Three Lions are coming home (Nate Silver, Day 9)
Another brutal result for English football. Before he finally put one home, here is what Wayne Rooney had accomplished vs. Uruguay:
While England was able to equalize (mostly due to great work from Daniel Sturridge), their missed opportunities proved costly when Luis Suarez rocketed a ball directly at Joe Hart. Joe, being a reasonably bright young man, wisely moved out of the way, and England's fate was sealed.
There was actually a bigger issue in the game than England's predictable failure. Alvaro Pereira got knocked out during the game. He was taken off the field, but once he felt he recovered, he overruled the doctor and came back into the game. That's insane! FIFA's concussion protocols are clearly lacking, as is the player education. Even the coach could have stopped it by substituting him out of the game. Just an utter disaster all around.
Greece were always going to be comfortable playing for a scoreless draw, but it became necessary when their captain Kostas Katsouranis picked up a second yellow and was sent off. Japan had already been getting the better of it and dominated most of the play after. They missed a golden opportunity when Yoshito Okubo shot wide in the 68th minute. He had a tricky angle, but an open net and just duffed it. Greece may have had the best opportunity after that, but Giorgos Samaras wasn't able to put his header on net. Japan is now in real trouble. Greece can put themselves in good shape with a win over Ivory Coast, but that doesn't seem likely.
Columbia carried most of the play versus Les Elephants. They missed a few good scoring opportunities early, but were able to take a two-nil lead before Ivory Coast rallied and made it 2-1. Columbia was able to hold on and clinched advancement into the next round. If Ivory Coast can defeat Greece, they'll advance as well, although a draw should put them through unless Japan demolishes Columbia.
It was another good day for Nate Silver as he swept to raise his bankroll to $286,231. It would have been even higher if I had locked in his initial bets the night before the games instead of the morning of. I decided not to repeat that, and so Nate's current plays for today are a bit better than what he could get at current market prices:
Game 24: Costa Rica +0.5 goals, 38.00%: Risking $108,768 to win $197,759
Game 25: Switzerland, 2.19%: Risking $3,886 to win $16,323 (Update: Stakes unchanged despite Costa Rica win as lines have moved).
Game 26: Honduras +0.5 goals, 11.64%: Risking $55,103 to win $84,379 (Updated)
Nate has done well backing teams from the Western hemisphere. Perhaps it's an edge the market isn't properly evaluating. Then again, perhaps one shouldn't read too much into 23 games of football with high variance wagering. Speaking of, I have commissioned a few artists to get their takes on full-Kelly wagering. Good art takes time, so you'll have to be patient (as will I).
Will Costa Rica reward Nate's faith in them? Let's enjoy another day of great football at the World Cup.