Ah, the misty water colour memmmmmories….Belgium gives Hippo all the feels. Big Rom and Roberto Martinez, together again? It’s the last really hopeful period in Everton Lesser Footy history (before Martinez’ fatal flaw at the EPL level – defensive indifference – kicked in, along with many, many defeats in the dying embers) all over again. But with Kevin De Bruyne added to the mix, who just might be the best footballer in the world.
/ducks DonT’s molotov cocktail
Suffice to say, this side will be explosive, and damned fun to watch. I happen to believe that Martinez’ style is much, much better suited to international play – where one doesn’t have all season to prepare to attack his weak points, and knockout format makes advance scouting more uncertain. They are also helped by being just so goddamned different from every other entrant in the tourney. I mean, who else has a physical beast like Lukaku AND a refined technician like De Bruyne in the same attack? And it’s not like they are a “stars and scrubs” unit. There’s depth in the XI and on the bench. I mean, Mousa Dembele (sorry about the missing accent marks), Eden Hazard (el capitan), defensive troika of Alderweireld, Vermaelen, and Kompany…and they’s almost afterthoughts. Entire roster is a “Who’s Who” of European Lesser Footy sides, except for one dude who took the money and ran to China (attacking mid Axel Witsel, who Everton thought they were on the precipice of signing – his boo is pictured below, so I am not questioning his decision making). This is a legitimate contender, and one I have pegged to make the finals (and have money on them winning the whole thing, just in case).
I don’t see an obvious weakness, besides the tired “oh, Belgium always goes out by the quarters” – and with such obvious upside (and a very positive, upbeat coach casting aside their not-so-great tourney history), the sky is the limit for the Red Devils (cool nickname, bro). They’ve always been a young side, but now they are a team with most of its key members in the prime of their athleticism and careers. Dangerous. As. Fuck.
Rankings: 3 (FIFA); 8 (ELO) – not too shabby, eh?
Other Numbers: -1200 (Group G qualification); -135 (win Group G); -160 (reach quarters); +200 (achieve raging semi); +400 (reach grand finale); +950 (win whole muthafucka) – as you can see…not a lot of value here. I like the “win Group” bet a decent bit, but overall quite glad I got my scrilla in earlier – $57 at +1200. Don’t ask, Hippo’s GAMBLOR numerology is totes weird, even by my lofty standards. PRO TIP: One can get +1350 on Big Rom as top scorer for this here tourney, and Hippo gots $22.40 on that’un.
Da Group: G, which can’t really be gangsta with fookin’ England there. Alas, Belgium starts manageable with Panama on 18 June, followed by Tunisia on the 23rd, and the finale with England on 28 June in Kaliningrad. And therein lies why I probably don’t bet 5 bills on Belgium to win Group G – despite England coming in on short rest (they play a tougher game 2 opponent too, and on the 24th), it is FAR more likely that the three sad-no-fuck lions will need sommet from the match than Belgium will. It is possible Belgium could draw with Panama, but I’m expecting them to come into the England tilt on 6 points, and likely on cruise control. Still, I hope Roberto is a good sport about it, and doesn’t fuck over the Canal Zoners (who I have claiming the 2nd spot for pool purposes). We shall see.
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