And so we've reached the final round of group games.
This is where the two remaining games in each group get played at the same time to reduce the chance of collusion like in that infamous West Germany vs. Austria match in 1982, when, especially in the second half, the two teams played out a low-intensity training match to ensure that they both qualified for the next round at Algeria's expense. Unsurprisingly, FIFA basically ignored any claims of match-fixing, but they did change the format to the current paradigm.
In Group A, the only thing that's certain is that Cameroon are going home. Brazil are in with a win, while the winner of Mexico vs. Croatia is guaranteed a spot as well. A Brazil loss combined with a draw in the other game would leave the hosts high and dry and out (goal difference is the first tie-breaker, followed by goals scored, and then head-to-head match-ups).
In Group B, Spain and Australia are already out, while the Netherlands and Chile play for position. Second place in the group would most likely end up facing Brazil (Group A winner), which probably should be avoided at all cost. Though Netherlands vs. Brazil quarterfinal in USA '94 is one of my favorite international matches of all time. The rematch in the semifinals four years later wasn't too shabby either. And of course we had that same quarterfinal just four years ago in South Africa as well. Destiny? Destiny.
In other news...
2014-15 NHL season set to start October 8 | SB Nation
Mark your calendars.
A reminder that football players run a lot during a match | Deadspin
Except Romelu Lukaku! WAHEY! Though seriously, I've tracked myself at over 6mi/game before, and I'm nowhere near professional, I assure you.
FOOTBALL (all times BST):
17.00: Group B, 3rd vs. 4th: Australia vs. Spain
17.00: Group B, 1st vs. 2nd: Netherlands vs. Chile
21.00: Group A, 4th vs. 1st: Cameroon vs. Brazil
21.00: Group A, 2nd vs. 3rd: Mexico vs. Croatia