Thursday, June 26, 2014

WM 2014--Day Fourteen Recap

Your “Syndicate Hangover” is proudly presented by “Pißwasser Pils”


Day 14: Recap

Spread: 13-31
Straight up: 19-17-8

Hot Girl Standings

Games Played
Costa Rica
3 (finished)
3 (finished)
Bosnia & H
3 (finished)
3 (finished)
3 (finished)
Cote d’Ivoire
3 (finished)
South Korea
3 (finished)
3 (finished)
3 (finished)
3 (finished)
3 (finished)
3 (finished)

Incredible cracker between Argentina and Nigeria last night. To all of those who falsely augured that Africa had nothing more to say….I give you Ahmed Musa:

The result sets up a highly intriguing Round of 16 Match between Argentina and France. I’m not setting any lines just yet, but I can tell you that I’ve got my finger on the “Upset Alert Trigger”. All Keshi needs to do is get Musa and Emenike in sync. Expect a Classic.

In other news, Shaquiri proved himself the ultimate “Hitzfeld Hero” with that gorgeous Hat Trick last night and I was very proud of the “Golden Lillies” for their heartfelt “moral victory”. The French match turned out to be anticlimactic, but I think Deschamps made the right moves from a tactical standpoint. He rested the right players, though I would have probably sat Benzema, Pogba, and Griezman too.

We’ve little time to re-hash last night’s action. Why? Oh you know why. Let’s review the hype thus far:  


Day 14 Recap (2)Two hours remaining until the “Germany vs. USA” SHOWDOWN!!!

Immortal foes on the football pitch. Inseparable allies for life off of it. American Syndicate fans, you just have no idea how much fun this is going to be…for ALL of us!


Germany’s most sensationalist tabloid took a bit of a breather today. They interviewed Klinsi’s wife, talked to Müller about his preparations, analyzed the Italian loss, and continued to lead with the theft of Schumacher’s Hospital Files. Oh can still see Hope Solo naked again if you want!!
Day 13 Recap (3) 
I reiterate that this is going to be such great fun. A German loss would, of course, have serious repercussions:

From WM 2014—Group G Preview:

This brings us to my adopted “country of convenience”. The Yanks are back. Don’t laugh. Many are tipping them to top this group, and with good reason. Even without Landon Donovan, new kid Julian Green posses the speed to carve up defenses. Beleaguered strikers Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore need only to have the ball placed at their feet. They still know how to finish. All it takes is one penetrating through-ball. Should the Fatherland lose to U.S. (a very real possibility) it will be a national embarrassment on par with the burning of the Reichstag. Many Krauts will stumble out of bed with the worst hangover of their life, raise their iron shutters, and wonder why we even bother having a country at all.

Day 14 Recap (3)Nevertheless, it’s nothing a night of heavy drinking can’t ameliorate. Germans and Americans are soul mates. The Transatlantic-Relationship remains the most important MFN Status in the history of diplomacy. We’re all set to have a great time. We’re ALL gonna get laid. No matter what happens, we’re still BFFs. Merkel and Obama will watch the match together. Hell, they might even fuck afterwards if the mood strikes.

Get ready for the time of your life!

Day 14 Recap (1)Today’s Bild Zeitung went straight for the jugular. I’ve been on the road for most of the day, and NO RADIO STATION went a single song without giving you a “WM-Update.” It’s “Matchday in the Fatherland” again. As I conveyed to you in my Day Ten Recap, EVERYONE is invited.

The scene is set. It’s a perfect one. As you’ll read below, both Syndicate Member 121-M and Syndicate Member 128-M have checked in with me. We’re now a “FULL-FORCE-SYNDICATE”. The gang’s all here.

Today will be the greatest day we’ve ever known. LET’S DO IT!!

Goodbyes Section

Bosnia & Herzegovina—“The Golden Lillies”
Shirt badge/Association crest 
-3 Games Played
-4 Goals
-59 Hot Girls

That’s the way to go out. Loved the goals from Dzeko and Pjancic. Such a pity that they came too little too late.

Some debut. We’ll structure this section around the very real “burning question”: “Can the Golden Lillies Qualify for Euro 2016?” The answer is: “YES, YES, YES, YES, Oh God YES, Virginia!”

There is a Santa Claus. The Golden Lillies have drawn Belgium, Israel, Wales, Cyprus, and Andorra. The only name that jumps out at you from that group is Belgium. They may be in the midst of a Renaissance of sorts, but Van Buyten won’t be available and Fellaini remains a question mark over the long slog. Dembele, Lukaku, Hazard, and Mirallas can also only appear when circumstances allow. The Premiership’s schedule is best described as “grueling”.

You might correctly point out that Dzeko also had to deal with the Premiership schedule, but he’s the only one. Ibisevic, Salihovic, Sphacic, Mujdza, Kolasinac, and Bikacic are all comfortably safe in the confines of the German Bundesliga. They get to take a “Winter Break”, ideal for the crucial qualifying matches. Sphacic will surely return as an indispensable leader, at least through the qualifying stage. Misimovic has another two years in him if he’s needed. Zahirovic and Stevanovic possess all the raw talent to make the final 23 next time. Susic, Hajrovic, and Besic will all obtain higher profile contracts over the next 24 months.

Plenty of grounds for optimism. I’ll conclude with some re-posts from the preview section.

From WM 2014—Group F Preview

The gang’s all here! We even get to make a new friend too!

Writing about an entirely new country in the Syndicate is akin to stumbling upon a conversation that completely blows your previous paradigm out of the water. You’re friendly bookie has been positively ecstatic since learning that the “Golden Lillies” would qualify for their first ever international competition.

The Bosnians have always supplied us with lovely insane and eccentric characters. Anyone recall former Japan head coach Ivan Osim? His first words after collapsing from a stroke while watching a football game and spending ten days in a coma were, “What was the score?” How about current Algerian coach Vahid Halilhodzic? As a player he once explained away a scoring drought by claiming his name was too big for Belgrade scoreboards.

The list goes on and on. You’ll meet some more loons in the team section. They’re all completely batshit nuts football maniacs…and it’s wonderful ; ) On a more somber not, B & H has always held a special significance for this kid from “Herzblut City”. A couple of years before the Dayton Accords, about the time that everyone at the Winter Olympics were sporting flashlights inscribed “Remember Sarajevo”, the war torn country dispatched a symbolic squad known as the “Bosnia and Herzegovina Humanitarian All Stars” to play friendly matches all over Europe. Their first stop was my hometown of Kaiserslautern.

At the time I was a ten-year-old kid scarcely interested in football at all. Having grown up mostly in the States, all I truly cared about athletics-wise was whether the Phillies could avoid finishing in last place again. My love of geopolitics was a different story. The First Balkans Conflict was the beginning of my irrational and deranged life-long struggle with insomnia. It’s embarrassing as all hell, but worrying about geopolitical events I can in no way hope to control was keeping me up as far back as ’93. ; ( ; (

I learned of the “Humanitarian All Stars” in a Newspaper Blurb. No Internet back in those days, so I never saw the match and couldn’t find the result or any further news on it (try as I might ). All I knew was that a team of “sports diplomats” were headed to Kaiserslautern. That helped me sleep…for a night or two.




Bosnia and Herzegovina—“The Golden Lillies”

Welcome, welcome. They’re here! Hosanna! A pot-bellied former Yugoslav international (Safet Susic) brought them to our court. How did he do it? Nothing truly magical about it. It’s just a good-old-fashioned 4-4-2 featuring two über-talented strikers. FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m about to completely botch the spellings of all of these player names. You’re just going to have to live with that.

We’ll start up front. Edin Dzeko first got his big break over at VfL Wolfsburg. It took British scouts a full four years to notice that roughly half of his 66 goals came from left-footed strikes and roughly half came off his right boot. A two-footed footballer happens to be more of an anomaly then you might expect. Most players tend to favor one side. American Saber-metric Baseball fans can perhaps relate. Switch hitters often have incongruent stats. Anyway, Dzeko broke through for Man City back in 2010. His goal production has tapered only slightly. That’s incredible considering the league that he moved to.

VfB Stuttgart striker Vedad Ibisevic accompanies Dzeko up front. The former PSG Prospect got snatched up by “Rich Uncle Hoffenheim” back in 2007 and hasn’t slowed down since. He’s got a lethal nose for goal. Very little chance of stopping him if he’s in the mood.

Everyone ready for some misspellings? Zvjezdan Misimovic is the midfield captain….just typing the man’s name felt like an epileptic fit. ; ( ; ( He’s got great downfield eyes. The China-based vice captain can pick out a colleague from thirty yards or more.

An all-German back four blankets Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic. Left back Mensur Mudjza has done quite a bit to keep Freiburg from being relegated. Centerbacks Ermin Bilakcic and Emir Sphacic play for 1899 Hoffenheim and Bayer Leverkusen respectively. Bikacic just got rescued off the sinking Eintracht Braunschweig ship. Rudi Voller should send Sphacic a “Thank You Note” after all his hard work in tackling helped Leverkusen secure the Champions League playoff spot. Right back Avdija Vrsjaveic still plays in Croatia, but he’s been linked with a move to Augsburg.

Like it or not, they’re headed to the Round of 16. That’s how your friendly bookie sees it ; )


Iran—“The Princes of Persia”
Shirt badge/Association crest 
-3 Games Played
-1 Goal
-26 Hot Girls

They had heart after all. Hosseini and Dejadah showed us something special. Sadeghi and Montazeri kept it tight at the back. Goochannejiag finally broke through with a sweet score. Even Teymourian showed some spunk.

They’ll return to contest the 2015 Asian Cup in little more than a blink of an eye. With a bit of luck, Queiroz will return as the head coach. And now for “the elephant in the room”:

How in the hell did Iran manage to get 26 “Hot Girls”?

It’s simple, really. Iran is still a modern society, despite what you may think. Women are still not allowed to attend Iranian football matches, but that doesn’t include ladies of Iranian heritage. You can subjugate women all you want. They’ll still be more than happy to represent their country in skimpy shorts. Women won’t be denied….a chance to be a star. That’s why they own Social Media. That’s their territory. They work Facebook like a stripper’s pole.

Iranian women are not a bunch of burqa-clad subordinates. They have their “Persian Pride” and aren’t afraid to show it. I’m told they even have their own reality show. It’s called “Shahs of Sunset Boulevard” or something. Iranian women are more interested in fame and glamour than American women… hard as that may be to believe.

The whole “U.S. vs. Iran” Conflict continues to perplex. Iran is perhaps the most modern Islamic country in the whole Middle East. They may have a Caliphate, but it remains a loosely enforced one. All I can say is that I’m looking forward to watching the “Princes of Persia” in the 2013 Asian Cup. I’m thinking semi-finals.  

Honduras—“The Big Blue H”
Shirt badge/Association crest 

-3 Games Played
-1 Goals
-37 Hot Girls

I expected nothing. I got nothing. This country has still never won a World Cup Match.

From WM 2014—Group E Preview

Honduras—“La Bicolor”

Oh this team is bad. I mean BAD. They’re plenty of names that you’ll recognize…but they’re BAD. Forget not finishing dead last in the Group or fighting not to finish 32nd overall. We’ll concede that. It will constitute a surprising moral victory if the “Big Blue H” can pull off their first victory ever at the World Cup Finals. They’ve got an enthusiastic backer in this bookie. I’d love to see the feisty little underdogs succeed. It’s just that they’re….well…They’re BAD. I’d almost rather re-post my thoughts on the 2009 Coup than discuss this team.

Bad, Bad, BAD!

Lead striker Jerry Bengston has problems scoring…..against MLS competition. Wilson Palacios has yet to score for Stoke City. Roger Espinoza has tallied all of once for Wigan. Maynor Figueroa and Juan Carlos Garcia have been tremendous flops for Hull City and Wigan respectively. The rest of the roster is predominantly filled with a mixture of domestic league players and MLS Second-Stringers. We need to do away with CONCACAF. Merge it with COMNEBOL or the OFC. DO SOMETHING. The North American Qualifying Conference continually produces teams capable of little beyond humiliating proud players who absolutely don’t deserve to be subjected to this kind of mistreatment.

Left Back Emilio Izaguirre remains worth a look. He’s turned in three solid seasons for Celtic-Glasgow of the Scottish Premiership as a stay-at-home fullback. Highlights below. I simply cannot bring myself to write any more about this team. The mind wanders. Having broached Celtic, all I can think about now is how in the hell Glasgow Rangers got arbitrarily placed in the Scottish Third Division, where in the hell the greatest Derby in the world is, and why the Scots have to make everything too complicated. 

Get it together, Vicey. Must find a way of encapsulating this section somehow. Hmmm…
“La Bicolor” are a terrible team…in the worst group of the tournament. Nuff Said.

Ecuador—“La Tri”
Shirt badge/Association crest 
-3 Games Played
-3 Goals
-53 Hot Girls

They reacted well to the sending off of Valencia. Still, they didn’t play with the sort of vigor one might expect from a country with a very legitimate chance to make the Knockout Stages. What a damn shame. We’ll enclose some re-prints from the “Group E Section” as Ecuador’s formation essentially constitutes “Football 101” for those interested.

From WM 2014—Group E Preview:

If you’re looking to fit anyone for a Cinderella slipper, look no further than Antonio Valencia’s “La-Tri”. After missing out on 2010, the FEF scooped up Columbian manager Reinaldo Rueda (then fresh off a four-year-stint with Honduras). Rueda didn’t tinker much with the FEF’s Prime Directive. The team still plays a classic 4-4-2 with one Big Target Forward and an anchoring speedster. It’s been said that this system is sacred.

Rueda’s Big Target Man is former Man City prospect Felipe Caicedo. Since leaving the Etihad, Caidedo has bounced around Portugal, Spain, Russia, and Kuwait. Although he may not have established himself with a club, he’s always demonstrated strength in corner battles and precision heading. Enner Valencia is the little piston. He’s quick enough to carve out space anywhere in the box at a millisecond’s notice. Such agility has enabled him to score 18 times in 22 appearances for his Mexican club this season. He’s also scored in his last three caps for his country.

“Riffs of the Day”—Day Fourteen


Reader: You ran out of words five days ago. How do you still manage to come up with ideas?

Vicey: NEVER ASK A WRITER THAT QUESTION!! We’ll cross our legs, stroke our chin, fire up our tobacco pipe and then say, “interesting question,” before breaking down and sobbing uncontrollably. I have no idea where my ideas come from. Somehow, someway, I keep comin’ up with funky-ass-shit nearly every single day.

Reader: Fourteen hours to go. Beat Germany!

Vicey: That’s Syndicate Member 128-M!! He made it back in time to watch the crucial match!! Hooray!! If you think that’s cool, check this out…

Reader: I told the nurses to go to hell. I’m watching Germany vs. USA.

Vicey: That’s Syndicate Member 121-M!! He’s back too!! Incredible!! Amazing!! We’ve got ourselves a “FULL-FORCE SYNDICATE!!”. Our two fallen comrades recovered just in time. I’m almost ready to convert to Orthodox Christianity. It’s a FUCKING MIRACLE. We’re ALL here. Friends and Football! That’s what it’s all about.


 Call in sick, America. It doesn’t get any better than this

USA vs. Deutschland


ALL BETTING IS CLOSED. Congratulations to those of you who got your wager in early. Or rather……you poor bastards. You’re about to get even poorer

THE LINE: Mannschaft +1 Goal (closed)

Ghana vs. Portugal


Oh for fuck’s sake. Why do African teams always have to implode? Kevin Prince-Boateng and Sulley Muntari are on a plane back home after accosting coach James Kwesi-Appiah on the training pitch. Heading in the other direction, an emergency flight heads to Rio carrying the 2.3 Million in Ghanaian bonus money. Always with the damn bonuses! JUST ONCE, I’d like to see a World Cup without a fucking Bonus Row!!

THE LINE: Portugal +2 Goals (rolling up HARD from “pick em”)

South Korea vs. Belgium


Huge game for my “Taeguk Warriors.” YOU CAN DO IT!

THE LINE: “Pick em” (holding)

Algeria vs. Russia


Perhaps we’ll be meeting the “Desert Foxes” in the Round of 16? They’ll get “Rommel-ed”

THE LINE: Algeria +1 Goal (holding)