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United States Future Scenarios Depending on Sunday Result
Big GameInjuries have been the dominant subplot in the buildup to today’s U.S.-Portugal match, but while both teams will be without important players, each squad’s leader is expected to play. Clint Dempsey, the U.S. captain, sustained a broken nose Monday in a victory over Ghana but should start against Portugal. Dempsey has the option to wear a protective mask, as players in many sports have done, but is said to be leaning against doing so.
It is possible that Dempsey will play a more advanced role against Portugal because striker Jozy Altidore has been ruled out with a hamstring injury. Aron Johannsson and Chris Wondolowski are the likely candidates to start in Altidore’s place.
Portugal will be without Hugo Almeida and Fábio Coentrão, who are injured, as well as Pepe, who is suspended. The Portuguese will have Cristiano Ronaldo, however, who has been dealing with an injured left knee that's been diagnosed as tendinosis. Portugal’s coach, Paulo Bento, whose team was embarrassed by Germany 4-0 in its opening game, did not mince words Saturday, saying, “Either we win or we pack our suitcase.”
Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight Disputes Theory that American Players Don’t Dive or Flop Enough“This analysis doesn’t provide much support for the theory that American players don’t dive enough. It seems when they do dive, they’re just about as effective at drawing fouls as you’d expect, given whom they played against and how much they possessed the ball.”
Better to Be Lucky Than GoodLionel Messi's dramatic goal not only saved Argentina, it also rescued a Las Vegas bettor from losing $350,000 (205,000 pounds). An unnamed bettor had wagered $230,000 on Argentina to beat Iran, placing the bet at a William Hill outlet at Las Vegas' Tuscany Casino. Such were the short odds of the bet that it would only return a profit of $20,000.
According to company spokesman Michael Grodsky, it was the largest wager on the World Cup taken by William Hill, but that did not stop the same customer from returning on Friday to put another $120,000 on the same outcome. That pushed the potential winnings up to $30,000, just less than 10 percent of the amount that would be lost if Iran upset the odds with a positive result - which was minutes away from happening when Messi scored - allowing one very relieved gambler to collect the winnings.
ESPN’s Darren Rovell first tweeted out the news of the wager.