No one expects the Dutch Inquisition. Spain certainly didn't. After going up one-nil on a penalty kick (that should not have been awarded due to Costa initiating the contact), Spain had to feel pretty confident. A brilliant header from RVP tied the game at the half.
Early in the second half Arjen Robben was able to split two defenders and drill one home by unexpectedly going to his left. I should note that both of the first two Dutch goals were set up by brilliant long balls to the scoring players, as was the third. The fourth goal was caused by Casillas (the Spanish goalie) making a meal of a back pass.
At that point "Spain's embarrassment is complete", or so the commentators thought. What they didn't foresee was that one more time Arjen Robben would reverse direction and go left with a ball in the box. Casillas was so shocked he was left lying on the ground, leaving an open net that Robben deposited the ball into. 5-1.
At this point Spain's tiebreakers are bollocks. If the Netherlands defeats Australia (more on them shortly), a draw against Chile would leave Spain in a very bad spot. That would mean a Chile-Netherlands draw would advance both participants. The Spain-Chile game is a must-win for Spain, and that will not be easy.
Chile is a tough squad, but I must confess I was impressed by Australia's fighting spirit. After falling behind two-nil in the opening 15 minutes, Australia fought back and scored in the 35th. After that they kept the game close until Chile put it away with a goal in extra time. Australia's opposition doesn't get any easier with games against the Netherlands and Spain on deck.
After running out to a 2-1 lead in the first half (all three goals disallowed), Mexico was able to add a third goal in the 61st minute and hold on for a 3-1 (technically one-nil) victory over Cameroon. Brazil is next up for Mexico, but the key game is actually following against Croatia. They'll need to deny Croatia a victory to ensure they'll move on to the next round.
So, what did all this mean to Nate Silver? Well, The Dutch and Chilean victories more than offset Cameroon's defeat, and he now stands tall with a bankroll of $149,917. Very nice work after a mere four games, which, coincidentally is what we have on tap today:
Game 5: Colombia, 3.45%: Risking $5,172 to win $4,707
Game 6: Costa Rica, 9.78%: Risking $15,122 to win $133,075 (Updated)
Game 7: England, 13.62%: Risking $39,185 to win $75,234 (Updated)
Game 8: Ivory Coast, 14.48%: Risking $35,985 to win $59,015 (Updated)
Now, some of you might be asking why the amount wagered on Ivory Coast is less than the amount wagered on England. Others might be asking the more pressing question of why Nate is wagering on England at all! The answer is that I am listing the amounts as if all previous bets were to lose, and then adding to the stakes as positive results come in. As for backing England, I say what a man does with his pounds and pence is his business.
Yesterday was a great day of futbol. Here's to another one today.
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