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Latest posts by Don T (see all)
- Guay Referendum: 2019 Copa América Day 3 – June 16, 2019
- Bite Me: Uruguay 2019 Copa América Preview – June 10, 2019
- Hot and Unstable: Argentina 2019 Copa América Preview – June 4, 2019
The 2018 World Cup starts today in full, WITH THREE GAMES WOOOO! Four years is too long a wait, dammit. So we gotta squeeze this tournament to the last drop.
The World Cup is the top event of the world’s top sport. “Big deal” fails to define it, in earnest or snark. Every player dreams of playing in a World Cup for country, which is not merely canned bullshit to hype the tournament. They all say it,* even players owed money by their national fútbol association.
Playing in a World Cup is a chance at instant glory. The whole globe is watching, especially club scouts. An unknown, catching a hot streak, can score a fat contract. Plus national pride and stuff, with the games being also a chance for payback, to settle historical scores on the field.
Banner in the Poland 2012 Euros, before POL vs. RUS, during the
seconds it stood before being burned. Via worldsoccertalk.com.
Plus the spectacle of fans of different nations sharing a common passion: beating each other up.
And of course, there’s plenty of action. Hail Gamblor.
[minute of silence; over / under: 27 seconds]
Chances are that you get at least one match per day during working hours. This is not a liability; think of games as a challenge to find effective ways to avoid necessary obligations. Below are three excuses for successful dereliction. To be clear, I’m not underrating anyone’s reprobate bona fides. These examples are aimed for people who are antisocially impaired. So please: don’t @ at me with “thnx capt. obvious” shit.
1. If your supervisor has a picture of pet(s) on his / her / its desk, say you’re going to get one in an animal shelter during working hours (“I think I’ll name him or her ‘Bee’, short for BFF”). BONUS: you also get “I gotta take Bee to the vet” later absence(s).
Before adoption, Photoshop.
2. If your supervisor’s chit chat is asking about your family, make up a general story about a loved one’s emergency. Don’t say the name; prod your supervisor into saying the wrong name, then correct your supervisor with “suppressed indignation”. If supervisor wants details, say “I wish I could be more specific, but [nickname, feigned sob] is a stickler for privacy crap [sound of mucus aspiration]”.
3. If you’re taking a liberal arts course [during summer? /laughs, coughs/ ], chances are your professor is a Lefty (-230). Absences won’t help. Instead, propose that the whole group go out to see the games in an establishment owned by people from one of the countries in the World Cup. (Counterexamples: Chili’s, Chile.) Maybe make the request after wrangling some pliable classmates (“There’s this sport called ‘soccer’—listen! We get to skip class…”). To the Prof., lay it thick on the diversity stuff, and how the USA’s lack of attention to the World Cup is an example of ‘Murikan misguided exceptionalism etc. etc. Hell, some of us may even help ya write a paper. DM for prices; 12% off if it’s unpatriotic.
Wakezilla note: Lefty profs love lesser footy! If there’s one memory CTE hasn’t taken from me (yet), is during my undergrad years, I bonded with my lefty profs over the lesser footy World Cup. One of my history profs bought me and some of my cohort a beer and we watched one of the games. This all but guarantees you’ll get a good mark in that class.
And so on. The key is exploiting some personality aspect of the person / Thing. Sometimes it’s preferable over the cellphone, to hide high or drunken emanations. Before calling, consider if your location could be used to your advantage. Otherwise, turn it OFF. Too many fake grandmas have already died in vain.
If you’re not into fútbol, that’s fine too. Just know that you, and everyone else, have an open invitation to this global pageant of snark and contempt. In that vein, fuck Spain.
Don T: Uruguay is the favorite of the group. The team has a revamped midfield, which may employ some young players who were in the Sub-20 national team a couple of years ago: Rodrigo Betancur (Juventus) and Nahitán Nández (Boca Juniors). As to Egypt, the focus has been on Mohammed Salah’s form. He is still recovering from a shoulder injury caused by a piece of shit:
All week it’s been good news (Salah was in practice!), bad news (but spent it hugging an exercise ball). Whether he plays or not, I expect Egypt to park the bus and try to endure for a tie, with the odd long ball pass to see what happens. UPDATE: Salah will play, and be badgered mercilessly.
Predicción: Egypt 0 : Uruguay 2
Wakezilla: I’m curious to see what Suarez does this tournament. In 2010, we got the hand of God 2.0. In 2014, we got Bram Stoker’s Dracula part the third. Is he going to score a goal with his teeth? Put a Barca shirt on Salah after the match? Or maybe he and Salah put on a Man United jersey and they do the NWO too sweet hand gesture? Or is he going to score five goals? All of these questions seem possible and I dig that about Suarez.
The good news is, Mo Salah is fit to play. The bad news is, Uruguay is a physical team and are going to target that shoulder as much as possible. He hurt his shoulder, so, conditioning shouldn’t be too much of a concern. With that said, I don’t think he’ll make much of an impact in this game. Honestly, I’d consider subbing him in, only if Uruguay is up 1-0 or they’re tied 0-0 in the second half. Salah needs to be sharp for Russia and Saudi Arabia than this game.
Predicción: An inspired Egyptian squad will make this game a lot closer than it should be and will serve as a reminder to Uruguay that they can’t take their group for granted. I’ll say Cavani gets one in the 63rd minute and Uruguay beats Egypt 1-0.
Mo Salah is injured and really shouldn’t be playing. I hate to be a dick, but one good fall and he’s done for the tournament. In any case, it doesn’t matter because Uruguay was going to beat Egypt anyway.
The best case scenario is for Egypt to hang back and defend and pray for the 0-0 draw. Then, bring Salah back for the other two games and hope to sneak into the knockout round.
Ron Howard voice: They didn’t.
PREDICCIÓN: Uruguay 2 – 0 Egypt
Litre_Cola: Well Salah isn’t in the starting lineup so I see Uruguay winning 3-0. It is smart that they save him for the last 2 matches if they have any hope of wanting to get through.
Don T: Two days ago, Morocco lost the 2026 World Cup bid to North America. I read that Canada and Mexico get 10 games each, and the USA the rest. Who knows; by that year, there may be two walls (+135).
This is the best chance for Iran and Morocco to get a win. After this game, both have to play Spain and Portugal. Since I’m an optimist, I’m gonna say both Morocco and Iran will attempt to score all game, instead of just sitting back and look to counterattack. Then again, neither Morocco nor Iran wants to go to that Iberian slaughterhouse with no points. So I’d fix at 55% the chance of a tedious 0-0.
Predicción: Morocco 1 : 1 Iran
Wakezilla: I have a soft spot for Iran because it’s a beautiful country with beautiful people. Despite what American media will tell you, Iran is a safe and friendly place for Americans to visit. It’s more than just a woman walking past an anti-American mural.
I also can’t help but cheer for Iran because the movie “Offside” is one of my all-time favorite films. It’s a film by Iranian director, Jafar Panahi, who I think was actually jailed for making this movie. Anyway, it’s about five girls who dress up as boys–because Iranian women are forbidden to enter a public stadium– to enter Azadi stadium to watch their beloved national team play Bahrain in the second leg of the 2006 World Cup qualifiers.
Despite promises from the government to FIFA, Iran has yet to lift the ban. As a result, women still sneak into the stadiums to watch their team play.
On the other hand, Morocco is the hottest team in the World over the past 10 games. During this time, they have 8 wins, 2 draws, conceded 3 goals and have won 5 in a row. Unlike most African countries, Morocco is a defensively strong side. Not only that, they have skilled and speedy guys like Ziyech, who are looking for a big pay day in Europe. Consequently, he should play well and Morocco should be a tough out against Iran and Portugal. . . Oh shit, I think I’m starting to convince myself that Morocco could shock the world and oust Portugal.
Predicción: This game features the best defensive side in Africa playing against the best defensive side in Asia. It’s a shame that both were placed in this group where realistically, their chances of advancing are low. Morocco wins 1-0 in a mostly boring game.
I have a hard spot for that pic Wakezilla posted. Iranian girls are…crazy hot. As in CRAZY separate sentence HOT. That usually spells trouble with a capital T, but what a way to go.
I realize this has nothing to do with the actual game, but RTD can’t be the only one with cool hookup stories! Anyway, the insurance paid for the damages and I got out relatively cheap. As for the game, I’ll be leaving my couch at halftime to go to a work meeting and I expect I won’t miss much.
PREDICCIÓN: A 1-1 tie that helps no one.
Litre_Cola: I will not record this game, I have very little interest in it but I will predict a TwBS, which will now been used for 1-0 games as he loves it so. Morocco will TwBS em 1-0.
Don T: In South Africa 2010, Portugal played four games and allowed only one goal: the decider in Spain 1 : 0 Portugal, which started Spain’s road to the world championship. Portugal is the current European champion, after defeating host France 1-0 in in extra time. Cristiano had to leave the game at 25’, so Portugal won after playing almost a full game without its star.
Julen Lopetegui was the Spain coach who qualified them for the World Cup after an impressive run of nine wins and a tie, with 36 goals in ten games (3 conceded). A month ago, the Spanish fútbol federation extended Lopetegui’s contract to 2020:
And that’s the story of how Spain WAS one of the favorites to win it all. The Spanish federation fired Lopetegui two days ago, because he accepted the Real Madrid coaching gig under suspicious circumstances. The guy on the right, Fernando Hierro, is now the coach. As a player, Hierro was loved in Spain; as manager, Wikipedia says he’s only been head coach once—of Spanish second division Oviedo, during 2016-2017. So the shitstorm potential is high for Spain, but it can afford to stumble and regroup against Iran and Morocco.
Predicción: Portugal 2 : 0 Spain. I hope Pepe headbutts Ramos in the groin.
Wakezilla: Unless there’s some behind the scenes turmoil with the players and their former coach that has yet to be reported, I don’t think the last second coaching change is going to affect Spain. If there is, Real Madrid will be awfully amusing next season.
Hierro was a Real Madrid player who is now coaching a team full of Real Madrid players. Strategy wise, he just has to tell his players to play Real Madrid lesser footy. Plus, this is Isco’s and Asensio’s first major tournament for the Spanish national team. I expect both to have a breakthrough tournament and cement their international status as star players to casual North American fans. Assuming Spain doesn’t go in a tailspin, Isco could be a darkhorse to win the Golden boot. After checking some gambling websites, I’ve seen Isco 20:1, 25:1 and as high as 50:1 to win the Golden boot. If you think the coaching change in Spain won’t affect their performance, I’d put a Harriot Tubman on Isco.
As for Portugal, while they consistently perform at the Euros, they never really do well at the World Cup. This team will likely advance to the round of 16, but, I don’t foresee a run in a team that has issues with defense, which is supposed to be their bread and butter. Personally, I think this is a team that is a year past their expiry date.
Predicción: Since both teams feel like they should beat Morocco and Iran, I could see them both playing to a boring 0-0 draw and keeping everyone healthy. Or that is what the Portuguese players will keep telling the Spanish players. Portugal needs to get a draw from this match because if Morocco beats Iran, they have the talent and will have the momentum to upset them.
I was listening to the Sirius XM FC channel today after the Opening Game and they were talking about the Lopetegui firing and the host was saying that Lopetegui should have told Real Madrid to wait until the tournament was over.
Oh, how I laughed.
Yeah, that’s not the way Real Madrid works. At Real Madrid, they believe that Real Madrid is the most important team in Spain, not the national team. Do you remember my preview where I mentioned the years of unfulfilled potential derailed by club allegiances?
Welcome back to the 80s!
This Spanish team is set to implode faster than a Vegas casino. The moment of stark realization will hit when Hierro fails to make an adjustment to counter what another team is doing. It may not happen today, but it will happen in this World Cup.
Hippo puts a C note on it.
Then, the infighting will begin and the players will start throwing each other under the bus faster than the jet plane flying them back to Spain.
PREDICCIÓN: For today, I think the crisis is postponed. Call it a wild 2-2 draw and save the popcorn for a fuckup against the other two teams.
Litre_Cola: My disdain for the Portuguese side is well known around the futbol clubhouse. I have a hate for Pepe that knows no limits. Ronaldo is world class but I still can’t stand his bitchy, preening ways.
PREDICCIÓN: I will leave work early, go to the pub and enjoy a 2-2 draw.