A hearty Sura-del Bunda welcome to the Samba Kings, henceforth to be referred to as “the hosts with the mosts”. Even though quarterly GDP Growth has predictably slowed to fewer than 5 percent, this bookie still avers that the Brazilians have much to be grateful for.
I had high hopes that the Socceroos would ultimately falter after joining the AFC. Sadly, Timmy Cahill and the boys will be coming along. Nothing personal against Cahill, whom I still revere for his infamous “Kaiserslautern KO”. I remain remiss, however, when coming up with novel ways to describe this team. I remain equally remiss to write anything original about “comeback kid” Kevin Rudd. I’ve little choice but to re-post more “blasts from the past”.
One final re-post in the “qualified” section. I promise. This has to be emphasized. Everyone must understand the presence of the Koreans is so vitally important:
Rouhani or Rowhani? The precise spelling is immaterial. Our new clerical “Philosopher King” is neither a moderate nor a potential I.A.E.A. miracle worker. Iran will continue to enrich weapons-grade uranium. Crippling sanctions will continue to drive the Rial and—thus—the entire country’s currency into a despondent state of ruin.
No choice but to get this monster out of the way first. I’ll literally be writing about it all day. Why, you ask? Let’s begin with my often re-posted intro from four years ago:
Might as well start with a blockbuster. I know that all of you are eagerly anticipating the result of a match that pits a sparsely inhabited former SSR against a mini-archipelago that even the Scottish found too classless to conquer. Damn straight. Head to your local boutique butcher and purchase some Caviar-fed Kobe Beef. You don’t want to be caught throwing cheap EBT-financed Turkey Sausage on the grill when your mates come over to behold the most memorable match that the qualifying stages have to offer.
Anschluß baby! It’s always a gas when these two nations get together. What could possibly go wrong? We’re going to go ahead and bitchslap our limping little brother alpha-Kraut style. Come Saturday morning, the Mannschaft may officially book travel arrangements for Rio.
Get ready for one helluva scrappy fight. The Blaugults unexpectedly dropped a gimme to the Austrians back in June, resurrecting the moribund qualifying hopes of Trappatoni & Co.
We’ll label this one the “Castlevannia Clash”. Yes, I’m hopeless. I can’t stop. In eleven years of writing the Syndicate, I’ve not once been able to sit down and compose a section on my Transylvannia..er…Romanians without succumbing to the urge to broach the Belmonts.
How does Europe end up with so many absurdly preposterous microstates? Well, in Andorra’s case there was a valley in the Pyrenees. That’s more or less the story. There was a valley in the Pyrenees. Nice natural fortification. Approximately 1300 years ago, right about the time the Moors turned up, the denizens of the valley discovered just how resourceful natural fortification. Invading Islamic hoards? Fuck that. We’ve got ourselves a Valley! Good luck trying to catch us off guard!
This one should prove a treat. “Goofy Finns” vs. “Goofy Germans”. These two countries share in common the undeniable fact that their spoken languages sound like Jerry Lewis on a cocaine bender. (“undeniable” in this context being a highly relative descriptive modifier).
The Czech Republic’s failure to qualify for South Africa 2010 infuriated me so deeply that I wrote the following:
Absolutely hate to be that miserly, egocentric bastard in a self-obsessed mood, but the Danes have had a disastrous qualifying campaign and we won’t be seeing them. This makes me morose. Your friendly bookie loves his Danes. Upon confirming that they secured qualification four years ago, he had this to write:
We haven’t seen the Bulgarians since EM 2004. Now they’re kicking ass, taking names, and threatening to burst back onto our radar. They’ve even done it all without Dimitar Berbatov or Lothar Matthäus. The Lions have an energetic young captain in striker Ivelin Popov and priceless veteran leadership from mainstays like Georgi Iliev and Stanislav Manolev.
Here we have something that doesn’t exactly qualify as a football match. The Macedonians (a.k.a. F.Y.R.O.M) are a former Yugoslav Republic whose only claim to fame involves regularly pissing off the Greeks. The Welsh (a.k.a. ‘The Arthurians’) are nothing more than sad vestigial descendants of once proud Roman colonizers forced into cramped inbreeding by Gothic and Nordic invaders.
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? Might as well organize a “Sunni vs. Shi’ite” match. Have a real bad feeling about this one. ; ( It’s scheduled to take place in Belgrade…with a German referee. I’ll reiterate my long held belief that Croat fans are nothing more than a bunch of worthless hooligans:
The Belgians are most assuredly headed to Brazil. Let that sink in. It’s happening. The most arbitrarily conceived country in the entire history of the planet is coming along. This bookie can scarcely believe it. The Belgians?!!?
Who else is tired of reading about Cyprus? Trick question. This divided microcosm of a country conceals lessons of vital importance for all of us. Ahem. When dealing with the freewheeling arithmetically inclined wizards of international finance, is it really fair to fuck over pensioners in the interest of obverting contagion/preserving the integrity of the globalized fake commodity exchange?
Interesting...two tiny states vying for influence. One is an EU member. The other fights for a seat at OSCE meetings. We’ll stick with Slovenia, even if they remain unkind to their ethnic Albanian minority.
The preceding Summer afforded your friendly bookie a chance to deeply research the “Ice Dottirs”
We’re not having the discussion on Russia’s anti-gay laws. Zero chance. Pour all the Stoli down the drain if it makes you feel better. Talk about boycotting the Sochi Olympics if you must. I personally find it uninteresting, and that has nothing to do with the ever-blunt Dan Savage. Express your identity in whatever way you choose. I’m just not interested.
On the topic of “bad jokes”, a Jewish kid asks his father for five dollars:
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Three countries that should have joined the Euro-zone as soon as the Great Recession hit. A quick look above will inform you as to why I only continue to care about one of them.
Shevchencko’s forgotten gang sits in a precarious position. Tymoschuk and Yaromolenko need a big win here to stay alive. They’ll deliver…for now.
I hate proffering unoriginal thoughts!!! We must simply because we must,,,..
La Roja shouldn’t even be required to qualify. THREE major titles in succession? Why can’t we just proclaim “case closed”?
Farewell to the Scots. They were colonized by wankers anyway. Last chance.
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz….hrmph! What say you? The Maltese Falcons vs. The Tricolor Lions? I was in the midst of a perfectly good dream! Asshole!
Do or die time for Billek and the boys. Here’s where it gets interesting.
The Paddies might pull out a win here. Then again….it’s probably time for Trappatoni to return to Italy.
Point of clarification requested. Is it pronounced [FA-rOW] Islands or [PHA-ROAH] Islands?
No typo here either. This bookie expects nothing but the best from his Turks.
What sort of sick joke is this? It’s Europe. The whole damn continent is a sick joke ; (
The Swiss deserve to know it feels like to face off against a “real country”. Hence, the line is high. Good luck there, alpine assholes. I’ll see you in Brazil…but I won’t be happy about it.
I don’t even know what to say. It’s the Shark Fishermen versus the Mediterranean wannabes. Everyone wants to be a star. The footballers contesting this match should keep that in mind.
Among the things that the Israelis should keep in mind: You wouldn’t have a fucking country were it not for Russian immigrants. You shouldn’t even have a country if you’re not willing to be humble about it. You only have your country because WE (the world) let you have it, We felt sorry for you. Don’t test our patience.
Don’t hate the Ulster Unionists. Don’t hate Sinn Fein either (even if they deserve to be hated). The Syndicate is non-sectarian…just like the “Holy Family” in “The Boxer”. We love all people, sophisticated Jews and barbaric Arabs alike.
Who’s side are you on? The “sliver” of a country or the “silver” of country? My money’s on the rich biatches….at least for now.
It’s not that I’m against B & H. They simply don’t have it in them; not after Sliskovic left anyway. Bosnian qualification is all but certain. S’true. We’ll see them in Brazil. Do they possess the strength to fend off worthy opponents in a meaningless match? This bookie says no.
If only everyone could kindly stop shamelessly satirizing the Greeks…..let them be. They’ve suffered enough already. Come on over to Brazil.
As evenly matched as these two sides are, one has to assume that Three Lions will manage to dig deep and eke out a victory.
Awfully close in Group H. With goal differential sure to be a factor, both Lewandoski and Blaszczykowski better be on the hunt for Hat Tricks.
Yeah….good stopping point for today. White Russian, anyone?
Just about wrapped up here as the Asian Football Confederation heads into its fifth and final round. Asian qualifying features two knockout stage rounds followed by two group stages. Higher ranked teams are allowed to bypass the aggregate knockout rounds by being seeded. No big shocks as World Cup regulars Japan, South Korea, and Australia took advantage of high seeding that enabled them to sit out the first two rounds. The Iranians only received a first round bye, but were fortunate enough to draw the Maldives in the midst of a coup for the easy advance.
In honor of Herman Cain, I’ve long since proposed that the latter country be rechristened “Uz-beki-beki-stan-stan”. Get used to that gag, as you’ll see a great deal more of it. The “White Wolves” are a better football team. They’ve got Vitaly Denisov of Lokomotiv Moscow and Server Djeparaov of Seongham in Korea. One’s heart often tends toward Jordan, home of benevolent and educated monarchs who take white women as wives.
Thanks to last Winter’s “CAN 2013—Syndicate: Dark Continent” and the prominence of the Super Eagles at this Summer’s Confederations Cup, I’m more pumped up than ever for what promised to be one the best African Rounds yet! Viva Africa!
Rest in peace, Professor John Atta Mills. The Black Stars shall rise again. You have the Americans to beat, do you not?
The “Lions of Teranga” should finally make their may back into a meaningful international competition. Can’t wait to see you guys. Macky Sall kicks ass!
Do or die time for Igesund and Bafana. We’ll predict a win here, but only by the slightest of margins.
The overachieving Antelopes have us all in a state of shock. I cannot expect them to hang on. Honestly. As a thrice-bitten East Africa lover, I refuse to bet on the realization of this dream.
I love and cherish my “Taifa Stars” jersey. I’ll even wear it on Saturday as my team gets crushed.
Just because they’ve already qualified for the next round, don’t expect “Les Elephants” to lie down. Time to take out the “Lions of the Atlas”, and their complacent king too.
“Congo NDR” stands for “non-democratic-Republic”. This isn’t to suggest that the Republic of the Congo is, in fact, “non-democratic”. In fact, the former “French Congo” (Congo NDR) is far more democratic than the former “Belgian Congo” (Zaire/Congo DR). Nguesso may lack legitimate competition, but his state remains a multi-party democracy. This is in stark contrast to Kabila’s “Congo DR”. Though he should be rightly credited with winding down the civil war, the incursions of Hutu nationalists into his territory and the current M-23 rebellion shouldn’t be written off so easily.
Hard to know what to make of this one too. I’ll go ahead and congratulate Kenyatta and Ruto…but only for now. Insofar as I’m concerned, they’re still both suspected war criminals. Innocent until proven guilty, but suspicion lingers.
Lesotho is actually a really cool place. It’s nestled in a valley of the Drakensberg Mountains. Its elevation makes it the “Highest Kingdom on Earth”. Without reviving the “Valley Speech” from earlier, I’ll go ahead and call it an “Idyllic Enclave”.
Wish both of these squads were coming along…I’ll miss Adebayor, Gakpe, Amewou, Marnah, Mputu, Mbokani, Mulumbu, Bolasie, Issama, and Mongugo. Fare thee well.
Former U.S. Coach Bob Bradley has done a most amazing job with the Egyptians, even in these turbulent times. Before the revolutions that ousted Morsi and Mubarak, he had riots and a FIFA Suspension to deal with. Read up on his journey if you can find the time:
FUCK ANSAR DINE!
From WMQ 2009—“Syndicate with Avengence”
Do you wish to mow the lawn or manicure the lawn? Dare to dream. One almost wishes that both of these countries could win.
Quite a bit at stake here for Valdes and the “Red Tide”. All signs point to delivery.
Not too many countries down under on the “comma continent”. Hence, the Latin Americans do it all with one group. Nine teams contest (ordinarily ten, but Brazil qualifies as host). The top four clinch a World Cup Berth while the fifth place finisher squares off against the winner of the Uzbekistan vs. Jordan aggregate playoff in an intercontinental playoff.
What the FARC? Who are these “Coffee Growers”? No seriously that’s their team’s nickname: “The Coffee Growers”. What the rail-snorting fuck sort of name is that for a football team? Couldn’t they at least have gone with “The Coffee Drinkers”?
I can’t even make a Fernando Lugo joke here. Those have long since been retired….for good reason. I received no fewer than five complaints from Syndicate Members who had no idea who Fernando Lugo was….and that I was a pompous esoteric priest.
I don’t want to read about Nicolas Maduro anymore. I’ve got the general gist. He’s a wannabe autocrat with a moustache. Plenty of those out there. Until I see convincing evidence to the contrary, he won the election legitimately. Let the man rant in peace.
It’s not looking like I’ll be able to write this section without mentioning Jose Mujica’s controversial experiment of Full Marijuana legalization. Look, people. I don’t have a dog in this fight. I haven’t toked up in years. The prospect of doing so again doesn’t even remotely interest me.
La Tri are coming back to join us for the first time since 2006! Looking forward to it already.