Welcome to the fifteenth day of the Philosophers World Cup. Today is the last day of group stage play and features the final matches in groups G and H, with matches including United States vs Germany, Portugal vs Ghana, South Korea vs Belgium, and Algeria vs Russia. You can find match reports and scores after the break. As always, refer to the introduction for what this feature series is about.
United States vs Germany
This could have been a potential final (and still might be). The winner will finish atop Group G, with Germany claiming first position if there is a draw.
First Half: Ralph Waldo Emerson (USA) vs Hannah Arendt (GER)
It is a tightly contested first half, with both teams performing well. In added time, Arendt scores off of a cross after catching Emerson wandering about like a transparent eyeball attempting to take in the transcendental glory of the football pitch. This is a controversial call, as the Americans are convinced that Arendt was offside, which makes sense considering just how far out of the box Emerson was. Nevertheless, the call has been made and the Americans will have to rely on a strong second half if they want to top the group.
First Half Goals: Germany 1
Second Half: Jonathan Edwards (USA) vs Martin Heidegger (GER)
Second Half Goals: United States 1, Germany 2
The United States plays a frantic attacking style in the opening minutes of the first half, with Edwards connecting on a goal to level the match. The Germans are content with a draw, but the American’s keep pressing for the win. This allows Heidegger to score a goal on a counterattack to give Germany the lead. He nets a second goal in added time to put away the match, giving the Germans the group.
United States 1:3 Germany
Portugal vs Ghana
This match is effectively a dead rubber, with both teams playing primarily to avoid the shame of not having score a point (or a goal) at the Philosophers World Cup.
First Half: Francisco Sanches (POR) vs Kwame Gyekye (GHN)
The Portuguese enter this match very confident, believing themselves to be far superior to Ghana. However, their attacks stall early and they are unable to score a goal in the early stages of the match. The Portuguese get quite the shock in the 25th minute with Kwame Gyekye bursts through their backline and nets a goal. Gyekye is not content with scoring merely one goal, and arguably the premier Sub-Saharan philosopher scores another goal giving Ghana a 2-0 lead going into the half.
First Half Goals: Ghana 2
Second Half: Agostinho da Silva (POR) vs Anton Wilhelm Amo (GHN)
It looks to be only a matter of time before Portugal equalizes the match. Instead, Ghana relies on the play of Anton Wilhelm Amo—one of the first African philosophers to ply his trade in the European leagues—to score two late goals, absolutely obliterating the Portuguese side. As the Black Stars leave the pitch as the unexpected victors, one has to wonder what they could have accomplished in a weaker group.
Second Half Goals: Ghana 2
Portugal 0:4 Ghana
South Korea vs Belgium
The underachieving Belgians are facing off against a South Korean team that are notoriously poor travelers. Both teams have already been eliminated.
First Half: Sin Ch’aeho (KOR) vs Thierry de Duve (BEL)
The South Koreans appear to be checked out at this point, knowing that nothing that they can do will result in their advancement. The Belgians are not so listless and take control of the match, hoping to at least leave Brazil with some points.
First Half Goals: Belgium 2
Second Half: T’oegye (KOR) vs Henri Pirenne (BEL)
The second half plays out according to the same script as the first. The South Koreans have basically boarded the plane home allowing Belgium to score two more goals. Does this stellar performance redeem group favorites Belgium from their atrocious play earlier? It is doubtful since a 4-0 drubbing of the last place team in their group is hardly as sweet as playing in the round of 16.
Second Half Goals: Belgium 2
South Korea 0:4 Belgium
Algeria vs Russia
Algeria have been one of the most surprising teams in the tournament, thanks to two consecutive four goal performances. Russia have also been strong, defeating Korea and upsetting Belgium. The winner of this match will take on the United States in the round of 16, while the losers will get Germany. Algeria will take the group in the event of a draw.
First Half: Louis Althusser (ALG) vs Pavel Florensky (RUS)
Algeria expend the last of their Pied Noirs in the form of structuralist philosopher Louis Althusser. Althusser destroys the Russian theologian Pavel Florensky, beating him for two goals.
First Half Goals: Algeria 2
Second Half: Mohamed Bencheneb (ALG) vs Mikhail Shcherbatov (RUS)
In this battle of historians, the Russian Shcherbatov has the edge. Not that his play was outstanding; rather, Algeria’s Keeper Bencheneb has an abysmal half, allowing two rather weak shots to cross the line for goal. Russia equalizes the match, but time expires before they can make another good attempt for the win. Thus, Algeria wins the group by virtue of a superior goal differential.
Second Half Goals: Russia 2
Algeria 2:2 Russia
Germany won the battle of Group G philosophy powerhouses to earn the right to play Russia in the round of 16. Despite losing to Germany, the United States are arguably in better position since their quarter-final opponents will be the winner of Argentina-Ecuador rather than France. Furthermore, their presumptive semi-final opponents would be either Spain or Italy instead of Greece. However, if this Philosophers World Cup has showed time and again, things do not always go as anticipated. The United States would first half to get past a deadly efficient Algerian side that eased through its group. Russia can also not be entirely overlooked, as they were talented enough to defeat a favored Belgian side in group play. Even so, Germany and the United States will be heavy favorites to advance to the quarter-finals against their respective Group H opponents.
This feature will return Saturday with the first day of the knockout stage.
Relevant Group Standings
Germany 9 pts, +10
United States 6 pts, +5
Ghana 3 pts, -4
Portugal 0 pts, -11
Algeria 7 pts, +8
Russia 7 pts, +2
Belgium 3 pts, -1
South Korea 0 pts, -9
Complete group standings can be viewed here.
Round of 16 Matches