SportsProf

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Thoughts on the World Cup

In no particular order:

1.  Serge Aurier of Cote d'Ivoire is making himself a lot of money.  Two great assists on Saturday.  He'd look great as a replacement for Bacary Sagna at Arsenal.

2.  Viva Los Ticos of Costa Rica!  Speaking of Arsenal, Joel Campbell had a great day for his country, and the Gunners own the rights.  They'll need all the help that they can get given the arms race that Chelsea has started and that perhaps United and City will finish.

3.  Uruguay missed Luis Suarez yesterday

4.  France had an easy opener against Honduras.  While Les Bleus looked impressive, they did have one of the easiest opening games.  Still, you play who you play, and the French are trying to erase the stain that was 2010.

5.  Give Ecuador credit for extending Switzerland, and give Switzerland and particularly Behami credit for making one last run at the end of stoppage time to help his team get the victory and three points.  Many challenged whether the Swiss were worthy of being seeded, and for 93 minutes they seemed to be right.  After the game ended, though, the Swiss showed everyone that they have a lot of character.  As well as a skilled front four.

6.  Argentina had a relatively easy time of it today.  What Lionel Messi proves, by dribbling the ball as if it's an extension of his foot, is that you have to mark him closely.  Fail to do that, and he'll bury you.  Do that, and others will take advantage of the double- and triple-marking that he'll see.

7.  Mario Balotelli is playing for his next stop and a contract, as is Karim Benzema of France.  The bet here is that one of them is ticked for Arsenal, which needs more muscle up front to compete in the EPL

8.  England continues to struggle, and it's hard to put a finer on precisely why.  Other countries suffer from the fact that their players don't play together during the year all that much.  But with England they've struggled with this for decades.

9.  Roberto Martinez is impressive as a commentator and as a coach.  At some point he'll bolt from Everton to a bigger-time job.  But if that job is Arsenal, will he establish himself as the next great coach or end up being another David Moyes to Arsene Wenger's Alex Ferguson.  The bet here says that they'd welcome Martinez with open arms at Emirates Stadium.

10.  While Cristiano Renaldo will draw the headlines, the Germans are a most formidable squad, even without Marco Reus.  Mario Gotze is the real deal, their back-line is very good, and in Manuel Neuer they have one of the three best goalies in the world.

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