FanDuel - WFBC

July 13, 2014

Germany Wins World Cup: Germany won its fourth World Cup after a tense 1-0 victory over Argentina on Sunday. Mario Gotze's strike, seven minutes from the end of extra time, ensured Germany ended its 24-year wait for glory at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana Stadium. Deadlocked at 0-0 after 90 minutes, it was left to substitute Gotze to provide the game's defining moment with a touch of magic. The Bayern Munich star took Andre Schurrle's pass on his chest before displaying exquisite technique to volley the ball past Sergio Romero.

posted by rcade to soccer at 10:22 AM - 15 comments

What fabulous touch to finish that pass.

Right player at the right place ... pretty certain a striker who played the entire contest doesn't have enough left in the tank to control the ball and make that play.

posted by cixelsyd at 06:55 PM on July 13

I felt bad for Messi on that final free kick. He knew that this was the time to shine, but he was facing the best keeper in the world, and the keeper knew there is no chance that Messi was going to pass the ball or any trick play.

I don't think anyone beats a world class keeper from that distance, and the extra pressure just meant he was probably too amped up to moderate the balance between touch and power.

He should have had a better result when he shot it wide earlier in the game.

Now he's got four more years of "If he's really one of the best of all time, how come he hasn't carried his nation (team) to a championship?"

It's the "Ted Williams" career curse.

posted by grum@work at 07:56 PM on July 13

Contrast to Argentina, who had a number of similar opportunities near the box, but couldn't get the proper control for that final touch. Just that one magical touch for a goal to remember for a lifetime.

posted by jmd82 at 08:00 PM on July 13

The Christoph Kramer injury, return to play and collapse were scary. He was not all there as he was led off the field for a substitute.

FIFA needs to look at the problem of likely concussed players going back in. The pressure on players to go back quickly is enormous, and the running clock and man-short situation means it will happen far sooner than doctors can evaluate a concussion.

Ideally, a player who takes a head shot like the one dealt to Kramer should be kept off 5-10 minutes and observed by doctors. But players won't do that if they are given the choice.

Should FIFA consider letting a team play a temporary substitute, perhaps only when an official decides a concussion watch is necessary?

posted by rcade at 09:12 PM on July 13

Fluid first half, staccato second half and very scrappy injury time, but the best team won.

Re: the concussions. I can't remember a World Cup with so many head clashes but yes, there needs to be an effective protocol.

When journalists come to interview Palacio in 20 years time, up in his reclusive retirement home in Bariloche, I'm sure he'll open the door a crack and yell "No, I don't want to talk about it!"

posted by owlhouse at 09:51 PM on July 13

For all the talk before the match about which star would come up with the big moment to lead his team to glory, a substitute for a substitute passed to another substitute who scored the winning goal.

posted by rcade at 10:02 PM on July 13

My wife has a nursing degree (and has suffered from a concussion herself), and she was (remotely) livid at the team for letting Kramer stay on the field. She said that watching the replay it was obvious that he had been knocked temporarily unconscious from the contact because he didn't brace himself at all when he fell to the ground. His left arm stays close to his body, and his fingers remained locked in their last gesture as he made contact with the turf:

I said that if anyone on the team's medical staff (with a medical degree) had seen the replay where Kramer gets hit in the head and they still allowed him to stay on the field, then they should have been charged with negligence.

posted by grum@work at 12:14 AM on July 14

I think concussions get a big look before the next World Cup, and likely before the next European Championships. ESPN's coverage of the issue was actually pretty good (both in the booth and back in the studio), primarily because Taylor Twellman is such an advocate for better concussion protocols in part due to having his own career cut short as a result of suffering multiple concussions. No way Kramer, Mascherano, Pereira and probably others should have played on in the games in which they were concussed.

I appreciate the fact that soccer does not really afford the luxury of pulling a player to the sideline and putting someone else in for him so doctors can assess whether a player has suffered a concussion, but something needs to be done. I think there needs to be an independent doctor (hired by FIFA, the applicable Confederation, or the applicable FA or whatever) who determines whether a player has suffered a concussion and/or should not play on. I know FIFA hates implementing things at one level that cannot theoretically be replicated all the way down to the lowest leagues, but too much is at stake. Maybe even change the rules so that if the independent doctor determines a player has suffered a concussion, he/she can be subbed out and it does not count against the 3 substitutions, so as to mitigate the effect of taking a player off against his or the coach's will. I guess that could lead to some measure of gamesmanship (in terms of players trying to "fake" concussions), but FIFA needs to think outside of the box here to protect players from themselves.

posted by holden at 02:52 AM on July 14

Does anyone remember a wag invasion after a major championship before? I approve.

posted by rcade at 08:31 AM on July 14

She said that watching the replay it was obvious that he had been knocked temporarily unconscious from the contact

I was ranting to my wife about the same thing: sometimes soccer players fall to the ground without bracing themselves, but that's because they threw their arms up to indicate sniper fire. Arms down, no brace = unconscious. FIFA needs to offer either a stoppage or some kind of substitution rule for concussions. This World Cup had too many of them to ignore.

I think there needs to be an independent doctor . . . who determines whether a player has suffered a concussion and/or should not play on

My understanding was FIFA did have that. They were simply totally ineffective, which is no great surprise.

ESPN's coverage of the issue was actually pretty good (both in the booth and back in the studio), primarily because Taylor Twellman is such an advocate for better concussion protocols

Agreed. I think the coverage was also good because of awareness raised by the NFL's ongoing issues. My concern is the awareness isn't the same in any other country. Even writers on The Guardian's podcast seem to treat the issue as one of manliness and part of the sport. I was amazed by Hugo Lloris being allowed to argue himself back into a game against Everton after this but with each passing concussion, it seems less likely anything will happen soon. Unless FIFA decides to do the right thing. So never.

posted by yerfatma at 08:40 AM on July 14

I was ranting to my wife about the same thing: sometimes soccer players fall to the ground without bracing themselves, but that's because they threw their arms up to indicate sniper fire. Arms down, no brace = unconscious. FIFA needs to offer either a stoppage or some kind of substitution rule for concussions. This World Cup had too many of them to ignore.

I agree. I've thought a third-party doctor running concussion protocol on any player who hits the deck claiming a head injury would do two good things - one, it would get players out of the game who need to be, but two, it might curb the dangerous embellishments to get a foul that lead to these kinds of injuries if they need to sit out 5+ minutes for an assessment.

posted by dfleming at 11:00 AM on July 14

How big a gift basket do you think Chris Wondlowski sent Gonzola Higuain?

posted by yerfatma at 02:08 PM on July 14

It is quite obvious that FIFA needs to do something about concussions before there is a fatality or a court action for damages instituted by players. There have been a couple of suggestions in the comments so far, and I will add my own take on them.

Allow a temporary substitution while an independent physician conducts a concussion protocol. This makes clear sense, but could it be used to get a late game rest for a tiring star player? This is not likely, but a layer of video review could be added to the evaluation just to make sure there really was contact that could have produced injury.

Allow a "free" substitution (not counted in the allowed 3), but not allow the injured player to come back in. Again, this could be abused, but if it's one of your better players that is supposedly injured, you would not be likely to try this.

No substitution, temporary or otherwise, for the injured player, but temporarily sit a player on the opposite team for as long as it takes to make the medical evaluation. Once the inured player either returns or is substituted for, both sides return to full manpower. The player who sits for the non-injured team must be of equivalent position to the injured player, e.g. striker for striker, midfielder for midfielder, and so on. This could be awkward, but would not give either side a great advantage. What to do if a keeper is injured would be another story.

Better minds than mine can come up with ways to do this, and ways to "bullet-proof" them against abuse. There is any number of problems in FIFA, but this one needs to be looked at right away.

posted by Howard_T at 05:19 PM on July 14

Kramer doesn't remember the first half of the World Cup, or how he got off the field.

posted by rcade at 08:56 PM on July 14

When Kramer was a late addition for Khedira I was sure it was a day he would never forget.

posted by tron7 at 10:52 AM on July 15

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