France and Germany wobble, but don't fall. (Nate Silver, Day 19)
Nigeria rattled France. The were half a body-length away from scoring in the first 20 minutes. They were able to play France fairly evenly throughout the first half, but eventually they wore down. By the time France scored they were controlling the run of play. They scored a second goal in injury time to put the game out of reach, but overall France pretty clearly deserved to go on:
If Nigeria rattled France, Algeria terrified Germany. For much of the first half Algeria was clearly the better team. Germany rallied late in the first half and had a golden chance to score on a rebound shortly before halftime. Rais M'Bohli was barely up to the task and kept Algeria tied at halftime. Germany was clearly the better squad in the second half, but weren't able to capitalize. They broke through twice in extra time, and were able to withstand a late Algeria goal and advance. The xG graph captures just how dominant Germany were for the second half of the game:
That sets up a match between Germany and France. The Germans I know are very concerned about this French squad. The Frenchies I know think they'll have an easy time rolling over Brazil, but don't want to face Argentina in the finals. There might be some cultural differences between the two nations...
Anyways, today is the day we finally get a chance to get a second win over Belgium, and the first since 1930. Nate has some faith in us. Nate also has some faith in Switzerland, although that's due to the odds being stacked against them. After a pair of losses Nate's bankroll is down to $821,767. He'll again be backing the underdogs:
Game 55: Switzerland to advance, 2.50%: Risking $20,544 to win $82,177
Game 56: USA to advance, 9.95%: Risking $79,7922 to win $151,471
The underdogs are 0-6 so far in the knockout round, with all six group winners advancing. I sincerely hope that trend doesn't continue. The one upside is that it has given us some excellent quarterfinal matchups. Seriously though, we eat waffles for breakfast. Belgium's going down, and that's just the way it has to be.
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