It is 2:30 AM Pacific as this post goes up. Yes, I’m awake. Hawthorn and Adelaide are about to have the First Bounce and in about 30 minutes, France will face Australia in their World Cup debuts.
There will be three more games back to back to back.
What can we expect? Here are some thoughts:
3:00 AM Pacific
FRANCE v AUSTRALIA
Balls: I, as you know, have a great love for all things Australian. I love their football, I love their meat pies and I loved their beautiful women with their sexy accents.
It is with great regret that I will wake up super early and, most likely, watch the French beat the crap out of them. I hope it doesn’t get ugly, but it might. Maybe at least Tim Cahill can score a goal?
Prédiction: La France Deux (2), L’Australie Un (1)
Wakezilla: I was in Melbourne, Australia for the Y2K New Years Eve Celebration. I was 17 and celebrated at a house party hosted by my Uncle’s younger brother, who was 19 at the time. I can confirm Balls’ assertion that Australian women are beautiful and have sexy accents. As an added bonus, many of them happen to find Canadian accents sexy, too! The theme of the party was “the end of the world” so we all hyped it up that Y2K was going to kill us all. It worked for me because I ended up making out with an inebriated 20 year old blonde Aussie. I never saw her after that, probably because my uncle’s brother made fun of her for committing statutory rape. So, I’ll be pulling for the Socceroos.
Prédiction: This is a weak Australian squad and les Frogs are a juggernaut ready to go on a long run in this tournament. The Socceroos are going to feel bleu when they lose 3-0.
Don T: This game is at 6 AM over here. So I slept on the couch and will have at least one eye open by kickoff.
Meh; better be honest. I stayed up all night watching this over and over:
— Insónias em Carvão (@insoniascarvao) June 15, 2018
France seems crazy stackt. They are the favorites to win the group and Australia is the World Cup’s perennial mascot. World futbol’s Leapin’ Lanny Poffo, if you will.
Predicción: Frogs 2 : 0 Roos – four yellow cards
6:00 AM Pacific
ARGENTINA v ICELAND
Balls: Iceland proved in the last Euro that they are no slouches. It will be a difficult game for Argentina as the Icelandic defense will be tough to penetrate. Like many of Barcelona’s games, it will probably take some Messi genius to solve the puzzle and give the win to the Sudamericanos.
Ron Howard voice: He didn’t.
Predicción: Argentina 1 Islandia 1. Yeah, I said it.
Wakezila: Argentina is a team that many have picked to win the group, yet I’m not even sure they’ll make it to the round of 16. Their one saving grace is Messi. As we saw yesterday, having a generational player with the determination to carry his team to at least a draw is possible. Honestly, all I care about is Messi breaking Maradona’s goal total at the World Cup because Maradona is a scumbag and it’ll piss off lots of Argentinians who never accepted Messi. To do that, Messi will need to score 4 goals this tournament.
Iceland is an intriguing team because now that they are no longer the best kept secret in Europe, teams are better prepared to face them. They won’t be catching teams off guard this time. It’ll be interesting to see how they handle being a favorite on such a large stage.
Predicción: I see Messi or Aguero scoring early and then the Strákarnir okkar scoring late, resulting in an entertaining 1-1 draw.
Don T: Argentina’s warmup friendlies for Russia included two late cancellations against Nicaragua and Israel, after both governments started to murder their own civilians. More overtly, I mean.
Aside from those controversies, there are squad concerns. With Sergio Romero injured, Argentina’s goalie post is still contested between two players with almost no experience for country: Willy Caballero, 36, second string for Man City and Chelsea; and, Franco Armani, star for River Plate. I think it’ll be Willy for this one, and one mistake-free game will make him the definite starter (accurate reenactment):
I know it’s a repeat, but look at Higuaín! The cigar is a bit much, but his form is captured perfectly.
Iceland has been on the fútbol radar for several years now. It’s a remarkable story, with a scary logo. Iceland perfected the ways of the lovable eyesore teams: take advantage of throw-ins and free kicks, field a solid defense, and kick it far AF hoping that a forward scoops it up. And nobody expects them to win, so they will be relaxed to do their thing. Which adds up to
🚨🚨🚧 0 – 0 ALERT 🚧🚨🚨
There’s a lot of pressure fos Argentina and the Messi – Ronaldo debate shifted dramatically yesterday. (Not Annoying Fact: This is a Jordan – Lebron feud between contemporaries.) And the rest of the group, Croatia and Nigeria, is tough. Messi is expected to be harassed. So Big Shot club players Sergio Agüero and Pipita Higuaín should shine for country. Yet,
Predicción: Argentina 2 : 1 Iceland. I think we’ll see Armani in this World Cup.
9:00 AM Pacific
PERU v DENMARK
Balls: Peru is one of my favourite teams in terms of likability. The story of how their captain was able to fight FIFA and win to get to play inspires me to go to a Peruvian restaurant and order some cocaine tea.
I’m hoping this results in a wonderful Saturday and a good result for the Peruvians.
Predicción: A nice and happy 1-1 tie.
Wakezilla: You know, I have actually tried cocaine tea before and I must admit, it was pretty bland. Little did I know I would have tested positive for cocaine had I taken a drug test. Weird! Speaking of drugs, I must have been on something when I predicted Peru was going to the quarterfinals in my Peru preview.
Peru’s defense is going to have their hands full guarding Denmark’s significantly taller forwards. If they can do that, they should get the win.
Predicción:Being inspired by their captain returning from suspension, I’ll say Peru wins 2-1.
Don T: I’ve watched Denmark in World Cups and Euros. They’re unremarkably competent, the lettuce in a salad.
Perú, however, is 🔥HAWT🔥. They had one of the worst starts in the qualifiers (4 points out of seven games). Then Perú got something sweeter than a lucky break: doing NOTHING and benefitting from a technicality.
In South American qualifiers, Bolivia fielded a banned player for games against Chile and Perú. Chile filed a claim, won, and both teams were awarded 3 points. However, since Perú lost to Bolivia and Chile had tied, Perú got the net additional point that ended up eliminating Chile. And that’s how Perú got to a World Cup for the first time in 36 years. Give it up for bureaucracy.
More importantly, Perú started winning: Right now, there’s a fever. A guy gained 60 pounds “so that he could apply for one of the special [easy-access extra-width] seats that are much easier to get”. Over 40,000 Peruvians have flown to Russia. There are no Perú shirts left on stores. Lok at these clean, lovely kits:
Via umbro dot com
None left in FIFA stores, mind you. I’m gonna guess Russians are still proud contrabandists.
Predicción: Perú 1 : 0 Denmark. Perú’s got Team of Destiny stank.
CROATIA v NIGERIA
Balls: I may need the cocaine tea if I’m gonna make it to Game 4. The Nigerian team has the most popular jersey in this World Cup and, judging by the number of stickers we have in the Panini album at work, the most popular stickers.
I do think Croatia is a very strong team and Nigeria is Africa-strong. That’s not raycess, just a commentary on the level of competition.
Prediction: Croatia wins 2-1.
Wakezilla: No matter how bad things get for them, Nigeria is going to look great in their beautiful green jerseys. That’s a win in itself, right?
Meanwhile, Croatia is a surprisingly stacked team. This is it for Croatia’s Golden generation. They should be able to build on their Euro 2016 success.
Proricanje: Croatia wins 2-1.
Don T: There’s always some “prove it” teams in every World Cup. Croatia’s got buzz, but finished second to Iceland in the European qualifiers. Nigeria is a frequent World Cup entrant with promise, but never goes beyond group play. They seem to play Argentina a lot, too. So I’m gonna withhold judgment on both teams and let their play determine my attitude. That’s an honest approach. Better yet, it requires zero legwork.
Predicción: Croatia 1 : 1 Nigeria. I think this group will be tough.