The Play by Play
The Mighty Have Fallen
The Group Stage is over, the KnockOut Round has commenced, and there’ve been some unbelievable eliminations. Germany, the 2014 champion, didn’t even make it out of their group, finishing dead last after losing to South Korea in their third game. Then, we saw Argentina and Lionel Messi, who barely squeaked into the knockout, lose to France 4-3 after leading earlier in the match. Only hours after Messi exited, so too did Cristiano Ronaldo as Portugal fell to Uruguay. Soccer’s two biggest stars leave yet another World Cup empty handed, causing many to wonder if a FIFA trophy will ever sit on their shelves.
While these losses mean that some of the top teams are now out of the tournament, they weren’t exactly shocking, as France and Uruguay both boast excellent teams. The most unbelievable game thus far was unquestionably Russia defeating Spain. The host country, entering the game as the lowest ranked team in the tournament and #70 worldwide, took down the tenth best team on earth in penalty kicks, following an unbelievable leg save by their goalie. It is the third biggest upset in FIFA history and the largest ever in the knockout round. With many major contenders out, the tournament is now anyone’s game.
Murder He Wrote
On Tuesday, a body was found inside the home of New York Giants’ cornerback Janoris Jenkins. While the name was initially unknown, police later identified the man as family friend Roosevelt Rene, age 25, who’d been staying in Jenkins’ New Jersey home. With Janoris in Florida following the completion of the Giants’ mini-camp, authorities sought to question his brother William, who’d had previous run-ins with the law. Arrested on Wednesday, it is believed William had an altercation with Rene, an encounter that resulted in Roosevelt’s death. Following the incident, William Jenkins attempted to flee, buying a ticket to Florida, but was apparently too nervous to board. He has since been charged with manslaughter and awaits trial.
The Faces and Facts
Featured Female- Billie Jean King (Tennis): Competing from 1959-1983, King won 36 Grand Slam titles (12 singles, 16 women’s doubles and 11 mixed doubles). Beyond her accolades on the court, she is also an advocate for gay and women’s rights, named as Time magazine’s person of the year and earning the Presidential Medal of Freedom. King is also one of four athletes, and the only female, to earn a spot on Life’s “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century.”
Edinson Cavani (Soccer): One of Uruguay’s two outstanding forwards, who scored both goals against Portugal. He and Luis Suarez, who has a history of biting opponents, have led the team into the FIFA quarterfinals and prove a formidable duo.
Mike Hoffman (Hockey): Traded twice in one day- first to the Sharks and then to the Panthers. It’s believed that Ottawa parted with the goal scorer after Melinda Karlsson (wife of Senators’ star Erik Karlsson) filed an order of protection against Hoffman’s wife for making repeated comments referencing her stillborn son.
South Korea (Soccer): Despite knocking Germany out of the World Cup, the team did not make it to the next round. Because of this, players may face military duty upon returning home. Korean law mandates that young men between the ages of 18-35 must spend two years in service and while there have been exemptions for outstanding athletes in the past, the team’s inability to move on means a military pass is unlikely. This could change the face, and future success, of the team entirely.
Jameis Winston (Football): The NFL suspended the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback for three games following a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy. Winston is accused of groping a female Uber driver, known only as Kate. Despite the incident occurring in 2016, the allegations are just now surfacing, thus impacting his upcoming season. This is, unfortunately not the first time Jameis makes headlines for inappropriate treatment of women.
Wimbledon (Tennis): The third major tennis tournament of the season, and the only one played on grass (cut to precisely 8mm) starts on Monday, July 2nd. Serena, despite ranking outside the top 150, earned the 25th spot, a fairly favorable position. It could mean, however, that she faces Elina Svitolina, the world’s 5th best player, in the third round. Regardless of who she meets, you’ll likely see her in all-white, as the club enforces a very strict dress code. Andy Murray, the local favorite, pulled out of the competition on Sunday due to a hip injury (which also kept him out of the French Open). Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are all set to play, making for a competitive men’s side. There are a handful of interesting first round matchups worth watching.
FIFA KnockOut Games (Soccer): Half of the knockout (Round of 16) games remain to be played and we’re set to have some great matchups. Brazil faces Mexico and Japan plays Belgium on Monday at 10am and 2pm respectively. The following day, Sweden faces off against Switzerland in the morning and Colombia meets England in the afternoon. By the end of the day on Tuesday, we’ll know who is moving onto the quarterfinals.
Now that the World Cup has entered the knockout stage, there’s no such thing as a tie. In order to determine a victor, following a ninety minute game, teams will play 30 minutes of overtime (there’s no golden goal). If it remains a draw, they then move into penalty kicks (as was the case with the Spain v. Russia and Croatia v. Denmark games). Five players from each team are chosen to participate and the teams alternate taking penalty shots. Whichever team converts more of its attempts, moves on. If both score five, they continue until one team misses. The shooter has a clear advantage. Because the kick happens so quickly, the keepers are left to guess (and move in) the direction of the shot before it is even taken. While many argue the fairness of penalty kicks, they are a reality. In the years since they’ve been accepted as the tie-breaking method in the World Cup, nearly a fifth of elimination games have ended in PKs.
The Social Hour
Games are almost as essential to the 4th of July as fireworks. While you’ve got the lawn games, like corn hole, ladder toss and bocce ball, there are a handful of less conventional games that you might consider adding to your repertoire. You’ve got: 4th of July Bingo, Marshmallow golf or Flip-Flop Fling (just what it sounds like), a watermelon eating contest, or a bean bag toss.
Also, if you’re looking for a laugh, it turns out that China has created a whole slew of amazing nicknames for many of the NBA’s biggest stars. Some are quite fitting (LeBron’s known as the Little Emperor) while others prove less conventional (Kobe goes by Snail Shell).