Advancement scenarios for every group, team at 2015 Women’s World Cup

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Two matches down and one to go in group play at the 2015 Women’s World Cup and there is still so much we don’t know about how the knockout brackets will look.  The only two teams certainly moving on are Japan and Brazil, with the latter the only team to have won its group.  No one is officially eliminated but it will take a miracle for Nigeria and something far greater than that for Ecuador or Ivory Coast.  But most everything else is at least partially up in the air.  Let’s look at how things are shaping up.  And don’t forget, four of the six 3rd-place finishers will move on.

For this tournament no one is getting through on 2 points.  Colombia took care of that with their upset of France on Saturday.  That means Sweden’s chances of slipping by with a loss to Australia went from slim to impossible.  They will need a result.  Thailand did not like that Colombia result either.  As it stands now, they are through, but unless they get a point off Germany (it would dwarf Colombia’s upset if they do) they will need Sweden and Nigeria to lose in Group D and Costa Rica to lose or Spain/Korea Republic to end in a draw in Group E.  That is a lot to ask.

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Teams that are on 4 points right now—Canada, Germany, Norway, United States, and Colombia—are not guaranteed to go through, but the scenarios to knock them out are so outlandish they need not be discussed unless they happen.  But suffice it to say that while all six groups still stand a chance of having three teams reach four points, unless Thailand holds Germany and Nigeria beats the United States, those five teams are moving on.  That means 14 teams are battling for nine spots in the knockout rounds.

Let’s look at each group:

Group A:  Canada win the group with a win and that might be more important than originally thought since finishing second will yield a match against Cameroon or Switzerland instead of a 3rd-place finisher.  Netherlands and China are all but through with draws and definitely with wins, while New Zealand are all but through with a win but definitely eliminated with a loss or draw.

Group B:  If we assume Germany will beat Thailand and Norway will do the same to Ivory Coast, then the two winners are through with Germany winning the group so long as they don’t allow Norway to overcome a six-goal margin on goal difference.  Ivory Coast probably needs to beat Norway by a dozen goals (had to say it) while Thailand needs a point or for the scenarios listed above to play out.

Group C:  If Ecuador somehow defeat Japan, the winner of Cameroon-Switzerland will steal the group, but realistically that latter match is for second with Switzerland getting the advantage if they draw.  Lopsided wins over Ecuador put both of those teams in good tiebreaker standing, meaning a draw will send them both through and a narrow loss will be enough so long as four groups don’t wind up with three teams on 4 points.

[ KASSOUF: Wambach says she, US would score more on grass instead of turf ]

Group D:  The United States wins the group by beating Nigeria, for whom a draw is no good.  Australia-Sweden is a juicy finale where the winner moves on.  Sweden are definitely done with a loss and stand a chance with a draw.  Australia are likely through with a draw, definitely if Nigeria does not win.

Group E:  Brazil have won the group, which could play into the favor of Costa Rica, who could get a break if the Brazilians rest players as expected.  A win sends Costa Rica through.  A win for either team in the Spain/Korea Republic match will be enough to get through.  A draw eliminates Korea Republic and can get Spain through if Costa Rica lose by two or more goals.  If Costa Rica gets a draw with Brazil they are through if the other game ends in a draw, and will stand a better chance if Sweden lose or draw with fewer goals than Costa Rica.

Group F:  Amazingly Colombia and England will play with the former in control of the group and England positioned to win the group by beating Colombia and not dropping goal differential to France.  Mexico are done but have to beat France or they are eliminated.  The up-to-date brackets show France playing the United States in the Round of 16 but if they beat Mexico they are guaranteed a top-two spot in the group.  Colombia are very likely to have clinched a knockout berth by the time they take the field.

Reminder of which combinations of which third-place teams would play in which Round of 16 games (chart via the very knowledgeable Jen Cooper at Keeper Notes):

Advancing 3rd place teams 1A plays 1B plays 1C plays 1D plays
A B C D 3C 3D 3A 3B
A B C E 3C 3A 3B 3E
A B C F 3C 3A 3B 3F
A B D E 3D 3A 3B 3E
A B D F 3D 3A 3B 3F
A B E F 3E 3A 3B 3F
A C D E 3C 3D 3A 3E
A C D F 3C 3D 3A 3F
A C E F 3C 3A 3F 3E
A D E F 3D 3A 3F 3E
B C D E 3C 3D 3B 3E
B C D F 3C 3D 3B 3F
B C E F 3E 3C 3B 3F
B D E F 3E 3D 3B 3F
C D E F 3C 3D 3F 3E

 

La Liga roundup: Atletico Madrid win first opener in four years

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Spain’s top flight is two days into a new season, and here’s a roundup of all of Sunday’s action.

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Atletico Madrid 1-0 Getafe

It wasn’t done in aesthetically pleasing fashion, but Atletico Madrid won their first opening season game in four years.

In fact, the first half was rough with both Atletico and Getafe loosing players to straight red cards. Getafe’s Jorge Molina saw red for a studs-up challenge in the 38th minute, while Renan Lodi was asked to leave the field in his debut for Los Colchoneros. 

Summer signing Alvaro Morata proved to be the difference for Atletico, however. Assisted by former Tottenham fullback Kieran Trippier, the team’s academy product scored early on in the 23rd minute – the goal made Atletico one of eight clubs to start the season with three points.

$140 million signing Joao Felix also made his La Liga debut, and impressed the home crowd with a dazzling run in the second half that ended drawing a penalty for Atletico. Morata missed.

Not the smoothest of games for Diego Simeone’s side, but like Real Madrid, they already have an edge on Barcelona.

Espanyol 0-2 Sevilla 

Julen Lopetegui can finally breathe (and coach) in peace.

Following a series of unfortunate events with the Spanish national team and Real Madrid, Lopetegui and Sevilla started their new era in a winning way.

Sergio Reguilon got things started for the visiting side with a tap in inside the six-yard box. And in the final minutes, no stranger to stepping up for Sevilla, Nolito slotted one past Diego Lopez.

With only two shots on frame to speak for them, Espanyol was one, two steps behind Los Hispalenses, who look for another top-six finish in Spain’s top-flight league.

Sevilla’s young quest for that continues as they travel to Granada. Meanwhile, Espanyol have no time to waist with a Europa League play-off bout against Ukrainian side Zorya lined up midweek.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Real Betis 1-2 Real Valladolid

Alaves 1-0 Levante

Report: Edinson Cavani set to join Inter Miami next summer

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Edinson Cavani is reportedly set to make a big splash in Florida.

According to Uruguayan journalist Alvaro Izquierdo, Cavani, 32, is set to join David Beckham’s Inter Miami next summer. The club will make their MLS debut next season.

The specifics of the supposed move are not know, but per the report from Izquierdo, Cavani will join Miami on a free transfer after his contract with PSG expires in June. Since joining in 2013, El Matador has been irreplaceable for the French giants, scoring over 160 goals and becoming the club’s all-time leading goalscorer. This season, Cavani is off to a perfect start -scoring in the first two games of the Ligue 1 season.

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The striker is one of the first superstars linked to Miami, but the general vibe given off by owners Jorge Mas and Beckham is that the club will look to spend big – similar to Atlanta United, LAFC and LA Galaxy.

Miami has signed three players so far ahead of their 2020 MLS debut – Christian Makoun, Julian Carranza, and Matias Pellegrini all currently makeup the squad.

‘But hey this is MLS’: Wayne Rooney slams MLS’ travel arrangements

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Wayne Rooney is not a fan of MLS’ travel arrangements.

D.C. United lost 1-0 to the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday in Canada, and had to fly back to the nation’s capital before prepping for a midweek showdown with visiting New York Red Bulls. To the 33-year-old Englishmen the trip should’ve taken six hours, not half a day.

MLS is notoriously known for the lack of charter flights it offers its teams, a mere four per season is the reported amount each team is allocated. Traveling on commercial flights has caused routine delays for a slew of team’s this season, with certain teams arriving only hours before the first whistle in some cases.

Players, however, will reportedly push for better travel in the upcoming CBA negotiations. Not only for Rooney, but for the majority of professional athletes around the world, flying charter is customary.

Upon his arrival to D.C. in 2018, Rooney turned down first-class flights offered by the Black-and-Red, among other fine accommodations. “If you are going to be part of the team, you have to be part of the team,” Rooney said on his decision to reject first-class flights and private hotel rooms. “All in and do the same things. I don’t want special treatment — I wanted to be treated the same as the players. I’m part of this team.”

Rooney, despite being on his way out of D.C. to join Derby County in January, is certainly a part of the team.

He is also now a part of the complex fight for better travel in MLS.

Vela scores 24th, LAFC clinches playoff berth

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SANDY, Utah (AP) – Carlos Vela scored his MLS-leading 24th goal of the season, Tyler Miller had four saves and Los Angeles FC beat Real Salt Lake 2-0 on Saturday night to clinch a playoff berth.

LAFC played a man down after defender Walker Zimmerman, who was shown a yellow card for time wasting in the 17th minute, was given a red for unsporting behavior in the 48th., Real Salt Lake’s Aaron Herrera, who blocked two would-be goals in the first half, was shown a straight red for denial of a goal scoring opportunity on Vela, who then converted from the spot to make it 1-0 in the 64th minute.

Vela, whose 15 assists are tied with Diego Valeri of the Portland Timbers for the league lead, broke the MLS record for combined goals and assists. Sebastian Giovinco’s had 22 goals and 16 assists for Toronto FC in 2015.

Miller has eight shutouts this season for LAFC (18-3-4), who have won four consecutive games and seven of their last eight dating to June 28.

Adama Diomande side-netted a rising right-footer to cap the scoring in the 82nd minute.

Salt Lake (12-10-4) had its six-game unbeaten streak, including three straight wins, snapped and allowed multiple goals for the first time since a 4-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls on June 1.