Thursday, April 26, 2012

WM 2002--Round Four

WM 2002
Greetings bettors,

Shake it into high gear! We have arrived at the final games of the group phase. By the time the next installment, sixteen nations will be checking their baggage at the Seoul Airport, miserably shuffling home to their heartbroken populaces. The fate of the Krauts and Yanks remain open, though I feel confident we’ll get through. To paraphrase President Gore, the “world hangs in the balance”. Let’s do it.

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Arrrghh…An entire swath of content was lost to history. I wrote the inaugural “Goodbyes”, sending the Chinks among others off with all the sardonic flair of bookie blinded by the ecstasy of the black. Also distinguishing this reproduction from the original incarnation are two missing “news” sections and some extremely lewd rants about the Wops and Poles. For one misguided afternoon I considered trying to reproduce some of the content from memory. After all this wouldn’t be the fist time a 3.5 floppy dropped my content. Anyone who has ever lost a paper to the whimsical workings of a vaguely understood technology knows that one can do a surprisingly decent job re-writing it. Even after ten years I was able to compose some ape lines that faintly echoed the initial spirit. After a while however, it simply felt too contrived. To deliberately violate the chronological didactic maturation of your friendly bookie, however crude and uncomfortable a process this might have been, appears hollow and disingenuous.  I suppose we’re not missing much besides some bumbling pontifications accompanied by bumbling nostalgia.  Thankfully, the tactile presence of my talismanic black book allows all lines to be precisely preserved. Please enjoy what content survived….entirely too much to leisurely read in any case. 


Denmark vs. France


The Danes have proven quite resilient; my sophomoric taunts at the onset were casually batted away with all the lackadaisical confidence one comes to expect from these sturdy survivors. The young forward Thomason has grabbed all three goals and has everyone believing he’s far from done. The French need a convincing win and a sufficient Senegal defeat to advance. When the Froggies find themselves backed into a corner by unfortunate realities, with absolutely no one professing belief in them, do they not reach deep down and shock us all with a unified show of unimaginable strength?? We all know the answer to that question. Surrender time!

THE LINE: Denmark +1 Goal

Editor’s retroactive notes:
Result: Denmark 2, France 0. Who doesn’t love a good French Farce? Watching these lazy and subjective pricks drown in their own uselessly articulated shit always makes for great entertainment. Such a shame it only happens ever other tournament, My running joke of the hypothetical French girlfriend aside, one should never trust people who take cuisine so seriously. Germans know that the only true purpose of food is to sop of the booze. That’s why we sous chef so pathetically. You’ll never see a German on one of television’s 239,342 cooking shows. Meat and Potatoes counteract the beer. Bread, Salt, and Booze. Repeat after me. Bread, Salt, and Booze End of story. Fuck you, foodies. What’s with this “taking pleasure” in your food? You act as if life is something to be enjoyed or some such shit J

Senegal vs. Uruguay


The Senegalese need only a draw to move forward…and they shall obtain it. Pride will leave the Uruguayans unable to go down without a fight, but my Lions will show us all that they are up to the task. I expect nothing short of Animist Fire from Bouba Diop. I want him slaughtering chickens on the pitch, biting their heads off, and spitting hot “Yoga Flame” a-la Dalsam from “Street Fighter.” Every last car horn in Francophone Africa will herald the continent’s most glamorous triumph in this tournament since ’94. Viva Africa!

THE LINE: Pick em’

Editor’s retroactive notes:
Result: Senegal 3, Uruguay 3. With apologies for the stereotypical depiction of Animist Africa, this was one seriously fucked up match. A controversial penalty gave Senegal the opening salvo in the 20th minute. Domination ensues. Diop suddenly played like a man possessed, breaking tackles and slicing through defenders to knock in two more goals before the half. Obviously, the Lions played cagey during the second 45, preferring to stick and move rather than risk they’re almost certain Round of 16 Berth. Richard Morales and Diego Forlan were the end recipients of some skillful team-oriented displays by the Uruguayans to chip away at the lead. Finally, another suspect penalty in the 88th minute confirmed my line. What a treat a six-goal match is, particularly when your prediction comes true and you make some bank. J  

Germany vs. Cameroon


Nerves rattle across the Atlantic. Nothing short of a win will suffice. Partly inspired by this anxiety…as well as the all too kitschy line in that “Puddle of Mudd” Song (“Oceans in between us, but that’s not very far”) I elected to call my father at the office and solicit his thoughts on the match. The following is a rough transcript of our conservation:

Lutz: Weis
Peter: Hi, Dad!
Lutz: Hello, Peterman.
Peter: Getting any work done?
Lutz: …………I’m hungry.
Peter: Nervous about the match tomorrow?
Lutz: A rough day for Karlsruhe if we lose. Schaeffer was our coach.
Peter: How bad can it be? Do most Germans even know where Karlsruhe is?
Lutz: (pause) You’re an idiot for leaving all this behind.
Peter: All what?
Lutz: All this opportunity.
Peter: (pause) So…how’s Maria doing?
Lutz: Fine
Peter: (pause) I’m doing okay.
Lutz: Great.
Peter: Good
Lutz: Great
Peter: Good
Lutz (pause) So, how’s your mother?
Peter: Fine
Lutz: Great
Peter: Good
Lutz: Good
Peter: Great
Lutz: Good
Peter: (pause) Can’t think of anything to fight about.
Lutz: Great
Peter: Good
Lutz: Well then, talk to you later.
Peter: Later, then.

While this may be the most banal conversation you’ve ever read, some worthwhile tidbits are tucked inside. Current Cameroonian coach Winnie Schaeffer was the coach of the Karlsruher Sport Club (my father’s team) for nearly a decade. Should Germany lose, the entire country will turn against Karlsruhe and I will finally get to blame my father for something! Needless to say I prefer a German victory and not to fight with my Paps. Komm doch, Jungs!

THE LINE: Germany +2 Goals

Editor’s retroactive notes:
Result: Germany 2, Cameroon 0. Mercifully this passage was not damaged beyond repair. That was easily the curtest conversation I ever had with my father: A genuinely good man with too many bad ideas who honestly never knows when to shut up. He’s essentially me plus or minus a few decades. Klose shone once again and I was able to keep my streak of not blaming my parents for anything alive. I still refuse to place hold the rents to any fault and neither should you. Here’s why: Unless your parents actually physically or sexually abused you, they are simply humans who made mistakes similar to the ones you are likely to make. To delve ever more into the existential, you wouldn’t be the person you are had they not made those “mistakes”. As I told the stripper who broke down in my lap once about the fact that her mother would habitually yell at her about the prospect of getting fat: “Yeah, but you look good and you’re excellent at your job.” J Call your parents if you’re still lucky enough to be able to do so.

Saudi Arabia vs. Ireland


The Irish will go through! All they need is a win against these Sand Crabs coupled with a German victory! Okay…let me rephrase this: The Irish will NOT pull out in time!! Heh..heh..heh. So pleased with myself. J The Saudis have little left to hope for, other than holding hands with Bush. Kudos to the Land of Erin for a most splendid performance at this World Cup. See you guys next round….as I won’t be watching this game.

THE LINE: Ireland +3 Goals

Editor’s retroactive notes:
Result: Ireland 3, Saudi Arabia 0. Oh..the sweet taste of victory. Didn’t catch a second of this game and have nothing to report on it. The Germany match kicked off at the same time and there was no such thing a TIVO, Youtube. or Ponder that for a moment. Pontificate on the past. Yeeeah. We’ve entered the Buddhist zone. There was a time not too long ago when the digital age that we all presently find ourselves immersed in did not exist. Appointment television was the norm. A conflict of interest meant that you actually had to make a decision. T’was less than ten years ago. Nothing was “On Demand”. We were less inclined to believe that the world revolved around us….okay…maybe I was just as inclined, but the development of command entertainment hasn’t helped any of you. L


Sweden vs. Argentina


My declared favorites need but a victory to keep the dream alive. How can they possibly fail against such soft opposition? Nothing approaches the boredom of this group. Practically every game has been 1-nil. Should the Argentines fall short of the grade, I shall wholeheartedly recommend that their currency undergo yet another devaluation! Damn right! Okay, that sucked. Should the Argentines not pass, I will not patronize another restaurant with “Che” in the title. This one should be a cakewalk.

THE LINE: Argentina +2 Goals

Editor’s retroactive notes:
Result: Sweden 1, Argentina 1. Blah. What a monumental collapse by this White-Sky-Blue side. Bear in mind that Messi was but a 14-year-old lad when this travesty occurred. The surely three-time footballer of the year will be back with avengance in 2014, hankering for blood. Others not on this squad were Cambiasso, Aguero, Maxi Rodriguez, and Higuain. The Argentine Renaissance began with a whimper in 2006. Mardona screwed everything up in 2010. Our next tournament may be the year where everything comes together.

Nigeria vs. England


Another Colonial Match up! Rule #6 of the Vice Tournament Manifesto holds that one should never bet against a former colony. Rule #3-5b maintains that England chokes and shall always choke. It is such that I fearlessly predict another African upset. Given what transpired between Senegal and France, I cannot foresee this philosophy faltering.

THE LINE: Nigeria +1 Goal

Editor’s retroactive notes:
Result: Nigeria 0, England 0. It would appear I forgot Rule 21-Pc: “England never fails to deliver a boring match reminiscent of their food and cooking.” Dammit. The “Vice Tournament Manifesto” was gleaned from Marx. Within a year my idol Bill Simmons was writing a “Playoff Manifesto” for his NFL Column. This realization was considerably more important than any other factor in coercing me to write a sequel to this Sportsbook. I sincerely hope I never meet Simmons. The sight of a grown man groveling is something no one should ever witness L

South Africa vs. Spain


No need for the Spaniards to get up for this one. As anyone can surmise, the Spanish will not wake up until they absolutely must. Juxtaposed, the Bafana have everything to play for. In spite of the broad talent divide, a pick is the only logical choice.

THE LINE: Pick em’

Editor’s retroactive notes:
Result: Spain 3, South Africa 2. Bafana came agonizingly close. They came significantly closer than when they actually hosted the tournament. In the end it was only one measly Paraguayan goal that kept them from the next round. So sad. Dry your tears, Africa…as John Williams would say. We will all observe an African Champion….probably in Qatar. 

Paraguay vs. Slovenia


Fuck, do these Slovenes ever suck snake! What on earth is this tiny Yugoslav principality doing in our tournament? Feeling hard done by. This country will soon enter MY EU? Not possible! Who the hell is this Novak character…and why does he defend as poorly as Bob Novak writes? Who the fuck is this Pavlovic, and why does he dribble as shitty mechanically as one of Pavlov’s Dogs? Who is bleeding fuck is Ceh, and why does he invariably play just as poor a role as Cid does in the Final Fantasy series? Fuck these Slovaks….er….”Slovenes”. Never again!

THE LINE: Paraguay +2 Goals

Editor’s retroactive notes:
Result: Paraguay 3, Slovenia 1. Use of words. Who has the privilege of looking back on their copy and frowning upon the use of words? “Suck snake” never quite caught on in the manner I had hoped. I blame this on excessive metal gear playing and improper metaphor training. “hard done by” is such archaic British providence that I hang my head. “shitty mechanically” doesn’t work because one cannot employ two consecutive adverbs. I could blame this on my father, who frequently remarked that a day was “Shitty rainy bad”, but I’ll pass. “Bleeding fuck”…was not so bad. Could have done worse. Adverbs capable of modifying “fuck” are limited provided that one wishes to convey a message of desperation. J


Costa Rica vs. Brazil


The fact that our Samba Sweethearts are already through is of little consequence. There shall be no hesitation in crushing these “Isthmus Imbeciles” and their fortuitous chances of sneaking through to the next episode. I look for Ronaldo to come out swinging and the rest of the cast to join in. Eight years without a Cup is too long. Time to dance.

THE LINE: Brazil +3 Goals

Editor’s retroactive notes:
Result: Brazil 5, Costa Rica 2. Ronaldo did indeed come out swinging, scoring goals in the 10th and 13th minute. The big story as I recall was the amazing play of Wanchope. He began his career as Costa Rican legend with an incredible run in the 39th minute. He split the halfbacks and out-maneuvered the rest. Some will recall that he sliced through Mertesacker in 2006 twice. What a player! What a shame that Man City will finally take the Premiership title without him. . 

Turkey vs. China


One more humiliation and then its off to s May 4th Farm for our Chinese contestants. With these egg-sucking softies the only obstacle between “The Sickle Stars” and a historic first ever progression beyond the first round, the Turks will look to seal this one up quickly. Apparently the Turks are the only team to consistently play a 4-3-3 formation. Those three strikers should be more bloodthirsty than Suleiman the Magnificent. The Chinese are prone to early decapitation. What? Oh get over it people. It’s not even called Nanking anymore!  

THE LINE: Turkey +3 Goals

Editor’s retroactive notes:
Result: Turkey 3, China PR 0. And with a whimper they were gone. We’ve not seen the Chinese team since this match, a humiliating drubbing in Seoul. This one was all over before the tenth minute. Tsk, Tsk my Reds. Laziness is counterrevolutionary! The poor Chinese have been unable to qualify out of the arguably unfairest geographic region (Asia) ever since. For all the talk of a switch to Oceania, the Chinese Football Federation seems to like it rough. Never apply that statement to your Chinese girlfriend. Be gentle. Over the years the Chinese have compensated for their football feebleness by flooding the market with potency nostrums, insisting upon Japanese apologies when it’s politically convenient, and trying their hand at International Baseball, American Football, and even Rugby. The Olympics stemmed the torpor for a little while. Then Taiwan beat the everlasting shit out of their mainland brothers during the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Mexico vs. Italy


Here’s the really cool thing about countries that share the same flag colors facing off: Ah…shit I put a placeholder here last night and was unable to stumble out of bed this morning with any better ideas. As I lay horizontally semi-conscious this morning, I was however able to conjure up some attributes that these two Olive-skinned peoples have in common

1) A fondness for ridiculously tricked out car horns.

2) The innate urge to walk around in circles all day long.

3) The ability to foster a thriving tourist industry…and not much else.

4) A fondness for appallingly addictive tele-novelas

5) A male tendency to overly gel their hair to the “Stalagmite Levels”

6) A female tendency to be irresistibly, immaculately, life altering, and virility-spiking beautiful…while being a bitch as well.

Speaking of unavoidable male arousal, I’m so energized over this Wop-Wetback showdown that I should seek immediate help for a phalanx lasting more than four hours. First place in the group is one the line with the Spicks needing only a draw to stay atop. After the Croatian debacle, the Wops appear a one-dimensional side with only “Saint” Christian Vieri up to the challenge of scoring goals. Cannavaro and Zambrotta are the names currently being mumbled as an unquantifiable cohort of old Italian ladies thumb through their Rosary Beads. Unless the rest of the team opts to start contributing, the Azzuri are without a prayer.

To be trounced by Mexico would be an offence against the holy mother herself. On the other hand, the Mexicans have the Virgin of Guadalupe and numerous other idols/mini-gods. It’s a pure Catholic contest of wills. Which land shall produce more bleeding statutes, miraculous water-reservoirs, indistinct visions of Saints in egg sandwiches/dirty ashtrays/processed hardwood floors/mechanically separated chicken/melted cheese dishes??? I’m riveted. To determine the champion of the one supreme, holy, apostolic, Catholic Church…….

THE LINE: Italy +1 Goal

Editor’s retroactive notes:
Result: Italy 1, Mexico 1. Looks like God decreed it should be a draw. After reviewing a sardonic paragraph of pure unabated Catholic bashing, do allow me to now explain why I prefer a Catholic Service to the Southern Evangelical “Jesus-Palooza” ones. Ahem. Any Atheist harbors a great respect for history. One might say the same of Communists, but that’s a state religion. I personally love the Confucian practice of ancestor worship. Those with inconceivable courage are the reason I ended up being born…winning the Ovarian Lottery by being born to a family of means in Western Civilization. To listen to a load of blowhards recite a creed from the Fifth Century while delivering some inaccurate Latin verses and downing a spot of wine happens to be about as close as I can get to showing some appreciation for those who toiled to build cathedrals, live in a hut scafolded by horse feces, and have sex with their increasingly bloated and unattractive wives. Thanks for living such a shitty existence, my forbearers. Now I’m here to live an existence equal only in that the shittiness is more petty and self-centered. In point of fact, our shittiness is mostly an illusion. Life can be damn pleasurable once one realizes that one isn’t responsible for harvesting turnips. I’d thank to you directly if you still lived in some netherworld. Unfortunately you don’t. You’re dead and that’s it. Thanks anyway. In honor of you, who wouldn’t want to make the world of the living a better place? 

Ecuador vs. Croatia


Zzzzzzzz…hrmph….zzzzzzz…no thank you, sleeping….zzzzzzzzz…come back in an hour…zzzzzzzzz .stop poking me…..zzzzz….Please go away, let me get some sleep FOR  THE LOVE OF GOD!! Indeed I feel like Chris Farley toward the end of “Tommy Boy”. You wake me from my own perfectly good dream to show me this crap? Neither one of these teams will make it through. The Wop-Wetback match is the one to watch. Don’t even bother with this game…..unless you have some sort of hunch. In that case I’ll be happy to take your money.

THE LINE: Pick ‘em

Editor’s retroactive notes:
Result: Ecuador 1, Croatia 0. The bait was set and the money came in for the Europeans. One expected a South American upset given that the Croats weren’t going to start Seric. This concludes today’s “Inside the Bookies Mind”. Coming up next…”Hitler’s Neanderthals” Keep it tuned to the History Channel J


Tunisia vs. Japan


How much does home-field advantage matter? In the case of Nagasaki…well…not that much. In the case of this contest, you bet your barely discernable non-African ass! The Japs shall finally get their chance to shine, albeit only after they’re assured of winning the group and are Dead-on-Arrival in the next round. Incidentally, I firmly believe that D.O.A. should always stand for  “Dead-on-Arrival”. A new video game suggests that D.O.A. should indicate “Dead or Alive”. Am I the only one who finds this condescendingly insulting?

THE LINE: Japan +2 Goals

Editor’s retroactive notes:
Result: Japan 2, Tunisia 0. Ostensibly I was the only one. “Dead or Alive” spawned five sequels, three beach Volleyball Spin-offs, a feature-length film, and a plethora of nudity patches. D.O.A. was the first one-on-one fighter to realize that nothing matters more to a pack of teenage male gamers than cleavage. Give us tits and we’re likely to keep playing. It was such that the nudity patch was devised, and popularly pirated. Men will pay inordinate sums to watch hot women fight. Look at “Lingerie Bowl”. That grossed over twelve million.

Belgium vs. Russia


Half country vs. “Half Country”. The Russians will not be denied. The “Ruskies” will go nuclear on this little plains bitch’s ass. I like this Titov character. Though his name is conspicuously close to “Tito”, I trust him. J Kerzhakov is also a talent to behold. 

THE LINE: Russia +2 Goals

Editor’s retroactive notes:
Result: Belgium 3, Russia 2. Kerzhakov only showed up after it was too late. The Belgians told us all to turn over and take it like a man. Since then, the Belgians have continued to embarrass democracy in a way that makes the Italians and Iraqis look good. Damn you, Red Devils. I would abhor you with all my strength were it not for your name.

Portugal vs. South Korea


Now we find a fascinating match! The insurgent hosts look to knock off the juggernaut with qualification in danger! To all the American fans reading this:

1) The Koreans will win, thereby ensuring your safe passage to the next round.

2) Beware the Koreans! The Japanese show occasional ferocity, only to commit suicide when the enemy encroaches. These Koreans play football like no other Asian has ever pitched. Beware…..beware……beware…… (Yes, I’m an “Ed Wood” fan)

3) If the Americans played with a tenth of the heart of the Koreans, you’d be World Champions (Yes, I’m a “Rudy” fan.)

THE LINE: South Korea +1 Goal

Editor’s retroactive notes:
Result: South Korea 1, Portugal 0. To paraphrase Bella Lugosi, “Beware……beware…..beware....what sits underneath your stairs, what lurks in the night, what crawls to your doorstep, what hides under your bed, what sits in the back of the fridge, what festers in your unused basement, what piles up in the driveway, what sits under your stack of unread “Economist” magazines J

Poland vs. USA


Was there some conspiracy to pit the weakest country ever against the strongest…and to end the group phase in such an uncouth fashion? I believe in coincidences rather than conspiracies. Still. A joint U.S./Korean Victory seems inevitable. Not unlike the Korean ceasefire. A quick question about M*A*S*H*: how did a war that lasted four years go on for thirteen seasons? Just wondering.

THE LINE: USA +2 Goals


Editor’s retroactive notes:
Result: Poland 3, USA 1. How did shameful calamity happen? Alright…let’s narrate. Panathanikos forward Emmanuel Olisdanebe broke free found himself in space already in the third minute. Before any of the outfield players could break a sweat, they had been fucked by Emmanuel…and not in the pleasing sensual Skinemax manner L Two minutes it was Pavel Kryslolwich’s turn…to.. er….notch a goal. America got DPed worse than Bobbi Starr in “Hood Fantasies 4”. Ugh. Within five minutes the match was over and I was still sober. Everton Chabbas Boy Landon Donovan grabbed a meaningless consolation tally in the 83rd minute. Fullback Jeff Agoos was pulled off the pitch after his defensive performance suggested an acute case of “pissed pants.” Center-halfs Eddie Pope and Tony Sanneh changed out of their excrement filled diapers and recovered to unleash some blistering strikes/crosses in what turned out to be a lion-hearted offensive effort by the Yanks. Brad Friedel even made an impressive penalty save. Although the team by no means played as bad as the score-line suggested, Uncle Sam squeaked through to the next round on the backs of the fearless Koreans. I’m reminded of this every time I skulk off to a Korean Liquor Store, heavily reliant on Mr. Park to help me bring another dismal day to its appropriate close