the boards when hein Events 12.01.2019 03:23
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There is a fine line that every World Cup gives birth to. A line, if crossed, that can mean so much. A line that can be approached, stared at and almost touched, but come the final whistle, can seem so far away no matter how near a team can get to it. A dream crushed. The right side of the line produces emotions of joy, relief, and satisfaction. The wrong side of the line leaves players in tatters, full of disappointment and despair. In the sport, there is nothing quite like the fine line between success and failure at World Cups. For every nation, the line is different, placed perfectly in tandem with their expectation. For Brazil, the positioning of the line is clear. It is placed at 18:00 hours local time inside the Maracana in Rio de Janiero on Sunday July 13. Win the World Cup and it is a success; anything else and it is a failure. Past World Cups have shown us just how close winners have come to falling on the wrong side of the line as their journey across it takes shape. In 2010, Spain became the first ever champions to lose their first game of the tournament and they had an Iker Casillas penalty save to thank for them not going behind to Paraguay in the quarterfinals. In 2006, Italy flirted with both sides of the line in the knock-out stages, scoring goals in the 95th minute (vs. Australia) and in the 119th and 121st minute against Germany in the semifinal before winning it all on penalties in the final. It is worth remembering this when making predictions of a winner during this upcoming World Cup; Brazil of 1970 and 2002 are the only champions to ever win every game in a World Cup (minimum of five games played). The line, however, is not placed for all at the final stage. For some teams, the difference between success and failure is simply getting out of the group stages and reaching the last 16. For others, it is the next step, winning a knockout game and reaching the quarterfinals; suddenly doing something few expected you could do. At this point, a countrys entire success on the tournament is based around one game. Lose it and you may have underachieved. Win it and you may have overachieved. It is such a small margin, one that has led teams in the past to continue on a run that goes a long way beyond their initial expectations. In South Africa 2010, Uruguay, Paraguay and Ghana all fell into that category. Ukraine surprisingly reached the last eight in Germany 2006 while in 2002, hosts South Korea, Senegal and Turkey all went much further than most predicted. Croatia got to the semifinals in 1998, Sweden did the same in 1994, as well as Bulgaria at USA 94. Cameroon had a memorable run to the quarterfinals at Italy 90. It could very well happen again. There is likely one, or possibly two, teams in the World Cup this year that will make it past their line of success and reach the quarterfinals and, maybe even, the semifinals. Many peoples pick for a dark horse in Brazil is Belgium because a lot of their current crop of players now belong to well-known club teams, particularly in the English Premier League. Belgium, however, were seeded for this World Cup. That meant they were considered as one of the best eight teams. Yes, they have not been to a World Cup since 2002, but that seed, coupled with a much weaker group than others, ensures that this team should not be considered a surprise if they reach, for example, the quarterfinals. The semifinals? Yes. Then two games would have to be won to cross the line. Here is my top five teams that have a chance to go beyond that line and become a surprise member of the final eight or last four in Brazil. 5. England - It has been some time since expectations were this low for England heading into a World Cup. In fact, they are so low, you get the feeling something has to happen for them to rise again before, as usual, it all goes up in flames. If England gets to the quarterfinals, it will be a surprise but if they are to achieve it, the biggest hurdle will be getting past one of Uruguay or Italy in Group D. Once through, a game against any team in Group C will seem easier than what they faced in the groups. 4. Switzerland - There are few easier paths to the quarterfinals than winning Group E. Paired in the last 16 with Group F, likely won by Argentina, the group winner would play one of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran or Nigeria for a spot in the last eight. Switzerland hasnt reached that stage since hosting the tournament in 1954 but with a young group, a terrific coach and this path, they may finally do something they should have done in 2006. Yes, like Belgium, they are seeded but this was much more controversial and few expect the Swiss to do something in Brazil that they havent done for 60 years. 3. Chile - No team will be more fun to watch than the one run by the excellent Jorge Sampaoli. Placed in a very difficult group alongside 2010 finalists Spain and Netherlands, Chile has one mission – win the group. They simply cannot beat Brazil and too many World Cups have ended at the feet of the South American powerhouses, so to avoid them this time, they must finish top of Group B. It sounds like a difficult task but this team can do it and after that, the draw really opens up for them, likely playing one of Mexico/Croatia in the last 16 and then, probably, the winner of Group D. This is a breathtaking team to watch and if they start well and complete their first mission, then a semifinals berth would not surprise me. 2. France - Like Switzerland, France also must travel on the same path to the last eight and, after an embarrassing 2010 World Cup, coupled with a late comeback in the playoff game against Ukraine in qualifying, a place in the last eight in Brazil would be a real success for Didier Deschamps team. They are handed a comfortable start, playing Honduras, and then get the familiarity of opponents in Switzerland next. Win the group and they will be favored to reach the last eight and will likely only have the winner of Group G standing in their way of a trip to the semifinals. That would represent a remarkable turnaround following the dismal night in Kiev last October but they have a core group of genuine stars that could carry them deep. 1. Portugal - Speak to fans in the USA and they say Portugal wont get out of the group. The same is being said in Ghana. Thats what happens when you are in a group with Germany. Nobody predicts the Germans will get knocked out at that stage (its never happened, by the way). That leaves one spot between three competitive teams. For me, Portugal are in a different class to the other two and this team will qualify for the last 16. They would then be paired with a team from Group H, none of whom would worry a team that has some proven experience at how to navigate to the late rounds in major tournaments. A quarterfinal berth would be a major success for Paulo Bentos team and, for me, they are the best suited to go even further than that. Dont be surprised to see the worlds best player lining up in a World Cup semifinal in the final week of Brazil 2014. Cheap Air Jordan Nz . Jets head coach Paul Maurice made the announcement Saturday following the morning skate and confirmed Al Montoya will start in goal against the Dallas Stars on Sunday. Cheap Jordans For Sale . Trailing by a goal after 20 minutes of play, Joe Pavelski responded with three goals and an assist as the Sharks snapped a two-game losing skid with a 5-2 victory over the struggling Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. http://www.airjordannz.com/ . Louis Cardinals placed outfielder Allen Craig on the 15-day disabled list with a right knee contusion on Sunday. Real Jordan Shoes Cheap . The struggling New Orleans Pelicans were simply overmatched. Crawford hit seven 3s on his way to 24 points, and the Clippers beat the Pelicans 123-110 on Monday night. "We understand what we do well. If we all do what we do well, well make our team stronger," Crawford said. Cheap Jordans Nz . McCutchen was cut before the series opener against Seattle on Monday night, when Lewis was set for his first start for Texas since July 18, 2012. Texas selected Lewis contract from Triple-A Round Rock.NEWARK, N.J. -- Jaromir Jagr has moved into some rarefied company with a deft scoring touch over 20 NHL seasons. Rookie Reid Boucher is impressing people with his ability to find the net. Jagrs 693rd career goal was his 122nd game-winner, passing Gordie Howe for most in NHL history, and the New Jersey Devils beat the Ottawa Senators 5-2 Wednesday night. Jagr also moved past Steve Yzerman and into sole possession of eighth place on the NHL goals list, one behind Mark Messier. The 41-year-old Jagrs first power-play goal of the season was his team-leading 12th. "Its an unbelievable feat, especially with the names on the list hes around and passing," Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. "Its an unbelievable accomplishment." Boucher netted his first in the NHL and Stephen Gionta scored a short-handed goal during his first shift for the Devils (14-15-6) after an 11-game absence because of an ankle injury. Damien Brunner scored in the second and Eric Gelinas tallied in the third for New Jersey. "He has instincts you cant teach," DeBoer said of Boucher. "I like a lot of things about him. He creates." Jagr made it 3-0 at 2:08 of the second period on the power play. Andy Greene had the puck against the boards when he slipped it out to Travis Zajac, who quickly fed Jagr in front for a shot into the far side of the net. Ottawas players called a closed-door meeting after the game. "Totally frustrated with our lack to string together another win," Ottawa captain Jason Spezza said. "We gave up a short-handed goal. Your power play is supposed to gain momentum for you. We gave up another pretty quick. Its tough to come back on the road, especially against a team like New Jersey." Martin Brodeur won his 10th game of the year by making 23 saves against Ottawa (14-16-6). Brunner scored a brilliant goal at 19:32 of the second to make it 4-1 for the Devils. The winger stripped Ottawa defenceman Jared Cowen of both the puck and his stick, then started left, deked right and came back left to slide the puck past Senator goalie Robin Lehner for his eighth goal.dddddddddddd "It might have looked like a slash, but he lets his stick go pretty easy," Bruner said. "I scored before like that, but not in the NHL. Its just instincts in front of the net and Im lucky it went in." On the final play of the second period, Ottawas Clark MacArthur was assessed a double-minor for boarding and roughing, giving the Devils a four-minute power play to start the third. MacArthur tried to draw Anton Volchenkov into a fight, but he resisted, straight-arming MacArthur to keep him away. The second period featured two sparkling saves by Brodeur, the first a glove save on a point-blank shot by Colin Greening and then another on a shot by Kyle Turris that he managed to cradle with his elbow and chest. Gionta made an immediate impact upon his return, scoring his first goal of the season in his first shift in the opening period. Volchenkov passed the puck to Adam Henrique for a 2-on-1 break. Henrique sent the puck to his right, where Gionta met it at the right circle for a shot that beat Lehner just 2:02 into the action. Boucher drew cheers of "Bou-cher!" when he scored his first goal at 12:08 of the first period to make it 2-0. Gelinas, a fellow rookie, blasted a slap shot that bounced off the boards to the right of the net and rebounded in front, where Boucher scooped it in. Ottawa got one back on a power play at 5:30 of the second when Greening redirected a slap shot by Eric Karlsson, which lifted up and over the shoulder of a screened Brodeur. Milan Michalek scored for Ottawa at 8:35 of the third, but Gelinas responded when he put in a shot off a pass from behind by Brunner at 9:20. NOTES: Gionta scored the first short-handed goal for New Jersey in 23 games. Henrique scored the previous short-handed goal on Oct. 29 vs. Tampa Bay . Gelinas picked up his 11th assist. He had come in tied for first in assists among NHL rookie defencemen. . Milan Michaleks power-play goal in the third period gave him eight goals in 15 games vs. the Devils. 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