Nothing better than pumping yourself up for a big match than reading Twitter messages from the guys actually set to take part... A selection of some of the #USMNT's tweets this morning from Salvador:
— Nick Rimando (@NickRimando) July 1, 2014
— brad guzan (@bguzan) July 1, 2014
— Matt Besler (@mbesler) July 1, 2014
— DeAndre Yedlin (@yedlinny) July 1, 2014
https://t.co/qVl9hp0Y0j Watch this if you want to get ready for the game
— Mix Diskerud (@MixDiskerud) July 1, 2014
— tim howard (@TimHowardGK) July 1, 2014
— Aron Jóhannsson (@aronjo20) July 1, 2014
— Jermaine Jones (@Jermainejunior) July 1, 2014
Mexico has every right to celebrate after today's 3-1 victory over Croatia pushed them into the Knockout Round in Brazil.
No doubt frustrated after another dubious call, Mexico eventually unleashed three goals in 10 minutes from Rafa Marquez (72'), Andres Guardado (75') and Javier Hernandez (82').
Even if you're a U.S. supporter, you have to appreciate that Mexico is through to the next round if only because of the possibility of more celebrations like this from manager Miguel Herrera. Go on, Mexico!
Rafa Marquez goal
Holland wasn't supposed to be "up" for this World Cup and early on in their tournament opener vs. Spain, that seemed like it might be true.
Then Robin van Persie score this goal to level things just before halftime...
Braces from RVP (44', 72') and Arjen Robben (53', 80') as well as another goal from Stefan de Vrij have the world in shock as Holland has found payback from their World Cup finals defeat four years ago, defeating Spain 5-1 today in Salvador.
Let's just say I'm feeling pretty good about my Fire staff World Cup pool team right about now...
I love World Cup draws almost as much as I love the next month every four years.
Last December, I had our staff help me in a mock World Cup draw for this year’s tournament. On Tuesday, I did my best <insert FIFA bigwig name here> and ran the staff World Cup pool. While I may never get to perform a true World Cup draw, Tuesday’s festivities served as just another milestone in my own career.
The draw was quite simple and straight forward as participants were asked to first choose a number 1-32 to determine the order. Once that was settled, we went about picking the nations with which we would live and die with over the next month (or maybe just a few weeks).
A photo blow-by-blow of the day’s festivities…
We'll start with Corporate Partnership's Matt Hoy who was so overjoyed with his choice of Cameroon (Odds: 1000/1) that he accidentally held the flag upside down.
Then there was the great reaction from Jeff Harbert who wasn't exactly pleased with with the laughter that followed after he drew Australia (Odds: 1000/1)
Fire Technical Director Brian Bliss will hope Greece (250/1) repeat their Euro 2004 performance in Brazil...
Hailing from Brazil, Fire Creative Services Manager Kayser dos Reis interestingly pulled Portugal (Odds: 25/1)
And though she may not look like it, Sponsorship's Lauren Griswold was pretty happy to have chosen reigning World and European champions Spain...
Now, we're all busy and sometimes can't make the big draw. In that case, you can designate a proxy to draw for you, or if none is designated, yours truly does it instead.
This was the case for Director of Business Development Paul Cadwell, who pulled Algeria (Odds 2000/1) and Team Videographer Leo Flores who got South Korea (Odds: 300/1)...
Of course, like any FIFA bigwig, I'd say I did myself proud enough by getting 2010 finalists, Holland (Odds: 25/1)...
But to be honest, the must successful Fire competitions draw participant by far is Mike Ernst. In 2010, he took finalists The Netherlands. In the Euro 2012 draw, he came away with eventual champions Spain.
Called over in passing when his number came up towards the end of Tuesday's draw, the Fire Sr. Vice President pulled World Cup hosts and favorites Brazil without the blink of an eye.
Time will tell if Mike strikes gold again... See the full results of Tuesday's Fire Staff World Cup draw...
On this day 12 years ago, future Chicago Fire forward and strikers coach Brian McBride scored one of the most beautiful goals in U.S. World Cup history, diving to put in future Fire defender Tony Sanneh's cross from the right to give the Americans a 3-0 lead over Portugal in the team's opening match of the 2002 World Cup.
Re-live the match:
It’s simple and fast… log in, boldly pick your bracket and compete against other Chicago Fire fans as the World Cup kicks off next month.
Sign up for the Chicago Fire Supporters League and test your World Cup knowledge against fellow fans!
New Fire assistant coach Clint Mathis scored a few goals in his career, many of which were stunning.
There was this darting run in 2001 vs. Dallas that wound up winning MLS Goal of the Year.
There was also this one-time volley from 2004 while playing for Hannover 96 in Germany.
But if you got this far into this blog post and didn't already know what the favorite goal of Clint's career was, you haven't been a U.S. Soccer fan long enough. Of course you know what it is:
Daegu, South Korea.
June 10, 2002.
Deft touch with his right.
Beautiful finish with his left.
Jack Edwards: "That's why he's here!"
When I asked him this question which was very easily answered, Clint, with his Southern Charm, responded like he'd never been asked before saying, "The goal in 2002. That’s one that my kids can tell their grandkids and it’s one of those situations where I have some goals I remember playing in the league but it’s different when you score in MLS vs. the World Cup.
"I think the significance behind that goal – it ended up being the one goal we needed to get out of the group because of the other results that happened on the final day to put us through – you just can’t rate anything higher than that. You can't forget it."
Ahhh, just watch it again:
With his announcement as 2013 MLS MVP Thursday, Mike Magee joined an exclusive list of Chicago athletes that have won their league's Most Valuable Player awards.
Magee's name joins the likes of Michael Jordan, Walter Payton, Stan Mikita, Ernie Banks and Frank Thomas in the Chicago MVP club.
UPDATE! Magee did a short conference call with local media following this afternoon in Kansas City and I had the nerve to ask him what it felt like to be included in such a club. His answer:
"When you put it that way, obviously, it’s amazing. Not by any means am I calling myself Michael Jordan or Walter Payton, but to be on a short list or any list at all with the likes of guys I grew up loving and pretending to be — to be on any list with them is a list I will certainly keep."
Check out all 20 of the city's professional MVPs from the Bulls, Bears, Blackhawks, Cubs and White Sox below:
Since 2001, the Mock World Cup Draw has been a fixture of sorts in the Crandall Household. Let’s be real though, the scale of it was quite small and usually just consisted of me pulling names out of a hat alone in my room.
Alas, Wednesday I took advantage of the soccer constituency available around the club’s Toyota Park office and welcomed my co-workers to the 2014 Chicago Fire Mock World Cup draw in Conference Room 1...
All of the spelled out procedures for Friday’s draw were followed, such as pulling the odd ninth team out of the European Pot. Fire Season Ticket Services Representative Emily Morris assisted with this and randomly selected England.
We also automatically placed hosts Brazil into Group A…
And then began placing the remaining seven seeds into their groups...
Which ended up looking like this...
Then in order to place England into a group, we put the four South American teams back into a Pot, and drew....
Finally, we drew the mixed South America/Africa pot and came away with this grouping...
Emily then began to draw the mixed CONCACAF/AFC pot...With many in the room holding U.S. and Mexico cheering interests, this proved most dramatic...
The European pot was the last to be drawn, adding to the drama and finality of the mock draw. A proud U.S. Men's National Team supporter, Emily was left doing this face after completing the draw...
And this is why...
Suffice to say, no U.S. fan came away from this exercise doing this...
...but thankfully, I'm not Sepp Blatter and this thing was just for fun.
Do your own mock draw ahead of Friday's official event (the spelled out procedures can be found here). Then join us for our World Cup Draw Bracket Brunch Friday from 10am-noon at Fado (100 W. Grand Ave.).
FIFA revealed the pots and procedures for the 2014 FIFA World Cup draw set to be held Friday morning in Coasta do Sauipe, Brazil.
Pot 1 (Seeds): Argentina, Brazil, Belgium, Colombia, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Uruguay
Pot 2 (CAF/CONMEBOL): Algeria, Cameroon, Chile, Ecuador, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria
Pot 3 (AFC/CONCACAF): Australia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Iran, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, USA
Pot 4 (UEFA): Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, England, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia*
Step One: This is really the only variation from the previous wisdom on the draw. Instead of putting the lowest seeded team (in this case France) into Pot 2, FIFA will randomly draw one team out of Pot 4 to go into the mix CAF/CONMEBOL group of teams.
Step Two: Pot 1 will be drawn with Brazil automatically going into Group A. The rest of the seeded teams will be randomly drawn into Groups B-H and will also automatically take Position 1 (B1, C1, D1, etc…) in their group. This is important because there is already a set schedule which corresponds to each group position.
Step Three: With a mixed pot of three confederations, Pot 2 would run the risk of breaking FIFA’s rule of geographic separation which keeps nations from the same confederation (outside of two from UEFA) from being in the same group. In order to avoid having three European teams, there will be an additional “Pot X” featuring the four seeded South American teams. The country drawn out of this pot will automatically be grouped with the carryover UEFA team in the already established group.
Pot two will then be drawn, with all countries being pulled with a corresponding number to assign their group position. In the event that Chile or Ecuador is drawn into a South American seeded group, that group will be skipped with the country going into the next available (European seeded) group.
Step Four: Draw pots three and four.
Step Five: Celebrate or mourn your country’s prospects for next summer in Brazil.
Watch all the drama go down with your fellow lovers of the "Beautiful Game" at our World Cup Bracket Brunch this Friday from 10am-noon at Fado (100 W. Grand Avenue)! Stay tuned to Chicago-Fire.com as we'll conduct our own mock draw later on Wednesday.