in Brazil. Unknown to casual soccer fans before the World Cup, he’s now a household name, albeit one with an unconventional pronunciation (say it: HAHM-ess).
Rodriguez entered the Uruguay match already atop many pundits’ World Cup player ranking after a stellar group-stage. Then he outdid himself in Saturday’s first half, scoring the most jaw-dropping goal of the World Cup so far (with apologies to these fine efforts). Rodriguez took a pass off his chest, pivoted and rocketed it into the net without letting ball touch ground once. When it comes to this goal, seeing is believing.
Rodriguez followed that later with a second score off a beautiful bit of teamwork from Los Cafeteros to produce the match’s final 2-0 line. Colombia next faces Brazil in the quarterfinals on July 4 at 4 p.m. ET.
It’s a date that defines the phrase “appointment viewing.”
Flop or foul? Controversial plays sends Mexico packing
Entering Sunday’s match against the Netherlands, Mexico had reached the round of 16 five straight times, yet never advanced on to the quarterfinals. But that record-setting streak of disappointment, the longest in soccer history, looked to be over with El Tri up 1-0 and less than five minutes left to play.
Even when Wesley Sneijder scored off a corner in the 88th minute to equalize, Mexico still seemed on decent footing, dealing with stifling heat in Fortaleza much better than the Dutch. But then: A moment that will live on in Mexican infamy for years to come.
Rafa Marquez just barely grazed the foot of known Dutch diver Arjen Robben in the 92nd minute. Robben flopped to the ground as if hit by a bullet. The referee’s whistle blew. Klaas Jan Huntelaar converted the penalty to put the Netherlands up 2-1. The clock ran out. Mexico’s heart broke in the round of 16 yet again.
Here’s a look at Marquez’s foul — or, depending on your opinion, his non-foul.
Now here Robben’s reaction in slow motion.
Total flop or legitimate foul? It’s an argument that will rage — at least in some quarters — for eternity. Two things, however, are not up for debate.
Like Chile, Mexico acquitted itself well at this World Cup and can go home with heads held high.
This gloating tweet from Dutch airline KLM was, to paraphrase the great Larry David, pretty, pretty, pretty bad.
‘Boring’ finale even delivers drama
Greece and Costa Rica met in Sunday’s afternoon match to cap the weekend. Pitting two heavy underdogs few expected to reach the knockout stage, this game didn’t equal the quality of the weekend’s three preceding matches, to put things mildly. Costa Rica finished the game down a man after Oscar Duarte was sent off for his second booking of the game, yet Greece still couldn’t finish Los Ticos off in extra time — a failing that would come back to haunt them.
But — true to this unbelievably exciting World Cup — even the relatively ragged affair between Costa Rica and Greece managed to bring plenty of drama, with Sokratis Papastathopoulos scoring in stoppage time to send the game on to an extra 30 minutes.
Costa Rica managed to keep the extra periods scoreless, thanks largely to Greece’s offensive incompetence, then finally won on penalty kicks. Los Ticos — who shocked the world by advancing ahead of Italy, England and Uruguay out of deadly Group D — live on to continue their Cinderella run against the Netherlands on July 5 at 4 p.m. ET.
After the downright trippy excitement of this weekend’s first three games, the comparatively dull tilt between Costa Rica and Greece offered something of a gentle comedown. Was it pretty? No. Did it live up to the incredible standard set before it? No.
But Los Ticos validated something Mexico learned the hard way and Brazil proved to a nation’s great relief: Survival, by any means necessary, is all that matters in the World Cup knockout stage.
Reasons We’ll Miss Miguel Herrera
1. He knows the uplifting power of a quick thumbs up.
Image: Imgur, Mashable
2. He can fist pump like nobody’s business.
Image: Imgur, Mashable
3. He knows that every good coach needs a moment of zen.
USA will face the winner of Group H. It’s likely going to be Belgium, who is ahead of Algeria on points and goal differential. At 4 p.m. ET today, Belgium plays South Korea and Algeria plays Russia in their final group matches
He coached the national team before and was in charge of the 2002 squad that failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986. Van Gaal is set to step down at the end of this tournament and take over at Manchester United. He favors an attacking style, and was educated in Total Football.
10. The Dutch are in Group B, along with Chile, Spain, and Australia.
“So we can show the world that nothing is impossible for a Chilean! Spain is tough? Netherlands is tough? We are not scared of the Group of Death. We don’t care about death! Because we have beaten death before!”