Sunday, April 29, 2012

WM 2006--Semifinals

Einen schönen Feiertag zu allem,
WM 2006

Yes, it’s the fourth of July…almost. A party the likes of which no one has ever witnessed is in the making. “Independence Day over at Vicey’s—Fatherland vs. Motherland on the Sacred American Holiday”. For those for whom it has remained carefully concealed, your friendly bookie is a half-breed. Half-Kraut, Half-Wop, still somehow an American even though we’ve run out of percentages. His Italian side tempts him towards the passionate, the melodramatic, and the gesticular gratuity of a wretched Wop. Thus he suppresses it with all the energy he can muster. His German side is slightly less despicable. It merely stubbornly insists that he hate himself constantly and work entirely too hard on everything. As one can see, the correct team has been chosen. With any luck I’ll push myself into the ground before I have a chance to spawn another Vice. The macro interests of public health shall be affirmed. Society shall win in the end.

Enough metaphysical psychobabble. We’ve far more significant topics to attend to. The final two no-European teams board their chartered flights, much to all of our consternation. Gentlemen, I give you the final “farewells”


Pekerman has already tendered his resignation. Cambiosso still hasn’t stopped crying. Youtube is inundated with videos showing Lehman “cheating”. This is a deep gash that will take at least another four years to heal. See you cats when it finally scabs over!

Editor’s retroactive notes:

The skin might have completed its palliative regeneration….right about when the Germans thumped them again in the 2010 Quarterfinals.


Can someone explain to me why it doesn’t feel natural to refer to this country without using a definite article? “I’m from Germany” works. “I’m from Ukraine” does not work. “I’m from THE Ukraine.” “I’m from THE United States of America” makes sense because we have a plural object. It confounds me why we must say “THE Ukraine” I don’t get it. Anyway, I digress. Excellent job there, boys. See you and the Klitschko Brothers down the road.  

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Hehe. With the wisdom of hindsight, I can now pinpoint the precise reason that the Lebensräumer country requires a definite article. It’s the German! “Die Ukraine”, “In der Ukraine”. The article is often utilized in English as well, but is by no means compulsory. The benefit of six years of Monday morning quarterbacking also engenders the opportunity to look back on my offbeat insinuation that the Klitschkos would come back. In 2008, Vitaly Klitschko regained the WBC Heavyweight Title. He’s defended it eight times and will soon surpass both Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson as the longest reigning champion. He’s also the only boxer in history to hold a PhD. He speaks four different languages, continues t be active in global politics, and wrote a hundred-page dissertation on Sponsorship in Sports. Compare him to Mike Tyson.

Certified Chess Grandmaster and younger brother Vladimir had only recently won the vacant IBO and IBF Titles in 2006. Soon he would capture the WBO and WBA Titles, and reign for six years as the first true unified champion since Ali (and briefly Tyson). He also speaks four languages, is immensely intelligent, and politically active in humanitarian causes around the world. Who the hell says Heavyweight Boxing is no longer interesting? The Klitschko brothers are the longest reigning heavyweights in fifty years!! Wait a second, I’ve got it. Is it because all of the heavyweight fights now take place in Germany? Fucking crybabies. LL


Devastating tournament for Rooney, culminating with the unsportsmanlike shove of Christiano Ronaldo. That’s a wrap for Sven Goran-Erikson and in all likelihood the David Beckham Era. How many times can a country be eliminated on penalties? It never ends. Barring injury, Rooney and Walcott should form quite the formidable duo in two years time. We’ll look forward to another summer of inhumanely crushed dreams. See you in Austria!

Editor’s retroactive notes:

We would not actually see them in 2008. In a dramatic upset at Wembley, the Russians swiped their qualification spot. Six years later, we’re still waiting for Theo Walcott to break out. He’s shown some spunk for Arsene’s Gunners this season, setting up van Persie virtually every match and grabbing three braces of his own. Accordingly, he deserves a good look this summer. Do we behold a potential “player of the tournament”?


Amazing. All of us are complicit in overrating the defending champs, who proved beyond a shadow of a doubt on Saturday that they never had a team to begin with. They coasted through perhaps the weakest group in the competition, disposed of a fluke Round of 16 opponent, and just laid back and took it from the French. ONE shot on goal and nothing even remotely highlight-worthy from the Five-Stars. Coach Carlos Pereira touted the “Magic Quartet”, consisting of the fabulous foursome of Ronaldo, Adriano, Kaka, and Ronaldinho. The system was a complete failure, only clicking in the latter stages of the Japan match. Though all other Ronaldinho netted goals, Adriano and Ronaldo struggled with their fitness the entire way while Kaka didn’t seem to get enough possession. That leaves Ronaldinho as the undisputed goat. He distributed the ball poorly and exhibited none of his patented set-piece flair. A complete non-factor throughout, Brazilian fans justified in questioning his heart and determination. Either he phoned it in or the two-time FIFA World Footballer of the Year finds himself on the precipice of collapse.

Editor’s retroactive notes:

It was definitely the latter. Brazilian fans spent weeks burning him in effigy. Reportedly he took the criticism very hard, as evidenced by his increasingly expanding waistline. After an injury plagued 2007 Campaign, Barça offloaded him to AC Milan, where he didn’t even last a season before being relegated to the bench. Brazil then dropped him from the 2009 Confederations Cup Squad and kept him off the 2010 World Cup Roster. His stats would seem to suggest that he didn’t tank as precipitously as the non-inclusions would suggest. As sensational a story as football journalists would care to make it, his absence bespoke as much about the insanely deep talent pool Brazilian trainers have to draw from as a pronounced drop in form. Back on the side now, he should remain at the top-tier throughout the 2014 Qualifying Campaign. Whether or not there will be room for him on the host country squad come tournament time remains doubtful. 

Gentlemen, I am pleased to present the eighth and FINAL edition of our controversial feature.

Dispatches from the Penthouse (Fit the 8th)

Is it possible for a moon to hang “morosely”? Eh…sounds decent enough. We’ll call that lunch. Though I may be running low on transcendental personifications for natural scenes observed from my balcony/rooftop, wheeling a beer cooler outdoors and blankly starting at nothing particularly significant for a few hours never gets stale. I even pulled a Thoreau the other dusk and watched a troupe of ants file around for a solid 45 minutes. Life’s good in Walden, where square footage and solitude reaffirm their status of the only two primal necessities. Yes, the bashes have been spectacular. Sure, it’s wonderful to inhabit a space that women can’t say no to. Who doesn’t love sprawling out on a marble kitchen bar countertop, falling asleep reading on a plush leather couch, or curling up with a glass of wine while C-Spans 1,2,3 stream on separate 52 inch screens? Still, look back on the moments in your life that were genuinely transformative. Was there music softly playing? Were there stimuli of any sort, anything competing for your attention, anyone there to perturb you? True tranquility can only be achieved through a solitary vacuum. Some shriek at the intimation of being alone with their thoughts. In closing Prince von Weis wishes to remind you that as daunting as hermit-like seclusion may seem, it remains the closest you’ll ever come to true peace before you draw your final breath.

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Somehow he hasn’t joined the monastery just yet. Well, the day is comparatively young. Simply waiting for the one that will let me wheel in the beer cooler. Blasted Franciscans! I thought you guys practically invented beer! How can you turn me away at the door? I was even wearing a robe and sandals. Was it the sunglasses?

Tuesday the FOURTH OF JULY

Germany vs. Italy
(Fatherland vs. Motherland)

Germany vs. Italy

The Oz-like antics of the Brazilians and Argentines have been exposed. They’re toast. All that remains are the fluke French, the deeply flawed Portuguese, and (of course) the “floppin’ Wops”. What stands in the way of a fourth German World Championship? Very little outside a band of greasy, flamboyant cheaters. The conniving little pricks have now taken their subterfuge to a previously unheard of level. They’re engaging in deceptive chicanery BEFORE the match has even begun. The dastardly Dagos have been aggressively lobbying FIFA to suspend German players for their role in a minor scuffle that took place with the Argentine players after Friday’s upset. They’ve collected every piece of video tape they can get their olive-skinned oleaginous grubby mitts on and petitioning FIFA to suspend Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lucas Podolski, Torsten Frings, Michael Ballack, and David Odonkor for their role in a frustration-induced shoving match after Lehman saved Cambiosso.

Such a fallacious tactic is unheard of and could only belong to the slimy, skuzzy, unkempt, and unwashed sub-human Mediterranean mole-rats. These pieces of overly-lubricated fecal mater are still pissed that the Krauts took the Cup on their home soil in 1990 that they’re prepared to resort to anything, even something lower than one might expect a from a sloppy, incontinent group of proscuitto-porking…….alright I need to calm down now. My Mannschaft must win. Nothing less than the spirit of the game is at stake.

Thus far the fraudulent fuckers have succeeded in getting Torsten Frings suspended, meaning we’ll have to reorganize the entire midfield. Borowski will be his replacement, but he’s better suited to play on Schweine’s side. Klinsi may give Hitzlsberger, Kehl, or Odonokor Fring’s place and start Borowski in place of Schweine. Perhaps even Neuville or Hanke will get a midfield look. The Wops get Marco Materazzi back, which means that Barzagli should return to the bench.

Show the world that cheaters never prosper, Jungs. Send these stinking, slipshod shitheads off to a third place match with the French. Don’t kill my party.

Projected Lineups:

“The Azzuri”

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

“Die Mannschaft”

1) Jens Lehman
2) Arne Friedrich
3) Phillip Lahm
4) Per Mertesacker
5) Christoph Metzelder
6) Berndt Schneider
7) Thomas Hitzlsberger
8) Michael Ballack
9) Tim Borowski
10) Lucas Podolski
11) Miroslav Klose

Prop Bets (ADDED BONUS: Offer your own!)
Over/Under ---4 Goals
120 Minutes— 2 to 1
Penalty Shootout— 2 to 1
Klose brace—3 to 1
Klose Hat Trick – 3 to 1
Ballack brace---2 to 1
Podolski brace –2 to 1
Odonkor Start –3 to 1
Hanke substitution (60+) –3 to 1
Totti brace—3 to 1
Toni brace---3 to 1
Toni Hat Trick –4 to 1
Cameronesi goal –3 to 1
Gilhardino substitution (85+) –2 to 1
Iaquinta substitution (80+) – 3 to 1
Totti substitution (85+) –3 to 1

THE LINE: Deutschland +1 Goal

Editor’s retroactive notes:
RESULT: Italy 2, Germany 0. (120 a.e.t) The party was kicking and the phone never stopped ringing. Every friend and relative from the Philly area had to check in…and rub it in. After it was over, I was too drunk to cry for more than three minutes. Invited guests and I made the most of our afternoon until we were perfectly positioned to watch the fireworks shot from across the river in Port Allen (A.K.A. “Vice City”). Not at all a bad day. I’ve been much more devastatingly and inconsolably heartbroken for much more trivial reasons.

Klinsi started Kehl, leaving Schweine and Hitzlsberger on the bench. Fifteen minutes in it was Bernd Schneider with the almighty miss after Podolski shuffled him the ball in an incredibly tantalizing position. Podolski himself later snapped on that Buffon couldn’t handle. It bounced back to Friedrich who screwed the ample opportunity into the eight row. Both coaches made two adjustments as it became clear the match was headed for extra time. Klinsi subbed in Schweine and Odonkor. The more offensive-minded Lippi introduced Gilardino and Iaquinta. As regular time wound down, both Gilardino and Zambrotta struck the post. Both sides were too exhausted to present anything worthwhile during the first half of extra time. Final subs were brought on, Neuville for Klose and Del Piero for Perrotta.

It appeared that both squads were playing for penalty kicks…or at least for the 118th minute, when any goal surely would be decisive. It was in the 119th that a Gattusso corner bounced fortuitously to Andrea Pirlo, who controlled impressively. He swept past Neuville and Ballack to lay it off to Fabi Grosso, who curled a beauty past the full-stretch Lehman. One minute plus is far too short a time-span to hope for a comeback. Even the paltriest of hopes were quashed in the 121st, when the afleet Gilardino danced around a very fatigued Christoph Metzelder to serve up the fresh-legged del Piero for a shot Lehman didn’t even bother attempting to save. 2-0 in Dortmund. Schweine cried until Klinsi came to console him. Ballack caterwauled for a full ten minutes. The waterworks flowed endlessly in Dortmund. The dream was over. The Azzuri had avenged their 1990 defeat. “We grieve with you” read the headlines in every major Krautland newspaper the next day.


Portugal vs. France


Who will finally rid us of these pesky Frogs? Why it’s my chosen favorites, a Navigator force long overdue for a legitimate victory. Deco returns to once again render the armor unchinkable. I find myself at a loss when attempting to devise any cogent explanation for the French presence. They should have been vanquished long ago. La Roja laid down in the street. The Samba Selection turned out to be the vaudevillian caricature behind the curtain. This incredulous insanity must end at some point. A France vs. Germany Final would be a bigger joke than the phrase “nearly a dozen weapons of mass-destruction related programs.” 

Projected Lineups:

“The Navigators”

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

“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 ---3 Goals
120 Minutes— 4 to 1
Henry brace –3 to 1
Vierra brace –4 to 1
Zidane brace –3 to 1 
Govou start –3 to 1
Saha substitution (60+) -- 2 to 1
Zidane crushes set piece – 3 to 1
Thuram substitution (70+) –3 to 1
Silvestre substitution (85)+ --3 to 1
Sagnol substitution (80+) – 3 to 1
C. Ronaldo brace –2 to 1
Luis Figo brace –3 to 1
Deco brace --4 to 1
Costinha goal –2 to 1
Ricardo Carvalho substitution (60+) – 2 to 1
Pauletta substitution (70+) –2 to 1
Simao substitution (70+) – 3 to 1
Boa Morte substitution (85+) -- 2 to 1
Postiga substitution (90+) – 3 to 1

THE LINE: Portugal +2 Goals


Editor’s retroactive notes:
RESULT: France 1, Portugal 0. Pauletta hit the side netting on two occasions. He also badly mistimed a header in scoring position. Christiano also miscued on a dynamite ball. Four botchings of magnificent opportunities are likely enough to forgive the preposterous French penalty awarded in the 33rd minute. Ricardo Carvalho flipped backwards in an attempt to clear a Zidane ball flicked toward the box in the vicinity of Henry. Shortly before his posterior hit the pitch, Henry intentionally caught his floating left leg and sold the dive well. Such a disturbing trend. Acrobatic defenders seek only to achieve a clearance and opportunistic forwards run into them and fall to the turf on contact. Oh well. Monstrously harebrained call or no, the Navigators had plenty of chances to remedy matters. They out-shot the Frogs 3 to 1.