It’s 2014, and at least two knockout round participants could make their way past the group stage via the same system early Christians used to select the successor to Judas.
Think about that.
Tiebreakers between Nigeria/Iran and the United States/Portugal could come down to drawing lots. Yes, really. If goals scored and points in matches between tied teams are equal, FIFA goes back to the 6th century BC to divide even teams.
This means that both Wednesday and Thursday could perceivably see groups come down to a lottery. Here are your scenarios:
If Iran beats Bosnia & Herzegovina 1-0 and Nigeria loses 1-0 to Argentina, there would be a drawing 90 minutes after both games to see who makes it through: Iran or Nigeria.
The U.S. scenario is a little less likely. There’s a chance for Germany and Ghana to have to draw lots, but we’ll deal with the USMNT’s scenarios. From Yahoo Sports great Dirty Tackle blog:
If the U.S. loses and Portugal wins on Thursday by a combined margin of five goals and Portugal scores exactly two more goals than the U.S., Germany would top the group with seven points, while Portugal and the U.S. would be even with four points, a goal difference of somewhere between zero and minus-3 and the same amount of goals scored.
U.S. vs Germany; 2-3
Portugal vs. Ghana; 4-0
In this case, the U.S. and Portugal would be tied at four points and a 6-6 goal differential, after having drawn 2-2.
U.S. vs. Germany; 1-3
Portugal vs. Ghana; 3-0
So in this situation, not without precedent, there would literally be a physical selection of lots by the opposing teams. Bananas. Or ping-pong balls. Or tiny slips of paper.
Fernando Torres has won the UEFA Champions League before, but a victory on Saturday would ring as true as ever.
Calling it the game of his life, the Atletico Madrid striker spoke about this year’s final against Real Madrid.
[ MORE: Three battles that could determined UCL final ]
A lot has changed since the 2012 victory over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena, when Torres subbed into Chelsea’s comeback win.
His decline at Chelsea found him on loan to Milan, where he transferred before finding another loan back home to Atleti. Now 32, Torres has his most goals since 2013 and is preparing for a Madrid Derby final.
From Sky Sports:
“Tomorrow [Saturday] is the game of my life, without doubt,” said Torres. “To me it means everything. Everything you dream when you’re a kid, I have the chance tomorrow to make this dream come true.
“I’ve played for great teams, and won many things, but this one is special, it is different, it’s what I wanted when I was a kid.”
Later lauding Atleti for giving him the chance “to come back and fight for what I wanted”, Torres is clearly hungry for a bit of redemption. And if his side comes out on top, he’ll likely be a big part of it.
Orlando City is losing its wizard for a bit.
Kaka, 34, has been called into Dunga’s Brazil squad for this summer’s Copa America Centenario.
The move was made after Bayern Munich star Douglas Costa picked up an injury that will cause him to miss the tournament.
[ COPA AMERICA PREVIEWS: Group A | B | C | D ]
The 2007 Ballon D’Or winner didn’t play in that year’s Copa America, which Brazil won.
Kaka has two goals and five assists in 7 MLS matches this season, a year after netting nine times with six assists in 28 matches.
CARDIFF, Wales (AP) A former Premier League player whose rape conviction was overturned will face a new trial in October.
Ched Evans, a Wales international who has played for Manchester City and Sheffield United, appeared in court in Cardiff on Friday and pleaded not guilty to raping a woman at a hotel in May 2011.
[ MORE: Mourinho confirmed | Speaks more ]
Evans had already served half of a five-year sentence before being released from prison and getting the conviction overturned in April following an appeal.
Evans only spoke briefly to confirm his identity before entering his plea.
The new trial will start on Oct. 4 in Cardiff.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has immediately begun courting the fans of his new club.
The 53-year-old Portuguese manager may’ve run rivals Chelsea on two occasions, but claims he’s always had empathy with United even when defeating the Old Trafford club.
[ MORE: United hires Mourinho | Things he must do ]
In an interview with Manchester United TV, Mourinho issues some high praise of the club while also managing a bit of classic “The Special One” ego in saying, “Giant clubs must be for the best managers.”
As for the disappointing trio of years between David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal, Mourinho says he’d rather consider his tenure in line with the run of Alex Ferguson.
From the BBC:
“I think we can look at our club in two perspectives – one is the past three years and another is the history. I prefer to forget the last three years. I prefer to focus on the giant club I have in my hands now. “
Mourinho has had some time to calculate the best way to endear himself to United supporters, and playing to their belief as the most historic club in the world sure pushes the right buttons.
Now comes the task of delivering titles in a climate more competitive than any other time in modern history.