As my month in Brazil winds down here are some facts which I find interested but maybe that’s just because they’re about me and the World Cup matches I’ve been to over the past twenty years.
I have attended 19 matches, 15 group stage, two round of 16 and two quarterfinals, including last night’s which was also the only time I’ve witnessed a penalty shootout. My very first World Cup match was my other quarterfinal between Italy-Spain in Foxboro, Massachusetts in 1994.
(Linguistic note on the “Round of 16”: I’ve never liked that term since the other rounds are all “something-finals”. In Brazil they call it “Oitava de Final” or “Eighthfinal” which I like saying but looks really odd with those five consonants cluttering the middle. How about from now on we just call it a “semiquarterfinal”?)
The team I have seen the most is the Netherlands, three times and they’ve won twice and drawn once. The draw was last night but since they advanced to the semifinals one would be justified in calling it a victory, though it was far from a Costa Rican loss.
There are five other nations I’ve seen twice: Belgium two wins, Sweden a win and a draw, Croatia and Portugal both a win and a loss and Spain two losses!
Twice I’ve been to seven goal games, France 5-2 over the Swiss this year and Portugal’s 7-0 demolition of North Korea four years ago. I’ve also had two matches without a goal, last night’s thriller (not ironic) and England-Algeria in Cape Town, South Africa which was anything but a thrilling.
While I loved my time in Berlin in 2006, there were only three goals scored in the three games I attended, all 1-0 victories but I can’t remember much of anything about them. Here in Salvador I saw 24 goals in six games, by far the largest goals per game in my experience.
1994 United States
Italy 2-1 Spain, 9 July, Foxboro, Quarterfinal
Jamaica 1-3 Croatia, 14 June, Lens
Scotland 1-1 Norway, 16 June, Bordeaux
2002 Japan, all matches in Miyagi except as noted:
Mexico 2-1 Ecuador, 9 June
Sweden 1-1 Argentina, 12 June
Belgium 3-2 Russia, 14 June, Shizuoka
Japan 0-1 Turkey, 18 June, Semiquarterfinal
2006 Germany, all matches in Berlin:
Brazil 1-0 Croatia, 13 June
Sweden 1-0 Paraguay, 15 June
Ukraine 1-0 Tunisia, 23 June
2010 South Africa, all matches in Cape Town:
England 0-0 Algeria, 18 June
Portugal 7-0 North Korea, 21 June
Cameroon 1-2 Netherlands, 24 June
2014 Brazil, all matches in Salvador:
Spain 1-5 Netherlands, 13 June
Germany 4-0 Portugal, 16 June
Switzerland 2-5 France, 20 June
Bosnia and Herzegovina 3-1 Iran, 25 June
Belgium 2-1 (aet) United States, 1 July, Semiquarterfinal
Netherlands 0-0 (aet, 4-3 pen) Costa Rica, 5 July, Quarterfinal
Tomorrow: my final post from Brazil.
I like the stats. I would have like to have gone to Japan.
Japan was a lot of fun. I still think about my conveyor belt sushi lunch.
So where’s the next World Cup ?
Oh nice, right language too.
I’ll just to rebuild my vocabulary and review the grammar.