Now that The Pretenders have been separated from The Supremes (give me the Supremes any day!) it's time to get down to some real futbol (Cue the Rugrats theme song). We have two potential all-time classics, a David vs. Goliath matchup, and a match that will see its winner fit comfortably into Cinderella's slipper. Three of these clashes will involve the dominant South America vs. the disappointing Europa, so pick your racial allegiances now. Before we get to my predirktions, let me first rant about the Evil Empire's efforts to ruin the World Cup for all of us.
Dirkness has long referred to ESPN as the 'Evil Empire' and its for reasons like we are seeing with their coverage of the World Cup. All we heard about last week was the controversies surrounding missed offsides calls, disallowed goals, and goalline technology. Why can the games never be enough for ESPN? Can our nation's attention only be held by tabloid-like coverage? Can't they develop a different channel focusing purely on off-the-field news for those who want it? I, for one, do not want it. I can hardly stand to turn ESPN on anymore in fear of hearing the names Brett Favre, LeBron James, Tiger Woods, or Ben Roethlisberger. Does anybody really think the officiating has been worse at this World Cup than any in years past? It hasn't. Not to mention most of the complaints are heard from a match that finished 4-1! And if you tell me that a goal would've changed everything, you get a vuvuzela blown up the arse, I get it. Lets judge teams and players on how they react to misfortune. Mexico completely folded. As did England. United States handled it relatively admirably. I really enjoy examining the parallels between soccer and life, and think it's a somewhat accurate representation. Sometimes, you face bad breaks, but is it best to then complain about it and ask why a million times over? No, its best to regather yourself, and refocus your energy on how to overcome it. This is the true test of man, where you'll find out what you're really made of, and when you see your true character shine through. The bottom line, is that I bet the team that comes out victorious in this World Cup will prove tough minded enough to overcome a few bad breaks along the way. Oh, and ESPN is trying to ruin sports.
On to the games....
Brazil vs. Netherlands
The Dominant Dungas vs. The Clockwork Orange. This should be a masterpiece of a game. The two countries most worried about style over substance, which makes me wander what other professional sports are like in Netherlands. Do they even keep score? Or is it just measured on who has the most fun? Is money even an object there? I have an entire fantasy land imagined in my head all based on this one belief of theirs. I plan on setting the mood for this match with scented candles, classical music, and Bob Ross paintings surrounding me. Oh, you were wanting actual futbol analysis for this? I think it'll take atleast two goals to defeat Brazil, the overall favorite, in this tournament. The scary thing about Brazil is that their defense is just as stout as their offense. The Dutch haven't played any top-tier teams, nor looked overly impressive in any matchup, but have Dutch Ovened every opponent to this point. This is my most anticipated match to this point by far. I really, really, really, REALLY want to pick Netherlands...
PreDirktion: Brazil 3, Netherlands 2 OT
Uruguay vs. Ghana
The Big Guays vs. Radiohead's "The Black Stars." Ghana had too much speed for the Yanks to handle in the Round of 16. It was a roller coaster of a game that saw Ghana dominate the first half, the States dominate the second half, and Ghana overwilhelm (Yieow!) them in overtime. I have little else to say about this game, so I'll share some random thoughts accumulated throughout the Cup...
~I absolutely love the announcing of the games. The first time I've felt that Beard n Stache were legitimately inferior to the professionals. They call everything how they see it, unafraid to call out anybody, and don't fill the air blathering about nothingness in effort to steal attention away from the game. My favorite phrase that they use is, "Good for the cameras," indicating that they embellished a play, making it seem harder than it was in actuality. Love it. Take note, Stache.
~I love the backwards cross that travels against the grain. It seems to find its way through the box more often than the aerial cross, leaving defenders hitting the breaks and reaching for the ball off their back foot. Keep an eye out for this play.
~People complain about flopping in soccer, but in actuality it is a way bigger problem in basketball, where fouls constantly interrupt flow of the game, while soccer just gets up and goes. There is no time to complain, or else the game has already passed you by, and you've hurt your team. It's all about flow of the game.
PreDirktion: Uruguay 1, Ghana 1, PK's: 4-3 Uruguay
Argentina vs. Germany
The Maradonians vs. The Fightin' Schweinsteigers. I must be watching more Germany games than any other team, because I find myself walking around constantly blurting out the names Schweinsteiger and Podolski. Now a regular part of my lexicon. Go ahead, say them out loud, your life won't be the same. Argentina's Lionel Messi has been the most dominant player in the tournament to this point. He's the only player I've seen that's able to singlehandedly control a game, reminiscent of Zidane from four years ago. Now if he just drops The People's Elbow on a Brazilian in the World Cup Final, the comparison really will be valid. The black eye for the Argentinians has reared its ugly head in the form of their goalie, Sergio Romero, who was inviting disaster against Mexico. My Germany breakdown begins with a video daily double which should be studied heavily for years to come...
The German coach seems way less ashamed of his actions than that backwards-hatted punk, Chase Daniel, who tries to hide it. The Wonder Coach doesn't even hesitate when spotted by his assistants. Ah, I love that the World Cup can bring together so many different cultures. The Germans have not lost their cold-bloodedness since, well, lets just leave it at that, and have been calling out the Maradonians all week. This one could get nasty. My predicted winner of the Cup vs. my predicted flop, I couldn't possibly change my mind now....could I?
PreDirktion: Nope, Argentina 2, Germany 1
Spain vs. Paraguay
The Kung Paus vs. The Lil' Guays. Paraguay outlasted Japan in a matchup of what may have been the two worst teams in the Round of 16. The announcers and analysts all but laughed it off. Meanwhile, Spain cracked the code of the Portugal defense, which had yet to allow a goal. David Villa has been the second best player of the Cup, so keep an eye on him. I'll support the Lil' Guays but give them slim chance to advance, with best hopes relying on penalty kicks. They're already satisfied.
PreDirktion: Spain 2, Paraguay 0