Saturday, June 28, 2014

WM 2014--Round of 16

Saudacoes Syndicate Members,
WM 2014 
Welcome to the “Knockout Phases”! Now it really takes off!



Is someone from the Axel Springer AG reading this? Doubtful. It was just a coincidence. Our fiery hellcat (Syndicate member 2-F) still turned out to be one prescient bitch. She called it from kilometers away. Kick back and relax as your friendly bookie takes you through the Timeline:

1) Thursday, 19:45 in Central Europe

Syndicate Member 2-F sends in a riff. It reads as follows:

Syndicate Member 2-F: Jogi Löw looks even sexier in the rain.

2) Thursday, 22:15 in Central Europe

Your friendly bookie reads the riff, and files it away for potential “counter-riffing” in the subsequent day’s Daily.

3) Friday, 8:15 in Central Europe

Your friendly bookie selects the riff for publication and begins work on the Daily.

4) Friday, 18:10 in Central Europe

After fending off numerous other obligations, your friendly bookie completes his daily and begins work on dressing it up for publication.

5) Friday, 19:00 in Central Europe

You friendly bookie publishes the daily. The “counter-riff section” reads as follows:

(Female) Reader: Jogi Löw looks even sexier in the rain.

Vicey: THANK YOU, Syndicate Member 2-F. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. Thank you for bringing this up. I’ve been meaning to broach this topic for years. As a fallible and incomplete male, I MUST HAVE an explanation for this phenomenon.

“Why do women find rain-drenched men attractive?”

(alternately stated)

“What is it that turns women on about soaked men?”

It’s true. I swear to you it’s true! This happens. This REALLY happens. You take a walk in a rainstorm with your girl and she suddenly turns to you with piercingly passionate eyes and says,

“You look good wet!”

You get out of the shower and hardly have time to towel off your scrotum before she’s all over you. WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? I merely wish to understand. I’ve read through “Das Feuchgebiet” AND “Vagina: The Unauthorized Biography” and that just rendered me even more clueless. Do we glow? Release Pheromones?

I MUST KNOW. Want me to stop doing the “Hot Girl Standings”? Provide me a satisfactory explanation and they’re done forever. Promise!

5) Friday, 23:45 in Central Europe

Editor’s at the Axel Springer AG in Berlin put Saturday’s edition of the “Bild-Zeitung” to bed.

6) Saturday, 2:00 in Central Europe

The Saturday version of the “Bild-Zeitung” rolls off the presses.

7) Saturday, 5:00 in Central Europe

Distribution is now complete. Every Kiosk, Gas Station, Newsstand, Bodega, and Train Station now has a freshly printed copy of Saturday’s edition.


Round of 16 (1)……






Round of 16 (2)Un-fucking-believeable. She called it! Hahahahahahahaha. Perhaps we’ve all been reading too many tabloids. For the record, I look forward to completely forgetting about the Bild-Zeitung after the tournament is over. With no more sports to cover, your friendly bookie will resume his work. He’ll pick back up the Süddeutsche, FAZ, Welt, and “Die Zeit”. No more sensationalist headlines. Just line after line of information-dense text. That’s my job. That’s my world.

Incredible coincidence. On the offhand chance that someone from the Axel Springer AG is reading this (and I put chances at about 0.000001%), you have nothing to fear from me. Syndicate Member 2-F is a different matter entirely. Don’t fuck with her! She’s not only a fiery hellcat, she also possesses a tongue that can make mincemeat out of you. She’s too much of a firecracking livewire for me. You should be very afraid.

Here’s are some samples of her finer work from Euro 2012:

From EM 2012: Quarterfinals

EM 2012(Female) Reader: Just the same as you always were, Peter. Indelibly cute until you open your mouth.

Vicey: (afraid to say anything)

(Female) Reader: What did your mother do to you?

Vicey: Hey…that’s none of your damn business!! She’s a good woman who frequently feels the need to sharply criticize. Rather like you actually….do you have dinner plans?

From EM 2012: Semifinals

(Female) Reader: Respect the cunt and tame the cock!

Vicey: (giggling uncontrollably). Nicely done!

(Female) Reader: You’re a male chauvinist shithead. There is absolutely nothing redeeming about your shallow, stupid, and immature commentary! I’d insult you more, but it seems like any further invective will just make you want to fuck me.

Vicey: In the ass, baby. Excuse me while I get started on the letter:

Dear Penthouse Forum,

EM 2012I never thought it would happen to me…

(Female) Reader: So I was reading your section on partying with the Italians. [Day 16 Recap]. All I could think of was “Look, there’s a guy who tries something out for a little while. Then he arbitrarily concludes that ‘it will all end in tears’ and runs away to hide out somewhere else. Sure sounds like the Peter Weis I know.

Vicey: What the….why would you….I mean…how could you…that’s totally…I mean……I’m human and…….OUCH! OW, OW, OW! I won’t lie. That one stung a bit. I laughed it up, but it was mostly to keep from crying.


Moving right along, we’ve got eight matches to set lines for. Prior to that, we have to rank the sixteen departing countries. More extensive coverage of the 16 countries we just dropped can be found in The Dailies. In point of fact, your friendly bookie spent entirely too much time on composing “Goodbyes Sections”. Every year he swears he’ll take it easier…then instinct takes over. : ( ; ( We’ll still maintain our WM-Year tradition of ranking the departed.

From places 32 to 17…

 32nd Place- Cameroon 

Bad, bad, bad! I know I’ve used this line no fewer than twelve times already, but this country was “Brad Paisley-LL Cool J” bad. Why is Volker Finke still coaching this team? The African Cup of nations is only seven months away and they’re not even attempting to change course!

 31st Place- Honduras 

We’ve got to do something about CONCACAF. Every year they deliver one of these doormats. Yes, yes. I know that Costa Rica, Mexico, and the USA all advanced to the Round of 16, but Central American teams just don’t deserve this type of embarrassment. Merge CONCACAF with COMNEBOL? I’d watch that!

 30th Place- Australia 

It’s the end of an era. Cahill and Bresciano are gone never to return again…unless your friendly bookie finds time to cover the 2015 Asian Cup. Then we’ll see them early next year.

 29th Place- Japan 

Zacherroni has officially resigned. Might as well bring Takeshi Okada back for a third stint. It’s not as if he has anything better to do.

 28th Place- Iran 

The “Princes of Persia” return for the Asian Cup. Let’s hope Rouhani doesn’t have any plans of returning to Iraq.

 27th Place- South Korea 

Down they go. Big surprise for your friendly bookie. Check the Dailies if you’d like to know how truly frustrated he is.

 26th Place- England 

Hodgson stays on. Sven Goran-Erikson has been skulking around F.A. Headquarters.

 25th Place- Ghana 

Kiss the money, Boye. Touch it. Love it!

 24th Place- Russia 

You’ve got four years, Capello. Four years to lose the tank top, that is.

 23rd Place- Spain 

Somewhere up there in the “nether regions”, Luis Aragones is looking down and frowning. He’s probably making racist remarks as well.

 22nd Place- Italy 

I want Mario Balotelli’s Panini Sticker Album. He’s the only player featured in it. But didn’t deserve more, Vicey? Let me answer that question with a resounding:


 21st Place- Cote d’Ivoire 

Hard luck. Bad officiating cost them their place. Looking forward to seeing Les Elephants again in seven months. Happy Belated Birthday, Yaya!

 20th Place- Bosnia & Herzegovina 

It was actually an enjoyable debut. See you guys in two years!

 19th Place- Croatia 

No flares this year. A dogged effort, nevertheless.

 18th Place- Portugal 

Keep it elevated, Cristiano. Don't be afraid to strap the ice pack with Duct Tape. It may cut off your circulation, but you’ve got bigger problems right now.

 17th Place- Ecuador 

So close. Coming in 17th is worse than failing to get the condom wrapper off in time. Sorry, Amigos.


Brazil vs. Chile


Exceedingly difficult task for the hosts. Neymar cannot carry this team entirely on his shoulders, even if he would gleefully attempt to do so. One must take the rout of Cameroon and throw it out. Obviously it’s fantastic news that they got Fred involved. The recovered form of Oscar, Luiz Gustavo, and David Luiz also counts as a major plus.

Throw it out. Now they face seriously daunting opposition and it’s quite possibly that the Pentacampeoes’ World Cup dream of a sixth star ends right here. Your friendly bookie dreads such an outcome. Violence should ensue should A Selecao get eliminated. Innocent citizens will die. That’s football, gentlemen. It ain’t all peaches and buttermilk. ; ( ; (

Problem-child Arturo Vidal returns for “La Roja Americana”. With any luck, he’ll destroy team moral with one of his trademark tantrums. Even that’s not something I’m prepared to set odds on. Vidal works well as an anchoring midfielder. He’ll feed Vargas and Sanchez all night. Aranguiz possesses lethal lateral ability and Mena can flick them on just as well as Klose can.

Grab your antacids, gentlemen. This one’s going all the way down to the wire.

Projected Lineups:

 “The Samba Kings” (4-3-3) 

       Neymar             Hulk   
           Oscar         Paulinho
                Luis Gustavo
Marcelo D. Luiz T. Silva D. Alves
                  Julio Cesar

 “La Roja America” (5-2-3) 

  Eduardo Vargas  Alexis Sanchez             
                 Arturo Vidal   
      Junior Diaz  Charles Aranguiz
 Eugenio Mena                 Mauricio Isla
      G. Jara     F. Silva   G. Medel
                  Claudio Bravo

Prop Bets (as always, feel free to offer your own)

Over/Under— 3 Goals
120 Minutes—Straight Up
Penalty Shootout—2 to 1
Neymar brace—Straight Up
Neymar hat trick—2 to 1
Vidal substitution (76+)—Straight Up
Bravo howler—Straight Up

THE LINE: “Pick em” (rolling down from Brazil +1)

Have we been here before?

We were, in point of fact, JUST HERE. Forget about the “Copa America”. I’m sure that these two have met dozens of times there.  That’s a Continental Championship that your friendly bookie absolutely does not have time to cover. STOP ASKING ME!! No, no, no. I can’t do it all by myself!

You want me to cover ALL of the Continental Championships? Get me a secretary! Make sure she has nice tits! I can’t do it all by myself!

Anyway, we were just here four years ago…in the Round of 16 no less.

From WM 2010—Round of 16 (Part III)

Brazil vs. Chile


What lame cliché to write about Chile? Hmmmm… Let’s get vertical!!


O.K. Nothing novel I can find in my arsenal. Nothing more to say about Chile. Fitting as we are about to witness a 2002 repeat. Goodbye Chile!! Hello “Chile Beer”!! Glug, glug, glug.

Projected Lineups:

 “Samba Kings” 

1) Julio Ceasar
2) Juan
3) Lucio
4) Michel Bastos
5) Maicon
6) Josuye
7) Gilberto Silva
8) Luis Fabiano
9) Kaka
10) Robinho
11) Elano

 “El Equippo de Todos” 

1) Claudio Bravo
2) Waldo Ponce
3) Gonzalo Jara
4) Mauricio Isla
5) Arturo Vidal
6) Marco Estrada
7) Mark Gonzalez
8) Rodrigo Millar
9) Humberto Suazo
10) Jean Beausejour
11) Alexis Sanchez

Prop Bets (as always, feel free to offer your own):
Over/Under ---4 Goals
120 Minutes— 6 to 1
Penalty Shootout— 8 to 1
Robinho brace –3 to 1
Kaka brace—3 to 1
Fabiano brace—4 to 1
Robinho hat trick – 3 to 1
Lucio from outside the 18—3 to 1
Grafitite Substitution (75+)—2 to 1
Ceasar Clean Sheet –3 to 1
Sanchez brace –5 to 1
Estrada Set piece goal—3 to 1
Suazo Start—2 to 1
Isla from outside the 18—4 to 1

THE LINE: Brazil +2

Editor’s retroactive notes:
RESULT: Brazil 3, Chile 0. Unknown to me at the time, this would constitute the third time Brazil would knock their coastal counterparts out of the World Cup Finals. 1962, 1998, and now 2010. A subject of interest next tournament will be whether the Germans TKO the Argentines or the Black Stars sucker punch Uncle Sam. Without Medel, Ponce, and Estrada “La Roja Americana” were nothing more than bait to be devoured by the Brazilian Juggernaut. They were utterly demolished.

Dunga stuck Robinho behind Luis Fabiano, with Kaka supporting them both. The trio produced plenty of dazzle in the opening minutes, all of them getting good looks at goal. Also firing from range were Ramires, Gilberto Silva, and Maicon. Under constant bombardment, the Chileans could do little beyond the implementation of a few dirty tricks. Pablo Contreras definitely should have been thrown out after a reckless challenge on Lucio in the box. As the first half drew to a close, the Samba Kings opened the floodgates with a quick one-two succession. Juan headed a Maicon corner home in the 35th. In the 38th it was Robinho to Kaka to Fabiano for a polished second. The Chileans could only muster one shot on goal in the entire first half.

Two halftime substitutions left them no better off. The midfield was a mess, with Kaka and Ramires cutting off any momentum forward. Ramires sliced through three white shirts in the 59th before setting up Robinho for the third goal. Mercifully, this one came to a close absent any serious humiliation.

Columbia vs. Uruguay


I stand by my initially released line, even if a disproportionate amount of money has come in on La Celeste. Have to take a chance here. I just don’t see how they do it. Nothing I’ve read this morning compels me to take a mulligan on last night’s post:

From WM 2014—Day Fifteen Recap:

Without Suarez…..I’m sorry the difference is NIGHT and DAY. I don’t care how good Cavani can be, this team cannot operate without their Talisman. By contrast, the Coffee Growers adjusted to life without Radamel Falcao without skipping a beat. Jackson Martinez and James Rodriguez overcome a Maxi Pereira set-piece strike.

Projected Lineups:

 “The Coffee Growers” (4-3-2-1) 

               Teofilo Gutierrez
 J.G. Cuadrado      Jackson Martinez
J.F. Quintero F. Guarin V. Ibarbo
Pablo Armero             J.C. Zuniga         
      Mario Yepes C. Zapata   
                David Ospina

 “La Celeste” (4-4-2) 

      Edinson Cavani  Diego Forlan
 C. Rodriguez               A. Gonzalez
         C. Stuani    E. Arevalo
   Alvaro Pereira              Maxi Pereira         
        Diego Godin   Diego Lugano       
                Fernando Muslera     

Prop Bets (as always, feel free to offer your own)

Over/Under— 4 Goals
120 Minutes—2 to 1
Penalty Shootout—2 to 1
J. Martinez brace—Straight Up
Stuani goal—Straight Up
M. Pereira start—2 to 1
Lugano from outside the 18—2 to 1

THE LINE: Columbia +1 Goal (holding)

Have we been here before?

Not in Syndicate Lore. Once more, they’ve surely met dozens of times in the Copa America. I CAN’T DO IT, SYNDICATE MEMBERS!! There’s no way!! I can’t do it all by myself! Let it go!


The Netherlands vs. Mexico


Special thanks to Syndicate Member 13-M, who sent in the following link last night:

Hehe. #6 is my favorite, though #13 comes in a close second.

Our tubby little Danny-Devito-Doppelgänger’s luck has just run out, however.

The loss of J.J. Vasquez (double yellows) likely means he has to move Layun to midfield, swing Hector Moreno out to left back and start Salcido in the center. At least that’s what I would do. Having gone through this glorious link once again, I don’t quite think our boy Herrera has much of a mind for tactics. It looks as if he has more of a mind for the Early Bird Special over at the Golden Corral.

The Dutch get van Persie back from suspension. By now you surely already know that the van Persie suspension meant Holland fielded a starting eleven without a “van-prefix” player for the first time in 18 years!!

Thanks to Syndicate Member 53-M for that link. : )

There certainly seems to be a lot of interest in this one. The line is virtually assured of rolling. No matter how hard it rolls, this one won’t even be close. Surely van Gaal has a plan for Herrera’s wholly predictable 5-3-2 (or 5-3-1-1 if you prefer) with Chicharito as the late-game sub. In fact, I predict below that van Gaal will counter with his own 5-3-2, deputizing the red hot Memphis Depay for use in central defense.

Farewell El Tri. See you in four years. In the meantime, studying the brackets leads one to predict a Germany vs. Holland Third Place Match. I’m so confident that this will be the end result that I’m prepared to give myself 3 to 1 odds.

Projected Lineups:

 “Clockwork Oranje” (5-3-2) 

     Arjen Robben Robin van Persie
    Jermain Lens        Wesley Sneijder
                  Nigel de Jong      
  Daley Blind             Daryl Janmaat        
    S. de Vrij  R. Vlaar M. Depay    
                   J. Cillessen

 “El Tri” (5-3-1-1) 

                   Oribe Peralta
              Giovanni dos Santos
 A. Guardado H. Herrera  M. Layun      
     H. Moreno                P. Aguilar        
  F. Rodriguez R. Marquez C. Salcido     
                      G. Ochoa

Prop Bets (as always, feel free to offer your own)

Over/Under— 5 Goals
120 Minutes—2 to 1
Penalty Shootout—3 to 1
Robben brace—Straight Up
Van persie brace—Straight Up
Reyes start—Straight Up
R. Marquez Penalty —3 to 1

THE LINE: Netherlands +2 Goals

Have we been here before?

The pair came oh so close in both 2006 and 2010. Still, the answer is no.

Costa Rica vs. Greece


Time for the clock to strike midnight on Cinderella? Your friendly bookie says no. The “Pura Vida” team rides that wave all the way into the quarterfinals!! Kostas Katsouranis returns from suspension for the Pirate Ship, but Fernando Santos’s back four still haven’t proven to me that they can implement his strategy in this tournament.

After a lucky escape against Cote d’Ivoire, I’ve still not yet seen a reliable scorer on the deck. Santos has little choice but to roll the dice with Mitroglou…which just isn’t going to work. If there’s hope for the Greeks, Kone, Salpingidis, Katsouranis, and Holebas should have zero difficulty exploiting the extremely weak Junior Diaz up the left flank. I still see Bolanos and Ruiz having a field day with Torosidis and Manolas on the right.

I’m hitting the fucking button now.




Projected Lineups:

 “Los Ticos” (5-3-2) 

     Joel Campbell Christian Bolanos
     Y. Tejeda            Bryan Ruiz
                 Celso Borges     
      J. Diaz                  G. Gonzalez        
  M. Umana G. Gonzalez O. Duarte  
                   Keylor Navas

 “To Piratiko” (4-4-2) 

        G. Samaras   K. Mitroglou
   P. Kone            D. Salpingidis     
    K. Katsouranis   G. Maniatis 
   J. Holebas                 V. Torosidis        
            Sokratis    K. Manolas
              Orestis Karnezis        

Prop Bets (as always, feel free to offer your own)

Over/Under— 3 Goals
120 Minutes—Straight Up
Penalty Shootout—Straight Up
Campbell brace—Straight Up
Bryan Ruiz brace—Straight Up
Mitroglou brace—3 to 1
Mitroglou straight red —2 to 1
Salpingidis goal—2 to 1
Katsouranis goal—2 to 1

THE LINE: Costa Rica +1 Goal

Have we been here before?

We have not. Greece failed to qualify in 2002 and 2006. Costa Rica missed out on 2010.


France vs. Nigeria


The loss of Oboabona looms large, but Keshi’s re-recruitment of Odemwingie continues to reap dividends. He works well as an anchor, a second striker, and even a winger. Musa and Babatunde are finally coming alive on the flanks. We haven’t seen nearly enough of Mikel or Emenike, but they’ll get up for this one.

The real question on everyone’s mind reads, “What the hell happened to the Frogs against Ecuador”. More articulately stated, “Was their languid performance the result of Deschamps resting regulars or Benzema and Sissoko crashing back down to earth?” I’ll call it a mixture of the two. Benzema and Sissoko were due for an “off night”. Pogba and Griezmann aren’t exactly finding the right rhythm, and Cabaye would have ensured a different result.

The Froggies will prevail, although it will be tight.

Projected Lineups:

 “Les Bleus” (4-3-3) 

                   Karim Benzema
 Antoine Griezmann      Mathieu Valbuena
         Blaise Matuidi    Paul Pogba        
                       Yohan Cabaye        
 P. Evra  M. Sahko  L. Koscielny M. Debuchy    
                     Hugo Lloris

 “The Super Eagles” (4-2-3-1) 

                   Emmanuel Emenike
        Michael Babatunde     Ahmed Musa
                   Peter Odemwingie    
         John Obi Mikel   Ogenyi Onazi        
  K. Omerou J. Yobo J. Oshaniwa  E. Ambrose  
                      Vincent Enyeama 

Prop Bets (as always, feel free to offer your own)

Over/Under— 3 Goals
120 Minutes—Straight Up
Penalty Shootout—Straight Up
Benzema brace—Straight Up
Benzema Hat Trick—3 to 1
Cabaye Goal—2 to 1
Giroud start —Straight Up
Emenike brace—2 to 1
Odemwingie from outside the 18—Straight Up
Mikel booking—Straight Up
Oboabona start—Straight Up

THE LINE: France +1 Goal

Have we been here before?

Both nations failed to get out of their respective groups in 2002 and 2010.

Deutschland vs. Algeria


I’m not worried. Not even in the slightest. Want to exploit my Kraut-Pride? Your friendly bookie has been so gracious as to give you a +2 Spread to bet against.

This incarnation of the Mannschaft isn’t a championship team by any stretch of the imagination. We continue to struggle without Reus. Schürrle? Özil? Götze? Podolski? Reus could have put an end to such ineffective tinkering. He’d have Özil’s spot on the left and all would be well.

Löw still perplexes me with his stubborn insistence on keeping Lahm in midfield while rolling out four natural centerbacks. Maybe he gets it right this time by moving Lahm to Right Back and starting Durm in place of Boateng. We need to generate some upfield momentum!

Even if he doesn’t get it right, Slimani and Brahimi pose no real threat to Hummels and Mertesacker. Götze and Müller open the scoring. Klose is sent in late to clean up. He gets a token goal to become the highest scoring World Cup Player in history!

Projected Lineups:

 “Die Mannschaft” (4-3-3) 

                   Thomas Müller
 Andreas Schürrle      Meshut Özil
         Mario Götze    Sami Khedira        
            Bastian Schweinsteiger        
 E. Durm M. Hummels P. Mertsacker P. Lahm    
                    Manuel Neuer

 “The Desert Foxes” (4-4-1-1) 

                      Islam Slimani
                      Yacine Brahimi
        A. Djabou                  S. Feghouli           
                N. Bentaleb   C. Medjani        
 D. Mesbah R. Halliche M. Bougherra A. Mandi   
                     Raid M’Bohli

Prop Bets (as always, feel free to offer your own)

Over/Under— 5 Goals
120 Minutes—3 to 1
Penalty Shootout—4 to 1
Müller brace—Straight Up
Müller Hat Trick—4 to 1
Lahm Goal—2 to 1
Draxler start —Straight Up
Christoph Kramer start—2 to 1
Kevei Großkreutz start—3 to 1
Schweinsteiger set-piece goal—Straight Up
Khedira injury—Straight Up
Slimani brace—2 to 1
Bougherra straight red—Straight Up
Feghouli double yellows—2 to 1

THE LINE: Mannschaft +2 Goals

Have we been here before?

There was that historic defeat of West Germany in the opening round of the 1982 World Cup in Spain……but your friendly bookie had only just been conceived back then.


Argentina vs. Switzerland


….and we all wish Ottmar Hitzfeld a pleasant retirement! If you’re looking for the first blowout of the Knockout Stages, look no further. The Argentines may have been slow to take off, but they’ll get airborne thanks to Hitzfeld’s flat runway.

Old School, old man Hitzfeld has deployed an perfectly predictable 4-2-3-1 in all three group phase matches. It makes no difference if he starts Drmic or Seferovic. Schär or Senderos? It’s a moot point. Cracking this system will be easier than pissing in the sink. Messi and Mascherano will run roughshod over Xhaka and Inler. Shaquiri won’t be able to comete against Gago and Zabaletta.

It’s going to get ugly. Not quite as ugly as old-man Hitzfeld himself, but ugly nonetheless.

Messi, Aguero, Di Maria, and Messi again.

Projected Lineups:

 “La Albiceleste” (4-3-3) 

            Sergio Aguero Gonzalo Higauin
                          Lionel Messi
             Angel Di Maria Fernando Gago       
                       Javier Mascherano        
    M. Rojo E. Garay  F. Fernandez P. Zabaletta    
                       Sergio Romero

 “Die Schweizer Nati” (4-2-3-1) 

                         Josip Drmic
     Admir Mehmedi      Xerdan Shaqiri
                      Granit Xhaka       
         Gökhan Inler  Valon Behrami             
R. Rodriguez F. Schär  J. Djourou S. Lichtsteiner    
                       Diego Benaglio

Prop Bets (as always, feel free to offer your own)

Over/Under— 5 Goals
120 Minutes—2 to 1
Penalty Shootout—3 to 1
Shaquiri brace—2 to 1
Drmic brace—2 to 1
Xhaka brace—2 to 1
Senderos start—Straight Up
Messi brace—Straight Up
Messi Hat Trick—2 to 1
Macherano Set-Piece Goal—Straight Up
Maxi Rodriguez start—Straight Up
Higuain substitution (65+)—Straight Up
Lavezzi substitution (80+)—2 to 1
Zabaletta Substitution (85+)—2 to 1

THE LINE: Argentina +3 Goals

Have we been here before?

No, although both nations are linked in that they did their parts in covering German wartime atrocities. The Swiss took the money. The Argentines took the criminals.

USA vs. Belgium


You’re very lucky America. Very, very lucky. Count your blessings. The only other team remaining in this tournament MORE banged up than you is Belgium. You still haven’t found a solution for Donovan’s absence. Here are some of my thoughts on the matter from last night’s Daily:

From WM 2014: Day Fifteen Recap

 GRADES—USA (Match Three) 

Jermaine Jones
Omar Gonzalez
Tim Howard
Graham Zusi
Matt Besler
Demarcus Beasley
Michael Bradley
Clint Dempsey
Fabian Johnson
Alejandro Bedoya
Brad Davis
Kyle Beckerman

Pretty poor marks all around. Even worse, not much we can do about it. There’s simply no solution for Donovan’s absence in midfield….unless. It’s not too late to give Julian Green the start! I know I’m biased. Moreover, it’s all falling on deaf ears. You’ve tried every other option short of Diskerud….and it hasn’t worked!

It’s not too late to start Green, Klinsi! Tell him to get on his boots! Well, even if Beckerman, Bedoya, and Davis suck you’ve still got a fighting chance. Dempsey, Bradley, Beasley and Besler will play better. Moreover, you’re VERY, VERY lucky.

What the Flemish Fuck is going on with Belgium right now? I’ve never seen a team be forced to contend with so many injuries in twelve years of keeping a tournament book?!? Captain Vincent Kompany is hurt. Alternate captain Thomas Vermaelin is hurt. Backup defenders Anthony Vanden Borre and Laurent Ciman are hurt. That’s FOUR injured defenders out of EIGHT! What? Wilmots has no choice in selecting his back four. To make matters even more absurd, Jan Vertongen and Toby Alderweireld are on yellow cards. The whole fucking defense is a hopeless mess! The Belgians are on the brink of being unable to field a team.
With respect to the midfield, Axel Witsel and Mousa Dembele are also on yellow cards. Porto winger Steven Defour is suspended after a straight red. Lukaku, Mirallas, and Mertens are all playing at less than 100 percent. It’s a disaster!

You’re very lucky, America. VERY, VERY, LUCKY. This line is a pick only because the Walloon-Flemish-Hybrid-Semi-State finds itself in turmoil. Of course, we’re used to Belgium Turmoil when it comes to their almost Iraqi-like inability to form a coalition government, but I thought football was supposed to be a respite. 

Projected Lineups:

 “The Yanks” (4-2-3-1) 

                     Clint Dempsey
     Graham Zusi         Alejandro Bedoya
                     Michael Bradley       
        Mikkel Diskerud Jermaine Jones                 
D. Beasley M. Besler O. Gonzalez G. Cameron    
                      Tim Howard

 “De Rode Duivels” (4-2-3-1) 

                          Romelu Lukaku
           Eden Hazard               Dries Mertens
                          Kevin de Bruyne       
                Maroune Fellaini  Axel Witsel                  
   J. Vertongen  N. Loembaerts D. v. Buyten  T. Alderweireld 
                          Thibault Courtois

Prop Bets (as always, feel free to offer your own)

Over/Under— 3 Goals
120 Minutes—Straight Up
Penalty Shootout—Straight Up
Dempsey brace—2 to 1
Dempsey Hat Trick—3 to 1
Bradley from outside the 18—Straight Up
Jones from outside the 18—2 to 1
Julian Green start—Straight Up
Besler substitution (45+)—2 to 1
Witsel substitution (60+)—Straight Up
Dembele substitution (70+)—Straight Up
Chadli Start—2 to 1
Kevin Mirallas start—2 to 1
Fellaine goal—Straight Up

THE LINE: “Pick Em”

Have we been here before?

There have been friendlies, but nothing on this level. Interesting “Achtelfinale” we have going for us, Gentlemen. Seven of the Eight matches give us something entirely new.