Sunday, April 29, 2012

WM 2006--Quarterfinals

Abend Zusammen,
WM 2006

Who wants a place? Eight countries still contend for a medal. Next time we speak, four will have earned one of some sort and four will be headed into obscurity. Our tournament’s back up and running thanks to some great Round of 16 matches. We’ve disposed of CONCACAF and told the Asians to take a hike. Four European nations and two Latin American ones are all that’s left. Thinking ahead towards the inevitable end of this festival only serves to make me lachrymose. Your friendly bookie has no clue what he’ll do with himself when this all goes away. Best not to dwell on an uncertain future. Onwards to the final goodbye section not involving the Fatherland.


With the flop of a Wop, the Aussie dream dies. So sorry it had to end this way, blokes. Consider this an initiation into the world of high-stakes tournaments……or at least those involving worthless Dagos. Hiddink’s Socceroos gave us quite a show. The trainer’s Wanderlust makes chaining him to the Outback a literal impossibility, but everyone else will be back. We’ll see Timmy Cahill’s Klitschko Act once again. If there’s one thing Australians are capable of, it’s providing ONE serviceable sequel.

Editor’s retroactive notes:
ESPN broadcasted a feed of ubiquitous Italian flags, flares, and general wop-i-tude parading around the streets of Sydney. Imagine if the Mexicans tried to pull that shit here. The Germans would put up with the Turks. The Canadians could probably tolerate the Caribbean Islanders. Even the French might turn a blind eye to the Bosians/Kosovars. Only in one developed country would there be a race riot. Actually, that’s not true. Surely the Anglos would take exception to an Arab celebration on their streets. Then again, maybe not. As ruffian as those drunken hooligans may be, they’ve probably grown accustomed to losing by now. 


Often times in life one encounters moments to truly savor. I plan on relishing every last character in this epic rant. Allow me to clear my esophagus: Hack, hem, cough.

Ahahahahahahahahahahahaha. You meaningless, contemptible sacks of goat shit! The Ukrainians are no longer the joke of Europe. You! You trifling, anachronistic, nugatory piss urns. You are now officially the laughingstock of the continent. You’re nothing more than Germany’s scrotum with the added stench of metaphor. You’re Italy’s happy trail patch of pubic hair, personified beyond the interest of any woman. You’re France’s foreskin, Austria’s rosy red rectum, Hungary’s wafting flatulence, and all of Eastern Europe’s gypsy dumping ground. Your Alps are the STD-induced genital warts of our Europa. You are a fucking plague that, much like Herpes, will NEVER GO AWAY!!

Good God, I’m so happy you’re finally gone. Don’t even allow the slightest thought of return in two years time begin to germinate in the faculties of your speculati….oh fuck. You’re hosting next time, aren’t you? Well, we’ll save the detritus for then…..Ibex fuckers LL


Give it up for the “Black Stars”. Africa will rise again in no small part thanks to this team. This 1982 African Cup of Nations Champion is back in a big way, poised to claim some silverware in the coming years. Asamoah Gyan is only twenty. How limitless the world is at that age! Other early Vicenarians include Michael Essien, Stephen Appiah, John Mensah, Habib Mohammed, John Pantsil, Razak Pimpong, and Sulley Muntari. We behold an extremely young team that will return to go even further in subsequent tournaments.

Incidentally, for those of you who believe I narcissistically coined the term “Vicenarians” to refer to individuals in their twenties, I assure you that Webster’s enlightened me to the term. Look it up yourselves. All other decades follow the monotonous Greek etymology you’re familiar with. Someone in their thirties is considered a “Tricenarian”, someone in their forties a “Quadcenarian”, etc. etc. etc. The sheer coincidence that someone in their twenties is referred to as a “Vicenarian” reminds me that I have but seven remaining years to do something completely insane whilst still being permitted to attribute it to age.

Editor’s retroactive notes:
Wha…wha……well…you may THINK that this explains the entire venture. HOWEVER…one must also consider….several other factors…..a veritable forest of vicissitudes bespeak…..fuck it. You’re right.


Not again. Every godforsaken time we must go through this? What happened this time? It all comes down to the curious 54th minute dual withdrawing of Raul and David Villa from the pitch. Presumably Aragones’s thoughts tended toward the long-haul. In what was rapidly shaping up to be a 120 minute match, why not give your two top strikers the rest they didn’t full acquire after the last fixture? Why not bring on Joaquin and Luis Garcia for a staunchly conservative 4-5-1? I’ll tell you why. BECAUSE YOU HAVEN’T WON THE MATCH YET! You’re not even ahead. This is no time to play chess. We’ve got to finish up the football first! What an astoundingly boneheaded move. LL

If the conjecture that playing for 120 is in any way correct, why did Aragones use his final substitution in the 74th? Xavi for Marcos Senna? I soberly retract all I have written with respect to the novelty of the “Aragones Approach”. Team cohesion may be important, but winning matches supersedes all of the gibberish concerning player understanding of their narrowly scoped roles. At present all your players truly understand is that they’re headed home. The curse continues. After sacking this xenophobic monomaniac, La Roja will return with another team that spits hot fire. One of these years, they’ll have to by default play up to their potential.
My Updated Stats:

Spread: 36-20
Straight up: 42-5-7

Dispatches from the Penthouse (Fit the 7th)

Keep studying those Skinemax softcore scenes, kiddies. Take careful note of all threesome scenes in “Emmanuelle”, “Hotline”, “Erotic Confessions”, and the “The Best Sex Ever”. You never know when you may be faced with the physical restrictions of two cunts and one cock. Third graders should be given such conceptual problems on their math quizzes. I’d say more, but I believe I’ve said far too much already.

Editor’s retroactive notes:
Oh, bravo little pimp. Blah, blah, blah. Those inclined toward jealousy will be pleased to know that by the end of the summer little Vicey had reverted back to the incorrigibly sad and pathetic puppy dog everyone knows so well, pining away for some average girl in usual deplorable and feeble way. Yes, he had some amazing experiences. It was never enough to divert his innate tendency to fall into a hopelessly Romantic depressed stupor. Poor, pitiful, porcelain motherfucker. By the end of September, he was ruefully behaving like the most miserable composite of the Ed Helms character from “Cedar Rapids” and the Paul Rudd character from “The 40-year-old Virgin” you could envision. Twenty-three years of age and he still didn’t know how to take it like a man. Cerebral Western guys seem to maturing later and later. Even the latest cutting edge science suggesting that the brain doesn’t fully form until the age of 24 isn’t good enough for us. Only in the latter half of our twenties to we finally get the gist of what it means to man-up. Pathetic, pathetic, pathetic!! I should have joined the U.S. Army LL


Deutschland vs. Argentina


All bets are….ON. Do not hesitate to boost your bottom line by aggressively hopping on the trampoline that symbolizes my soul. Oh, don’t I wish that I could convince myself that the Graf Spee isn’t taking on water. Hmmm…perhaps a pocket battleship, however geographically relevant, is an insufficiently hefty metaphor to describe the impending disaster. Put her this way: Down goes the Bismarck! Max Schmelling again hits the canvass! The Soviets enter Berlin while Baron von Richthofen simultaneously crashes into the Hindenburg.

We’re prepared to say goodbye to our Jungs. By all accounts this should be the end. We can’t match up with Saviola and Crespo. We can’t outplay them for 120, not with Tevez and Messi on the bench. I can’t see Ballack figuring out enough ways to punt it past Ayala, Sorin, and Heinze as improvisational a player as he might be. I can’t see Schweine dancing around Mascherano more than once. I can’t see Schneider cracking Riquelme. I can’t see Klose and Podolski getting more than three quality chances and I can’t see them finishing.

We stand prepared to give our brave Fatherland the appreciative send off it deserves. Hell, just because one knows one only has five minutes left on a lap dance doesn't mean one can’t enjoy it. Play with pride, Jungs. Run hard and tackle clean. As the darkness closes in, we’ll be all smiles. Cheers will emanate from every corner of the Olympiastadion. We’ll ease you off into that gentle good night with all the revelries you deserve. Die with honor and dignity. All of the money I’m about to part with will prove immaterial if you play fair. 

Projected Lineups:

“Die Mannschaft”

1) Jens Lehman
2) Arne Friedrich
3) Phillip Lahm
4) Per Mertesacker
5) Christoph Metzelder
6) Berndt Schneider
7) Bastian Schweinsteiger
8) Michael Ballack
9) Torsten Frings
10) Lucas Podolski
11) Miroslav Klose

“La Albiceleste”

1) Roberto Abbondanzieri
2) Roberto Ayala
3) Juan Sorin
4) Lionel Scaloni
5) Gabriel Heinze
6) Javier Mascherano
7) Juan Gonzalez
8) Maxi Rodriguez
9) Juan Riquelme
10) Herman Crespo
11) Javier Saviola

Prop Bets (ADDED BONUS: Offer your own!)
Over/Under ---2 Goals
120 Minutes— straight up
Penalty Shootout— 2 to 1
Klose brace—3 to 1
Ballack brace---3 to 1
Podolski brace –3 to 1
Schweinsteiger set piece goal –2 to 1
Neuville substitution (75+) –2 to 1
Odonkor substitution (90+) – 3 to 1
Asamoah Substitution (55+) –3 to 1
Saviola brace --3 to 1
Crespo brace –2 to 1
Tevez brace – 4 to 1
Messi Hat Trick –4 to 1
Sorin substitution (80+) –2 to 1
Milito substitution (65+) – 2 to 1

THE LINE: Deutschland +1 Goal

Editor’s retroactive notes:
RESULT: Germany 2, Argentina 1. (4:2 PSO) Exhale, exhale, exhale. Heart palpitations throughout this wild ride. Pekerman left off Cambiosso, Scaloni, and Saviola. Otherwise the lineups were picked perfectly. Miracles can happen and it went a little something like this.

Schweine threaded a fine ball in for Ballack in the 24th. The talisman’s glancing header was just a bit to high to find its way past a beaten Abbondanzieri. Ballack again persisted, striking the bar twice later in the half. It simply wasn’t his day, or indeed his tournament. Four minutes after the restart Ayala illustrated how the vast majority of unbeatable headers are directed downward, slamming a Riquelme corner straight onto the turf where it proceed to bounce over a sprawled Lehmann. Klinsmann quickly brought on his lucky charms Borowski and Odonokor to up the tempo in midfield. Pekerman countered with Cruz and Cambiosso. In a sign that there might be some hope, keeper Abbonzaieri sustained injury after colliding with a charging Klose in the 69th. Though he continued on for another five minutes, he eventually clasped at his chest and fell to the deck. He had broken a rib and would need to be carted off on a stretcher. His replacement was Leo Franco, a recent call up from Athletico Madrid who had only appeared thrice for the national squad, all during the pre-tournament friendly phase.

Nevertheless, with ten minutes of normal time remaining, it appeared as if nothing would go. Were it not for Klose’s nerves of steel this would have most assuredly been the end. Ballack bent a set piece to Borowski, who blindly headed it into the area. Poised and composed, Klose challenged for the airborne ball, chesting it down to his left thigh and sprinting toward the ensuing free ball to finish spectacularly with his right foot. Borowski wasn’t aiming for him. It was complete dumb luck that he happened to find himself in the right place at the right time. The smooth and careful manner in which he handled this gifted opportunity still deserves endless plaudits.

A tense extra thirty minutes followed, Podolski and Heinze trading the best chances. As the shootout approached, the most over sentimentalized moment of the competition expired. Oliver Kahn had been quite vocal regarding his benching, telling Der Spiegel that he found sitting on the bank “extremely unpleasant” and touting his experience in international football. He emphasized that Klinsmann’s explanation that Lehmann was playing a “tic” or a “notch” better was insufficient to still his rapacious feelings of being hard done by. Klinsmann finally found a role for him as the most over-hyped errand boy of all time. Teams keep detailed notes on the penalty shooting tendencies of their opposition. Players have practiced their “can’t miss” penalty thousands of times. Keepers aren’t merely guessing when they lunge. They use scouting reports to assume that the shooter will go for his strongest location. Klinsi handed the list to Kahn and asked him to deliver it to Lehman.

In a televised incident that the Japanese announcer described in hushed tones worthy of a pre-“Karate Kid” showdown, Kahn strolled up to the squatting Lehman, handed him the weathered scrap of paper, and gave him an awkward hug. One had the intuition that we needn’t even bother with the shootout. The Hollywood Script had already been written. Neuville, Ballack, Podolski, and Borowski all succeeded in their charge. Lehmann dove to the left to stop Roberto Ayala’s effort. It all came down to Esteban Cambiasso. Convert or its over. Lehmann dug the slip out of his sock to refresh himself of the info that Cambiasso favored the right as he strode to the line. Cambiosso clearly wanted to generate more lift on his effort but the lanky Lehman chose the correct side and was able to paw away the shot with the high reach of his right paw.
Jubilation and tears. One couldn’t help but feel empathy for poor downtrodden Esteban Cambiosso. He fell to his knees and let wail in a fashion one rarely sees an adult man succumb to. All across Berlin’s Olympiastadion, all one could discern was the flapping handelsflagge. Virtually every sports media outlet replaying the Kahn-Lehmann exchange on a continuous loop for the next 48 hours. This team had now fully reconciled and knocked out the toughest opponent left. A fourth world championship was a forgone conclusion.   

Italy vs. Ukraine


All hail Lebensräumers! They’re here and prepared to give the Wops a run for their sun tan lotion! Blessings and Peace be upon my Orange brethren. You’ve eliminated the Swiss, cementing your status as my personal heroes. Can you also slay the Dago Dragon? Eh….that might be asking a bit much.

Totti has been cleared to start, meaning either Toni, del Piero, or Gilardino will take a seat. With Toni on a tear and Gilardino looking as if he’s budding it will likely be the Juventus veteran prepared to spark off the bench. Everyone else looks fit and in peak form. Pirlo, and Gattuso have been flawless. Materazzi is suspended, but that just gives Lippi an excuse to deploy an extra midfielder in Inzaghi, Cameronesi, or De Rossi.

The Lebensräumers are not only likely exhausted from their “Battle for European Mediocrity” Showdown with the Swiss, Bayer Leverkusen’s Andrei Voronin, their lead striker, is doubtful after a muscle tear. Other strikers Andrei Voroiby, Sergei Rebrov, and defensive sparkplug Vladislav Vashchuk are questionable. If you’re curious why there are other noteworthy footballers on the Ukrainian team besides Shevchenko….you come to the heart of my point. I’ve no choice but to set a high line, in the words of The Dude, “given that certain shit has come to light…man”.

Projected Lineups:

“The Azzuri”

1) Gianluigi Buffon
2) Fabio Grosso
3) Fabio Cannavaro
4) Gianluca Zambrotta
5) Mauro Cameronesi
6) Genaro Gattuso
7) Simone Perotta
8) Andrea Pirlo
9) Francesco Totti
10) Luca Toni
11) Alberto Gilardino

“The Yellow-Blue”

1) Oleskander Shovkoskyi
2) Andrei Nemaschyni
3) Maxim Kaliychencko
4) Andrei Rusol
5) Voldomyr Yezerisky
6) Oleg Seyvaylev
7) Oleg Gusev
8) Andrei Gusin
9) Andrei Shevchencko
10) Olegsiy Bayev
11) Anatoli Tymoschuk

Prop Bets (ADDED BONUS: Offer your own!)
Over/Under ---4 Goals
120 Minutes— 3 to 1
Penalty Shootout— 5 to 1
Totti brace—4 to 1
Toni brace---2 to 1
Toni Hat Trick –3 to 1
Cameronesi goal –2 to 1
Simone Barone start –2 to 1
Nesta substitution (75+) – 3 to 1
Zambrotta substitution (65+) –2 to 1
Totti substitution (80+) –3 to 1
Shevchecko brace --4 to 1
Shevchecnko Hat Trick –5 to 1
Tymoshuk set piece goal – 3 to 1
Chygrynisky start –4 to 1
MiIlevskiyi start  –2 to 1

THE LINE: Italy +3 Goals

Editor’s retroactive notes:
RESULT: Italy 3, Ukraine 0. Whew. Wop bettors effectively neutralized. The lineup projections turned out to be a disaster and I took some hits off the prop bets. I was however wise enough to thwart a good bit of the Italian money coming down the pike. Blokhin actually gave Milevskiyi his first start. He and fellow Neuling Sviderskiyi went down with early injuries, forcing the hurt Vaschcuck and Vorioby back into the fray. The tyros clearly weren’t set, affording Zambrotta enough space to crush one from range in the 6th. Tymoshuck played one helluva a game, twice striking the post and stretching lobbing in a sure goal that Zambrotta could only barely clear off the line.

In an alternate universe Tymoschuk would have claimed his hat trick. In the actual one, it was Luca Toni’s day. Totti and Zambrotta fed him perfect passes for respective 59th and 69th goals. Totti himself could have made it 5-0, were it not that his tenacious performance lacking the final touch.


England vs. Portugal


One of these underachieving squads has to dig deep and finally astound us. Will St. George advance to the semi-finals for the first time since, steady yourself, 1966?!?! Yes, it’s been a seemingly unpalatable FORTY years since the English have gone beyond the quarterfinals. Your average Englishman cares for little above football. Your average Englishman also has no memory of his team ever doing reasonably well. They made it to the semi-finals of Euro 1996. That’s it.

My pet Navigators are sure throw them out once again. No Michael Owen and a Wayne Rooney that looks progressively worse the more he plays on that fractured foot. David Beckham is rumored to have been vomiting profusely after the Ecuador match, owing to both his fitness level and the vulnerability of his age. They’re working hard to rehabilitate Garry Neville’s calf, but one must assume he’ll be unavailable.

The Navigators will of course have to do without Deco and Costinha, both expelled in the historically fucked-up Holland match. It’s not as if Petit and Tiago are not capable of filling their shoes quite readily. I predict a truly fun match, with a Christiano Ronaldo brace besting a Frank Lampard stunner.

Projected Lineups:

“The Navigators”

1) Ricardo
2) Fernando Meira
3) Miguel
4) Ricardo Carvalho
5) Nuno Valente
6) Tiago
7) Petit
8) Maniche
9) Luis Figo
10) Pauletta
11) Christiano Ronaldo

“The Three Lions”

1) Paul Robinson
2) Ashley Cole
3) Rio Ferdinand
4) John Terry
5) Michael Carragher
6) David Beckham
7) Frank Lampard
8) Owen Hargreaves
9) Joe Cole 
10) Steven Gerrard
11) Wayne Rooney

Prop Bets (ADDED BONUS: Offer your own!)
Over/Under ---3 Goals
120 Minutes— 3 to 1
Penalty Shootout— 4 to 1
Rooney brace—4 to 1
Gerrard goal---3 to 1
Rooney substitution (75+) –3 to 1
Beckham substitution (65+) –2 to 1
Michael Carrick start –3 to 1
Paul Robinson howler – 3 to 1
C. Ronaldo Hat Trick –3 to 1
Luis Figo brace –4 to 1
Pauletta brace --3 to 1
Feirrera substitution (75+) –2 to 1
Ricardo Costa substitution (90+) – 3 to 1
Nuno Gomez substitution (65+) –2 to 1

THE LINE: Portugal +1 Goal

Editor’s retroactive notes:
RESULT: Portugal 1, England 0. (3:1 PSO) It was a hardy-fought dirty street slog from the very beginning. The match will never be remembered for fashionable football, of which there was none.  Instead, we’ll recall how Beckham knocked knees with Pauletta in in the shortly before the half, then heroically hobbled around until the 52nd when he had no choice but to call it quits. We’ll remember the shoving match between Man U teammates Christiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney that resulted in the latter’s expulsion in the 62nd. We’ll remember how Aaron Lennon came on for a depleted Joe Cole, then ran until his own heart burst and he had to be substituted in the 118th.

Fortune favored the lions as they entered the shootout. Prolific scorers Pauletta and Luis Figo had already been substituted. They couldn’t possible lose in penalties for the fourth time in six tournaments? The odds had to crash in. Pub patrons were convinced. Things did not start out promisingly. Ricardo guessed right on Frank Lampard’s drive while Simao converted. Suddenly there was new life after Owen Hargreaves finished and Hugo Viana struck the post. Everything was evened up. Steven Gerrard and Petit swapped misses, but Helger Postiga succeeded where the 119th minute replacement for Aaron Lennon, Jamie Carragher failed. All that remained was for Christiano Ronaldo to wrap up the best-of-five. He did so emphatically. England went down on penalties, as they had in 1996, 1998, and 2004. The sun may never have set on British Empire, but it sure as hell don’t shine on that beleaguered little patch of land at its core.

Brazil vs. France


Off to the recently widowed wife of my former mentor to watch one of the countries he served so well. No, I don’t refer to France, where he obtained his PhD. He was also fluent in Portuguese and spent several years as an envoy to Brazil. One and all expect the Samba Kings to slit the throats of these lucky bastards. Those old grey and veiny legs have no more calories to burn.

So the Brazilians will be without Emerson. Who gives an oscillating fuck? Junhinho has already scored once. Bring back the old dog. Adriano, Ronaldo, and Ronaldinho will not be defeated. They’ve just come off a spectacular spanking of the Black Stars and now Les Bleus can spread em.

“os brasileiros o aperfeiçoaram"!!

Projected Lineups:

“The Samba Kings”

1) Dida
2) Cafu
3) Juan
4) Lucio
5) Roberto Carlos
6) Kaka
7) Junhinho
8) Ronaldinho
9) Ze Roberto
10) Ronaldo
11) Adriano

“Les Bleus”

1) Fabian Barthez
2) Eric Abidal
3) Lillian Thuram
4) William Gallas
5) Willy Sagnol
6) Zinedine Zidane
7) Florent Malouda
8) Claude Makelele
9) Patrick Viera
10) Frank Ribbery
11) Thierry Henry

Prop Bets (ADDED BONUS: Offer your own!)
Over/Under ---4 Goals
120 Minutes— 4 to 1
Penalty Shootout— 6 to 1
Ronaldo Hat Trick—3 to 1
Ronaldinho brace---3 to 1
Robinho substitution (70+) –2 to 1
Ricardinho substitution (90+) –2 to 1
Fred substitution (60+) –2 to 1
Barthez howler – 2 to 1
Henry brace –2 to 1
Vierra brace –3 to 1
Trezuguet substitution (70+) --2 to 1
Dhorasoo substitution (80+) –3 to 1

THE LINE: Brazil +2 Goals


Editor’s retroactive notes:
RESULT: France 1, Brazil 0. Flummoxed in Frankfurt. At no point in this match did the Brazilians even deign to threaten. It all began with Pereira’s whimsical choice to sit two-time scorer Adriano in favor of extra midfielder Gilberto Silva. Adriano had played with less vigor than his goals might suggest, but Ronaldo as the lone striker? The experiment came nowhere close to working. After Zidane’s polished free kick found the inside of Henry’s right boot in the 53rd, Parreiras interjected Adriano and Robinho into the proceedings, all for naught. What a superbly strange match this was. The talent-rich Samba Kings managed one minor shot on goal in 90 minutes. Apparently, they really were a struggling side that hadn’t quite found the requisite rhythm. Go figure.

Lost a hefty chunk of change here, but a lovely afternoon with the former Mrs. Lucas tempered any feelings of feelings of resentment burgeoning below. He used to, in the authoritative tone of a mafia don, request that I escort her to Women’s Basketball Games when he was too busy. My lack of affinity for the sport went straight out the window and never so much as intimated a return. Six years later.....some losses are just too devastating to consummately recover from LL