Olympic Finals: Gold Medalists Wear Green

The Olympics are officially closed and the medals handed out. As the dust settles, Mexico sits atop the heap, while Brazil looks on enviously. South Korea grabbed the bronze, with Japan left on the outside looking in. Take a look at how it all happened. Brazil (1) v Mexico (2) Despite Mexico’s brilliant form throughout this tournament, they still entered the gold medal match as significant underdogs against the heavily-favored Brazilians. It took them just 28 seconds to make it clear they weren’t reading from everyone else’s script. Oribe Peralta opened the scoring with many fans not yet settled in their seats. Javier Aquino pounced on a poor pass from Brazilian right back Rafael da Silva, poking the ball to Peralta who took his chance with composure. Brazil struggled through most of the first half, subbing Hulk in at the 32nd minute in an attempt to energize the attack. Hulk […]

Olympic Semifinals: Brazil Marches On

Leandro Damiao scored two second half goals to put Brazil one step closer to Olympic gold. Photo courtesy of interaksyon.com It will be a Central versus South American final in the gold medal match on Saturday, while two Asian nations will battle for bronze. How did Mexico manage to slay the Blue Samurai of Japan, and was South Korea really as poor as the 3-0 score line suggests? Mexico (3) v Japan (1) Japan drew first blood, but it only served to focus a Mexican team that reacted by clamping down on defense and being more ruthless in attack. After Yuki Otsu’s 12th minute goal, Mexico responded with two of their own in the 31st and 65th minutes, and a third from Javier Cortes in the third minute of stoppage time to seal it. Mexico had a slight edge on Japan in terms of Footballr Rating, besting them 58 to […]

Olympic Quarterfinals: Favorites Exposed

Cinderellas were sent packing, shoes in hand, and favorites showed their fallibility as eight teams were whittled down to four.  What can the quarterfinals tell you about your favorite team’s chances of making the gold medal match when they face the semis? Japan (3) v Egypt (0) In the only one-sided result of the quarterfinals, Japan boasted a 67 average Footballr Rating, an advantage of 15 over their Egyptian opponents.  Egypt had impressed in its opener against Brazil, staging an unlikely second half comeback to nearly draw even with the heavy favorites.  Still, the only game in which they’d managed to thoroughly outplay their opponents was a 1-1 draw with New Zealand: an aberration in a tournament where they have generally trailed when it came to their Footballr Rating. It’s not as though Egypt can claim to have been surprised by Japan.  The Blue Samurai only had the inferior FR […]

Olympic Soccer: The Story So Far…

With a week of Olympic soccer down and the group stage gone it’s time to look back and see just how last week’s predictions have played out, and what other teams have stepped out of anonymity. Who has shown well? Brazil has certainly lived up to the hype, so far. Neymar and company are the only team to leave the group stage with a perfect record: three games and three wins. There were plenty of questions after they let a 3-0 lead over Egypt slip to 3-2 in the second half of their opening match, a game where Brazil’s average FootballrRating barely edged out their opponents and in which Egypt’s best players outshone Brazil’s by an average FR of 8. They answered those questions in games against Belarus and New Zealand, where they dominated their opponents’ FR by 10 and 17 respectively. Brazil are officially the team to beat, especially […]

Challengers and Wannabes at the 2012 Olympics

Olympic soccer may not be the pinnacle of competition that it is for other athletes, but it’s still a great showcase for young players and teams looking to lay down a marker before more prestigious competitions. Over the last 16 years, unlikely challengers such as Nigeria, Cameroon and Chile have stood on the medal stand alongside giants like Argentina, Spain and Brazil.  Olympic gold is there for the taking for whichever team wants it the most, so who will it be in London? Team Great Britain – The team that didn’t have to qualify The mash-up of Team Great Britain makes for an interesting story, but a poor team.  Because England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales compete as separate teams in FIFA competitions, Great Britain has passed on Olympic soccer to avoid qualifying confusion for the last 50 years. As hosts, they can put all that aside this year, but they […]

Euro 2012 Analysis – Final – Spain vs Italy

This is the twenty-fourth piece in our Euro 2012 Analysis series, during which we’ll analyze all of the Euro 2012 matches based on our FootballrRating score. Spain (4) vs Italy (0) It’s as though Spain saved all its attacking flair for the final. After being one Iker Cassilas save away from elimination against Croatia and one inch from a potentially disastrous missed penalty against Portugal, the defending European and World champions reminded the world just why teams across the globe have spent the last four years trying to emulate their style.  The stats don’t scream one-sided.  Spain bested the Italians’ shot tally by just three, creating 14 chances to Italy’s 11, and 6 on target versus 4 for Italy.  Likewise, they took 57% of possession, solidly controlling, sure, but certainly not the most they’ve ever hogged the ball.  The scoring summary, on the other hand, tells a different story.  David Silva […]

Euro 2012 Analysis – Semifinals – Germany vs Italy

This is the twenty-third piece in our Euro 2012 Analysis series, during which we’ll analyze all of the Euro 2012 matches based on our FootballrRating score. Germany (1) vs Italy (2) It took a super performance from Mario Balotelli in the first half, and a solid defensive effort from the Italian back four in the second to stave off a German rally, for Italy to advance to the finals of Euro 2012. Italy will square off against Spain on July 1st to for the Euro Cup Championship. Italy, protected its net early in the first half, thanks to solid goaltending from keeper Gianluigi Buffon, who finished with 7 saves in the match, got on the scoreboard first. Balotelli headed in a cross in the 20th minute to give Italy the 1-0 lead. Sixteen minutes later, Balotelli was at it again, this time using his right foot to drive home his […]

Euro 2012 Analysis – Semifinals – Portugal vs Spain

This is the twenty-second piece in our Euro 2012 Analysis series, during which we’ll analyze all of the Euro 2012 matches based on our FootballrRating score. Portugal (0) vs Spain (0) – (Spain wins on penalties, 4-2) Spain officially qualified for its third straight major final at the expense of Portugal, but it’s hard to feel as blown away by the team’s performance as audiences were in 2008 and 2010. Portugal came out of the gate with more pressure and more intent than the victors in this semifinal, fashioning several chances early on. Wasted opportunities, along with Del Bosque’s substitution of Negredo for Fabregas, allowed an underwhelming Spanish side to reassert themselves, and the second half went comfortably to the Reds. Still, goal scorers were nowhere to be found and a surprisingly slow game stretched into extra time and penalty kicks, where Spain moved through by the thinnest of margins. […]

Euro 2012 Analysis – Quarterfinals – England vs Italy

This is the twenty-first piece in our Euro 2012 Analysis series, during which we’ll analyze all of the Euro 2012 matches based on our FootballrRating score. Italy (0) vs England (0) – (Italy wins on penalties, 4-2) The Italians, who dominated England for two hours, never were able to find the back of the net with any of their 35 shots, 20 of which were on target, until the penalty shootout. England’s defense never let the Italians break through with a goal during regulation or extra time. England had its share of opportunities, though they came less frequently than their Italian opponents chances. England finished with 9 total shots, 4 of which were on goal. Mario Balotelli, who pestered the England back line all match, put home the first of four made penalty kicks for Italy. England’s Steven Gerrard answered for England to tie the shootout at 1-1. Riccardo Montolivo […]

Euro 2012 Analysis – Quarterfinals – Spain vs France

This is the twentieth piece in our Euro 2012 Analysis series, during which we’ll analyze all of the Euro 2012 matches based on our FootballrRating score. Spain (2) – France (0) The 2-0 score line may not bear the obvious hallmarks of a drubbing, but it doesn’t quite reflect just how little the losing French team were able to impose themselves against Spain.  A 19th minute header from Xabi Alonso, and an emphatic one at that, put the Spaniards in a comfortable position against a France side that failed to register many legitimate chances on goal in the half.  Les Bleus did manage to assert themselves as the second half began, but even the introductions of Samir Nasri and Jeremy Menez as the half wore one failed to bring life to a French attack that seemed to have no idea of how to get at the Spanish defense.  Alonso capped […]