Thursday, July 10, 2014
World Cup Review and Finals Prediction
2014's World Cup Final is set, pitting Germany against Argentina. Hier Germans, you say? That's reich. It's Deutschland versus Lionel Messi and 10 other dudes. Despite the absence of the home team, Estádio do Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro will be packed, because nothing fills a stadium in Brazil like the World Cup final, or Mötley Crüe circa 1987.
And speaking of Mötley Crüe, this World Cup has indeed been a Theater of Pain, because it's all about acting like you're hurt. It seems to be the only thing wrong with the beautiful game. Unfortunately, it may be too late for FIFA to do anything about it, because flopping is such a part of the game, much like racism, bananas, Ian Dark, and English disappointment.
The Germans plowed into the final with a 7-1 annexation of Brazil that left some Brazilians fans in tears, while others burned the nation's flag. No matter the situation, it's wrong to burn the flag. Maybe bleaching it would have been a better option; that leaves you with a white flag, certainly handy in a 7-1 match.
Brazil looked lost without injured star Neymar. How is the Brazilian team like Columbia's Camilo Zuniga? They both (k)need Neymar. That was a flying knee that even all Silva's could appreciate, especially Anderson.
Was the game fixed? I don't know, but for all you European clubs out there, it may be a good time to acquire Brazilian talent, because, apparently, they can be bought.
Argentina advanced to the final on a penalty kick shootout over The Netherlands in one of the most boring World Cup semifinal matches of all time. With all three of their substitutions exhausted, head coach Louis van Gaal was unable to sub in reserve goalie Tim Krul, who talked the Costa Ricans into missing twice in the quarterfinals. Instead, starting goalie Jasper Cillissen was left to flail at the Argentine PK's. If you predicted failure for Cillessen, you guessed right. If you are Jasper Cillesen, you guessed wrong.
In stark contrast to the elation evident on the Argentine side, the Dutch locker room was as somber as a tomb. While head coach Louis van Gaal lamented not having one more substitution, Wesley Sneijder and Stefan de Vrij quietly enjoyed a marijuana blunt, known as a "silent J" in the Netherlands.
Before we take a look ahead to the final, let's take a look back at the tournament.
Luis Suarez, as he is prone to do, left an impression in Brazil, and on Giorgio Chiellini's shoulder. Suarez even had the nerve to deny biting Chiellini when asked about it by reporters, despite video evidence to the contrary. Here's a transcript of the exchange:
Reporter: Did you bite Giorgio Chiellini?
Luis Suarez: Gnaw.
Hot in the City
The heat and humidity of Brazil led to the World Cup's first water break, because, as Robert Plant would say, "You need coolin', baby I'm not foolin'." Expect more water breaks in Qatar in 2022, but only for players, not for the slave labor. The competition is still eight years away, but the "Group Of Death" has already been established — it's the construction teams. In Brazil, people were displaced so stadiums could be built. In Qatar, it's slightly different — people will be misplaced. What do you call a dead laborer in Qatar? A working stiff.
U.S. of A (More Like a B-minus)
The United States made a good showing, advancing to the round of 16. Sure, the Americans are easily one of the world's top 16 teams, but they are no better than that. What do they need to get over the hump? It's simple — what they need is what all other elite teams have — a superstar identified by a single name. Hopefully, it won't be a "Scooter," a "Dakota," or a "Frankie," but it would be really cool if his pro team was "Sporting Wood."
Interesting fact: in the U.S.'s 2-1 win over Ghana, there was a player named "John Boye," for Ghana.
The World Cup's hottest meme is "van Persieing," an homage to Dutch striker Robin van Persie's flying header against Spain on June 13th. Van Persie's image has been photo-shopped to depict him in various stages of mid-air flight. The second-hottest meme is "Robbening," featuring van Persie's teammate Arjen Robben. "Robbening" is identical to "van Persieing," except you just lie on the ground.
Diego Maradona's Analysis, Brought to You By Coca-Cola's Refreshing New Zero Calorie Product, "Coked Out"
Diego Maradona is certainly picking Argentina to beat Germany. When told that bookmakers had listed the Germans as slight favorites, Maradona just snorted, and displayed an obscene gesture that could only be described as the "Hand of Job."
Vanishing Foam: The Silly String of World Cup Soccer
2014's World Cup saw the first utilization of "vanishing foam" to mark spots for free kicks and the ten-yard defending line for free kicks. The water-based spray disappears within minutes after application. Everyone seemed satisfied with the product, except for Maradona, who said he could easily make white lines disappear much faster.
All Nickname Team
Uruguay's Luis Suar-Ez "Not Going to Do it Again"
Germany's Jerome "German Chocolate" Boateng
Algeria's Mohamed Zemmamouche "Zemmamouche, Will You Do the Fandango?"
Japan's Yasuhito "Rollin' Down the Street Smokin'" Endo
Argentina's Pablo "Honey" Zabaleta
Brazil's "In-a-Gadda" David Luiz
German coach Joachim Löw "And Seven Stories"
Germany's Bastian "John Jacob" Schweinsteiger "Heimer Schmidt"
Germany's Mesut "Suit" Ozil
France's Karim "Abdul-Jabbar" Benzema
Germany's Miroslav "The" Klose "You Get, the Further I Fall
England's Wayne "Maca" Rooney
Germany's Andrea Schurrle "You Can't Be Serious"
The Netherlands' Bruno Martins Indi "500"
United States' Graham "My" Zusi "Weighs a Ton"
The Netherlands' Klaus-Jan Huntelaar "She Blows"
Argentina's Fernando Gago "Maggot"
The Netherlands vs. Brazil: Is this case, "WC" stands for "who cares?"
Dutch head man van Gaal certainly doesn't, voicing his disdain for the third-place game, saying it should be abolished. Oh, the gaal of some people.
I'll take Brazil, 3-2.
The crowd in Rio de Janeiro is decisively pro-German. Nothing's changed in Brazil since the 1940s — the place is still full of German sympathizers. Does the country of Brazil want to see a fellow South American team win the World Cup? Nope.
While the German attack has been crisp and precise, the German defense has been more than solid as well, surrendering only four goals in six games. When asked to comment, Lieutenant Aldo Raine described the the krauts as "Impervious Basterds."
The Germans win the opening coin toss, and in a World Cup first, defer to the second half. The German defense, intent on stopping Messi, roughs up the diminutive star with a series of hard fouls. In the 24th minute, Mats Hummels draws a yellow card for an egregious takedown of Messi, who theatrically writhes in pain on the turf, a scenario that angers some Germans, while others find it highly erotic.
Messi is coffined off to the sidelines in the orange stretcher that looks like it is best suited for extracting a stranded mountain-climber off a peak in a helicopter. Messi is quickly back on the pitch, buoyed by the mysterious and magical healing power of the sideline.
With their leader back, the Argentines go on the attack, forcing the Germans to backpedal. In the 41st minute, Messi fires a cross that is booted off the crossbar by Maxi Rodriguez. The ricochet is collected by Sami Khedira and the Germans counter (Note: in the Germany/Brazil contest, the German counter read "7").
Khedira finds Toni Kroos down the right flank, and he fires a cross that Thomas Muller slams home with a header at 44'. Just like in the previous game, the nearest Brazilian in sight was in the stands.
It's Germany 1-0 at halftime.
Down a goal, Argentina opens up their attack, opting for the risky 3-1-6 alignment made famous by the San Diego Shockers on the Major Indoor Soccer League. It pays off, as Messi finds space in the 79th minute, leaving five German defenders grasping for air as he deposits a nifty boot from 12 yards out that beats German net-minder Manuel Neuer.
Neuer exacts revenge seven minutes later, when he saves a point-blank shot from Sergio Aguero, then stuffs a Messi header off the rebound. Neuer outlets to start the German break, leading to a corner in the 86th minute. The subsequent set piece leads to a mad scramble in front of the net, where no less than seven Argentine or German players touch it. The ball trickles to the left post, where Sergio Romero bats it away just as the ball appears to cross the goal line. The referee signals "goal," and FIFA's new goal-line technology, provided by German company GoalControl, confirms the goal. Replays also confirm that the ball was touched by no hands in the exchange, a fact that doesn't go unnoticed by the Westboro Baptist Church, who for years have claimed that God should not be involved in soccer.
Germany is World Cup champion, 2-1.