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World Cup Day 9: The Dark Horse Rises!

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The Italians missed everything a team should have from will to actual skill against winners Costa Rica that so far won the dark horse rights. Switzerland accomplished the same feat scoring two goals at the match end but came no close to drawing level with France. Ecuador defeats Honduras in the most entertaining match of the night.

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

GROUP D

ITALY 0-1 COSTA RICA

Costa Rica was considered by critics to work in the World Cup as the goal difference collector for the "real" strong teams in the so called group of death. Reasons and excuses are numerous as to how Costa Rica beat Uruguay and Italy such as: Suarez was injured, Uruguay had a bad day. Italy just did not play well, Italy had no proper striker to finish the job, Chiellini does not work as center defender. The fact remains that Costa Rica hit not two but three birds with one stone; The booked a place in the round of 16, officially casted England out of the World Cup and has a great chance of playing against one of the weaker sides from the opposite group. The stone was scored by Ruiz a minute after Chiellini has obviously brought down a Costa Rica player in the box with placed header in Buffon's net.Italy's next match against Uruguay will be the decider regardless of the other match result. Since Italy has a one goal advantage over Uruguay then a draw is enough to qualify.

SWITZERLAND 2-5 FRANCE

An early injury in the match threw the swiss clock into chaos and conceded three goals in the first half by Mauidi, Giroud and Valbuena. Benzema failed to convert a penalty kick after the second goal making it a first in this competition. Changes were made in the Switzerland line-up in the second half and things started to look brighter. France on the other hand had no interest in stopping at three and displayed a quality performance scoring two more goals by Benzema and Sissoko who was exceptional on the backline right side during the match. It was too late but Switzerland exploited the French defensive weaknesses scoring two goals by Dzemaili and Xhaka in the last ten minutes. France is 99% qualified to the next round since they need to lose with a 6 goals difference against Ecuador in the last match. Switzerland qualification scenarios are pretty complicated and here it is as simple as possible:

1)      The goal difference in Switzerland win over Honduras must be 3 Goal difference more than Ecuador win over France.

2)      Switzerland could qualify with a 2 goal difference more than Ecuador win over France if they manage to score as many goals as Ecuador in the last match.

3)      A tie in all three criteria is possible if the goal difference is 2 more for Switzerland match but Ecuador score exactly one more goal than Switzerland in their win against France. Tied in points, GD and GS.

4)      Switzerland qualifies with any win if Ecuador draws or loses to France.

ECUADOR 2-1 HONDURAS

The wife and I sometimes and especially during the weekends agree on a match that I should not watch. Obviously I choose this match but I was very lucky that the plan did not go through and was able to watch a match of this caliber. Both teams are not as skilled as the big ones but the stakes were high. For Honduras, they were looking to record their first World Cup win in history while Ecuador wanted to get back into the group top challengers. The match was just another comeback but kept anyone watching breathless until the final whistle. Costly scored for Honduras while Valencia scored both goals for Ecuador.

Qualifying scenarios for Ecuador:

1)      Win with more than 5 goals difference against France regardless of the other match result.

2)      Win with 2 goal difference against France less than the other match goal difference if Switzerland wins.

3)      Win with any score if the other match is a draw

4)      Lose with no more than 3 goal difference if Honduras wins.

Qualifying scenarios for Honduras:

1)      Win with 4 goals difference or more provided Ecuador loses to France.

STANDINGS

Group A

Team

Played

W

D

L

For

Against

GD

Points

Brazil

2

1

1

-

3

1

+2

4

Mexico

2

1

1

-

1

0

+1

4

Croatia

2

1

-

1

4

1

+3

3

Cameron

2

-

-

2

0

5

-5

0

Group B

Team

Played

W

D

L

For

Against

GD

Points

Netherlands

2

2

-

-

8

3

+5

6

Chile

2

2

-

-

5

1

+4

6

Australia

2

-

-

2

3

6

-3

0

Spain

2

-

-

2

1

7

-6

0

Group C

Team

Played

W

D

L

For

Against

GD

Points

Colombia

2

2

-

-

5

1

+4

6

Ivory Coast

2

1

-

1

3

3

0

3

Japan

2

-

1

1

1

2

-1

1

Greece

2

-

1

1

0

3

-3

1

Group D

Team

Played

W

D

L

For

Against

GD

Points

Costa Rica

2

2

-

-

4

1

+3

6

Italy

2

1

-

1

2

2

0

3

Uruguay

2

1

-

1

3

4

-1

3

England

2

-

-

2

2

4

-2

0

Group E

Team

Played

W

D

L

For

Against

GD

Points

France

2

2

-

-

8

2

+6

6

Ecuador

2

1

-

1

3

3

0

3

Switzerland

2

1

-

1

4

6

-2

3

Honduras

2

-

-

2

1

5

-4

0

Group F

Team

Played

W

D

L

For

Against

GD

Points

Argentina

1

1

-

-

2

1

+1

3

Nigeria

1

-

1

-

0

0

0

1

Iran

1

-

1

-

0

0

0

1

Bosnia-Herzegovina

1

-

-

1

1

2

-1

0

Group G

Team

Played

W

D

L

For

Against

GD

Points

Germany

1

1

-

-

4

0

+4

3

USA

1

1

-

-

2

1

+1

3

Ghana

1

-

-

1

1

2

-1

0

Portugal

1

-

-

1

0

4

-4

0

Group H

Team

Played

W

D

L

For

Against

GD

Points

Belgium

1

1

-

-

2

1

+1

3

Russia

1

-

1

-

1

1

0

1

Korea Republic

1

-

1

-

1

1

0

1

Algeria

1

-

-

1

1

2

-1

0

Golden Boot

Name

Team

Goals

Mueller

Germany

3

Robben

Netherlands

3

Van Persie

Netherlands

3

Benzema

France

3

Neymar

Brazil

2

Cahill

Australia

2

Mandzukic

Croatia

2

James

Colombia

2

Suarez

Uruguay

2

Peralta

Mexico

1

Alonso

Spain

1

De Vrij

Netherlands

1

Sanchez

Chile

1

Valdivia

Chile

1

Beausejour

Chile

1

Ruiz

Costa Rica

1

Armero

Colombia

1

Gutierrez

Colombia

1

Cavani

Uruguay

1

Campbell

Costa Rica

1

Duarte

Costa Rica

1

Urena

Costa Rica

1

Marchisio

Italy

1

Balotelli

Italy

1

Sturridge

England

1

Bony

Ivory Coast

1

Gervinho

Ivory Coast

1

Honda

Japan

1

Valencia

Ecuador

1

Mehmedi

Switzerland

1

Seferovic

Switzerland

1

Messi

Argentina

1

Ibisevic

Bosnia-Herzegovina

1

Hummels

Germany

1

Ayew

Ghana

1

Brooks

USA

1

Dempsey

USA

1

Feghouli

Algeria

1

Fellani

Belgium

1

Mertens

Belgium

1

K H Lee

Korea Republic

1

Kerzhakov

Russia

1

Jedinak

Australia

1

Memphis

Netherlands

1

Vargas

Chile

1

Aranguiz

Chile

1

Olic

Croatia

1

Perisic

Croatia

1

Quintero

Colombia

1

Rooney

England

1

Dzemaili

Switzerland

1

Xhaka

Switzerland

1

Matuidi

France

1

Giroud

France

1

Valbuena

France

1

Sissoko

France

1

Qualified Teams to the Round of 16 at the End of Day 7:

1)      Netherlands (Possible opponents: Brazil, Mexico, Croatia)

2)      Chile (Possible opponents: Brazil, Mexico, Croatia)

3)      Colombia (Possible opponents: Costa Rica, Italy, Uruguay)

4)      Costa Rica (Possible opponents: Colombia, Ivory Coast, Japan, Greece)

Teams Packing:

1)      Cameron (Group A)

2)      Spain (Group B)

3)      Australia (Group B)

4)      England (Group D)

Day 10 Matches:

Argentina vs Iran

Match Implications: Argentina win means qualification while a win for Iran complicates the group. A tie keeps Argentina chances of winning the group as high as possible.

Germany vs Ghana

Match Implications: Germany will look to book a place in the second round by winning this match provided the other match ends with a tie or an American win.

Nigeria vs Bosina-Herzegovina:

Match Implications: Both teams need to win in order to have a chance to qualify in the last round.