Brazil survives. James Rodriguez is Gifted. (Nate Silver, Day 17)
The Brazil-Chile game was far more interesting than the result suggests. Brazil scored early on a beautiful set piece off of a corner kick. It was technically an own goal, but it would have been a goal had the defender not touched the ball. Brazil would have had a couple of other opportunities with Neymar, had he been willing to shoot with his left foot. Chile equalized off of a terrible miscue from Hulk.
In the second half Hulk scored, but it was correctly ruled that it was a handball. In fact, not only was it a handball, but Hulk barely got his leg on the ball and was lucky it rolled in. That was the best scoring chance of the second half. Chile played quite defensively and were able to make it to extra time. For most of extra time they played for a shootout, but managed an excellent scoring chance in the 120th minute. They rocketed a shot off the crossbar and barely missed a goal. In the shootout, Júlio César was simply better than Claudio Bravo.
I don’t want to suggest Chile played Brazil fairly evenly. They didn’t:
However, they were able to prevent Brazil from scoring and that’s somewhat disconcerting for Brazil, particularly given their lackluster play in the group stage. Chile and Mexico played Brazil to a draw over a period of 210 minutes. They need to be able to trust someone other than Neymar. That brings me back to Hulk. Before penalty kicks I tweeted:
Lo and behold, Hulk tried to smash one down the center and the goalie blocked it. Hulk has brought Brazil nothing but pain. That’s only slightly better than Fred, who has brought Brazil pretty much nothing at all. Neymar is great, but it is hard to win a World Cu with only one elite player. In fact he might not even be the best player on the field in the quarterfinals:
Oh my. He’s the most gifted player I’ve seen since the Sentanta sports version of Wayne Rooney.
You know what the worst part about all of this is from Uruguay? Colombia had a player who could put the ball into the net, while they didn’t. That led to a two-nil scoreline with this shot chart:
I won’t miss Uruguay. I will say that If I were Brazil, I’d be very concerned about facing Colombia. I understand that Colombia hasn’t faced the toughest path to get here, but they’ve been handling their opposition with impressive ease. From here on in Brazil doesn’t have any more easy games.
Speaking of easy games, Nate Silver ran his tab to $744,887. Not bad. He’ll be investing a portion of that sum tomorrow:
Game 51: Netherlands to advance, 25.52%: Risking $190,095 to win $114,515
Game 52: Costa Rica to advance, 9.70%: Risking $83,362 to win $73,927 (Updated)
Both games feature clashes between offensive teams (Costa Rica, the Netherlands), and defensive teams (Mexico, Greece). In both cases Nate is backing the offensive team, and in both cases the offensive team is favored. I definitely agree with the Costa Rica play as Greece have been exceedingly feeble on offense. Mexico are much more dangerous, but then again, so are the Dutch. I’m looking forward to both games and another great day of futbol from the World Cup.
@sethburn on twitter