Thursday, April 26, 2012

WM 2002--Semifinals

WM 2002
A very good morning to all of my miserable compatriots,

KAHN BEATS AMERICA!! I would have gone with “The Wrath of Kahn” myself…or perhaps “Frings Fucks the Land of Brave”. Regardless, time for you to suck it up and hop on the bandwagon. A few nanoseconds after the whistle blew, a close pal of mine called me up singing “Das Lied der Deutschen”. He’s ready to root for the Germans. You should be too. We’re going all the way to the finals and you don’t want to miss the final four matches. Wherever you are, find some chums and something comfortable to sit on. Make sure there’s some booze adjacent and you’ve found the REAL recipe for ecstasy. Who needs club drugs when the world’s greatest game is on? Seriously everyone, enough with the glow sticks! Life’s better without them!

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Yes…some teenage experiences led me to be something of an anti-XTC crusader. Instead I became a drunk. Moving right along, the “close friend” referred to is my dearest mate -----. In spite of the fact that we share very little in common, we’ve kept in touch through all these years, riffing over the phone every few weeks just for the sheer esoteric hell of it. Why not? Someone you miss conversing with? Ring them up. I don’t necessarily mean call them at 4 a.m. after a heavy night of drinking. No sense in being graceless about such matters. The adverse emotions with which you confront the effort of keeping touch happen to be the same ones that keep you from going to the gym. Just do it. Here’s a transcript of the actual post-match conversation for you:

Vice: Hello?
----: Deutschland…..
Vice: Deutschland…..
----: Über Alles…..
Vice: Über Alles….
----: In der Welt. 

Thinking on the same wavelength is no matter of intangible connective life essences. Time and experience are enough. Invest some more time if you can. Work is everything. Working on friendships can be like any other type of work; intimidating at first, but fundamentally fun and worthwhile.

And the record of the independent odds-maker:

Spread: 26-24-10
Straight up: 37-12-11

Time for the farewells.


You know who’ll never be knighted? David Beckham. Know who else won’t be knighted? Sven Goran Eriksson. Know who declined to be knighted? David Bowie! Oh yes. It was leaked, which means it must be true! They say he told the Queen herself “Oh baby, just you shut your mouth.” Even John Lennon accepted knighthood before renouncing it. Bowie has totally redeemed himself from the Mick Jagger fiasco, his marriage to Iman, and the whole “Lost Highway” headlining scandal. The Three Lions have a ways to go yet.

Editor’s retroactive notes:

David Robert Joseph Beckham will surely be anointed “Sire David Beckham” once Charles is in charge. Sven Goran Eriksson has coached Mexico, Cote d’Ivoire, and Leicester City. He currently trains his daughter’s Cardio Fitness Squad. Perhaps later he’ll work with Kurt Warner at Kroger. The rumor of David Bowie’s rejection of the Queen’s favor turned out to be true. “Angelman” from the “Lost Highway Soundtrack turned out not be a bad song after all. In 2006, “Family Guy” poked fun at David Bowie’s “Little China Girl”. In 2011, “Family Guy” poked fun at David Bowie and Mick Jagger’s rendition of “Dancing in the Streets.” Sorry, but I can’t watch “Family Guy” anymore, for the same reason I no longer watch “The Daily Show.” There’s only so much of watching one’s own jokes being used to make people money that one can take LLL


And so it goes. Then there were four and Jesus didn't visit America. Okay…if you happen to be Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness, maybe he swung by the New World on his way to a fatherly rendezvous. The old world continues to dominate old football. No need to be sad. Your sports scene dominates everything else. Over one billion people watch the Super Bowl…..not really, but why not say so? Who doesn’t love American football? At least the commercials are entertaining. They have to be, considering they comprise about 75 percent of what you watch. Jesus loves you. According to your athletes he influences every game, from the point that your quarterback was a High School Sophomore all the way through those tumultuous college years until he finally blossomed into the semi-concussed moron that he is today. Cheer up, Sates fans. You made it all the way to the quarterfinals. You’ll make it further next time!

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Important correction: Jehovah’s Witnesses do not in fact believe that Christ came to America. They did, however, subscribe to the conviction that Christ would arrive no later than New Year’s Eve 1899. One hundred and twelve years on, Jesus appears to have been postponed….or at least caught on a forced overnight on the flight from Jerusalem to Newark. American football enjoys more popularity than ever, as do the commercials. The sport remains unique in that it has no minor league. Dumb High School Students head off to College. There they may take a Kinesiology Class or two seriously before going pro. If they’re lucky, they’ll play a few years and open up a cut-rate lube business. If they’re unlucky, they’ll play successfully for ten years and end up a punch-drunk semblance of their former selves, nothing more than a rich burnout. Such a shame.


Germany vs. South Korea


Only such a match can get my BR Friends to possibly give a shit about football. They’re coming by and we’ll do our level best to set a new record for “Earliest Morning DUI”. I’ve printed out the full lyrics of “Das Lied der Deutschen” and stocked the fridge with Warsteiner. Don’t even bother calling as the phone will ring endlessly while I have company. The odds favor my Mannschaft. The Koreans have overachieved long enough and are surely spent after two consecutive 120-minute matches. Rudi Voller’s untested young bunch has blossomed and appears headed for a finals berth. We don’t even need Bierhof anymore! This Klose kid had but 12 caps before the tournament began! Defensive phenom Metzelder had only 6. Between them stands experienced midfielders Bode and Schneider, capable of regulating this game’s flow.

Gus Hiddink’s “Super Teriific Happy Asians” will have to do it without talismanic midfielder Choi Sung-Yong, out on a double yellow. Captain Hong Myung Bo has more international experience than any player in this tournament, but will have trouble waking his 34-year-old legs up after those two aforementioned grueling games. Strike up the band. We’re on the march.

Projected Lineups:

“Die Mannschaft”

1) Oliver Kahn
2) Thomas Linke
3) Christian Zieger
4) Oliver Neuville
5) Didi Hamann
6) Christoph Metzelder
7) Torsten Frings
8) Michael Ballack
9) Berndt Schneider
10) Marco Bode
11) Miroslav Klose

“The Red Devils”

1) Lee Won-Jae
2) Choi Jin-Seul
3) Kim Tae-Young
4) Ho Myung-Bo
5) Young-Jung Hwan
6) Lee-Young Pyo
7) Yoo Sang-Chul
8) Choi Tae Uk
9) Ji Sung Park
10) Hwan Sung-Hong
11) Seoul Ki-Hyeon

Prop Bets
Over/Under ---2 Goals
120 Minutes— straight up
Penalty Shootout— 2 to 1
Klose brace—3 to 1
Ballack brace---3 to 1
Bierhof substitution (75)+--2 to 1

THE LINE: Deutschland +2 Goals

Editor’s retroactive notes:
RESULT: Germany 1, South Korea 0. The German lineup was picked almost perfectly, Voller’s unanticipated gambit to play a 3-5-2 and drop Zieger the only surprise. In spite of the audacious use of the midfield, the German machine never quite got rolling in this mundane and humdrum match. Ballack eventually scooped up a rebound and hit it first time for a goal in the 75th. Just four minutes earlier he had earned a suspension for the final, essentially quashing any hope that the Germans would be able to compete in the final. Klose and Bode contributed some mildly exciting chances on goal, but the only true sparks came from the easterner’s foot. The Soiree went fine, absent a early morning Ballack-inspired wake up call that severely pissed the ‘rents off and a misguided decision to head over to the Black Forrest for a victorious dish of perilously awful Bavarian Sauerkraut. I lost a chunk of change and continued to lose for the duration of the tournament. It was nothing more than a trifling matter in the end as the experience more than compensated for a slightly diminished treasure chest.   


Brazil vs. Turkey


What can possibly prevent a Germany vs. Brazil Final? My “Cinder-fella” little siblings, that’s who! To be perfectly honest, I doubt I can stomach a Turkey vs. Germany Final, nor can the land who only recently decided to award them citizenship. Massive riots will ensue regardless of the result. The desire for softer competition notwithstanding, I rely on the Brazilians to take care of business and stir the Crescents from this fever dream. The Reds are a wildly unspectacular group who grind out ugly victories. With no explosive talent beyond Kerimoglu to speak of, this bush league team cannot compete with the two-headed monster of Rivaldo and Ronaldo. Both have scored five goals apiece (along with Germany’s Miroslav Klose), making them quite possibly the scariest tandem since Feldman/Haim….well…you get the idea.

The world’s top football nation rolls halcyon, on and on. I’m already handicapping a South Korea-Turkey consolation match. President Dubya, who once broke the ice with Brazilian President Fernando Cardosa by asking whether or not there are blacks in Brazil, will watch both semi-finals as the guest of German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Here’s hoping you will too. Looks to be a great finish.

Projected Lineups:

“Samba Kings”

1) Marcos
2) Cafu
3) Lucio
4) Roberto Carlos
5) Gilberto Silva
6) Edmilson
7) Denilson
8) Ronaldinho
9) Rivaldo
10) Richardino
11) Ronaldo

“Crescent Stars”

1) Rustu Recber
2) Tugay Kerimoglu
3) Alplay Özalan
4) Hasan Sas
5) Yildiray Basturk
6) Ergun Penbe
7) Emre Belozoglu
8) Egidio Alveraro
9) Arif Erdem
10) Hakan Sukur
11) Ilhan Mansiz

Prop Bets:
Over/Under ---3 Goals
120 Minutes— 3 to 1
Penalty Shootout— 5 to 1
Ronaldo brace—2 to 1
Ronaldo Hat Trick hat trick---3 to 1
Rivaldo Brace---2 to 1
Rivaldo Hat Trick—3 to 1
Sukur substitution (70+) -- 2 to 1

THE LINE: Brazil +2 Goals

Editor’s retroactive notes:
RESULT: Brazil 1, Turkey 0. Thought for sure that the Turks would grace us with three strikers in a brazen attempt to get rich or die trying. Rather than throw all chips on the table/go for broke/hurl the kitchen sink/act like they possessed a pair/devise a metaphor that doesn’t induce cringes, Günes opted for a more subdued approach and his team got thumped in a way the score-line comes nowhere close to reflecting. Had long-range beauts from Silva and Carlos not been improbably tipped, this would have easily been a 5-0 thrashing. Rivaldo and Ronaldo managed nine quality attempts between them. Though a rout would fattened my wallet, the wondrous tableau of such an elegant team was enough to leave me sated. Though the dearth of goals may erroneous lead to you conclude that this match was as thrilling as a Senate Subcommittee meeting, I assure you this more closely resembled Bob and David’s “Late Night with the Senate Subcommittee”:

Okay. Fun time expires. As we move forward to the first overly kitschy “Goodbyes Section”, I feel myself welling up. Strike up the piano bravado and pour yourself a stiff drink. A sad truth revolves around the fact that your friendly bookie genuinely loves you, and he’s always been more than prepared to get downright schmaltzy as the end draws near. As course and crass as I might be, the final section of each tournament showcases the gentle heart. The departing Vice out-tear-jerks the Sarah McLaughlin SPCA commercials. Pack up your unit, gentlemen. Strong men also cry. Strong men also cry.