1) It is SATURDAY, JUNE 14. R.I.P., Chuck Noll, Steelers coaching great, gone at 82. 2) Friday the 13th. It was a day of dread for paraskevidekatriaphobes and also for Heat fans who awakened to the reality that, yes, Game 4 really happened. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat-Spurs Game 4 with postgame video and MVP standings, Bobby Ramos, Melo-to-Heat speculation, Chalmers' disappearance and more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.
Click on Dream Crashing for my column from the arena off Heat's Thursday loss.
YOUR DEAL WITH THE DEVIL: MIRACLE OR 'MELO?: I don't deal with hypotheticals much in these blog polls. I sense you all prefer reality-based questions, not supposition. Nevertheless, I thought this might be fun, and a good debate-point. Say Heat fans were offered this choice: A miracle? Or 'Melo? A) The Heat will make NBA history by winning three straight games over San Antonio and a third straight championship. Or B) The Heat this summer will sign pending free agent Carmelo Anthony and make it a Big 4, as ESPN has reported they are devising a plan to try to do. [A new report today is that Anthony will opt out and test free agency. Sorry, Phil Jackson]. The catch in our Melo-poll scenerio is it's either/or. Can't have both. Must decide which would be greater: Achieving a three-peat? Or adding a major offensive weapon? The immediacy of another parade? Or a major, future-minded move? The premise behind this poll is that Miami needs help. More specifically, LeBron needs help. The roster is too old, carries too much dead wood. Overhaul may be a strong word, but more than tinkering is needed. I think the Big 3 of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will stay intact and all return, but help is needed. So we're back to the poll. Would you indulge the hypothetical? (Me and this poll are getting punched up a bit on Twitter; no matter. The debate is legit, and the vote, by the way, is closer than I thought it might be). Vote and say why.
FUTBLOG! ENGLAND-ITALY HIGHLIGHTS DAY 3 ACTION: FUTBLOG! is the official World Cup post of this blog, offering continually updated daily news/summaries/miscellanea on the month-long soccer quadrennial in Brazil. (See previous post for our group-by-group preview).
Day 3 / Today 6-14: Match of Day: ITALY 2, ENGLAND 1 (Group D): A battle of international futbol tioitans went according to form with the final result as Italy overcame the injury absence of its starting goalkeeper.
Colombia 3, Greece 0 (Group C): Colombia is a favorite in a less than scintillating Group C -- the Group of Dearth -- and showed why in its opener.
Costa Rica 3, Uruguay 1 (Group D): Stunner. Biggest upset of these early days. Uruguay played without injured star Luis Suarez but still led and was a big favorite over one of the World Cup's biggest longshots.
Cote d'Ivoire 2, Japan 1 (Group C): Congratulations, Cote. It was a splended result. Love, Greg Cote.
Day 2 / Friday 6-13: Match of Day: NETHERLANDS 5, SPAIN 1 (Group B): Dutch got a measure of vengeance in a rematch of the 2010 final won by Spain. This rout marked the worst loss ever in an opening match by a defending champion. Netherlands is a three-time runnerup known for underachieving. This result raises the stakes again.
Mexico 1, Cameroon 0 (Group A): A just result considering Mexico also had two goals disallowed by very doubtful offside calls.
Chile 3, Australia 1 (Group B): Everybody beats Australia, which never is one of 32 best teams in world but advances from a weak conference so to speak.
WC goals average after Day 2 -- 4 matches, 15 goals: 3.75
Notes: Click here for Newseum's top 10 front pages from Day 1 of the World Cup. (Miami's El Nuevo Herald made the list).
Day 1 / 6-12: Match of Day: BRAZIL 3, CROATIA 1 (Group A): Brazil not that impressive and a bit fortunate, giving up an early own-goal, scoring on a penalty kick that shouldn't have been but still prevailing in the match that opened the World Cup it is hosting, and the only match of Day 1. It's OK, though. They're partying just as hard in Sao Paulo. Croatia screwed by the referee on the PK call but can't complain too loudly considering its only goal also was a gift. A less than overwhelming debut for mighty Brazil, but saying that of a 3-1 win speaks of Brazil's might. That, and three points are three points.
WC goals average after Day 1 -- 1 match, 4 goals: 4.00.
Notes: Champion predictions of panel of 18 ESPN soccer experts: Brazil 8 votes, Spain 6, Argentina 4. ..... Click on Us Against The World for my U.S.-oriented World Cup preview column. ..... Click on The Devil FIFA for TV host John Oliver's video skewering of soccer's world organizing body.
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