It’s nearly over – thank God.
Die Mannschaft – while the name sounds a bit like a penis reference (even though it literally just means ‘The Team’), Germany have been up there alongside Spain for consistency in major tournaments over the last decade. They qualified with ease and the team is more jammed up than a constipated elephant when it comes to class. Here’s hoping that on the pitch that class is able to once again be shat out all over their opposition with the seamless type of football that tore apart some world-class opposition… and Australia… last time. Then there’s coach Joachim Loew – a man who dresses so sharply ZZ Top went back in time and wrote a song about him.
In all seriousness: Germany have a great team, capable of ‘schaft-ing’ (HAHAHA) anyone that stands in their way. The last time Germany looked like dominating the world, though, America stepped in – and wouldn’t you know it, the two teams meet in the final group game.
Given that American’s typically play football by running into people and throwing the ball as far up the pitch as they can, I don’t expect the USA to do well. When you consider the class of their opposition in this group it certainly doesn’t change that opinion. The US is much like Australia when it comes to football, even if they should be miles ahead. The sport has failed to catch the imagination of the masses over there – but in a nation where a ‘World Series’ features only American teams, perhaps a truly international concept is genuinely confusing. This is the team we’ll probably be judging our performance against – but I think we could be disappointed.
In all seriousness: They’ve been here and done it more than many – another reason they should perform better. They have experience, though, and a nation that doesn’t care. If they win the first game against Ghana they might just have a chance.
RONALDO + 10
With Portuguese being the national language of Brazil, Portugal have the pleasure of being able to understand all the abuse being yelled at them from the sidelines – let’s face it, no one likes having their former imperial overlords back to visit. Expect Christiano Ronaldo to have a custom made suit that can fit the rest of the squad on his coat-tails. Expect the other players to get frustrated with their captain when a walk past the merchandise stand reveals that no one else gives a shit about them – except that one ‘Nani’ jersey someone bought for their grandma. Dragging the rest of your team to great heights can get tiring – why do you think they all decided to eat each other in ‘Alive’?
In all seriousness: Odds on Portugal have dropped after it was revealed that Ronaldo’s attempts to get Garreth Bale turned into a Portuguese citizen failed.
Thanks to political correctness I can’t call the Ghanaian national team by their official name – the ‘Black Stars’ – without feeling like I’ve done something wrong. While there are teams better than those in other groups, Ghana play with a potential and style that I think makes this the most enticing group of the whole tournament. They’ve got a good attacking style and a somewhat indifferent defence (as do every other team in this group bar Germany), so expect a few high scoring and entertaining matches. After literally having their dream snatched away from them by Luis Suarez in 2010, Ghana will come out with belief and something to prove. They probably won’t get far enough to face Uruguay but I think someone should arrange a revenge match for them in the parking lot afterwards anyway.
In all seriousness: Probably the strongest of the African teams in this years tournament – and unlike Mexico, that actually means something. If the Germans do as they’re supposed to, second spot could well be up for grabs when Ghana face Portugal in the last round of fixtures.
The ‘nice’ Korea hasn’t done a whole lot on the World Stage since Guus Hiddink got the best out of them in 2002 (just dawned on me that I was in year 12 then. Fuck I’m old) – but that doesn’t mean they have the talent. The man who kicked Italy out in 02 with that famous goal – Ahn Jung Hwan – promptly had his playing contract in Italy torn up – and the scar has been left. Any Korean who is about to score must now assess their career options before deciding whether to put it in the back of the net. Luckily no one wants to play in fucking Algeria so they should win at least one game. They’ll be hopeful of a draw against the Ruskis but if they lose to Algeria expect their hopes to sink faster than a commuter ferry (too soon? Meh)
In all seriousness: With no superstars and a good team spirit, Korea Republic are another of the multitude of teams that could ‘cause a few upsets’. They won’t.
I could go along with a big write-up that pretends I know something about this team but I don’t. All I remember was seeing them suck at the last one. I could pretend I know anything about any of their players, but what’s the point? Brazil won this morning and I’ve gotta finish the freaking thing. Algeria will leave the tournament much like they entered it, unknown to the majority and making people wonder why we don’t give another spot to European qualifiers.
In all seriousness: They’ll make up the numbers, and compete healthily… with Korea for last place in the group.
Long ignored as the inferior lowland brother of the powerful Dutch team, Belgium will make waves this year. No, not with HAARP weather control but on the pitch with a stronger line-up than ever before. Hopes are high in the land of chocolate that the likes of Eden Hazard, Dries Martens, Vincent Kompany leading many to label the Belgians the ‘Dark Horse’ of the group. Whether this means they’re faster, bigger or more prone to incarceration, it’s a pretty racist title. They’re not underdogs, they’re not write-offs by any means – but it might not be long until ‘Belgium’ is mentioned in the same sentence as ‘Brazil’, ‘Germany’ and ‘Argentina’. Here’s hoping that sentence isn’t racist.
In all seriousness: Belgium will qualify from the group and enter unfamiliar territory, for both themselves and the amateur pundits who didn’t even know they could play.
Once again, by not pairing them with US, FIFA has missed a great opportunity to let political tensions play out on the soccer field. Coach Fabio Cappello has won a multitude of domestic honours but never lifted the trophy at an international tournament – no surprise when you consider that last time he was managing consistent chokers England when they were drubbed by Germany without even getting to enjoy the indignity of losing in penalties. They have the talent and experience, and managed to top a qualifying group that featured Ronaldo + 10, so is second place in the group too much to ask? You’d want to hope not, otherwise they’ll all be sending their Visa applications to Kiev before you can blink – and those that don’t will be sent to the Gulags (which actually aren’t as bad as they used to be – The Muppets Most Wanted actually makes them look like quite a musical place, AND they get to meet Danny Trejo.
In all seriousness: If Russia get out of the group stage there’s a good chance they’ll meet Germany in the first knockout round. Talk about a history of political tension. It’s a pity Poland aren’t playing…
AND THERE IT IS. THANK GOD! I hope you’ve got a chuckle or two out of all of this – because God knows you probably didn’t learn anything about football. Who will win? That remains to be seen – but if the likes of Argentina and Germany aren’t in the final four, and Iran and Algeria aren’t headed home immediately, we’ll see just how wrong I was – no doubt in a post-Cup blog entitled ‘How Wrong I Was’ – look forward to it.