10 observations from the group stage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup

The group stage of the FIFA World Cup is over. Here are 10 random observations from me about the sport known as football or soccer:

1. The best goals are the ones that almost get scored.

2. The outcome, like life, is seldom fair. You can attack well for 1 minute out of 90 and win (USA vs. Ghana) or defend poorly for 1 minute and concede the victory (USA vs. Portugal). You can lose and still qualify. And it might make you sick in the stomach or jump for joy, but that is how it is.

3. This game is always about mistakes: it is all about human passions. If people played like robots, we would have 0-0 draws every time.

4. Never get into debates about how a star player is performing with someone of the same nationality as the player.

5. The goalkeeper and the talented striker are the two most important players on the team.

6. There is a correlation between teams that traditionally don’t do well and how much they complain that the dice are stacked against them. Correlation is not causation.

7. Refereeing decisions tend to go in favor of teams that traditionally do well. Correlation is not causation.

8. There are no permanent enemies or friends in football. Except in derby matches.

9. The better side wins. Always. But ONLY if you believe the logic that the side that wins is better.

10. You can try to mask your emotions, but there are no neutrals when a goal is scored. Your allegiance will show when the ball crosses the line.

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