The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.
We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.
Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.
Southgate Rankings are an attempt to quantify the subjective sense of belonging that accrues around a team over time. The further a team is over the red line in the table—the Southgate Parallel—the more strongly they are felt to belong in whatever class the line delimits (in this case, the quarterfinals of Euro 2008). For more information about the Southgate Rankings and how they work, see this post.
Southgate Rankings, Euro 2008 (2)
|+=Improving -=Declining /=Static QF=in quarterfinals
Italy’s first-place ranking is extremely deceptive, as it merely indicates the endurance of a hardened reputation in a tournament that has dissolved nearly every certainty. Holland and Spain, who have played the best football so far, are undermined by the public perception that they collapse at important moments. Portugal and Croatia are still little-known quantities, relatively speaking. And Germany, despite having played no worse than Italy, has lost significantly more as their fragile but exaggerated reputation as the strong popular favorite to win the tournament essentially evaporated after the Croatia match.
The Southgate Parallel itself (reflecting the point at which teams seem to “belong” in the quarterfinals) has moved up two places, indicating the feeling—largely a result of the great excitement produced by the tournament so far—that the “pack” is either swallowing or is about to swallow formerly elite teams like France and the Czech Republic, without new teams having fully broken free to replace them. Only six teams seem wholly to belong in the quarterfinals, with Turkey (SgR-2) and Russia (SgR-3) still having the air of gatecrashers to some extent. That could change in the next round, especially in the case of Turkey, who have burst into wider prominence after winning what was by general consensus the most dramatic game of the group stage.
by Brian Phillips · June 18, 2008