Futbol's Final Four

As the end of the World Cup draws nears, only four teams remain in the competition. Tomorrow, Germany and Brazil face off for the right to advance into the Finals. The following day, Argentina and the Netherlands will play for that very same right. Both of these games look like great matchups, especially considering the way all these teams have played in the tournament thus far.

Players’ performances in the World Cup tend to garnish the attention of clubs throughout Europe, and clubs will spend the money to secure the services of a new player. Colombia’s James Rodriguez, still leading the scorers’ table with six goals, has already been linked with a $90 million transfer to Manchester United after his blistering performance in the World Cup. With only the semifinals and the finals left, there are only a few players who might just catch his total.

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Rebuilding the Maginot: France vs. Germany

On the 4th of July, European powerhouse teams France and Germany will meet in the Estadio de Maracana of Rio de Janeiro. Germany came into the tournament highly ranked at 2nd. The French team, on the other hand, came in ranked by FIFA as the 17th best team, below the United States. Looking at the past history of these two teams might explain the gap in these rankings.

Since the 2006 World Cup, in which they finished 2nd after the infamous Zinedine Zidane headbutt, France has struggled to get results on the field. In the 2008 UEFA European Cup as well as the 2010 World Cup, they were eliminated in the group stages without even winning a game. 

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The United States Stunner

Despite being ranked 13th according to FIFA,  the United States pleasantly surprised spectators around the world by escaping the group round. After being placed in the group of death, the team was forced to face teams ranked 2nd (Germany), 4th (Portugal), and 37th (Ghana). Although these rankings have not been entirely predictive throughout history, they tend to be a decent indicator for the results to come.

As a general rule of thumb, people who are better at their jobs tend to have the highest wages.  In professional sports, the most skilled athletes tend to be the most popular ones, and as such are also the ones who collect the most outrageous salaries.  One way of quantifying just how big of a cinderella story the advancement of the US Men's National Team is by looking at the salaries of the players on each team.

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