Sunday, April 29, 2012

WM 2006--Goodbyes and Championship Pick

Beliebte Kumpels,
WM 2006

As much as I would like to masquerade that the late, great Dr. Lucas would be proud of and intellectually intrigued by the past five weeks of work, I can only picture him rolling his eyes and uttering the oft-repeated mantra of the “Evils of mediocrity”. As much as he meant to this mediocre soul, he is gone forever and you guys are all I have left. I couldn’t have been left with a more pleasant bunch of miscreant masterminds JJ I’m ecstatic that we could all share this experience together. Yes, my Fatherland no longer contends. Yes, we face an anticlimactic final between two Southern European impostors. It’s only a game after all. The two remaining fixtures are but the pomp and circumstance of the ceremonial end to a carnival.

The most prying among you will wonder why I’ve devoted so much time and virulent vehemence toward the obsessive and excessive chronicling of a silly game. The answer, as it has been for the past four years, is that we need an excuse to get together. “What’s the point of calling?” has to be one of the fairest questions inhibiting any hard-working individual concerned with the particularized aspects of their daily life. Every four years the beautiful goes global, giving us the specific countermand we need to defeat that defeatist query. Booze, the eternal companion of sports viewing, also helps. Every other two years, the Europeans provide us with a comparable opportunity. To those of you who skipped over my Euro 2004 commentary, please hang with me in two years time for Euro 2008. It won’t be the same without you, and I sincerely mean that. 

Wasted and wounded.
It a’int what the (morose) moon did.
I’ll see you tomorrow.
Hey Frank, can I borrow.
A couple of bucks from you

To go a waltzing adherents
Waltzing, adherents
You, come a waltzing
Adherents with me JJ

The lyrics belong to the only man to openly admit that he’s happy to grow older. I concur with Tom Waits one hundred percent. Someday I’ll ripen into the old guy I’ve always wanted to be. Hopefully, you’ll all be around…and I’ll see you….on a downtown train JJ

Final bets are to be placed on the Bronze Medal contest:

Third Place Match—Deutschland vs. Portugal


No Jens Lehman. No Michael Ballack. No Per Mertesacker or Lucas Podolski. Our reserves will nevertheless retain our honor. A third place match usually features plenty of goals. Good money suggests Nowotny, Kahn, Hanke, and Asamoah will play their hearts out. Kahn especially will let loose like a bat out of Karlsruhe.

THE LINE: Deutschland +2 Goals


Editor’s retroactive notes:
RESULT: Germany 3, Portugal 1. Will all due respect to Kahn, Luis Figo, and Nuno Gomez, this match was all about Schweine. He came alive with two scintillating blasts from 20 yards out of the box’s left side. At 56 minutes he danced past Ricardo Costa and dribbled all the way in from the left flank before letting a laser fly. Four minutes later Petit knocked in one of his low-driven set pieces. It was Schweine again for the unofficial Hat Trick in the 78th, murdering another ball from nearly the identical spot for a spine-tingling thriller. Watching highlights from that clarion summer afternoon in Stuttgart, one winces at the thought of Schweine’s current crisis. He’s been continuously injured all year, and will in all likelihood fail to regain his fitness in time for the summer tournament. The man is a grounded F-22 Tomcat. We’ll miss his destructive potential.

Supreme Champion of the Football Universe—France vs. Italy

France vs. Italy

Mea Culpa, gentlemen. ALL BETS ARE OFF all we all enjoy the final match. Those who bleed Azzuri blue will simply have to kick back and savor the spectacle as your country attains its fourth World Championship. The drought is over. After twenty four long years it shall finally once again be Italy’s day. Clear your throat for the best “I—TAL—LIA” chant you can muster. Whether you’ll prove victorious through overpowering skills or strategically-timed flopping remains unknown. I can unequivocally state my certainty that the Cinderella Frogs haven’t a chance. The fun that I’ve had and will continue to have at the expense of your ethnic pride must be suspended in honor of your impending triumph. So it is that I wish all my Italian brothers (and family members) a joyous jubilation. You’ve earned it.

Once again we’ve arrived at the terminus of the party. Time to gather up personal belongings, call the cab company, stumble home and sleep it off. I plan an extended hibernation. In the words of Herr Armstrong, “Wake me up when September ends”. The quixotic punk ballad accurately reflects my feelings. I still can’t convey my most heartfelt farewells without reaching back for a little more Waits.  

 And I don’t want your sympathy,
The fugitives say,
That the streets aren’t for dreaming now
Maverick Chinamen and all these cold-blooded signs,
And all the girls down by the strip-tease shows

No Primadonna,
You know the perfume is on
An old shirt that is stained,
With blood and whiskey,
So goodnight to the street sweepers,
The night watchmen flame keepers,
And goodnight, Adherents, too…. JJ

Goodnight, brothers! All the love in the world!

THE LINE: Italy +1 Goal

Editor’s retroactive notes:
RESULT: Italy 2, France 1. (5:3 PSO) So much to say about this game. How about Florent Malouda’s simulated dive over Zambrotta’s right boot? (head-butt) Pirlo’s corner prowess and Materazzi’s leap? (head-butt) Toni’s drive? (head-butt) Henry’s footwork? (head-butt) Trezuguet off the cross bar? (head-butt). Alright, alright. I’ll get to the fucking head-butt! That’s all anyone will ever remember from this match anyway.

Twenty minutes into extra time, one felt that the Italians deserved to be ahead. After all, they had scored a legitimate goal in the 19th when Materazzi punched in a spectacularly delivered Andrea Pirlo corner. The French had been awarded a cheap penalty that Zidane lightly chipped in. With fatigue and frustration setting in, the following exchange (purportedly) took place in Italian:

Zinidine Zidane: Marco, what’s with all the tugging on my jersey?
Marco Materazzi: Fuck you, you dirty Algerian.
Zinidine Zidane: If you’re that interested in my jersey I can give it to you after the game.
Marc Materazzi: I’d prefer your sister.

Zidane’s sister was undergoing medical treatment (or so the story goes). After striding forward a few steps, he planted his fat bald cranium directly into Materazzi’s chest. Zidane has scored nearly one hundred goals for four separate European clubs. He’s one of the most capped and prolific scorers in French history. Unquestionably one of the greatest football players of all time, from this moment on he would forever be remembered as “that head butting dude”. Six years later he remains unapologetic and, honestly, who could possibly hold that against him? We’ll never know what might have been had he remained on the pitch, but Trezeguet likely still would have missed his penalty. The opportunity to head-butt a Wop in front of a global audience comes but once in a lifetime. He already won a World Championship. Good move, ami.