The World Cup Predictions Pool Game Thing

Waka, waka — oh wait.

So, I was thinking of what to do during the World Cup and settled on a kind of predictions game. It’ll be too complicated if it was done game by game so my twitter followers kindly narrowed it down to a couple of simple questions, or for those who find it easier and/or more familiar – a kind of March Madness style bracket. I’ll detail both ways below.

The First Way

Here’s how it’ll go: you’ll have nine (9) predictions to make. You will get points for each correct prediction and those with the most points win. The predictions are as followed (courtesy of @erMESSIdi on twitter):

1. Predict the team that will rank first in each group. [4 points for each accurate prediction]

2. Predict the team that will rank second in each group. [2 points for each accurate prediction]

3. Predict the eight (8) quarter finalists. [8 points for each accurate predictions]

4. Predict the four (4) semi finalists. [12 points for each accurate prediction.]

5. Predict the winning team. [50 points for the accurate prediction because that’s freaking boss, okay.]

In the event of a tie breaker, you must also include:

6. Predict which team will score those most goals.

7. Predict the team that will concede the least goals.

8. Who you think will be the top scorer.

9. The final score in the final.

Each is worth 2 points (unless you guys fight me over it. All these points are arbitrary anyway. I don’t usually do this stuff so guide me, fellow culers)

And no, there is no prediction for third place match because no one remembers third, okay.

So for example, the format could look like this (you can use the full name of the country or FIFA’s 3 letter code):

1. Group A: BRA| Group B: ESP| Group C: CIV | Group D: ITA| Group E: FRA | Group F: ARG | Group G: GER | Group H: RUS

2. Group A: CRO | Group B: CHI | Group C: JPN | Group D: URU | Group E: SWI | Group F: NGA | Group G: GHA | Group H: BEL

3. Quarters: BRA, ESP, CIV, JPN, NGA, ARG, GER, GHA

4. Semi-finalists: BRA, ESP, GER, ARG

5. Winner: ARG

6. Most goals: BRA

7. Least conceded: AUS

8. Top scorer: Messi

9. Final score of WC Final: 3-1

The March Madness Way

You choose the teams that will be in each bracket and do the same as above, but via this lovely little wall-chart. The same amount of points will be awarded for the correct predictions of the starting teams as above. The only difference is I took out the round of 16 part for the sake of having a similar point structure as above. (I know you’ll yell at me for this but it takes too much time, man)

Round 1:

For each accurate prediction of A1, B1, C1, D1, E1, F1, G1, and H1 : 4 points.
For each accurate prediction of A2, B2, C2, D2, E2, F2, G2, and H2: 2 points.

Round 2:

Accurate prediction of A1/B2 v C1/D2 | B1/A2 v D1/C2 | E1/F2 v G1/H2| F1/E2 v H1/G2: 8 points for each team.

Round 3:

Accurate predictions for the semi-final bracket: 12 points each.

Round 4:

Accurate prediction of the winner: 50 points.

The tie breaker remains the same, so you can include them at the bottom of your predictions.

What’s the prize?

The winner gets to have a post about the subject of their choice written either by me OR they can write the post themselves and I’d post it, after editing it and whatnot. The only caveat here is that you should try to keep the subject football related. As much as I’d love to bang out a 2000 word essay on the plight of penguins in Antarctica, I don’t know about everyone else…

Second place gets a silly post about the subject of their choice or a shorter post about something else (I haven’t really thought about it, open to suggestions).

Third place gets… wait, who are you?

What else should you know?

The cutoff time for all predictions is the kickoff of the opening match on June 12. That means 4 pm EST. It’s short notice but I figure it wouldn’t be fair to start predictions for the whole tournament after a game’s already been played, y’know?

So if you understand all of the above, or don’t but still want to play, have at it! If not, dammit. I’ll do better next time.

Here’s a handy list of all the groups to help you fill out your predictions.

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater Philadelphia area.


  1. 1. Group A : BRA
    Group B : ESP
    Group C : JPN
    Group D : ITA
    Group E : FRA
    Group F : ARG
    Group G : GER
    Group H : BEL

    2. Group A : CRO
    Group B : CHI
    Group C : GRE
    Group D : URU
    Group E : SUI
    Group F : NGA
    Group G : POR
    Group H : RUS



    5. Winner ARG

    6. Most goals ARG

    7. Least goals conceded ALG

    8. Top scorer Messi

    9. Final score 2 – 1

    I’d ask for that plight of penguins essay if I win this.
    P.S. 2000 words, that’s too short : )

  2. 1. Group A: BRA| Group B: ESP| Group C: JPN | Group D: ENG| Group E: FRA | Group F: ARG | Group G: GER | Group H: BEL

    2. Group A: CRO | Group B: CHI | Group C: CIV | Group D: ITA | Group E: SUI | Group F: BIH | Group G: POR | Group H: ALG

    3. Quarters: BRA, ITA, ESP, ENG, FRA, GER, ARG, BEL

    4. Semi-finalists: BRA, FRA, ESP, ARG

    5. Winner: ARG

    6. Most goals: FRA

    7. Least conceded: ESP

    8. Top scorer: Messi

    9. Final score of WC Final: 3 – 2

  3. 1. Group A: Brazil
    Group B: Spain
    Group C: Columbia
    Group D: Italy
    Group E: Switzerland
    Group F: Argentina
    Group G: Germany
    Group H: Belgium

    2. Group A: Croatia
    Group B: Chile
    Group C: Cote D’Ivoire
    Group D: England
    Group E: France
    Group F: Iran
    Group G: Ghana
    Group H: Russia

    3. Quarters: Brazil, England, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Argentina, Belgium

    4. Semis: Brazil, Germany, Spain, Argentina

    5. Winner: Argentina

    6. Most Goals: Argentina

    7. Least Conceded: Belgium

    8. Top Scorer: Messi

    9. Final Score: 3-2

    1. Look who’s back πŸ™‚

      Just a quickie. Why do you think Belgium will concede the least goals?

    2. Hello!

      Hahaha….I was thinking that maybe they have the more solid backline? They don’t have real fullbacks that bomb up….so no one will be too adventurous. They have good centrebacks and the back four might just sit back and defend.

      Havent really had time to check all the team sheets. Not that I’d ever know how Algeria plays, for instance. I just had to send this out now based on the little I know πŸ™‚

      And I dont know how we calculate…i just thought theyre the team that will concede the least who might advance farther than other teams

  4. 1. Group A: Brazil
    Group B: Chile
    Group C: Cote D’Ivoire
    Group D: Uruguay
    Group E: Switzerland
    Group F: Argentina
    Group G: Germany
    Group H: Belgium

    2. Group A: Croatia
    Group B: Spain
    Group C: Colombia
    Group D: Italy
    Group E: France
    Group F: Bosnia & Herzegovina
    Group G: Portugal
    Group H: Russia

    3. Quarters: Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Uruguay

    4. Semis: Chile, Germany, Spain, Argentina

    5. Winner: Argentina

    6. Most Goals: Argentina

    7. Least Conceded: Spain

    8. Top Scorer: Messi

    9. Final Score: 2-3

  5. A








    Brazil def. Chile
    Spain def. Croatia
    Japan def. Uruguay
    Italy def. Columbia
    BosHerz def. France
    Argentina def. Switz
    Portugal def. Russia
    Belgium def. Ghana

    Brazil def. Japan
    Spain def. Italy
    Argentina def. Belgium
    Portugal def. BosHerz

    Portugal def. Brazil
    Spain def. ARgentia

    Spain def. Portugal
    Brazil def. Argentina

    Most goals team

    Least goals

    Most goals player
    David Villa

    Final Score
    Spain 4, Portugal 2 In extra time, no penalties

  6. 1. Group A: BRA | Group B: ESP | Group C: JPN | Group D: URU | Group E: FRA | Group F: ARG | Group G: GER | Group H: BEL

    2. Group A: CRO | Group B: CHI | Group C: COL | Group D: ENG | Group E: SUI | Group F: BIH | Group G: POR | Group H: RUS

    3. Quarters: BRA, ENG, ESP, URU, FRA, GER, ARG, BEL

    4. Semi-finalists: BRA, ESP, GER, ARG

    5. Winner: ARG

    6. Most goals: ARG

    7. Least conceded: ESP

    8. Top scorer: Aguero

    9. Final score of WC Final: 2 – 1

  7. 1. Group A: BRA | Group B: ESP | Group C: COL | Group D: URU | Group E: FRA | Group F: ARG | Group G: GER | Group H: BEL

    2. Group A: CRO | Group B: CHI | Group C: JAP | Group D: ITL | Group E: ECU | Group F: NIG | Group G: POR | Group H: RUS

    3. Quarters: BRA, ITL, ESP, URU, FRA, GER, ARG, BEL

    4. Semi-finalists: BRA, ESP, GER, ARG

    5. Winner: ARG

    6. Most goals: ARG

    7. Least conceded: ESP

    8. Top scorer: Messi

    9. Final score of WC Final: 3 – 2

  8. 1/2. Group A:

    Group B:

    Group C:
    Ivory Coast

    Group D:

    Group E:

    Group F:
    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Group G:

    Group H:

    3. Quarterfinals:

    4. Semifinals:

    5. Final:


    6. Most goals:

    7. Least conceded:

    8. Top scorer:

    9. Final score of WC Final:

  9. 1.
    Group A : Croatia
    Group B : Chile
    Group C : Colombia
    Group D : Italy
    Group E : France
    Group F : Argentina
    Group G : Germany
    Group H : Russia

    Group A : Brazil
    Group B : Spain
    Group C : Ivory Coast
    Group D : Uruguay
    Group E : Ecuador
    Group F : Nigeria
    Group G : Ghana
    Group H : Belgium

    3. Spain/Uruguay/France/Germany/Brazil/Italy/Argentina/Russia

    4. Spain/Germany/Italy/Argentina

    5. Argentina

    6. Argentina

    7. Portugal

    8. Messi

    9. 3-2

  10. Watching Cesc’s Story of Spain on Sky which he narrates. Getting quite emotional living it again through the Spanish players’ accounts.

  11. 1- Group A: BRA | Group B: NED | Group C: COL | Group D: ENG | Group E: FRA | Group F: ARG | Group G: GER | Group H: BEL

    2- Group A: CRO | Group B: ESP | Group C: JPN | Group D: ITA | Group E: ECU | Group F: BIH | Group G: GHA | Group H: KOR

    3- BRA , NED , ITA , ENG , FRA , ARG , GER , GHA

    4- BRA , FRA , NED , ARD

    5- BRA

    6- ARG

    7- BRA

    8- HIGUAIN

    9- 2/1

  12. Using the FIFA world rankings (ahaha) for unknown teams.

    1.Brazil, 2.Croatia.
    Spain, Chile
    Colombia, Ivory Coast. (Japan at rank #46? I’d like to put them in second, can’t. Greece rated surprisingly high.)
    Italy, Uruguay.
    France, Switzerland
    Argentina, Nigeria
    Germany, Portugal
    Belgium, Russia

    Brazil defeats Chile.
    Colombia defeats Uruguay.
    France defeats Nigeria.
    Germany defeats Russia.
    Spain defeats Croatia.
    Italy defeats Ivory coast.
    Argentina defeats Switzerland.
    Belgium defeats Portugal. (I hope.)

    Brazil defeats Colombia.
    Germany defeats France.
    Spain defeats Italy
    Argentina defeats Switzerland.

    All easy so far?.

    Brazil defeats Germany
    Spain defeats Argentina

    Spain defeats Brazil.

    The obvious predictions. Round of 16 is unclear of course, but the lesser teams should be eliminated soon enough. Spain is too strong, they are clear favorites. Brazil gets to the final with their home-field advantage.

    6. Argentina easily. Best offense, if their defense holds they’ll win the whole tournament.
    7. Spain. Tough though, perhaps some ro16 team that draws thrice?
    8. Neymar. You guys have Messi? He’s playing too deep to win IMO, although it would be a lovely thing.
    9. 2-1

    1. Switzerland has two lives! I messed up, have Argentina beat Belgium in the quarters.

  13. 1.
    Grp A: BRA Grp B: SPA Grp C: COL Grp D: URU
    Grp E: FRA Grp F: ARG Grp G: GER Grp H: BEL

    Grp A: MEX Grp B: CHI Grp C: CIV Grp D: ENG
    Grp E: SUI Grp F: BIH Grp G: POR Grp H: RUS








  14. 1. Group A : BRA
    Group B : SPA
    Group C : COL
    Group D : ITA
    Group E : FRA
    Group F : ARG
    Group G : GER
    Group H : BEL
    2. Group A : CRO
    Group B : CHI
    Group C : JAP
    Group D :URU
    Group E : ITA
    Group F : BOS
    Group G : POR
    Group H : RUS
    5. Winner ARG
    6. Most goals ARG
    7. Least goals: SPA
    8. Top scorer: Messi
    9. Final score 2 – 1

    Blog Post Idea: Oedipus Wreaks or Triumphs?

    The fact that Argentina’s greatest player ever has remained Argentina’s greatest player ever because he was Argentina’s worst coach ever has weighed heavily on the psyche of La Pulga.

    Now Leo finally has a real chance to displace El Diego and become a national hero. Will he do it?

    Win: They build a 40 foot Statue in Rosario.
    Lose : They build a 40 foot Scaffold in Buenos Aries.
    No pressure.

  15. 1)

    Group A: BRA
    Group B: SPA
    Group C: COL
    Group D: ITA
    Group E: FRA
    Group F: ARG
    Group G: GER
    Group H: BEL

    Group A: CRO
    Group B: CHI
    Group C: JAP
    Group D: URU
    Group E: SWI
    Group F: B&H
    Group G: POR
    Group H: SKO



    5) Winner: BRA (I do not like the team as presently constructed though, as it just does not have enough quality, but then the same could be said about Brazil 1994, as well as numerous other world champions and it is definitely the most balanced side out there. As good as Argentina are forward, they are just too weak in defense and also very fragile in midfield, and it’s hard to believe they can survive four knockout rounds with such serious deficiencies. Spain has the most quality and experience, but it’s just hard to believe they can do it for a fourth time in a row. Germany has the best mix of quality, youth, and power, but for many years now they have actually struggled because of that – too many great players to choose from, very few of which, however, are indisputably the best in the world in their position. So I go with Brazil)

    6) Most goals: ARG (the games against Iran and Nigeria could produce a lot of goals).

    7) Least goals conceded: GRE (best bet is usually a team that plays very defensively but it is not good enough forward and goes out in the group phase with a couple draws, thus precluding the possibility of allowing more goals)

    8) Top scorer: Cristiano Ronaldo (the best bet is usually a player on a relatively good team that will play at least 5 games, and in the same time does not have many other viable options to score and everything is channeled through their star. He has been scoring for fun for the NT in the last year so he fits the profile very well.)

    9) Final score: 2-0

  16. 1) A: BRA | B: SPA | C: GRE | D: ITA | E: FRA | F: ARG | G: GER | H: BEL
    2) A: CRO | B: NED | C: CIV | D: URU | E: SWI | F: BOS | G: POR | H: RUS
    3) BRA | URU | FRA | GER | SPA | ITA | ARG | POR
    4) BRA | GER | ITA | ARG
    5) BRA
    6) BRA
    7) ALG
    8) C. Ronaldo
    9) 2-1

    1. I like the mathematical models too and agree that people are writing off Spain too easily. I also like Spain because they don’t really rely on any one player any more. Even if their best player (Iniesta) gets injured or is sub par, they still are really good. You can’t say the same about Brazil, Argentina, or Portugal.

      I picked Argentina because I just can’t root against getting the whole Messi/Argentina/Maradona thing over with.

      It sickens me but that that country has successfully blackmailed Barca that they won’t leave him alone until he gives him their Cup. I hate giving in to blackmail, but there it is.

      From a humane perspective, I think Brazil winning would be best because the whole country might destabilize if they go out early
      after their whole World Cup fiasco.

      John Oliver on FIFA and Brazil if people haven’t seen it already:

    1. I wish Cesc the very best of luck with Chelsea. I believe that it was the right decision for him but the wrong decision for us.
      I reckon that he’ll get himself a PL winners medal next season but hopefully we don’t run into him in the CL.

      Thanks for the three years and bring on Rakitic

    2. The timing is odd. The only thing I can make of it is that the club wants to avoid the publicity nightmare:

      1) Cesc definitely wants to leave.

      2) Cesc has a great World Cup.

      3) We now have a player who cules want to stay but we still have to give to Mourinho.

    1. Long-time reader / infrequent commenter here – it’s been quite a while since I posted anything. Before I plunge in with any comments per se, let me say (again?) that this blog continues to be the best place for in-depth, thoughtful discussion of FCB on the Internet in English, and it’s awesome.

      With the news now official, I wanted to say that the way the Cesc saga has unfolded is rather baffling, and a bit depressing, to me. I guess we don’t know the details of who pushed for his transfer out, or the reasons for the decision, but it’s tough to make sense of. One could argue that we (re)acquired him at the wrong time, or that he wasn’t a perfect player (who is?) or a perfect fit for us (again – and perhaps more difficult – *who is*?). I wouldn’t necessarily agree with those contentions, but they aren’t completely indefensible in terms of logic. But this would seem to be the year, of all years, that we would want to bring him in, not send him packing.

      To illustrate, it’s interesting to imagine Cesc as a player not who has worn the blaugrana for the last 3 seasons, but one who has played for another club (of similar stature to ours) and is now available as a transfer target. There has been much discussion about whether or not Cesc has performed well in the 3 seasons he has actually been with us already, and whether that performance warranted a transfer or not, but perhaps this little exercise puts things in a different perspective. Specifically: imagine a 27-year-old midfielder who has played at a top club, creating 42 goals and 48 assists over 151 appearances – placing him among the leaders in terms of productivity from his position in every season, across every major European league. He is famed for his creative ability, particularly his knack for providing incisive through-balls, and the vertical bent with which he does this seems particularly suited to our current breed of fast forwards like Neymar and Alexis. And heck, let’s even say he is a local kid who grew up in La Masia with our star player and dreams of playing at the club of which he has been a lifelong fan.

      I have a hard time believing such a player wouldn’t be near the top of most cule lists of candidates to bring in as Xavi is slowly phased out of his role as the heart of our midfield – and perhaps our identity. Problem is, we already had this player, and for some reason, the performance he provided wasn’t enough to convince whoever is making the call that he was worth keeping around. But the above exercise leaves out a further element – which is that, as imperfect a fit as he may (or may not) have been, we know what we can expect from Cesc. He’s been in the team for 3 years, and we know that, despite the massive challenges of adapting to our system, he’s capable of wold-class production here. So what’s the problem?

      I agree with some views here that Cesc (among others) has been scapegoated for some of the difficulties the club has faced over the last few seasons. In the season just ending, he and others shouldered an unfair proportion of blame when it was the performance levels of our sacred cows that dipped just as much, if not more. In a broader sense, a lot of it seems to boil down to “he isn’t Xavi or Iniesta” – he doesn’t play exactly like they do, he doesn’t fit in the system as they do. I love Xavi – he’s one of my favorite players – but it’s almost a disservice to him to expect anyone to just step in and be able to fulfill that role, to carry on with the system *completely* unchanged and unadapted, because Xavi is a unique player, in the magnitude of ability he displays in particular attributes and the way they create his style of play. Expecting the same from another player doesn’t fully recognize Xavi’s uniqueness. And now Xavi is getting on in years, and sooner rather than later he will retire. We need someone to play midfield, and we’re not going to find anyone who can do it exactly like he did. Why not get someone who can still do a pretty great job, in a way that isn’t exactly the same but on the whole still well within the “Barca (i.e. After-Cruyff) Way”?

      Looks like we’re betting on Rakitic to do that. In isolation, I’m excited to be getting him. He’s obviously a highly talented player and a hard worker. But he’s not Xavi. To the extent that I have seen him, he doesn’t play like Xavi. In fact, it seems that he plays more like….drumroll….Cesc! He’s an advanced attacking midfielder who can score and provide the final pass. Further, there is, as with any new player, the element of uncertainty that comes from the need to adapt. Rakitic was the man, creatively-speaking, at Sevilla. Will he enjoy the same status at Barca? That seems doubtful. Teams don’t play Sevilla the way they play us. Will Rakitic perform as well with a severe lack of space? Can he help break down a bus? For all his failings, we know what Cesc could generate, in our system, with our players, in the conditions we play in, without being the man. We’re going back to square one in regards to all of that with any new midfielder. That’s a pretty risky bet. If the claim is that with Xavi leaving, we can change the system to suit our new players – well, wouldn’t it have been even better to do it with Cesc instead, a player whose performance level and connection with our players we already knew?

      For all that ranting, it’s done now – Cesc is out, and it seems pretty close to done that Rakitic is in. So at worst this is meaningless, and at best it’s a sad rumination on what might have been. I wonder if we’ll ever know why things turned out the way they did. Did Enrique (who, of course, *does* know 100 times more about football than I) see something he didn’t like vis-a-vis his vision for Barca? Or did Cesc get tired of the entorno pooping a brick because he isn’t one of the Holy Ones from The Pep Team?

      Thanks for everything, Cesc, and, though it’ll be tough to see you playing for Mou in a blue shirt, best of luck. Maybe your path with cross with Barca’s again someday.

    2. Benvinguts! Great first post.

      I guess I never really wanted to compare Cesc to Xavi. For me, getting Rakitic and selling Cesc is more about changing our teams dynamic. I am betting that this is Xavi’s last season, and apart of La Liga games, Cesc has demonstrated that he is not a game changer for BarΓ§a, particularly in the champion’s league. Maybe Rakitic will flop, but that’s the risk we need to take.

      Our team seemed stale for much of the second half of the year. That’s not Cesc’s fault, but I think he was a good candidate to trade off, others do not of course, and we are all entitled.

    3. Thanks for the welcome – though I actually have posted before, it’s been so long it might as well be a first post! Haha.

      Yeah, I would agree (obviously) that Cesc shouldn’t be compared to Xavi – but I have seen the “he was supposed to be Xavi’s replacement but he’s no good at it” line of argument a number of times. In any case, it seems highly unlikely we will find many players who are both good enough to walk into our starting eleven and exactly the same as a player they are replacing in terms of skill set – so we almost have to adapt the system to the player (if ever so slightly) if we want to bring in new players who are good enough to start for us.

      You may well be right about the goal of changing the team dynamic – I guess what I was wondering was how much we can really expect Rakitic to do that for us. Again, he looks to be a great talent, but his overall profile isn’t dissimilar from Cesc’s, and he will be playing in very different circumstances to boot. You’re right in that we do need to take risks – what I am wondering is what reward are we reasonably expecting here? But like you say, everyone has differing views on what a given player will provide. I certainly hope to be proven wrong here.

    4. Ian great post! You summarized most of my feelings about the Fab ordeal that I posted here:

      I particularly like your idea that had we not gotten Cesc before he would now be viewed as our savior for the new Barca.

      The thing that irks me is that many at the club are pushing the narrative that we should be glad that Cesc is leaving because he failed at Barca or Enrique just doesn’t value him. I, for one, am skeptical and am not going to give the club the benefit of the doubt.

      No one here knows the full story, but my guess is that Cesc wants to go back to EPL and we just have to make the best of a bad situation. Like the Ibra and Thiago sagas, we may be debating Cesc’s departute to Chelsea for years to come.

      The best thing for all concerned is if Ratickic ends up being as good as most think and Rafinha has a great future at Barca as well.

    5. You have perfectly summed up my feelings about this exchange of Cesc for Rakitic. I hope it’s Cesc that wanted to go, otherwise it looks like a high-risk-low-reward bit of business…

      The other question I have: Why did Arsenal not want Cesc back (I read that they had first choice before Chelsea)? They should have both the money to spend and the need for the player, and he’s already shown what he can do in Wenger’s system. Did he leave too many enemies behind when he left there?

    6. I think Arsenal fans definitely want him back but it is just one year too late with Ozil, who they overpaid for.

      An even odder story would have been if Cesc went to Arsenal on buy back and then Ozil was sold to Chelsea for cheap. Mou gets back a player that he really likes and then Arsenal have to take the loss on Ozil.

      We just need to have a new policy that we won’t buy players from Arsenal anymore. We should instead view them as our allies in the fight against the really rich clubs.

      We have our Real Madrid, they have their Man City and Chelsea.

  17. Wow! I know there are a lot of mixed reviews on the selling/price of Cesc. I’ve made my opinions known like everyone else, but I would like to wish him well and that even though I think this is a good piece of business, IT IS tough to see him go to Chelsea.

    Bon sort Cesc!

  18. I would have been over the moon with the decision of selling Cesc if it came paired with any indication that Messi would move to the no.10 spot and we get a top 9 on the transfer market.

    Selling him so that we can give his minutes to Rakitic makes no sense whatsoever to me (if that is indeed the plan).

  19. That was one hell of bad marriage.
    Firstly we flirt with the b*tard since the first year that he moved to Arsenal, because, well, he got our DNA, so of course he belong to us.
    And in moments that flirting was damn boring.
    And after few years we decide that he’s not suited to us, and maybe, just maybe we should have never bought him.
    Anyway, good luck to him. I always liked him, even when he was at Arsenal and i hope he’s great success at Chelsea.

  20. 1) Brazil,Spain, Columbia, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Algeria
    2) Croatia, Chile, Cote D’Ivoir, Uruguay, France, Ghana (thank me Provy), Russia
    3)Brazil, Columbia, Bosnia &H, Germany,Spain, Italy, Argentina, Ghana
    4)Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Spain
    5)Winner Argentina
    6)most goals Brazil
    7)least goals conceded Spain
    8)Top scorer El Kun
    9) Final 4-2

  21. Traded a player that did not fit, for a player that might. Physical, taller (this is what a lot of coolers wanted). Perhaps midfield press is now possible.

    Iniesta/Rafinha – Busquets/Mascherano – Xavi/Rakitic

    Three newcomers to get acclimatized, but compared to past season’s bench-trio Cesc Song Roberto, they constiute an improvement.

    This could peradventure go quite well, if the $ is splashed on the right CBz, and the RB conundrum resolves.

  22. Bye bye, Cesc. Don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you!

    Just another guy in blue to boo as of today.

  23. What about Germany?

    One of the interesting stories for the WC for me is that Germany is one of the favorites yet nobody here thinks that they can win.
    But like Spain they are experienced, efficient, and disciplined enough to win, particularly if neither Messi nor Neymar has a stellar cup.

    If someone wants to win this pool then a good strategy to me is just to go with the favorites and pick Germany to win. I can’t do it because I just can’t root for them, but it’s a good strategy.

    Interesting article on Germany:

    1. For me their physicality which is their major attribute is going to be diminished by the conditions so I don’t see them past the quarters. If you accept that pressing is going to be well nigh impossible for me there is one team that benefits majorly. ….

    2. I would have went with Spain too, but have been listening to the doubters who point to the Confederations Cup last year.

      Spain could win, but it seems that all their major victories against good sides have come down to 1-0 wins or penalties.

      To me, Costa is the wild card in that if fit he may make them more dangerous but less disciplined. I wonder how VDB will use him if he is fit.

  24. I think that’s a pretty harsh verdict on Cesc. My major emotion is frustration because I felt this was going to go better than it did. I hadn’t noticed his lack of speed when he played for Arsenal and thought his ball retention was better than transpired. Despite that he had a great eye for a pass and gave his all for the club to make it happen so no hard feelings here. He’ll still be a player I enjoy watching.

    However, we also shouldn’t sugar coat it. Both our club and Arsenal saw something in Cesc that didn’t appeal, whatever it was.

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