Wednesday, June 30, 2010

World Cup Round of 16 Monday, Tuesday




NETHERLANDS 2, SLOVAKIA 1
Something said in the waning moments of the match broadcast stuck with me, and that's that Holland played down to the level of its competition, which can happen in this tournament. Well, OK. Slovakia got to the round of 16 largely on the strength of defeating the ghost of the Italy team, and really didn't have much of a chance here, although they kept it close and got a PK goal on the last kick of the match. Arjen Robben scored in the 18th minute and that was pretty much that for a plodding Slovakia side. Robben played a great match, but Holland is going to need more in the quarterfinals if they're going to ditch their long and storied history of going out with a whimper in the knockout stage.




BRAZIL 3, CHILE 0
Up until this match, Brazil had been like that little Yakuza guy in the Simpsons pretzel episode, the one who stands there during the big gang brawl with his arms folded, and Homer says, "I'm waiting for him to do something and you just know when he does something it's going to awesome", or something like that. Well, Brazil finally unleashed the fury in this match. Good thing too, I was starting to doubt them, I even had a a feeling that Chile just might shock the world here. Good thing I didn't write that in the blog. Robinho, who just might dupe another Premier League club into paying him an insane amount of money again, was the star of this match. After Juan converted off a corner to make it 1-0 in the 34th minute, the former Man City disaster teamed up with Kaka to set up a Luis Fabiano goal, and then scored a very picturesque goal of his own for the final score of the match.

QUARTERFINAL MATCHUP
Brazil v. Netherlands-
This should be a stern test for Brazil, because the Dutch are nothing if not stern. Judging by these Round of 16 matches though, Brazil has found a gear that Holland just doesn't have. Brazil wins 3-1.



PARAGUAY 0, JAPAN 0 (PARAGUAY WINS ON PKS 5-3)
I call this the "lambs being led to the slaughter match". Really nothing was on the line here other than the right to say you made the quarterfinals, as the winner moves on to face the Spain/Portugal winner, and meet almost certain doom. Japan had a guy who has never scored a goal for them take a PK, and he hit one flush against the crossbar to lose the match. A reason you should root for Paraguay, the chick in the picture above says she will get naked and run thru the streets of Asuncion if Paraguay wins the World Cup.




SPAIN 1, PORTUGAL 0
The cool thing in this World Cup is to play like shit then walk off the pitch after a disappointing result and either yell or spit at the camera. All the big stars are doing it, Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, everybody. Portugal had a really bad tournament, they beat N. Korea 7-0, but didn't manage a goal against anybody else. This match was more entertaining than the score indicated, but the only goal came on a rebound hammered home by David Villa, with the obligatory 4 defensive players holding up their hands and looking at the ref to try to get an offside while the ball was still in play. Here's a soccer question, is there ever a goal scored where there aren't at least 3 defensive players standing around holding one hand up and looking at the referee and each other claiming the scorer was offsides? Like one maybe?

QUARTERFINAL MATCHUP
Spain v. Paraguay-
Paraguay is the kind of team that can frustrate a team like Spain. I think Spain advances, but it's going to be an ugly 1-0 slog.

Monday, June 28, 2010

FIFA censor replay in stadiums when refs fuck up



This is what FIFA wants everyone live to do when there is a ref mistake.

Instead of admitting wrong, Sepp Blatter decides to censor replay in the stadium when a ref messes up. This way, everyone in the stadium can't get mad and the players can't point to the replay to the refs and be like, "LOOK, FOO. THE BALL IS TWO FEET INTO THE NET!" The problem is that the rest of the world just pressed 30 seconds back on their DVRs to see your ref fuck up and has no instant replay to correct their mistake. I did make 6 videos showing how Sepp Blatter is a bitch. It gets more hilarious:

FIFA spokesman Nicolas Maingot said Monday that replaying the incident was "a clear mistake."


Read that quote and use some critical thinking. FIFA was mad, not that there was a grossly bad call, but that there was a replay shown of the ref error. My friend from Singapore said we Americans are just used to abusing authority and questioning motives when we should just enjoy the fucking game. If by abusing and questioning authority you mean "ask" then yeah, that's what we're doing. Here in America we use instant replay for everything because it's the 21st century. But it's not just America, Tatei. Tennis uses Hawkeye technology, which you would know if you watch my Craplacticos series.

One of the funniest arguments coming out is the "BCS Argument" where controversy is good because people are talking about it. This is like using God to justify killing others. If a bad result continues to occur because of the controversy, then talking about it is NOT good. If 40-year old teachers are convincing 14-year olds to have sex, the controversy is not good, especially if nothing is done about it. So let me say this one more time for retards that don't understand basic logic: controversy is not good if nothing changes.

So get your fucking head out of the sand and put some goal line technology.

OOOOBAAAYAAABAAYAYYY- Round of 16 Weekend

This was a great soccer weekend for me. My World Cup viewing so far has been limited to 2-3 minute glances I get on our TV in the break room at work, and watching fuzzy standard def replays that I already know the result of on ESPN Classic. Finally, this weekend I got to watch in hi def, elimination matches that I didn't already know what happened in. It was awesome.




URUGUAY 2, SOUTH KOREA 1
Wayyy back when, when the World Cup was but a disorganized clustermess played in front of crowds that were as small as 300 people, and a lot of countries would choose not to participate in if it was too far away, Uruguay won the first World Cup. That was precisely 80 years ago. A lot has changed since then, but now theres a chance, not a very good chance, but a chance that things could come full circle and Uruguay bring the Cup back home to its birthplace. They've reached the quarterfinals for the first time in 40 years thanks to a 2-1 win over a feisty South Korea side, with the winning strike coming on a beautiful candy cane shot from Ajax's Luis Suarez, which traveled thru the raindrops from the southwest corner of the box to snake just inside the post kitty corner from where he launched it. South Korea, which played really well, almost tied late in the match on a scoring chance by Lee Gong-Dook, but the Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera made a great save to preserve the win.




GHANA 2, UNITED STATES 1
I watched this match with my WAG at the Tilted Kilt in Elgin, IL. I wanted some soccer pub ambiance, and was not disappointed as the place was packed with people rooting for the US. Except for my WAG, like a Russian boxing fan watching the Balboa/Drago fight, she switched sides about halfway thru and started rooting for Ghana. I attribute this either to a crazy pregnancy hormonal thing, or the 20 years she spent living amongst a colony of chimpanzees in Ghana. The US had a weird thing in this tournament of coming out and conceding goals right away and then playing from behind. They did it against England, they did it against Slovenia, they did it in the first half against Ghana, and then did it again in extra time and finally it was just too much to overcome. This was a best 2 out of 3 falls match, with Ghana dominating the first half, the US dominating the second, and Ghana striking early then having its players rolling around on the ground like they were dying for most of the 30 minute overtime to run the clock out. Tim Howard should have come out and challenged on Asomoah Gyan's winning goal. Shoulda but didnt'a. Ghana ends it for the US for the second straight World Cup.

QUARTERFINAL MATCHUP
Uruguay vs. Ghana-
One of these teams, by rule, has to make it to the semifinals. Uruguay has done nothing but impress this whole tournament, and Suarez and Forlan have been superb. I like Uruguay to win this one 2-0.



GERMANY 4, ENGLAND 1
If you think we as Americans have a social issue in how we deify sports stars, try reading the English press. They obsess over these footballers much, much worse than we obsess over any sports stars, and probably more than even we obsess over entertainment celebrities. This ones snogging that ones girlfriend and this ones shagging this lingerie model and this ones caught with his knickers down with the office junior and so on and so on and so on, and for what?
Wayne Rooney was invisible for this tournament, with the exception of slamming his "home" fans after a 0-0 sleepwalk against Algeria. The man who had a BP-like amount of ink spilled over him this winter, John Terry, was powerless to stop Germany from hanging 4 goals on a defense he was supposed to anchor. The manager who was supposed to finally lead England to glory, Fabio Capello, could only watch helplessly for most of the second half of a hopeless match.

All this obsession so they can go out and just get completely steamrolled by Germany, who have some fairly well known players but mostly are a faceless machine who's majority of goals are scored by someone (Lucas Podolski) that plays mediocre football for a team that perennially fights off relegation in the Bundesliga?

Lots of too doo and hullabalooo about nothing if you ask me.



ARGENTINA 3, MEXICO 1
While I'm on the topic of haranguing the breathless football press, let's talk about Argentina. To listen to the broadcast of the convincing 3-1 win over Mexico yesterday, you'd think that Argentina's success is allll due to Diego Maradona. My view is, Argentina's success has nothing to do with Maradona the Mascot. They are winning in spite of him, not because of him. They are winning because they have freakin Carlos Tevez and Lionel Messi on their team, and they are light years more talented than any other team in the tournament other than Brazil and probably including Brazil. Again, I emphasize over and over that I am a soccer neophyte, but I've done pretty well in predicting this tournament (12 out 16 in who would advance), and you know why, because I am almost completely ignorant of all the fucking hyperbole that soccer people throw around. That's why.

QUARTERFINAL MATCHUP
Germany v. Argentina-
Now that I've ripped on soccer hyperbole, let me throw some soccer hyperbole at you. This match is going to be awesome. This might be the two best teams in the tournament, meeting in the quarterfinals. I see this match as a complete toss-up, but I picked Germany to advance to the final before the tournament, and I'm not going back on that now. I say Germany on PK's after a 2-2 classic.



World Cup Day 15- Group G and H Wrap

GROUP G
There was a lot to look forward to from the 2 matches taking place here on Friday. Aside from the obvious allure of a Brazil vs. Portugal matchup, there was the situation I wrote about earlier this week where Ivory Coast could still advance if they went completely bonkers on North Korea and beat them like 7 or 8 to nothing or something. Turns out I was pretty much looking forward to nothing, because Brazil/Portugal was a 0-0 kickabout with Brazil playing with the goal of not expending too much energy, and Portugal playing to avoid a disastrous blowout loss which would have opened the door for Ivory Coast. Portugal opened things up a bit at the end, getting a few scoring chances once it became evident that Ivory Coast was only going to manage a pedestrian 3-0 win over North Korea. Brazil and Portugal advance out of what was tagged as the G.O.D. before the tournament.

GROUP G MATCH SUMMARY
Brazil - W N. Korea 2-1, W Ivory Coast 3-1, D Portugal 0-0
Portugal - D Ivory Coast 0-0, W N. Korea 7-0, D Brazil 0-0
Ivory Coast - D Portugal 0-0, L Brazil 1-3, W N. Korea 3-0
N. Korea - L Brazil 1-2, L Portugal 0-7, L Ivory Coast 0-3

GROUP H
The day started with the very real possiblity that Spain could join Italy and France as first round disasters failing to advance. All that it would take would be a Switzerland win over weak sisters Honduras, and Spain failing to get a victory over a very tough Chile side for that to possibly happen. Spain avoided the fate of the 06 finalists though, surviving a 2-1 match against a Chile side that played like ill tempered sea bass who shot frickin laser beams out of their foreheads. David Villa scored one goal from waaaay downtown when the Chile keeper was feeling a little too frisky, and set up Iniesta for the second Spain goal. Chile goes thru despite the loss thanks to Honduras, who neutralized Switzerland in a 0-0 draw.

GROUP H MATCH SUMMARY
Spain - L Switzerland 0-1, W Honduras 2-0, W Chile 2-1
Chile - W Honduras 1-0, W Switzerland 1-0, L Spain 1-2
Switzerland W Spain 1-0, L Chile 0-1, D Honduras 0-0
Honduras - L Chile 0-1, L Spain 0-2, D Switzerland 0-0

ROUND OF 16 MATCHUPS
Brazil v. Chile
Spain v. Portugal



Friday, June 25, 2010

Knockout Stage Preview

Alright, here we go with the best part about World Cup! BTW USA is a part of it. Oh, I told you England would be fine, Oli Porter. Capello doesn't play pretty. Here's a preview with winners in bold. No ties here, baby. Betting odds are besides each team and the lower number meaning you get less money, which will show how much of a favorite the team is.

Uruguay -130 vs Korea Republic +350

Uruguay was in the weakest bracket, but they didn't concede a single goal. I mentioned that teams like Uruguay need to play D to get through and wow did they play some D. Forlan is still the leader of this defensively tough SOBs and shouldn't have a problem with South Korea. They're just happy they made it here for the first time since being host.

United States +150 vs Ghana +190

This is a great match up for the USA. Ghana plays solid D and O as a team, but there is no player that may CR9 all over the USA. This is an even match up that may just be about destiny. And if you go through two disallowed legit goals and still get through, sometimes, you gotta believe.

Germany +180 vs England +165

This is good for England who is struggling for goals. While Oli Porter is ready to hold his ankles, Germany is fool's gold like the Netherlands. Watch a really annoying D make a bunch of young guys crumble.

Argentina -200 vs Mexico +600

I would say unlucky for Mexico, but Mexico seems to do alright against powerhouse teams like Brazil and Argentina. They just suck against the other South American teams. Don't believe the odds. I don't expect a blowout, but Maradona seems to be the real deal proving everyone wrong.

Netherlands -225 vs Slovakia +650

The colony of fool's goal known as the Dutch may have Robbin back for one match before he hurts himself again. They should have an easy time with Slovakia, and then owned by Brazil in the next round.

Brazil -225 vs Chile +550

Chile is a solid team playing very well this year and against ANY other team I probably would pick them to go to the next round, even against Spain or England, but Brazil is just too strong.

Paraguay -110 vs Japan +280

I mentioned that Japan would surprise some people with their local talent but not me, but I ain't gunna lie: I'm surprised. Paraguay isn't that strong of a team as well and I could see Japan upsetting them making them my upset pick of the first round.

Spain -110 vs Portugal +300

The odds may be realistic, but Spain looks like a vulnerable team. Portugal and CR7 are like homerun hitters. Maybe three swings and a strike out, but there's a chance one of those swings goes yard. I am not as comfortable with Spain as I was before this tournament, but the good teams tend to start rolling in the beginning of the Knockout Stage.

World Cup Day 14 - Group E and F Wrap

GROUP E
With the Netherlands, who already clinched advancement, playing Cameroon, who was already eliminated, in a 99% meaningless match (a match Holland won 2-1), the big focus in this group was on the virtual elimination showdown between those ancient rivals Japan and Denmark. The animosity between these two nations is legendary, so the implications of this match pushed everyone in attendance over the line of hysteria and into mass schizophrenia. In truth, there very quickly was no doubt left as to who the better team was. Japan jumped on the Danes with 2 early goals off of free kicks, and cruised from there to a 3-1 victory, aided by the use of their soccer gloves.


GROUP E MATCH SUMMARY
Netherlands - W Denmark 2-0, W Japan 1-0, W Cameroon 2-1
Japan - W Cameroon 1-0, L Netherlands 0-1, W Denmark 3-1
Denmark - L Netherlands 0-2, W Cameroon 2-1, L Japan 1-3
Cameroon - L Japan 0-1, L Denmark 1-2, L Netherlands 1-2




GROUP F

Well that picture pretty much says it all, huh? The defending Campioni del Mondo, Italy, capped their miserable, France-like title defense with a miserable 3-2 loss against. The first goal came on a molto stupido giveaway , where Daniele de Rossi just kind of dumped it into the middle of the field, pretty much telling anyone on the other team interested in scoring that hey, here you go, there's a goal if you want one. I did the same thing when I was scrimmaging with Dook!e's team a couple of weeks ago, the only difference is I hadn't played soccer in 15 years.

Fabio Quaglierelli was denied a goal on a pretty much lucky save by Liverpool's Martin Skertl, who just happened to be in exactly the right place at the right time, and didn't mind taking one off the nuts for the greater glory of Slovakia. Italy then went down 2-0 giving up Robert Vittek's second goal of the game, preceded by some very lazy defense. Italy fought back late in the match, appearing to have tied only for the goal to be disallowed for offsides. Slovakia then seemingly put it away on a goal by Kamil Kopunek, but Italy got one more goal, from Quaglierelli and just missed getting the equaliser. An exciting finish for Italy, but they go home to shame.

Paraguay needed only a draw against New Zealand to advance, and played like it, muddling to a 0-0 draw with few scoring chances. Let's hear it for the Kiwis though, they were seen as the worst team in the tournament coming in, and although they didn't advance, they didn't lose a match either and definitely outperformed expectations by a lot.


I'm kinda pissed at Italy for going out like this. My grandpa is a big fan, and he's coming up on 90 years old, and at that age every World Cup you make it to is a big accomplishment. He fought in WWII in Mussolini's army, then when they got sick of Mussolini and dragged his corpse thru the streets, he was stranded with his group of soldiers in Albania with no orders, other than to hide from the Germans who if they found them would probably kill them for deserting the cause. He holed up with an Albanian family for 2 years doing work for them in exchange for a place to live, eating pretty much whatever they could kill. Then when the war was finally over and it was safe to come out, he walked it home from Albania back to Italy to a family who thought he was dead. Let's hope his country's soccer team gives him a better show next time.

GROUP F MATCH SUMMARY
Paraguay - D Italy 1-1, W Slovakia 2-0, D New Zealand 0-0
Slovakia - D New Zealand 1-1, L Paraguay 0-2, W Italy 3-2
New Zealand - D Slovakia 1-1, D Italy 1-1, D Paraguay 0-0
Italy - D Paraguay 1-1, D New Zealand 1-1, L Slovakia 2-3

ROUND 2 MATCHUPS
Netherlands v. Slovakia
Paraguay v. Japan



World Cup Day 13- Group C and D Wrap





GROUP C
In life I often think back to that old Chris Rock "N(orwegians) vs. Black People" routine, where he goes off on people who are praised for doing things they are supposed to do. To quote, somewhat directly,

"You know the worst thing about N(orwegians)? N(orwegians)? always want credit for some s**t they supposed to do. A N(orwegian) will brag about some shit a normal man just does. A N(orwegian) will say some shit like, "I take care of my kids." You're supposed to, you dumb motherfucker! What kind of ignorant shit is that?! "I ain't never been to jail!" What do you want, a cookie?! You're not supposed to go to jail, you low-expectation-having motherfucker!"

So Chris Rock applied that very salient observation to people of his own ethnicity but, I think it also applies pretty much people of all nationalities in my book. So, I bring this up because of the parallel between this and the US team advancing to the second round. You mean to tell me we're supposed to be jubliant and a nation converted to soccer because we finished ahead of Algeria and Slovenia? Uhhh, well, the US was supposed to be better than Algeria and Slovenia. In fact, any activity in which the United States of America is not better at than Algeria and Slovenia, the United States of America should probably stop doing. I can't argue that they've been hella exciting, but really that's a strike against them, because you shouldn't fall behind 2-0 to Slovenia and you shouldn't need a miracle extra time goal to beat Algeria 1-0. I'm willing to wipe the slate clean and start over in the elimination round, but really, color me non-plussed with the US so far.

Meanwhile, if the US has disappointed, England just barely averted not being welcome back in their home country. They will, in fact, be welcome (probably) thanks to a pretty goal by Spurs' Jermain Defoe, who put home a pinpoint lobbing cross from Villa's James Milner. It probably could have ended 4 or 5 to nothing, but Slovenia's goaltender was spectacular, and it cost England, because just one of their many scoring opportunities getting thru would have given them 1st in the group, and avoided a round of 16 matchup with their nemesis and mortal enemy, Germany.

GROUP C MATCH SUMMARY
USA - D England 1-1, D Slovenia 2-2, W Algeria 1-0
England- D USA 1-1, D Algeria 0-0, W Slovenia 1-0
Slovenia - W Algeria 1-0, D USA 2-2, L England 0-1
Algeria - L Slovenia 0-1, D England 0-0, L USA 0-1

GROUP D
Well, somewhere between 5 and I think 40 African teams were in this World Cup, and only one is advancing to the second round. That team is Ghana, and they do so despite not getting a win in either of their last 2 matches, settling for a draw against Australia, and a 1-0 loss to Germany in their finale. Ghana had the majority of the scoring chances but couldn't convert, and a long distance volley from outside the box by Germany's Mesut Ozil provided the only tally.

Ghana's loss gave Serbia, who beat Germany in their last match, a golden opportunity to advance. All they needed to do was beat the consensus weakest side in the group, Australia. The Socceroos had other ideas though. They held things scoreless in the first half, fending off a couple of good scoring chances, then in the second half broke on a header by Everton's Tim Cahill off a lob that was almost a carbon copy of Defoe's goal for England. Shortly after they made it 2-0 on a hard grounder launched by Brett Holman from a spot closer to the center circle than the penalty box. That pretty much was the end for Serbia, even though they scored late to make it a 2-1 final. Australia fails to advance only because of the huge negative goal differential they soaked up in the 4-0 pounding they took at the hands of Germany to open their schedule, but finish strong with 4 points in 2 matches.

GROUP D MATCH SUMMARY
Germany - W Australia 4-0, L Serbia 0-1, W Ghana 1-0
Ghana- W Serbia 1-0, D Australia 1-1, L Germany 0-1
Australia - L Germany 0-4, D Ghana 1-1, W Serbia 1-0
Serbia - L Ghana 0-1, W Germany 1-0, L Australia 1-2


ROUND 2 MATCHUPS
USA v. Ghana
Germany v. England

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

World Cup Day 12- Group A and B Wrap

Tuesday marked the beginning of the World Cup Lightning Round, when we're treated to 4 matches a day, 2 of them going on simultaneously, and pretty much everyone playing for survival. Heady stuff, to be sure. Let's see how the story ended in Groups A and B, who wrapped up on Tuesday.

GROUP A
Uruguay
is moving on to the 2nd round for the first time in 20 years. They got thru the 1st round without conceding a goal, wrapping up first place in the group with a 1-0 win over Mexico.

France
and South Africa were also playing while this match was going on, France managed to salvage some shred of dignity by scoring late in their 2-1 loss to the hosts, kind of in the same way making it to a toilet when you have to throw up on New Year's eve salvages a shred of dignity as opposed to barfing all over the floor. It's kind of like that. I read a recap that had a quote from a 17 year old French fan who said, “It’s funny, France is worthless”. See, that's what we've been trying to tell you! Good to see it's finally sinking in.

Alas, although South Africa finished with 4 points, as did Mexico, their goal differential was 3 goals worse thanks to the 3-0 pounding Uruguay put on them. So the hosts fail to go thru, and Mexico advances to round 2. Uruguay and Mexico, just like I predicted. I defeat all man!

GROUP A SUMMARY

Uruguay- D France 0-0, W S. Africa 3-0, W Mexico 1-0
Mexico- D S. Africa 1-1, W France 2-0, L Uruguay 0-1
S. Africa- D Mexico 1-1, L Uruguay 0-3, W France 2-1
France- D Uruguay 0-0, L Mexico 0-2, L S. Africa 1-2

GROUP B
Nigeria'
s Super Eagles laid a big giant Super Eagle egg in this World Cup, going home without a victory following their 2-2 draw against South Korea. Nigeria's Kalu Uche opened the scoring early, but Lee Jung Soo got the equaliser, and shortly after halftime Korean captain and Man U star made it 2-1. Nigeria was able to tie it on a goal by Ayegbeni Yakubu, and had a chance to get a comeback victory on a scoring chance late in the game for Obafemi Martins, but he couldn't convert, and South Korea advances for the first time as non-hosts.

Argentina
wins the group, and did it impressively, finishing their group run with a 2-0 win over Greece and ending group play with a 7-1 goal differential. Lionel Messi was roughed up by the Greeks in the match, without repercussions from the officials, and Maradona went off after the match. Don't have the exact quote but I'm sure it involved calling Pele old and gay.

GROUP B SUMMARY

Argentina - W Nigeria 1-0, W S. Korea 4-1, W Greece 2-0
S. Korea - W Greece 2-0, L Argentina 1-4, D Nigeria 2-2
Greece - L S. Korea 0-2, W Nigeria 2-1, L Argentina 0-2
Nigeria- L Argentina 0-1, L Greece 1-2, D S. Korea 2-2

ROUND 2 MATCHUPS

Uruguay v. South Korea
Argentina v. Mexico

World Cup Day 11

PORTUGAL 7, NORTH KOREA 0
I was reading my favorite North Korean news site trying to get the Dear Leader's feedback on this ass whupping, but, alas, I couldn't find a recap, instead this was the lead story:

"Revenge-vowing Meetings Held
Pyongyang, June 22 (KCNA) -- Youth and students and agricultural workers gathered in Susan-ri, Kangso District of Nampho City and in Sinchon County of South Hwanghae Province Tuesday to vow to take revenge upon the U.S. imperialists on the occasion of the "June 25, the day of the struggle against the U.S. imperialists".

The reporters and speakers at the meetings recalled that the U.S. imperialists brutally destroyed cities, villages, factories and farms and killed innocent civilians in the most barbarous way everywhere they set their foot during the war of aggression.

They also referred to the shuddering atrocities perpetrated by the U.S. imperialists in Susan-ri and Sinchon in the period of the temporary strategic retreat during the Korean war, denouncing the Yankees as a herd of wolves in human skin and the Koreans' sworn-enemy with whom they can not live under the same sky.

More than half a century have passed since the ceasefire but the U.S. imperialists remain unchanged in their true nature for aggression, they noted in hot blood, adding that the U.S. imperialists are working hard to ignite a new war on this land while linking the warship sinking case of the south Korean puppet navy to the DPRK in conspiracy with the Lee Myung Bak group of traitors.

They bitterly condemned the U.S. imperialists and the Lee group of traitors for totally negating the historic June 15 North-South Joint Declaration and openly holding in check its implementation, thereby pushing the inter-Korean relations to the worst phase.

If the U.S. imperialists intrude into the DPRK even an inch, all the servicepersons and people will mercilessly wipe out the aggressors to give vent to the long-pent up grudge and accomplish the sacred cause of national reunification at all costs, they stressed."

Hmmm, revenge-vowing meetings? Denouncing the imperialists as wolves in human skin? Sinking ships of the puppet navy? Nympho City?? Sounds like my kind of country! Now enjoy this glorious cartoon! It's so much like my dreams it's scary!



CHILE 1, SWITZERLAND 0
Could the Swiss' clockwork like defense strike again, lulling it's opponent to sleep as if they had just drank Swiss Miss hot cooca laced with some of Novartis' finest tranquilizing medicine, as they did to Spain last week?? Nein! Switzerland became the first nation not to concede a goal in 551 minutes of World Cup play (an accomplishment that somehow has not led to any kind of success in the World Cup), but that all ended when Chile sub Mark Gonzalez headed one in the goal in minute 75, giving Chile an insurmountable, Alp-like 1-0 lead. Switzerland played down a man pretty much the whole game, but they don't use any offensive players anyway so who cares. Chile's on top of the group with 6 points, but they still have not locked up a berth in the knockout round. They'll probably have to get a result against Spain because if they don't there will be a 3 way tie atop the group with 6 points each, and Switzerland has Honduras next so they could run up some goal differential there.




Now THAT's Hetero!

SPAIN 2, HONDURAS 0
Well whaddaya know, Spain managed to get thru 90 minutes with mighty Honduras without completely crapping their pants. Also, apparently David Villa challenged one of the players to a duel or something during the match. Trying to get World Cup video is like trying to get aerial video of North Korea, so I had to settle for a close approximation of the transgression shown below.



Tuesday, June 22, 2010

World Cup Day 10




PARAGUAY 2, SLOVAKIA 0

First Uruguay traipising through their first two matches, looking like a lock to advance, and now Paraguay leading its group after 2 matches?? I dare say, this is the Guayest World Cup ever! In fairness, Paraguay is actually a pretty tough team (as is Uruguay), led by Man City's Roque Santa Cruz, and can say they took down both Brazil and Argentina in qualifying. In fact, that's been the trend at this World Cup, while the European powers are going down in flames, and the African teams are for the most part getting beat up too, it's been the teams from our very own hemisphere, in CONCACAF (US and Mexico), and CONMEBOL (Brazil, Argentina, Chile, the Guays), who have acquitted themselves very well. Paraguay's on top of what's been the weakest group in the tournament, and wrap up against New Zealand, so it looks like they're going thru.


NEW ZEALAND 1, ITALY 1


With the possible elimination disasters that have befallen England, France, and Germany, and Spain losing to Switzerland in this opener, it's only right that Italy go out and shit the bed in this tournament too, and they haven't disappointed. They fell behind the 78th ranked in the world Kiwis early in the match, and although Italy dominated most of the way, it took the referees stepping in and deciding they weren't going to let New Zealand win this game, and awarding Italy a bullshit PK in order for the defending champs to salvage a point. Hey wait, who was that I saw at midfield before the game as the extra official...oh my God, no, it can't be....





AHHHH! You lying smelly foreigners! You lied! You said he wouldn't be allowed any where near this tournament again! You let him back in and look what happens, another match that looks like it's fixed. Holy geez. Anyway, Italy faces Slovakia in their group finale, and if they lose, they're out.








BRAZIL 3, IVORY COAST 1

Ever since they drew the field for this tournament, and established the Brazil/Ivory Coast/Portugal triad as constituting the "Group of Death", this has been a match people have been looking forward to. The Death Star that is Brazil against Didier Drogba and the sexy sleeper pick Elephants. As so much of this tournament has played out, when you expect big things, you get a snoozer, and when you expect nothing you get a classic (Switzerland/Spain, US/Slovenia, etc. etc.). Brazil thoroughly dominated this one. Luis Fabiano had the first two goals of the match, one of them a controversial unintentional handball aided one that Sven Goran Eriksson bitched about, but whatever. Drogba did score but by that time it was 3-0 Brazil.
What becomes interesting now, is that Ivory Coast can still advance if Brazil beats Portugal AND Ivory Coast just runs up a fantastic beating on North Korea, like 10-0 range. That's not out of the realm of the possibility, and if you're looking for an interesting, crazy match where one team is totally going to be going for broke, check out that Ivory Coast/NoKo match on Friday.

Monday, June 21, 2010

World Cup Day 9





NETHERLANDS 1, JAPAN 0
Normally you wouldn't consider a 1-0 win over Japan anything to be impressed with, but the way the so-called European powers have been stinking to high heaven in this tournament, I guess you have to go ahead and tip your van der Sloot to the Dutch for having six points after two matches and clinching safe passage to the round of 16. Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder scored the only goal of the match. Japan's keeping it to one goal was huge, because now they have a better goal differential than Denmark by one goal. So they can advance with a win or tie in their group finale against the Danes.




GHANA 1, AUSTRALIA 1
The Black Stars have scored but two goals in this tournament, and they were both on penalty kicks. Yet, they head into their group finale against Germany in first place in their group with 4 points. That's despite tossing in a real stinkeroo in this match against Australia. The Soccerros played over an hour of this match a man down, so that coupled with the fact that Ghana is better than Australia, and Ghana still couldn't get 3 points that were just begging to be taken, and boofed up a chance to clinch advancement to the second round. Now they've got to face Germany, who is playing for their World Cup 2010 lives, while Serbia gets Australia. Ghana can advance with a win or a tie against Germany, but that's not going to be easy at all.



This Should Have Been on Cameroon's Jerseys


DENMARK 2, CAMEROON 1
Aaaand the first team to be officially eliminated from this year's Cup is..Cameroon?? Nobody saw that one coming, not with an Indomitable squad featuring the great Samuel Eto'o. It's true though, after grabbing an early lead on an Eto'o goal, Cameroon conceded the equaliser by Arsenal's Nicolas Bendtner to make it 1-1 at half, and Dennis Rommedahl put the Danes ahead to stay in the 61st minute. Said Eto'o after the match, “God is the only one who rules in this moment and he wanted it to turn out like this.” Well, can't argue with God now, can you? Denmark stays alive, and now has to beat Japan to advance. The Indomitable Lions, thoroughly domited.

Africa to Me

World Cup Day 8



SERBIA 1, GERMANY 0
My first reaction to this result was, "How could Germany lose to Siberia? Isn't it too cold to play soccer there?" After the shock wore off, I remembered that Ivan Drago was also Siberian, so they probably have some pretty good athletes there. You can add this match to the pantheon of matches in this tournament that turned on questionable officiating. Bayern Munich striker Miroslav Klose received an iffy second yellow card which left Germany a man down, a situation Serbia capitalized on with a goal almost immediately following. Since it is imperative that the refs decide every match in this tournament, they tried to have Germany salvage a point by giving them a PK later in the match, but the magically enchanted Lukas Podolski could not convert. Now all of a sudden the team that impressed the most in the first go round of matches, Germany, faces the very real possibility of not advancing, as they face a final match against Ghana, while Serbia gets to beat up on Australia.



USA 2, SLOVENIA 2
I have to admit, my patriotic fervor for the USA team was kind of weak heading into this tournament. Then this match happened, and from here on out I am going to be a flag waving freedom fry eating super jingo. There's 2 reasons for this, one, it would have been very easy for the US to lay down and die when they fell behind 2-0 after goals from Valter Birsa and Zlatan Ljubijankic. It looked like the Charlie Browns were going to leave a big zig zagged line treadmark all over our Star Spangled Banner. Then the Rocky training in Russia music started up, and the USA showed what it is made of, coming back on goals by Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley to improbably revive the hopes of our nation. Then, as you all know, came the second and most important reason I'm pulling hard for the Yanks from here on, Malian referee's Koman Coulibaly disallowing what would have been the winning goal off a late corner kick. The reason Coulibaly gave for disallowing the goal I believe was, "Because fuck you America, that's why". Oh, it's on now.




ENGLAND 0, ALGERIA 0
So go ahead and play the video posted above, the "nice to see your home fans boo ya" video. Uh, Wayne, the thing is, these aren't home fans. In fact that's the whole thing. These fans paid a shitload of money and came a really long way to watch you guys bumble to a lifeless 0-0 draw against France's B Team. So hey Wayne, bugger off! England's in a lot of danger of not advancing now too. They've got Slovenia in their last match, and the way they've been playing and the way Slovenia's been playing, even 1 point is not guaranteed, and they'll likely need 3 to advance.







Sunday, June 20, 2010

World Cup Day 7

Wow....this tournament sure did become a lot more interesting this weekend.

- Count 'em, 1, 2, 3, 4 powerhouses put in shockingly disappointing performances and now are in danger of not advancing out of the group stage.

- USA and Slovenia played what probably now is the most memorable match in US soccer history (OK, MEN's soccer history).

- As Patrick wrote about today, France's team has completely disintegrated, and who doesn't like watching Frenchmen slap fight with each other like a bunch of girls?

Okay, to the match recaps. I'm a couple days behind..so here's day 7 (Thurs), will probably get days 8-10 up tomorrow AM.

THURSDAY
ARGENTINA 4, SOUTH KOREA 1
It was quite a successful week for Maradona. His much maligned team showed that they were maligned for nothing, pretty much sewing up 1st place in their group with a thunderous win over a South Korea team who got a win in their first match. He got a hat trick, the first of the tournament, from Real's Gonzalo Higuain, and he told Pele to "go back to the museum". Not as effective in his pantheon of Pele disses as "Who cares what he says he lost his virginity to a boy", but not bad.

GREECE 2, NIGERIA 1
Even though Greece won it all in Euro 2004, they had never ever won a World Cup match until Thursday. It didn't look like that would change early in the match. Nigeria went up 1-0, and everyone knows that if you score against Greece, the match is over, because their primary directive is to get a 0-0 tie every time out. A red card to Super Eagle MF Sani Kaita gave Greece a 57 minute long power play though, and Greece capitalized with goals from Dimitrios Salpigidis and Vasilis Torosidis to get 3 points and throw this group into a tizzy. They still probably need a point in their group finale against Argentina to advance, but if Nigeria beats South Korea by one goal, they could still advance with a one goal loss. You will need to use the Pythagorean theorem to figure out the other scenarios. Oh the pathos! Not to mention the ethos and the logos!



Ha, ha, You're French..

MEXICO 2, FRANCE 0
And here's where the tournament starts to get good. Mexico thoroughly dominates France as if they were being coached by Napoleon III. Goals for El Chicarito Javier Hernandez, and the most recognizable player and perhaps only recognizable player in Chicago Fire history, Cuauhtemoc Blanco. The result pretty much guarantees that Uruguay and Mexico advance out of this group, just as a certain soccer savant predicted before the start of the tournament, and also gives us a treasure trove of ennui filled quotes from the defeated French, such as “What’s the problem? We’re not a good team. If we don’t win, it means we’re not a good team", and, "“When you go out of the Euro in the first round, and then you are about to go out again, you really don’t want to think about football anymore".

French Team Implosion

A 0-0 tie with Uruguay.
A 2-0 loss to Mexico.
Anelka removed from the team.
France refusing to practice in protest.
France fitness coach quits.
Director of French Football resigns.

What in the hell happened?

France already was on shady grounds qualifying into the World Cup with a handball goal by Henry over Ireland. With all the talent they have on the team, they have yet to score a goal in the World Cup. France coach Raymond Domenech seems to be at the center of this with his terrible tactics and roster choices. He benched Malouda, one of Chelsea important players for goals, because he was "too aggressive." Maybe the French need some aggression because they're not scoring any goals or looking dangerous at all.

The Anelka dismissal was entirely the Domenech's fault compounded by the ignorance of the French Football Federation. Domenech told Anelka he wasn't playing like a "real" striker but a second striker, so he should be moved there. Anelka, probably insulted that this idiot is judging him, said, "Go fuck yourself you son of a bitch." Players and coaches get in tiffs all the time. *I* get in tiffs with my students who have told me to fuck off. I don't go to administration and cry. It's my fucking classroom, I'll deal with it. We talk it out. Depending on the context, the kid was angry about something. Same with the situation with Anelka where he's fine playing second fiddle to Mr. Premadonna Drogba, but now he's a problem on France? You insult your player, or at least hurt his feelings, and he cusses you out. Deal with it. It's your team. Nope, Domenech cried to the FFF and without context booted Anelka off the team. Domenech tried to make Anelka apologize to him. Have you ever pissed off a student, he cusses you out in reaction, and then FORCE him to apologize? If you have, how did that work out for you? Your team; your business. Handle your shit, Domenech.

Gallas is a nut job, but he clearly should have been captain instead of Evra. Oh well, France! Guess karma's a bitch when you cheat your way in.

World Cup Jun 21-25 Preview

Monday, June 21

Group G – (Cape Town) Portugal vs. Korea DPR, 7:30 a.m.
Group H – (Port Elizabeth) Chile vs. Switzerland, 10 a.m.
Group H – (Johannesburg) Spain vs. Honduras, 2:30 p.m.

Story of the Day: North Korea didn't look too bad against Brazil. Spain will have something to prove.

Tuesday, June 22

Group A – (Rustenburg) Mexico vs. Uruguay, 10 a.m.
Group A – (Bloemfontein) France vs. South Africa, 10 a.m.
Group B – (Durban) Nigeria vs. Korea Republic, 2:30 p.m.
Group B – (Polokwane) Greece vs. Argentina, 2:30 p.m.

SOTD: Apparently, Argentina is for real and Greece isn't. I was wrong. Forlan looks too strong for Mexico. France's expulsion of Anelka isn't a big deal because they weren't scoring goals with him anyway. France's coach really buckled under pressure and destroyed the team unity.

Wednesday, June 23

Group C – (Port Elizabeth) Slovenia vs. England, 10 a.m.
Group C – (Pretoria) United States vs. Algeria, 10 a.m.
Group D – (Johannesburg) Ghana vs. Germany, 2:30 p.m.
Group D – (Nelspruit) Australia vs. Serbia, 2:30 p.m.

SOTD: USA was robbed, but they couldn't ask for a better position with a win-and-in scenario that they should successfully accomplish. England looks terrible, but Capello teams are all about defense. If you drop the Green goal that was a fluke, his team D has been pretty good. I gave Germany my curse. Oops.

Thursday, June 24

Group F – (Johannesburg) Slovakia vs. Italy, 10 a.m.
Group F – (Polokwane) Paraguay vs. New Zealand, 10 a.m.
Group E – (Rustenburg) Denmark vs. Japan, 2:30 p.m.
Group E – (Cape Town) Cameroon vs. Netherlands, 2:30 p.m.

SOTD: Italy is in trouble. They can't score goals and they dropped all the guys that can score goals for them off the team. With Buffon hurt, it may be all over for them. Denmark and Japan is more interesting than it should be, but both teams look great. Netherlands should take a major dump on the already ousted Cameroon.

Friday, June 25

Group G – (Durban) Portugal vs. Brazil, 10 a.m.
Group G – (Nelspruit) Korea DPR vs. Ivory Coast, 10 a.m.
Group H – (Pretoria) Chile vs. Spain, 2:30 p.m.
Group H – (Bloemfontein) Switzerland vs. Honduras, 2:30 p.m.

SOTD: Portugal and Brazil is the big money match. Brazil is looking like they need inspiration.

Sat and Sun start the knockout stages! Who's in? Patrick N says...
A: Uruguay, Mexico
B: Argentina, Nigeria
C: USA, England
D: Serbia, Ghana
E: Netherlands, Denmark
F: Paraguay, Slovakia
G: Ivory Coast, Brazil
H: Chile, Spain

Thursday, June 17, 2010

World Cup Day 6





CHILE 1, HONDURAS 0
Police in Chile had to break out the tear gas and water cannons on jubilant Chilean fans jumping around like so many seabass, celebrating their country's first World Cup win 48 years. I ask all those reading, that if I ever get tear gassed because I can't keep a lid on my jubilation over my country's soccer team beating Honduras 1-0, just please skip the tear gas and use live ammunition, and preferably hit me in the head. Killshot baby.





SWITZERLAND 1,
SPAIN 0
Who would have thought it would be the Swiss to inject some life into this soporific taffy pull of a tournament? Of course, any time the Spaniards assemble under one banner for international play, it's a disaster waiting to happen. Euro 2008 aside, choking big time is just what Spain does. If you look closely at that thing on their flag, it has a guy grabbing his own throat on it. Remember, it was just a year ago in the Confederations Cup that the US took down Spain 2-0, a match that apparently was studied closely by Swiss Master Ottmar Hitzfeld. Ottmar...I think we have a winner in the "Name Nicky P's Baby" contest.




URUGUAY 3, SOUTH AFRICA 0
Almost a week into the tournament, our front runner for MVP is....Uruguay's Diego Forlan. He had a pair of goals in this match, which pretty much wraps up the tournament scoring title for him. Did you know that Forlan is a two time winner of the Pichichi Trophy for his work with Atletico Madrid? It's true! He has so many Pichichis he is bored with them. RSA keeper Itumeleng Khune got a red card days after chastising his fans for not blowing their zuzuelas hard enough. It's looking like South Africa is going to be the first host nation in, I don't know, probably ever, not to advance to the elimination round.


GROUP H STANDINGS
Chile 3 +1
Switzerland 3 +1
Spain 0 -1
Honduras 0 -1


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

World Cup Day 5

So we are almost thru the first go-round in the group stage, and I don't think I'm the only one who thinks that so far this tournament has blown a big vuvuzuela. Nobody is scoring, the ball is supposedly flying around with the predictability of a Harry Potter snitch, everyone looks like they are freezing in the cold weather, and those frickin horns make the games almost unwatchable. Isn't there anything else traditionally African that can be played in the stands other than New Years Eve noisemakers? Drums? Something?




NEW ZEALAND 1, SLOVAKIA 1
New Zealand is known for 3 things, and soccer is not one of them. Those things are, yacht racing, kiwis, and the "How bizarre, how bizarre" song from 15 years ago. New Zealand's "All Whites" (that's racist!), made their first World Cup appearance in 28 years, while Slovakia is here for the first time ever due to their not existing for most of the history of organized football. New Zealand is the consensus pick for being the weakest team in this tournament, but shit so far it looks like none of the teams in the tournament are really that good, so hence they get a point thanks to a goal at the last possible instant from Danish Superliga midfielder Winston Reid.

PORTUGAL 0, IVORY COAST 0
Surely these 2 highly talented teams would break up the buzzing swarm of angry hornets monotony of the lifeless play we've seen so far. Right? Right???? Uhhh..no. Didier "The One Armed Bandit" Drogba came in as a sub in the 85th minute, providing pretty much the only notable moment from this highly disappointing tilt. Highlights are below.






BRAZIL 2, NORTH KOREA 1

After the DPRK's inspired performance in this match, I am on the waiting list to be one of the Chinese actors paid to pretend they are North Korea fans. I am also excited to read some of the universally acclaimed works of the Dear Leader and learn more about his brave struggle against the Yankee imperialists. This match also was notable for this IM gem I came up with in my running conversation with Dook!e, who apparently has a North Korean friend, making him the only person who doesn't live in North Korea with a North Korean friend.

ESPN Gamecast: 'Robinho is going through his repertoire of tricks, but to little real effect. '
Nicky P: 'Sounds like my sexual technique'
Dook!e: 'Heyooo!'

My theory on why North Korea put forth such an inspired performance, their highly nutritious pregame meal:




GROUP G STANDINGS
Brazil 3 +1
Ivory Coast 1 0
Portugal 1 0
North Korea 0 -1

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

World Cup Day 4




NETHERLANDS 2, DENMARK 0

Probably the most surprising thing here is that neither side had anyone die of sunburn. The result was pretty much as expected, although Holland did have a little more trouble penetrating the Danes defenses than was expected. A fluke own goal opened the scoring, and Dirk Kuyt put it away for the Oranje late in the match. The Danes packed the midfield pretty tight, because as we all know, if there is a hole in the middle, that's not a Danish, it's a donut. Stay tuned to recaps of future Netherlands matches for all the Joran van der Sloot references you could ever hope for.







JAPAN 1, CAMEROON 0



Almost without exception, the African nations all looked horrible in their prep matches. Although I have a soccer blog, and read anything I can get my hands on about soccer, I am still pretty much neophyte. I was assured by people more futbol literate than me that the prep matches mean nothing. Well, here we are gone live and the African countries still look like crap. Cameroon surrendered a goal in the 38th minute to Keisuke "Piston" Honda, and couldn't answer. The win is the first for Japan on non-Japanese soil in World Cup play.






ITALY 1, PARAGUAY 1


The consensus in the break room amongst the soccer congoscenti at my company watching the match is that Italy is old and bad. They certainly lived up to both of those labels in this match. The defending champs fell behind early, and lost star goaltender Gianluigi Buffon to a back injury. They managed to get a goal from AS Roma's Daniele De Rossi in the second half to avoid total disaster, but judging by the first match, it looks like we are going to have a new World Cup champion in 2010.




GROUP E STANDINGS
Netherlands 3 +2
Japan 3 +1
Cameroon 0 -1
Denmark 0 -2

Monday, June 14, 2010

World Cup Jun 15-20 Preview

Patrick N and Nicky P covering the World Cup like we have to cover your wife after we're running out of your bedroom. This preview will cover me until Sunday. My picks in bold, if no bold, I predict a tie:

Group Stage
June 15, 2010

12 New Zealand v Slovakia
13 Ivory Coast v Portugal
14 Brazil v North Korea

Story of the Day: Can Ivory Coast guard CR9? If they do, they win. Also, North Korea said they will only allow it's people to watch North Korean goals and wins. Will NK get to see any of the World Cup?

Group Stage
June 16, 2010

15 Honduras v Chile
16 Spain v Switzerland
17 South Africa v Uruguay

SOTD: Will the horns Nicky P talked about bother South Africa into a tie again?

Group Stage
June 17, 2010

20 Argentina v South Korea
19 Greece v Nigeria
18 France v Mexico

SOTD: Greece failed me as my dark horse pick. Nigeria looked good, so they're screwed. Will France be able to score a goal? Argentina is not good, and South Korea got lucky. But if they tie like I think then they are not lucky.

Group Stage
June 18, 2010

21 Germany v Serbia
22 Slovenia v United States
23 England v Algeria

Germany WAS better without Ballack like I initially thought! I really think USA is for real. Even after the 1 goal, I thought that settled the team and we played really good soccer. Even if we lost, I would have been happy with our play. England doesn't have a crisis. Sometimes, balls bounce off your hand. Goalies HAD been complaining about the ball spin.

Group Stage
June 19, 2010

25 Netherlands v Japan
24 Ghana v Australia
26 Cameroon v Denmark

SOTD: Japan got lucky, but the Dutch are going to show they have some talent. Cameroon will be looking to take out their frustrations.

Group Stage
June 20, 2010

27 Slovakia v Paraguay
28 Italy v New Zealand
29 Brazil v Ivory Coast

If Drogba is healthy, their match up with Brazil becomes interesting. He matters that much.

World Cup, Opening Weekend

I was hoping to be able to overlay the incessant droning of bzuzuzelas into this entry, to recreate the brain melting experience of watching a World Cup match in which it sounds like you are being attacked by bees. Unfortunately I lack the technical expertise to do that. Instead, enjoy the sound of sweet silence as I recap the weekend that was as we begin our month long journey thru the World Cup.

FRIDAY




SOUTH AFRICA 1, MEXICO 1

South African goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune blamed the underdog hosts only getting one point in the opening match against Mexico on the fans. Apparently he "couldn't hear the vuvuzuelas". That would make him the only one. At least Khune is proving the phenomenon of the prick athlete to be a global one. Instead of putting a positive spin on earning a point against a team that was much better than his, he calls out the home fans and wants them to feel shame. I don't get it.



URUGUAY 0, FRANCE 0

The only mildly entertaining moment of this shnorer came when Thierry Henry had the audacity to try and get the ref to call a handball on Uruguay late in the match. He then recalled that France is only in South Africa thru the handy handiwork of his skilled hands, and quickly recanted. France continues to look like le crap sandwich and I stand by my prediction that they do not advance.

GROUP A STANDINGS

South Africa 1 PT 0 GD
Mexico 1 PT 0 GD
Uruguay 1 PT 0 GD
France 1 PT 0 GD


SATURDAY




SOUTH KOREA 2, GREECE 0

There was no bailout to be had for Greece as they continued to display the horrible form they showed in their prep matches. Man U's Park Ji Sung scored the second goal of the match, putting things decidedly out of reach for a Greek side that is as parsiminous with scoring goals as their government is profligate in spending its funds. I get paid by the syllable you know.





ARGENTINA 1, NIGERIA 0

Two of the big storylines of this World Cup revolve around Argentina. One is how World Cup legend/current buffoon and Argentina coach Diego "I don't care what Pele says because he lost his virginity to a boy" Maradona comports himself on such a big stage. The other is if Lionel Messi can finally replicate his best player in the world standard of play he brings to Barca for his country. The answers to both of those questions after one match appear to be, "So far so good".











ENGLAND 1, UNITED STATES 1

So Dook!e and I were watching this match, and IM'ing one of his friends watching in England. He was kind enough to email us some photos of the festive atmosphere in the pub he was watching in, which were very cool to see. Then, of course, just minutes into the match, England gets a goal from Steven Gerrard and it's already 1-0, and it looks like England's going to romp. Dook texts him that it's going to be 4-0 England at halftime, and the Englishman is all like, "No, no, the US is too good for that." I'm sitting there thinking, "No, they're not, they've been playing 5 minutes and England has already cut thru their defenses like we toilet paper." Then it occurs to me, I know where I have seen this kind of pessimism before, Chicago Cubs fans. It seemed that the English fan was just waiting for some kind of mishap to befall England and cost them points. Sure enough, the US scores on a seemingly harmless shot from outside the box that the English keeper tries to dive on like it's a live grenade, and it squirts thru and into the goal when nobody was paying attention. I realized at this point that like the Cubs, England will never, ever win it all in my lifetime.

GROUP B STANDINGS

South Korea 3 +2
Argentina 3 +1
Nigeria 0 -1
Greece 0 -3

SUNDAY



SLOVENIA 1, ALGERIA 0

Before the tournament there was all kinds of concern that the Jabulani ball being used flew like it was made out of rattan or some sort of wicker, or perhaps like the hot dog wrapper in American Beauty. Those fears have seemingly been validated by the US' fluke goal on Saturday, and a similar score by Slovenia's Robert Koren from long distance in this match. In other Jabulani news, I tried to head a Jabulani on Saturday and am pretty sure I have suffered brain damage as a result. JUMANJI!






GHANA 1, SERBIA 0
Here's what I would call the first real upset victory of the tournament. Serbia is loaded with guys that are very important players at some very important clubs. But, as they usually do, they fall flat on their face when they get to the World Cup. How do I know this? In the 2006 cup where my friends and I drafted teams and collected the points for the countries we picked, I thought I got a steal with Serbia-Montenegro. Then they flopped out of the tournament in the group play and I think they didn't even get a point. Now they are just Serbia, but apparently getting rid of Montenegro did not help. Ghana wins on a late PK.




GERMANY 4, AUSTRALIA 0

One thing you can always count on, in International play, Germany will be always be greater than the sum of its parts. Another thing you can always count on, Lukas Podolski will always transform from domestic league nobody to international superstar whenever he puts on the German uniform.

GROUP C STANDINGS
Slovenia 3 +1
England 1 0
USA 1 0
Algeria 0 -1

GROUP D STANDINGS
Germany 3 +4
Ghana 3 +1
Serbia 0 -1
Australia 0 -1


Friday, June 11, 2010

HAPPY WORLD CUP KICKOFF DAY!

It's finally here! Christmas in June! As I write this, I am wearing my Mexican sombrero and blowing my South African zuzuela, frantically cheering for both teams like the neutral that I am as the first match of World Cup 2010 is in its embryonic moments.

I've got Mexico winning this match 2-1. South Africa is a squad nobody takes seriously, but they have played really well in preparation and the festive atmosphere should give them a boost.

So at this point I think it's only fair that I bestow my group stage picks on you:

ADVANCING TEAMS
GROUP A
Mexico, Uruguay- France has been a mess for the last couple of months, and they are in a tough enough group that they won't be able to get out of their own way

GROUP B
Argentina, Nigeria- Haven't been to impressed with Nigeria lately, but they have the benefit of being more talented than South Korea and Greece, so they will squeak thru.

GROUP C
England, US- Honestly I think it's a tossup between US and Slovenia to get 2nd in this group, but it would be so crippling to US soccer not to advance that I have to pick them.

GROUP D
Germany, Serbia- Ghana is missing Michael Essien, and Serbia has a lot of talent

GROUP E
Netherlands, Denmark- Pretty much all of the African teams seem to be misfiring in their prep matches, that includes Cameroon

GROUP F
Italy, Slovakia- Slovakia gets the 2nd spot in the weakest group in the tournament

GROUP G
Brazil, Portugal- This was the Group of Death before Drogba's injury took out Ivory Coast

GROUP H
Spain, Chile- Spain got a really easy draw here. Chile and Switzerland are kind of a toss up, but whatever. Either one gets drummed out in the round of 16


ELIMINATION STAGE
Mexico over Nigeria- I'm all over Mexico. There's a big Tecate billboard on my way to work with some of the Mexican stars on there, most notably Cuauthemoc Blanco doing his Usain Bolt goal pose.

England over Serbia- It's England's destiny to eventually get knocked out by Germany on PKs, like always.

Germany over US- Kind of unsettling that even if the US advances, Germany almost certainly awaits.

Argentina over Uruguay- U R Gay

Netherlands over Slovakia- Slovakia gets Van der Sloot'ed

Brazil over Chile

Italy over Denmark

Spain over Portugal- Wowwww how's this for a round of 16 match??

QUARTERFINALS
England over Mexico
Germany over Argentina
Brazil over Netherlands
Italy over Spain

SEMIFINALS
Germany over England- On PK's of course
Brazil over Italy

FINALS
Brazil over Germany- MMMM how's that chalk taste?

Okay those be my picks. Currently we're about 30 minutes into Mexico/South Africa and it's still scoreless. Full recap of this match and Uruguay/France tomorrow!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Jun 11-13 preview

So many matches, so I don't know if I can keep this preview up, but here's trying:

South Africa vs. Mexico - 11 Jun

Story of the game: Will Mexico's midfield gel in time or will South Africa and the home crowd bully Mexico around?

Uruguay vs. France - 11 Jun

SOTG: Uruguay is a tough first weak team test for France who's struggling to score goals.

South Korea vs. Greece - 12 Jun

SOTG: Greece is better than people think, and South Korea is exactly what people think.

Argentina vs. Nigeria - 12 Jun

SOTG: Argentina will start three strikers because they have 6 good ones. Nigeria will need to bully the middle to prevent Argentina forwards the ball.

England vs. United States - 12 Jun

SOTG: Oli Porter will arm wrestle me instead of this match. I will win of course.

Algeria vs. Slovenia - 13 Jun

SOTG: Break time. Slovania is stronger only because Algeria sucks.

Serbia vs. Ghana - 13 Jun

SOFG: Media's loving Serbia, and Ghana can't do shit without their best player hurt.

Germany vs. Australia - 13 Jun

SOTG: This game will be an indicator of how strong Germany really is and how weak Australia is.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

World Cup Group F, G, H Preview

Group F

Italy 10/1 Pirlo (Milan), Zambrotta (Milan), Buffon (Juventus)

Paraguay 40/1 Roque Santa Cruz (Man City)

New Zealand 1000/1 Hopefully God or Satan

Slovakia 150/1 Skrtel (Liverpool)

Italy seems like the easy favorite here, but Italy is old, lacking on goal-scoring power, and the attribute that keeps them in World Cup contention, defense, is lacking sorely. This team seems put together just to make their defense of the title before the team blows up into the youth movement. It's unfortunate that I pulled this team in my betting pool. Italy is going to have to pull out some of that defense out of their ass to make it past the first round of the knockout stage, if they make it there. Paraguay and Slovakia are more appealing to me as teams that would pull out of this group. Paraguay has some athletes on their team and Slovakia has a youthful midfield. Both of these factors can cause an old team problems. If Italy advances to the knockout stage, don't expect them to look impressive doing it.

Group G

Brazil 11/2 Nilmar (Villareal), Robinho (Santos), Luis Fabiano (Sevilla), Kaka (Real Madrid), Thiago Silva (Milan), Daniel Alves (Barca), Lucio (Inter), Maicon (Inter), Julio Cesar (Inter)

Korea DPR 125/1 LMAO.

Côte d'Ivoire 25/1 Drogba (Chelsea), Kalou (Chelsea), Yaya Toure (Barca), Eboue (Arsenal), Kolo Toure (Man City)

Portugal 20/1 Simao (Athletico Madrid), Critiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Tiago (Athletico Madrid), Pepe (Real Madrid), Carvalho (Chelsea), Ferreira (Chelsea), Bruno Alves (Porto)

That's just dick to put the nukey Asians no one wants to listen to in the group of death. Initially, I felt Brazil and the Ivory Coast were coming out of this, but with Drogba hurt, Portugal may have been given a gift. Now, Drogba is said to return the second game, but this guy is THE scoring option for the Ivory Coast with Kalou more of a support striker. Portugal is traditionally soft, so I see the Ivory Coast
midfield bossing Portugal around. Brazil is so good they didn't put Ronaldinho (who's in the commercials for the World Cup HAHA) on their squad. I still think he's really good, so them not including horse face shows they're looking for chemistry more than just putting an all-star team together. This is the only time Robinho gets to go against top talent, so he'll be eager to prove until he is chokes under pressure, but you have two top guys to rotate with him. Brazil is my favorite to the finals, of course, but it'll be interesting to see if they can maintain defensive intensity when they need to. Their defense is better than previous years with basically Inter Milan as their backline and goalie. That group is pretty good at D thanks to Mourinho. I'm picking Brazil and Portugal to come out unless Drogba gets back to full health.

Group H

Spain 4/1 David Silva (Valencia), Arbeloa (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Xabi Alonzo (Real Madrid), Cesc Fabragas (Arsenal), Fernando Torres (Liverpool), David Villa (Barca), Iniesta (Barca), Puyol (Barca), Pique (Barca), Albiol (Real Madrid), Casillas (Real Madrid)

Switzerland 150/1 Blaise Nkufo (Seattle Sounders FC)

Honduras 1000/1 Palacios (Tottenham),

Chile 40/1 Jean Beausejour (Club America), Mark Gonzalez (Moscow), Claudio Bravo (Real Sociedad)

This is probably the easiest group Spain has ever played in. As you can see, Spain is stacked with Real Madrid and Barca players, and not just in one part of the field. Spain is the favorite to win the World Cup because they have Torres and David Villa up top, Fabragas passing to them in mid, and Real Madrid and Barca on D. Shit is over. Switzerland had higher profile players, but not really, so I just wanted to mention that they have an MLS player on their team. Chile will be alright. Watch for my Club America homie. He's fast.

I have Spain and England in the finals, but that's because Spain beats Brazil. This year's World Cup is going to ownnnnnnnnnnn so enjoy Nicky P and I's coverage because there's going to be a lot to celebrate this blog's 4 year anniversary. You're fucking welcome.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

World Cup Group E Preview

Group E

Netherlands 11/1 Robben (Bayern), van Persie (Arsenal), van der Vaart (Real Madrid), Sneijder (Inter), Kuyt (Liverpool)

Denmark 66/1 Bendtner (Arsenal), Poulsen (Juventus), Kroldrup (Florentina), Agger (Liverpool), Sorensen (Stoke City)

Japan 125/1 Honda (Moscow), Shunsuke Nakamura (Yokohama), Abe (Urawa Red Diamonds)

Cameroon 66/1 Eto'o (Inter), Song (Arsenal), Makoun (Lyon), Bassong (Tottenham)

This group will be more competitive than people may think. The Dutch are straight up fool's gold. Yes they have talent, but they're fragile as hell and are chokers. I picked them in Euro 2008 and learned my lesson. Don't be raped like I did or my friend is going to be: stay away from the Dutch if you're betting. Cameroon isn't as strong as some people might think as well. They're athleticism isn't there as it has in the past, and really that's all they had when they were competitive. Japan looks like a push over, and they probably are, but they have a lot of local talent that may surprise some people, but not me who saw them live in Japan when I visited there two years ago. Denmark is a coin flip of awesomeness and fail to me. I want to say they'll be the ones coming out of the group with the Dutch, but I really can't say this with much confidence. Whatever teams come out here, don't expect them to go very far unless their team defense is strong.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

World Cup Group D Preview

Group D

Germany 9/1 Klose (Bayern), Mertesacker (Werder)

Australia 100/1 Tim Cahill (Everton)

Serbia 66/1 Stankovic (Inter), Ivonovic (Chelsea)

Ghana 66/1 Muntari (Inter) NO ESSIEN :/

A weak group all around, the winner of this group won't probably get past the first round of the knockout stage. I had Germany and Ghana coming out of this group until Essien got hurt. Now I have to pick Serbia. In fact, I find it in the realm of possibilities that Serbia could win this group given the key injuries surrounding their group rivals' injuries. Germany without the slow, but experienced Ballack is going to be a team without much direction. At first I thought this injury was a good thing because of my low opinion of Ballack, but Germany seems poised to being assed out if they don't focus.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

More World Cup Prep

Our nervous contestants continued their feverous cramming for their World Cup finals this weekend. Who impressed and who distressed?

- #41 Ireland continued to unleash its Irish Curse as retribution for their controversial elimination, beating a qualifier for the second time this week. Robbie Keane had a pair of goals as the Irish trounced #30 Algeria.

- #19 Cameroon continues to look shaky. Their 1-1 draw against #25 Slovenia was an improvement over their dreadful scoreless draw against Georgia earlier this week, but Africa's highest ranked team isn't doing a whole lot to inspire.

- #6 Germany struck fear into everyone by blitzkrieging #57 Hungary 3-0.

- #78 New Zealand has shown this week that they may not be the easy out they were supposed to be. After a hard fought one goal loss to Australia earlier in the week, they broke through with a stunning 1-0 win over #15 Serbia.

- #2 Spain famously can be counted on to shit the bed in the World Cup, no matter how good they are. They looked like they won't disappoint in that respect as they bungled to a 3-2 win over #66 Saudi Arabia. It took an injury time goal from Fernando Llorente to give them the win.

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The #14 US fell behind 1-0 to #29 Turkey in a lacklustre first half, but rebounded with goals from Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey in the second to avoid an embarrassing two losses in one week to teams that didn't qualify for South Africa.

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The Yanks can take solace in the fact that their opening game opponents, #8 England, didn't look great either this weekend. They trailed #45 Japan 1-0 at the half, and needed a pair of own goals in the second to escape with a victory.

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#47 South Korea looked impressive in prep wins over Japan and Ivory Coast, but looked decidedly not impressive in a 1-0 loss to #82 Belarus this weekend.

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#17 Mexico took on some really tough competition earlier in the week, losing to England and the Netherlands. They followed that up with a breezy 5-1 confidence booster against #93 Gambia this weekend. Javier Hernandez had a pair of goals as did Chivas' Bofo Bautista.

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Didier Drogba opened the scoring shortly after half for #27 Ivory Coast, but they couldn't hold the lead and managed only a 2-2 tie against #31 Paraguay in Sven Goran Eriksson's first match as the Elephants gaffer.

- #21 Nigeria limps to South Africa, following up a 0-0 draw earlier in the week to Saudi Arabia with a similarly miserable 1-1 draw against #35 Colombia.

- #9 France is another team in bad form. A shaky win earlier in the week over Costa Rica is followed up by a 1-1 draw at #55 Tunisia.

- #18 Chile had a busy and successful weekend, taking down #56 Northern Ireland 1-0, and #26 Israel 3-0.

- #83 South Africa continues to romp thru it's warm-ups, getting it's 3rd win of the week with a 5-0 blasting of #114 Guatemala.

-#20 Australia had a nice showing, topping #36 Denmark 1-0 on a late goal from Josh Kennedy.

- #32 Ghana looked a mess in getting steamrolled by #4 Netherlands 4-1. Goals for Real Madrid's Dutch castaways, Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart.

- #3 Portugal put the Cape Verde Islands horror show behind it with a solid 3-1 win over #19 Cameroon, who has looked horrible in its prep matches. A pair of goals for FC Porto's Raul Meireles.

STOCK UP
Group A- South Africa, Mexico
Group C- Slovenia, United States
Group D- Germany, Australia
Group E- Netherlands
Group F- Paraguay, New Zealand
Group G- Portugal
Group H- Chile

STOCK DOWN
Group A- France
Group B- Nigeria, South Korea
Group C- Algeria
Group D- Serbia, Ghana
Group E- Denmark, Cameroon
Group G- Ivory Coast
Group H- Spain