Here’s my “other people are out there are watching the World Cup” story. Roughly 98% of the people I know are watching this (or casually paying attention) for the first time ever. And, by first time ever, I mean soccer in general. When I see things like Portugal/Brazil/Honduran flags hanging outside houses in the area I work in, I get that undeniable feeling to go knock on their door and talk to them about how interesting this whole thing is. So Wednesday I’m at work, trying to follow these games on the internet and I leave to go out for lunch, stopping along the way to try to convince myself not to pay $80 DOLLARS for an official England jersey in a soccer shop. Right as I walk in the store (which has every TV in a tiny little store tuned to Spain/Swiss) Swiss player Gelson Fernandes scores the goal that blows the whole group stage WIDE OPEN. The guy behind the counter of the store loses his shit, the upper middle class mom and youth soccer kids look shocked at the guy while trying to understand what was going on and I contemplate just shoplifting that England shirt amidst all the chaos. Write the Future indeed.

So onto poor Spain. It’s not necessarily the biggest upset ever (some point to 1950’s US over England as a bigger one), it’s not a horrible, horrible loss but it does make a lot of stuff interesting. Spain‘s 12 international play win streak ended at the hands of a Switzerland team that had NEVER ever beaten them. What would be a great way putting all this in the proper context… let’s say that the New York Yankees will face off against the Kansas City Royals in the wild card stage of the playoffs. After a hotly contested 9 inning game, the ROYALS of all people beat the Yankees 3-0 in a stunning one-hit shutout from Kansas City’s pitching. Spain now has to win all of their other games to guarantee a slot in the tournament. It’s not the best situation for them, but it’s what they have to do. Oh and of course another instance in which a goalkeeper dates a hot woman and everyone is blaming her for his failure.

ARGENTINA played like champions against South Korea, winning 4-1, showing what happens when great teams play against not-so-great teams and the first hat trick of the cup from Gonzalo Higuain (now nicknamed “HIGGY STARDUST” by the awesome English papers). They also brought the GOALS with them, as Thursday’s games were scoring intensive. Lionel Messi became acquainted with the role of the most dangerous passing player ever, as teams wet themselves when he rushes the goal, only to pass it off and make a play. Greece won its first WC game beating Nigeria (awesome nickname – “The Screaming Eagles.” Mexico beats France, who don’t look like a team that made the finals four years ago.

My prediction (by the by; if you’re using me as a guide to bet on these games, PLEASE DON’T) from Monday’s post was a Spain win. I believe I didn’t even give any info about the Swiss beyond the fact that they were in fact playing Spain. But when you manage to knock off a favorite, you get a tribute involving your HOT LOOKING fans.

Another game I missed out on was Chile vs. Honduras. Here’s the deal – in these posts I basically try and guess what the most interesting game would be to anyone who is trying to get into this and doesn’t want to have to watch every game. When you do that, you miss out on games like this one. The best metaphor for this would be imagining if two young boxers with nothing to lose and every desire to be noticed started throwing haymakers at the opening bell. Both teams played with reckless force; Chile‘s strategy was the smartest one in this weird jubaliani ball tournament – if you get even close to the goal EVERYBODY SPRINT towards it and fire off shots. Honduras played with a mix of intelligence and power, making a 1-0 loss a necessary evil after blocking what seemed like thousands of shots. Both teams played their hearts out for countries that are going through a lot of issues; savage violence for Honduras against journalists who report on the corrupt government and a Chilean team playing for population that is still recovering from a massive earthquake that killed 700 people and rang up 1 billion in damages. The idea that some of these countries care hugely about these games is weird to us, but for some of them the first World Cup win ever is a nice thing to be distracted by.

More Songs About Court Cases, Protesting the World Cup, Backtracking on the Actors You Hired, Capitalizing on a Trend and Tabloid Fun

You remember the hot girls from Holland who got tossed from the Netherlands/Denmark game for wearing those orange dresses that were supposedly an advert for a beer? Well two of those women were arrested for this, posted roughly $1300 US each for bail and are now facing court charges for “ambush marketing”. From the AP:

The women are being prosecuted under the Contravention of Merchandise Marks Act which covers ambush marketing, when a company benefits from an event without paying for advertising. South African police arrested the women at their hotel in the Johannesburg district of Roodepoort on Wednesday. ‘We view ambush marketing in a very serious light and we urge people not to embark on these ambush campaigns,’ police said in a statement.”

So remember – NO product placement at the CUP.

The World Cup is being protested by many South Africans, something ESPN is probably not going to show you during their coverage. Why would they protest, you ask? Glad you asked – South Africa is getting a little hosed being the selected country for the cup. Allegedly FIFA is paying NO TAXES on the event (which was found out by this interesting BBC article about what future countries are learning during their bidding for the CUP), South Africa spent $4.3 billion getting the bid accepted, is semi taking a bath on this due to slower than expected foreign ticket sales and has asked South African residents to lower their electricity use while the Cup is going on. Protesters have demonstrated at all of the stadiums chanting “Get out FIFA Mafia”; one protest had to be broken up with tear gas and riot police. A similar situation happened with Greece, whose 2004 Olympic experience is rumored to be a huge source of their economic problems.

North Korea hired Chinese actors to pose as fans for their game against Brazil, sayeth my last post and backed up by the article from the UK Telegraph. So when you get outed as having to hire people from China to root for you because your population is poor and has no TV’s, you HAVE to deny it right? An official statement from a North Korean diplomat:

“They are all supporters from North Korea. About 200 people came from Pyongyang on Monday and are staying at guest houses. They’re from our country; they’re not Chinese.”

Did you know that the vuvuzela literally translates to “beautiful sound”? Did you also know that a South African all girl band called “La Vuvuzela” exists? And that they performed on Mexico TV station Televiso before an audience of around 30 million on Thursday? Yeah, bet you didn’t know that.

UK Tabloids are AWESOME. Here is an article in which England’s Wayne Rooney supposedly said to US goal scorer Clint Dempsy, “We should have buried you.”   After that MEGA headline, you want to read the rest of that to get the proper context right? Well, I read (so you don’t have to!) that article, watched the video and didn’t hear him say anything relating to that headline. So, the UK Sun wrote up a quick hit article, threw up a headline that didn’t match anything Rooney said (his summed up thoughts – “We’re confident, we’ll do well in the next game”) and since people read the headlines only most of the time, that quote THAT DIDN’T EVEN HAPPEN will go viral.

Insanely Hot Women & Soccer: England’s (NSFW, so don’t click this if you are at a place that would make this embarrassing to have on your computer) PAGE 3 GIRLS.

Great DIEGO MARADONA quote of the moment: “Whoever robs a thief gets a 100-year pardon.” HELL YEAH they do. One more: “”Pele has to go back to the museum.” – on Pele’s criticism of South Africa’s ability to hold the World Cup and questioning Maradona’s odds of being a good coach. YOU NEVER QUESTION MARADONA!

Games to watch:

US vs. Slovenia/Germany vs. Serbia/England vs. Algeria. Friday, 7 A.M., 10 A.M. 2 P.M. EST. This article will be going up on Friday, all while these games are going on. All three are great games, so record them/watch them. Three predictions: US wins, Germany wins and continues the goal scoring and England wins.

Brazil vs. Ivory Coast. Sunday, 2P.M. EST. I skipped over Saturdays games, as the team selection is not necessarily exciting. However Sunday beings up a very good match-up as Brazil, fresh off of beating North Korea and Ivory Coast, fresh off of a draw against Portugal looks very very fun. Brazil is awesome and if Didier Drogba can play the whole game we could look at two very offensive minded teams in a shootout. Also, if Didier Drogba comes out with that cast on his arm, scores at will and beats Brazil the video packages from ESPN will loop around the clock on ESPN2 and Drogba will probably be elected president of the Ivory Coast the day after the Cup ends.

No tags for this post.