Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Trequartista Sweeper - Olympic Permutations

Today being a rest day for both men's and women's football, this would be the best time to figure out where each of the groups stand out and what needs to be done for each to make to the knockout phase of the competition.

According to FIFA's guidelines, here are how the group rankings are to be determined, and consequently, who gets to advance to the next round in the tiebreaker:

a. Points
b. Goal Difference in all group matches
c. Goals scored in all group matches
d. Points accumulated between the teams concerned in the group matches
e. Goal Difference between the teams concerned in the group matches
f. Goals Scored between the teams concerned in the group matches

The men are bracketed in Groups A - D, while the women comprise Groups E - G.

Group A: Great Britain 4 pts (+2), Senegal 4 pts (+2), Uruguay 3 pts (-1), United Arab Emirates 0 pts (-3)

Schedule: Great Britain vs Uruguay at the Millenium Stadium; Senegal vs United Arab Emirates at the City of Coventry Stadium

It is as if Luis Suarez has a great chance to even be more infuriating for the Brits, especially to the English fans. This would have been at maximum hatred level if the match was held at Old Trafford instead of being in Cardiff, with there being no love lost between he and the Manchester United fans after the drama of last season. The South American side simply has to win over the hosts to make it through. All the Senegalese will have to do to make it through is to make sure the UAE do not win against them. A draw might just suffice for Stuart Pearce's crew, to advance. Great Britain has scored one more goal than the African side, so that may be in play here.

Group B: Mexico 4 pts (+2), Korea 4 pts (+1), Switzerland 1 pt (-1), Gabon 1 pt (-2)

Schedule: Mexico vs Switzerland at the Millenium Stadium; Korea vs Gabon at Wembley Stadium

Mexico and Korea can breathe easy if they do not lose to their respective opponents. Gabon and Switzerland each need a two-goal victory to advance to the knockout stages. The African team, however, has the toughest mountain to climb, as the other three teams in the group have scored twice. They have only one goal to their credit.

Group C: Brazil 6 pts (+3), Belarus 3 pts (-1), Egypt 1 pt (-1), New Zealand 1 pt (-1)

Schedule: Brazil vs New Zealand at St. James' Park; Egypt vs Belarus at Hampden Park

Neymar has been sensational as always, while Manchester United fans were dreaming about Lucas Moura doing those things he is doing right now wearing their colors in his brief appearance as a sub. The task at hand remains to bring home the gold, and so far so good for these guys. At least a draw against the Oceania powerhouse will do to seal their standing on top of the group. As for the Olywhites, they still have a glimmer of hope for the next stage, but they'll need to win against the South American giants, AND preferably a draw between Egypt and Belarus. Belarus can make things easy with a win over the Pharoahs, whose only way to advance is to win.

Group D: Japan 6 pts (+2), Honduras 4 pts (+1), Morocco 1 pt (-1), Spain 0 pts (-2)

Schedule: Japan vs Honduras at the City of Coventry Stadium; Morocco vs Spain at Old Trafford
The biggest shock of the tournament has definitely been Spain not being able to advance to the next stage of the Olympics, losing on two narrow 1-0 results. David De Gea will have the chance to end their tournament on a good note playing at his club turf at Old Trafford. Japan and Honduras can easily advance with a draw, but considering the runner-up of this group will most likely have to face Brazil in the quarterfinals, both teams, especially the Central Americans, might go for the win here. The North Africans still have a faint chance, but they'll need to win against Spain, probably have to score twice against them, and hope Japan wins against Honduras.

Group E: Brazil 6 pts (+6), Great Britain 6 pts (+4), New Zealand 0 pts (-2), Cameroon 0 pts (-8)

Schedule: New Zealand vs Cameroon at the City of Coventry Stadium; Great Britain vs Brazil at Wembley Stadium

The favorites have marched into form, as the current and upcoming Olympic hosts advance with ease into the next stage. Both Cameroon and New Zealand still have a chance at making it to the next round, but the only way that happens is with a victory. A draw will not cut it, and even with a secured victory, that team will need some additional luck to fall their way, especially if it is the African team.

Group F: Sweden 4 pts (+3), Japan 4 pts (+1), Canada 3 pts (+2), South Africa 0 pts (-6)

Schedule: Japan vs South Africa at Millenium Stadium; Canada vs Sweden at St. James' Park

Canada currently has the best goal difference among the third-place teams, which helps them immensely. A draw will ensure their entry into the next round as one of the two better 3rd place sides. They still have an outside shot of winning the group, if they win against the Swedes and Japan somehow is unable to win against South Africa, which would be a feat in itself for them. The Swedes have a 2-goal edge over the Nadeshiko, but the reigning World Cup champions have a relatively easier opponent. Either way, whoever finishes third here gets either Brazil or Great Britain, or the United States.

Group G: United States 6 pts (+5), France 3 pts (+3), North Korea 3 pts (-3), Colombia 0 pts (-5)

Schedule: United States vs North Korea at Old Trafford; France vs Colombia at St. James' Park

The last spot to the next stage of the Olympic Women's Football tournament is currently in the court of North Korea. Considering they have the reigning Olympic champions as their upcoming opponent, it will be a colossal task. What will put them at ease will be a draw between Cameroon and New Zealand, which ensures safe passage. France still has an outside shot of getting through as the top of the group, but they will need to dispatch the South Americans first, which also has a slim opportunity to make it through to the next round as a third-place team.

The TQS predicts the bracketing to go like this:

Group A: Senegal, Uruguay
Group B: Korea, Mexico
Group C: Brazil, Belarus
Group D: Japan, Honduras

TQS' predicted QF matchups: Senegal vs Mexico; Uruguay vs Korea; Brazil vs Honduras; Japan vs Belarus

Group E: Brazil, Great Britain, New Zealand (as 8th seed)
Group F: Japan, Sweden, Canada (as 7th seed)
Group G: United States, France

TQS' predicted QF matchups: Brazil vs Canada; United States vs New Zealand; Great Britain vs Sweden; Japan vs France

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