World Cup 2018 Team Preview – Russia

If you think i’m going to fill this preview with pictures of hot Russian girls that may or may not have peed on various heads of state, including our own President, you know me quite well.

There will be some fútbol,  of course,  but let’s face it,  not even the Russian people are expecting much from this year’s World Cup.  In a way,  I hope this preview brings us all together and gets us to realize that Americans and Russians are much more alike than our politicians would like us to think.

***

I shall start off with this.  You may recognize him as the guy on that show on the Travel Channel or you may know him from his standup or you may actually know that he was the inspiration for the film Van Wilder,  starring my personal life coach,  Ryan Reynolds.

This is perhaps his most famous routine and it is based around a real life experience he had in Russia:

The beauty of this story is that it is 100% believable.  Not only do I think everything he said is true,  I firmly believe there is a lot he left out.  Russia is that kind of country.

***

Vladimir Putin was reelected in March to a 6 year term as Russia’s president.  As an independent. With 77% of the popular vote.

To put this in perspective,  according to the Russian election laws, established political parties with representation in the Duma can simply nominate candidates for elections.  Candidates from political parties without representation must obtain over 100,000 signatures before appearing on the ballot.  Independent candidates must get over 300,000 signatures and must meet a couple of other restrictions before getting on the ballot.

To say that Putin controls Russia is an understatement. However,  it is wrong to say that he controls Russia against the will of the Russian people.  In fact,  he is quite popular by any measure.  As the popular leader of the country with the largest nuclear arsenal on Earth,  he is the most powerful man in the world.

Historically,  Americans have,  naively or perhaps wishfully, referred to the President of the United States as the most powerful man in the world.

In that, Trump is right.

One thing that should be said about Putin is that he doesn’t come off as a maniacal Bond villain like North Korea’s Dear Leader or our very own Elon Musk. He does not punish athletes that fail in International competitions like North Korea or Iraq used to. If anything, he is the ultimately pragmatist.

The expectations for the Russian team in the World Cup have been lowered so much that getting out of the group will be considered a happy surprise. Heck,  a group stage WIN would probably be enough to make the Russian people happy.  This is, strangely enough,  a good thing.

Currently,  Russia has a relationship with fútbol that is very similar to the United States’. Russia is the most populous country in Europe yet have not done well on the international stage as of late. Let’s face it,  if Russia wasn’t hosting the World Cup,  the players would be watching it on TV, just like the Americans.  Fútbol is far from the favorite sport and most of the Russian football fans follow foreign club teams,  much like in the US.

Unlike the US, however,  Russia has a rich history of fútbol success. In particular,  the Soviet teams of the 60s were legendary.  In 1958, the Soviet Union made the Quarterfinal of the World Cup in Sweden.  They followed that up with winning the inaugural European Championship in 1960, a Quarterfinal spot in the 1962 World Cup in Chile,  losing the European Championship Final in 1964, Fourth Place in the 1966 World Cup in England,  Fourth Place in the 1968 European Championship,  a Quarterfinal spot in México 70, and finally losing the European Championship Final in 1972.

That’s quite a run.

And then the bottom fell out.

***

Ever since I was a little kid in México in the 70s,  I’ve been fascinated with the Soviet Union and Russia and the Cold War and what life was really like behind the Iron Curtain.  Having been taught that there’s always at least two sides to every story, I never bought into the propaganda of the Cold War, from either side. Truth never comes from politicians anyway.

For me, truth is found in personal experiences.  First-hand knowledge of a culture,  a people,  and a way of life makes the most impact on how I evaluate things.  I’ve met Russian people and I’ve eaten Russian food. I’ve liked them both.

There is a certain “realness” about the Russians I’ve met. I mean that in the sense that they’re not posers.  They are who they are and they’re proud of it.  Be that a gangster,  a middle class worker bee,  or an old lady that dresses like she’s still got it.  She does.

It’s not like stereotypical LA people,  and, to a greater extent, many Americans,  in that they feel the need to put up a front and pretend they’re better than they really are.

Russians don’t do that unless they’re trying to scam you, but that’s a different story.

Do yourself a favor and search “Russian dashcam videos” on YouTube. I’ll see you in three hours.

In those videos,  you’ll capture a bit of the Russian experience and learn a few things. Namely:

1- Winter driving suuuuucks

B- Russians have a hard time turning left.

%- Russian pedestrians DON’T GIVE A FUCK.

I myself feel pretty confident I now know the Russian word for ASSHOLE!

***

Schedule

14 JUN 2018 – 18:00 Local time, 08:00 Pacific, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow

RUSSIA v SAUDI ARABIA

19 JUN 2018 – 21:00 Local time, 11:00 Pacific, Saint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg

RUSSIA v EGYPT

25 JUN 2018 – 18:00 Local time, 07:00 Pacific, Samara Arena, Samara

URUGUAY v RUSSIA

***

Prognosis

The schedule shapes up very nicely for the hosts.  The World Cup will likely get off to a good start with a win over Saudi Arabia. This will then be followed by a costly tie against Egypt and a hard-fought,  but inevitable loss to Uruguay.

I don’t foresee any attempt by Putin or anyone connected to him to try to bribe the officials or otherwise manipulate the outcome of games.  In the end,  Putin doesn’t need Russia to do well in this tourney to make good money off FIFA.

I also do not foresee any violence against fans in the Russian games.  Much has been written about Russian hooligans “preparing” for battle against rival fans,  but I’m pretty sure it’s just directed at those English assholes that tend to get drunk and tear shit up. I won’t shed a tear if they stop them from doing that.

***

Predicción

One win,  one tie, and one loss is not bad but won’t be enough to get out of this group. #3 in Group A.

***

Vital Statistics

Ms. Universe:

So,  weird thing.  The WINNER of the Miss Russia pageant goes on to compete in the Miss World pageant while the runner up goes to the Miss Universe pageant.  For the sake of giving you a complete and thorough preview,  here are both ladies:

National dish:

There is some dispute as to what is actually the national dish of Russia. This makes sense as the country is so large and varied that it would be like asking what the national dish of the US is. Gravy? Hot dogs? Burgers?

Therefore,  I will simply present to you my favourite Russian dish:

Oh,  you do not eat caviar with blini accompanied by ice cold vodka?

Peasant.

***

And now,  my favorite peeing hooker call girl memes:

 

ballsofsteelandfury

ballsofsteelandfury

International Member of the Geelong Cats and recovering Steelers fan. Likes Butts. And Balls. And Boobs. Pretty much anything that starts with the letter B. Preferably together.
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Moose -The End Is Well NighDon TUnsurprisedSenor Weaseloballsofsteelandfury Recent comment authors
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Don T

South Africa’s been the only WC host that has not made it out of the group stage. I say it’s either fix or riots for Russia.

BrettFavresColonoscopy

Hopefully they have the same success as the US Men’s team.

nomonkeyfun

There isn’t enough hate for me in the group pairings. I would love to see Serbia and Croatia face each other in group play, or Germany/Russia, or some of the more brutal ex-colonists vs colonies.

HATE, HATE, HATE!!!

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Senor Weaselo

There’s Spain-Portugal? Winner get the loser’s 16th-Century half of the world!

Unsurprised
Unsurprised

Belgium – Congo. Winners are given machetes.

Low Commander of the Super Soldiers

Da da, nice post you have, Comrade Colonel Balls. You make all us American capitalist dog wery happy.

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Brick Meathook
Brick Meathook

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Miss Russia 2012:
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Miss Russian Universe 2008:
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Miss Moscow Potato Festival 2011:
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SonOfSpam

Dammit, you KNEW I had a lot of work to do today and you STILL posted the Russian dashcam video?

How many of the crashes are vodka-fueled? Half? More?

ArmedandHammered
ArmedandHammered

Love the dash cam footage, especially the tree that jumped out and ambushed those drivers. Although, I really did not see any driving worse than what I see on I-95 in Atlanta, DC, Baltimore or…. well really anywhere along I-95.

nomonkeyfun

My favorites were the cow that fell of the wagon like it weren’t shit, and the exploding tanks at about 4:30. The second if only because there were two dashcams to capture it, unless that happened twice.

Senor Weaselo

Both are equally likely.

blaxabbath

You could swing a dead cat in the Team Russia locker room and hit less Russians than were at Trump’s inauguration.

Oh! Maybe the Alternative Fact was that Trump’s inauguration was the biggest ever in terms of Russian Financiers!

Senor Weaselo

“We can work with that quote.” -The Trump 20202 campaign team