Sail full-Kelly, y'arr! Costa Rica passes the test (Nate Silver, Day 10)
Despite some dodgy officiating, Costa Rica was able to get the result they deserved against Italy. It helped that Mario Balotelli had English level finishing skills. After being denied what surely should have been a penalty kick (and possibly a red card), Costa Rica scored right before the end of the first half. They carried the play for most of the second half and are now into the next round, most likely as the group winner. Impressive. England has nothing to play for, as Uruguay will need to beat Italy to advance. If they fail to do so, Italy moves on.
I wasn't surprised that France beat Switzerland. I was surprised they annihilated them. Oof! The loss puts Switzerland in a surprisingly awkward position. They are competing with Ecuador for the second slot in the group. Their goal differential is -2, while Ecuador is at 0. Their main advantage is they get to face Honduras, while Ecuador has to face France. France clinches the group with a draw, so if that game is tied late, France might not be as aggressive as you'd otherwise expect. Switzerland needs to defeat Honduras and hope Ecuador doesn't do the same to France.
Speaking of Ecuador, they probably didn't deserve the win they got vs. Honduras. If not for some questionable officiating Honduras might have won, or at least drawn. As is, Honduras are now effectively eliminated. As discussed earlier, Ecuador needs to stay ahead of Switzerland. At this point I think I'd prefer they fail to do so, as I don't think they deserve to be on three points right now.
Despite poor results in the other two games, Costa Rica's victory put Nate Silver at a new closing peak of $418,288. He stands to enter the stratosphere if Iran can put u a result against Argentina.
Game 27: Iran +0.5 goals, 12.02%: Risking $50,278 to win $340,775
Game 28: Ghana +0.5 goals, 5.57%: Risking $20,498 to win $62,116
Game 29: Nigeria +0.5 goals, 10.23%: Risking $44,002 to win $47,011 (Updated)
If I had a breakdown of the various permutations in the Argentina-Iran game, it's quite likely that Nate would have taken Iran +2.25 goals, but without that information, I can only give Nate Iran +0.5 or Iran outright. If Iran manages to draw Argentina, I will be very surprised, and Nate will be off to the races. Truth be told, I expect Nate to be 0-2 heading into the most interesting game of the day. Despite their draw vs. Iran, Nigeria are still a dangerous squad. Bosnia-Herzegovina needs a win after losing to Argentina.
Today feels like a bit of a lull before the big games tomorrow: Russia vs. Belgium, USA vs. Portugal. It appears Nate will be backing the underdogs in both of those games, but I'll get to that tomorrow. Enjoy the (potential blowout) games today!