Welcome to the fourteenth day of the Philosophers World Cup. Today sees the play of the final matches in groups E and F, featuring Nigeria vs Argentina, Bosnia & Herzegovina vs Iran, Honduras vs Switzerland, and Ecuador vs France. You can find match reports and scores after the break. As always, refer to the introduction for what this feature series is about.
Nigeria vs Argentina
With a win, Argentina joins Italy as the only teams thus far to finish the group stage with a perfect record. Nigeria need only to match Iran’s result today to advance as they are ahead of them in goal differential.
First Half: J. F. Ade Ajayi (NGR) vs José María Rosa (ARG)
Nigeria know full well that besting the Argentines in their own language is a huge undertaking, particularly for an African side. The first half sees two historians matched up with Argentina’s Rosa getting the best Ajayi, the latter of whom is too obscure in the Ngram’s Spanish corpus to chart.
First Half Goals: Argentina 2
Second Half: Toyin Falola (NGR) vs Ernesto Laclau (ARG)
More of the same in the second half, as Nigeria’s Philosophers World Cup dreams near their end. As in the first half, Nigeria’s Toyin Falola is unable to chart on NGrams, allowing Argentina to score the maximum of 2 goals. And with that, Nigeria’s positive goal differential is eradicated. Their future at this tournament is in the hands of Bosnia & Herzegovina now. Argentina will be pleased to avoid an anticipated knockout stage match with France and will have a decent shot at the quarters if all goes according to plan.
Second Half Goals: Argentina 2
Nigeria 0:4 Argentina
Bosnia & Herzegovina vs Iran
Iran advances with a win or a draw. Bosnia & Herzegovina have been eliminated since they will not be able to increase their goal differential sufficiently enough to equal Nigeria’s. it would be a huge upset if Iran does not make it to the knockout stage.
First Half: Nijaz Durakovic (BIH) vs Al-Ghazali (IRI)
Well, this is anti-climactic. Similar to what happened in the Nigeria match, the Bosnians are unable to chart on Ngrams giving Iran 2 goals and thus making sure that Iran will leave this match with at least a draw. Hearts are breaking in Nigeria.
First Half Goals: Iran 2
Second Half: Mustafa Ceric (BIH) vs Mulla Sadra (IRI)
The Bosnians come storming back in the second half, seemingly not wanting to leave this competition having scored zero points. This time, the German corpus works in Bosnia & Herzegovina’s favor, as it is Iran’s theorists who is too obscure to appear on the Ngrams chart. Both teams leave the match reasonably happy. Bosnia & Herzegovina finally get a point and Iran advance to the knockout round. The only loser here is Nigeria, which ends Sub-Saharan Africa’s chances of placing a team in the round of 16.
Second Half Goals: Bosnia & Herzegovina 2
Bosnia & Herzegovina 2:2 Iran
Honduras vs Switzerland
First Half: Froylán Turcios (HON) vs Carl Jung (SUI)
Playing John Calvin seemed like a sure thing for the Swiss in their match against Ecuador, just as playing Carl Jung feels like a sure thing today. Instead, Jung goes down against multi-talented Honduran intellectual Froylan Turcios, the latter of whom misses scoring a second goal by mere inches. I knew that the Spanish corpus was insular, but I had no idea just how relatively rare books on non-Spanish language topics are published in Spanish. It truly is dumbfounding, and as a result Switzerland is in real danger of finishing last in its group without scoring a single point.
First Half Goals: Honduras 1
Second Half: Leticia de Oyuela (HON) vs Hans Urs von Balthasar (SUI)
The dejected Swiss begin the second half in sluggish fashion, but soon enough twentieth-century theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar is able to score a goal off of a free kick. He makes it a double late in the half to give Switzerland their only win and ruin Honduras’ upset bid. Thus, the proud nation of Switzerland, heavy favorites to advance to the knockout stage and likely make it to the quarter-finals, are reduced to celebrating a come-from-behind victory against a team that could only manage to field a roster of 6 theorists.
Second Half Goals: Switzerland 2
Honduras 1:2 Switzerland
Ecuador vs France
Both of these teams have already advanced. The winner will finish first in Group E, with Ecuador nabbing first in case of a draw.
First Half: Jorge Salvador Lara (ECU) vs Marc Bloch (FRA)
Even the Spanish corpus is not enough to put a halt to France’s goal scoring. Marc Bloch uses his trademark royal touch on two headers that gives France an early lead.
First Half Goals: France 2
Second Half: Gabriel Cevallos García (ECU) vs Bernard of Clairvaux (FRA)
Despite some promising attacks, Ecuador get slapped rudely back into reality by the imposing French side. The French have no interest in finishing second in their group, and drive this point home by netting two more goals giving them a decisive win. Regardless of today’s result, Ecuador are still pleased with their performance overall since they will be advancing status.
Second Half Goals: France 2
Ecuador 0:4 France
Ecuador officially completes its Cinderella run into the knockout stage, capping off perhaps the most shocking campaigns thus far. France easily won the group as was expected and will now look to their match with a dangerous Iranian team in the round of 16. No team was happier about France’s victory today than Argentina, who avoid playing the fearsome French in the round of 16 and instead draw surprising but still talent deprived Ecuador. It should be noted that Argentina are one of only four teams who have yet to cede a goal (along with Germany, United States, and Algeria, all of whom have yet to play their final match) and have the best goal differential in the tournament at +11.
Relevant Group Standings
France 9 pts, +9
Ecuador 6 pts, +2
Switzerland 3 pts, -4
Honduras 0 pts, -7
Argentina 9 pts, +11
Iran 4 pts, -3
Nigeria 3 pts, -1
Bosnia & Herzegovina 1 pt, -7
Round of 16 Matches
Complete group standings can be viewed here.