Tuesday, June 7, 2016

EM 2016--Group E Preview

Introduction—“The Quintessential ‘Free-For-All’”

EM 2016Or… “The Closest we’ll get to a ‘Group of Death’”

(Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Ireland)


A 24-Team-Field dilutes the tournament…but that’s a different rant for a different day. We’ve more important matters to discuss. Congratulations to the USMNT on their fabulous victory tonight!! WE DID IT! Your friendly bookie feels comfortable using the plural personal possessive pronoun ‘we’ for the first time. It’s my team too!! Klinsi and his beloved Kraut Kids finally got around to an unequivocal “lightning strike”. That’s the way to do it, boys. To be clear: Should Klinsi’s USA square off against Germany anytime soon, it’s obligatory that I cheer for the Fatherland. That won’t be happening this Summer. USA! USA! USA!

 Long-term U.S. Fans know what I mean when I declare it time to “draw it up”:

We’ll now “draw it up” for all the vindicated USA Fans 

United States LINEUP—USA (Match One)—4-3-3 United States

                           Clint Dempsey
         Bobby Wood             Gyasi Zardes             
      Jermaine Jones           Alejandro Bedoya
                        Michael Bradley
F. Johnson  J.A. Brooks G. Cameron D. Yedlin
                            Brad Guzan

United States LINEUP—USA (Match Two)—4-3-2-1 United States

                      Clint Dempsey
        Bobby Wood            Gyasi Zardes
                     Michael Bradley
           Jermaine Jones    Alejandro Bedoya
  F. Johnson   J.A. Brooks  G. Cameron D. Yedlin
                           Brad Guzan

United States GRADES—USA (Match One) United States

Michael Bradley
Alejandro Bedoya
Gyasi Zardes
Bobby Wood
Fabian Johnson
John Anthony Brooks
Graham Zusi
Darlington Nagbe
Brad Guzan
Clint Dempsey
DeAndre Yedlin
Jermaine Jones
Christian Pulisic

United States GRADES—USA (Match Two) United States

Jermaine Jones
Clint Dempsey
Bobby Wood
Chris Wondolowski
Graham Zusi
Michael Bradley
Brad Guzan
DeAndre Yedlin
John Anthony Brooks
Geoff Cameron
Alejandro Bedoya
Fabian Johnson
Gyasi Zardes
Kyle Beckerman

Back to Europe, Gentlemen.

Belgium—“Les Diables Rouges”

Shirt badge/Association crest
As augured in the pages of this very Syndicate two years ago, Belgium’s “Golden Generation” has matured right on schedule. Those who only follow Summer Football may be surprised to learn that they’ve quietly and steadily crept up the FIFA Rankings, now breathing down the necks of the Argentines at the #2 Spot. Belgium? Number Two in the World. The Red Devils of Antwerp? Really?!?. Yes, really. Believe it. By the way, U.S. Fans. Stop feeling despondent about your performance against the Columbian Coffee Growers. They’re Number Three! The footballing times have a-changed drastically in 24 short months.

The performance of this team in the 2014 WM alerted all football watchers to the fact that something special was brewing. They clearly weren’t quite ready for prime time back then, but several budding stars appeared on the cusp of breaking. Eden Hazard, still very much touted at the time, couldn’t get his ideas to sync with his feet. Chelsea fans will argue that he’s still having such problems, but he has glistened for the National Side over this past qualifying qualifying. Kevin de Bruyne, at that time playing for VFL Wolfsburg, really broke through during that tournament. One just knew he would eventually land a huge transfer to a Premiership side and bedazzle us with his mad skills. 

Romelu Lukaku, Divock Origi, and Christian Benteke have all progressed as players for their club teams, improving significantly right on schedule. Note that your friendly bookie just covered five strikers…and this team has three more: Dries Mertens, Yannick Carrasco, and Michy Batshuayi. A team with EIGHT strikers? Never heard of such a thing. Axel Witsel, Moussa Dembele, and Marouane Fellaini can play up front too. ELEVEN world-class top-flight capable strikers. WHAT?!

The attacking options on this team are absurd; historically so. They’ll carpet bomb every other team in this group. Wilmots could probably get away with investing five inebriated-minutes selecting his eleven. An embarrassment of riches means that he could probably stick Barney Frank at Center-Forward they would still run up a 4-nil victory.

De Duivels will demolish every last competitor in this group with reckless abandon They’ll storm out of the gate like drunk scot hooligans mugging ginned-up old men in peaceful meadows. Then what? Will they have the stamina to attain the Final? Fair question. Lombaerts and Vermaelen are still serviceable center-backs. White Hart Lane teammates JanVertongen and Toby Alderweireld just completed one of those “buddy cop” seasons for Spurs. They worked together better than BOTH Riggs and Murdoch AND Tango and Cash. Your friendly bookie stands by Thibault Courtouis. He’s a solid keep, no matter what happened at Stamford Bridge this season.

Expect some high lines, Syndicate Members. Take advantage of my infatuation if you must. They’ll get to the Semis at least.

 Projecting the Belgian Lineup (4-3-3) 

                             Divock Origi
             Eden Hazard             Dries Mertens            
                    Kevin De Bruyne
       Marouane Fellaini      Romelu Lukaku         
 J. Vertongen N. Lombaerts T. Vermaelen T. Alderweireld
                        Thibault Courtois

 The Talisman—Kevin de Bruyne 
Image result for kevin de bruyne small 
£58 Million. Why not? He’ll prove worth it. England is the right place for him. His mother grew up in the London Suburbs. Vicent Kompany was available to take him under his wing and show him around. Your friendly bookie avers that Premiership Fans will be hearing quite a lot about de Bruyne in the years to come. He’ll like spearhead Pep Guardiola’s Championship Side next season. Since his sensational transfer, he’s really lit it up in the League Cup and Champion’s League. Precisely what City needs. Look for him to parlay his impressive Premiership Debut into an impressive tournament in the coming days. A historic career awaits therafter.  

 “A Syndicate Classic—Belgium” 

From WM 2002—“The Humble Beginnings of a Syndicate”:

WM 2002 Belgium 

Though this team has attained the title of “Red Devils”, I prefer to call them the “Brussels Sprouts”. Beyond Brugge and Anderslecht, there exists no perceptible reason to give two shits about Belgium football…let alone the country itself. Douglas Adams once bleatingly fictionalized an instance in which Belgium was the most obscene intergalactic insult. Good for him. I cannot expect to top that.

Editor’s retroactive notes:

Reading the notes on the past four countries, memories surface of the dank LSU computer lab, smelling faintly of removed asbestos. This young writer was desperately pushing the pedal to the floor, unequipped to deal with the reality that he was running out of gas. As I recall, he began to wonder what he was doing typing up something that no one would ever read. His thoughts turned to his youth, feasibly better spent getting high and laid. Against all odds he produced some farsighted and judicious words about Belgium; the current world record holder for longest period after elections that a coalition was actually formed. Eight fucking months. Iraq occupies second place with seven. Have we some idea of how futile this state is? 

Italy—“The Azzurri”

Shirt badge/Association crestCan we be civil about this, Italianos? Of course we can’t ; ) Not a chance. You know full well that your spiteful bookie needs to get in his lines like “Dastardly Dagos”, “Floppin Wops”, and “Greasy Guinea Goombas”. It’s all part of our Summer Tradition. I antagonize you. You place your wagers. At the end of the day, one of us ends up eating crow. It’s oh so much fun. We broke even in 2002. I smacked you back into a corner in 2004. You punched back in 2006, leaving me dazed and unconscious on the canvas. I snuck in a late sucker punch in 2008. I walloped you with a Haymaker in 2010. You smacked the shit out of me in 2012. I got up and got in a few jabs back in 2014, before delivering a mammoth upper-cut. Where will this fourteen-year-long Epic Bout of Pugilism lead us next? Hopefully back to the Südstadt, where we can share a much deserved post-round drink.

I’ll indulge you with a bit of talk about the post-Prandelli Era and some of the accompanying changes. Antonio Conte was a good choice. He cleansed the squad of Balotelli, Claudio Marchisio, and Riccardo Montolivo. I also really like the idea of putting Graziano Pelle behind Ciro Immobile. I suppose the decision to retain Thaigo Motto, Danielle de Rossi, and Emmanuelle Giaccherini makes sense in the final analysis. Interested to take a look at Lorenzo and Simone Zaza.

Serious cause for concern at the back. Bonnucci and Barzagli leave the entire right side exposed. Gianluigi Buffon maintains his place between the posts, mostly because there wasn’t another candidate who came remotely close to challenging him. All of this talk about his legendary status notwithstanding, is anyone confident that he still has the mobility to withstand the Belgian onslaught?

Relax, Philly Contingent. You’ll make the Knockouts. Right here and right now I’ll submit my prognostication: I don’t see you making it past the quarters.  

 Projecting the Dago Lineup (4-3-3) 

                    Ciro Immobile
Stephan El Shaaraway     Graziano Pelle
                    E. Giaccherini
     Ricardo Montolivo   Daniele De Rossi       
M. De Sciglio G. Chiellini L. Bonucci A. Barzagli               
                    Gianluigi Buffon   

 The Talisman—Stephan El Shaaraway 
Image result for stephan el shaarawy

Italians normally don’t do immigrants. They may well be the least welcoming and least inclusive society in all of Western/Northern Europe. Though such cultural sectarianism stems from a confluence of complex reason, your friendly bookie wishes to focus on the topic of cuisine for a brief moment. Immigrants often assimilate themselves into foreign societies through the much-appreciated production of ethnic food. Check out your friendly bookie’s “Ode to Döner Kebabs” in the previous section should you crave a mini-thesis. Italians already have a well-established culinary culture. They literally worship prosciutto for fuck’s sake. Perhaps that’s one reason why it’s so hard for transplants like Mario Balotelli to break through, and why we’re so fascinated with them.

Balotelli will not be partaking in this Summer’s Festivities. Instead, the “Italian Immigrant Watch” centers around Egyptian Stephan El Shaarawy. He broke through for AC Milan in 2013, played for Italy in the 2013 Confederations Cup, and appeared destined for the National Side until injuries sidelined him for 2014. Great to have him back. Italians need diversity worse than your friendly bookie needs indescribable sexual favors. His passion might lead to a beast of a tournament. Let’s hope he gets a chance to be the hero, just like Balotelli did in 2012.

 “A Syndicate Classic—Italy” 

From WM 2014—Day Thirteen Recap:

WM 2014
Good Morning Philly Wop Contingent,

Oh….don’t you even think about whining! Perish the thought. I don’t want to hear it. Your Dagos played a tremendously shitty match, about as bad a match as I’ve seen anyone play. No hustle from Pirlo. Genuinely stupid play from Balotelli. Immobile was even worse. De Sciglio, Verratti, and Bonnucci played like complete garbage. No, I don’t care if the Marchisio sending off was harsh, the Godin goal was soft, and Luis Suarez entered the “Tyson Zone”


I’ve got your money and I won it FAIR AND SQUARE! You deserved to lose last night. You can whine, cry, and throw a puerile “Chielleni-hissy-fit”. Go ahead and give me a dramatic tantrum. Scream “Mamma Mia!” to the heavens and show me your bite mark. Roll around on the ground like a true “floppin Wop”. Writhe in pain and screech for succor.

Day 13 Recap (2)



Alright. Alright. We’ll dispense with our usual playful banter and get to work analyzing what happened. It wasn’t the greatest night for this half-Wop either. I was prepared to celebrate in the Südstadt with all my beloved “Germana”, but there was to be no party on this particular eve. We’ll begin with….what else? All anyone wants to talk about this morning is Luis Suarez’s “Macgruff Maneuver”

Day 13 Recap (3)Did he bite Chielleni? You friendly bookie has no choice but to remind you that he is certainly no Luis Suarez fan.

From WM 2014—Group D Preview

We’ve recently discovered that Premiership player of the year (and all around Uruguayan douchebag) Luis Suarez underwent arthroscopic knee surgery last week. It’s been a grueling season over at Anfield and the Liverpool man has played through a great deal of pain. The procedure is described as “minimally invasive” with recovery times ranging between two and four weeks.

Image result for Chiellini bite
Love the country, hate the team. My favorite periodical, “The Economist” named Uruguay 2013’s “Country of the Year”…for good reason. This bookie was extolling the virtues of recent political developments in Uruguay as far back as August. Below you’ll find some of my thoughts on Jose Mujica, written during last autumn’s qualifying campaign. If only I didn’t want to repeatedly punch Luis Suarez in the face.


The Talisman—Luis Suarez
He’s a douche. His flagrant handball sent the poor Black Stars home early in 2010. Even if he was adequately penalized, he remained on the pitch to celebrate and made obnoxious remarks afterward. He earned a completely justified suspension for despicable racist remarks made against Patrice Evra. Again, punishment was meted out fairly. It wouldn’t have been so bad if Suarez hadn’t refused to shake Evra’s hand his first game back. What more could you ask for? The “international asshole”. He dives. He whines. He pouts. He’s also the Premiership Player of the Year. Here’s some samples:

In addition to these better-publicized incidents, Suarez has twice been suspended for biting players. He received a seven-match-ban in 2010 when playing for Ajax after biting PSV midfielder Otman Bakkal. Three years later, when playing for Liverpool, he bit the arm of Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic. That incident earned him a ten-match-ban.

Image result for Chiellini biteHe’s taunted David Moises. He’s punched other players in the face. He’s flagrantly cheated again, again, and again. So then….an "open and shut case"? Not quite. Admittedly, I was hopping mad alongside my Azzuri “half-brothers” when the collision took place. You’re looking at an actual photo taken with my i-phone that documents the audience reaction to the purported bite. Your friendly bookie was waving and shouting too. Of course Suarez was guilty. He’s ALWAYS GUILTY!!

Not so fast. I’ve reviewed the tape and the contact actually looks incidental. If Suarez intended to bite Chielleni, why is he holding his teeth afterwards? It just looks like a freak-accident. Having given this a great deal of thought, I’m coming around to Uruguayan coach Oscar Tabarez’s position. What the fuck was that Theaterstück from Chielleni all about? Typical poor sportsmanship from the Italians. When not the better team, they flail their arms about and look to influence the officiating. Man up, fratello!

I still can’t stand Suarez and the K.O. Round is never the same without those “Forza Italia” Chants. Whatever happened, you can’t deny that you just got out-played. You had your destiny in your hands and you blew it; blew it big-time. More Italy Analysis to come in the “Goodbyes Section”. It is arrivederci, after all…and I’m afraid it’s deserved.

Shirt badge/Association crestItaly—“The Azzuri”

-3 Games Played
-2 Goals Scored
-39 Hot Girls

Oh my beloved dark-haired beauties. What am I to do with you? I want nothing more than to take you in my arms and assure you that everything will be all right. So you didn’t get out of the group. No need for tears. Vicey will……wait a second. We’ve been here before. The same thing happened back in 2010. It was only four years ago that your friendly bookie found himself consoling luscious Italian Girls!!

From WM 2010—Day Ten Recap

WM 2010So many sullen Italian girls in the audience today LL Che peccatto pollastretta! L L All of these lonely, melancholy Italian beauties brushing their lovely dark hair away from their piercing dark eyes so as to place a delicate finger on a dour check and exclaim to the heavens “Trageda!!” I know, I know, my little despairing pricipessa. Fa tanto male, più che puoi immaginarti! Please don’t give up hope my sweet alluring darlings. Andrà tutto per il meglio!

British play-by-play announcer Ian Darke was certainly doing his best to sell us their suffering. I count five times that the camera focused in on a group of despondent Italian stunners and Darke practically pleaded with us:

“I say, it doesn’t look as if these lasses are very chirpy this afternoon.”

Gentlemen, our mission is clear! We must come to the rescue of these poor forlorn Italian hotties. We must take them back to our place, light a few well-placed candles, open that bottle of Vercelli Nebbiolo we’ve been saving and put Eros Ramazotti on the stereo. As the light from the candles’ fades, the wine takes its semi-spiritual effect, and Eros launches into “Musica e”, we must tenderly caress these depressed divas and softly whisper in their ear that, yes, the Azzuri will qualify for the round of 16!

Image result for Italian fans sad girlsAnd you wonder why I root for Italy to lose!

By the way, I can’t have you guys spreading the word that I speak a little Italian. That’s not cool. Keep it on the D.L. Treat it as the “First and Second Rule of Fight Club”. Trust me. It’s the right thing to do. You may say, “Vicey, but you just put it in writing!”. That doesn’t matter. Only a few hundred people read this blog. I don’t want it to grow. Then I’ll have to pay traffic fees. Likewise, I don’t want random women to know about my linguistic proclivities. That’s another headache. We keep it tight, brothers!! Versprochen!

Massive overhaul time for the Azzuri, who treated us to what was surely the most fucked up postgame press conference in all of football history. Head coach Cesare Prandelli did a commendable job rebuilding the Dastardly Dagos after the debacle that was their 2010 South African Campaign. He took them all the way to the Euro 2012 Championship match via a stunning upset of my Krauts. Moreover, his lineup selection for last night’s game was spot on. It wasn’t his fault that Immobile turned out to be such a bust, that Pirlo didn’t even attempt to run off the ball, that Marchisio and Balotelli opted to play so stupidly, and that De Sciglio, Bonnucci, and Verrati stunk it up so badly.

All of that notwithstanding, Prandelli announced his resignation. When pressed as to why he accepted the resignation of a still well-regarded trainer, FIGC President Giancarlo Abete declared that he very much wanted Prandelli to stay on, but he himself would be resigning. Bam. Bam. The ship is left rudderless. Time for a total housecleaning.

Wow. Where do we go from here? That’s a wrap for Andrea Pirlo, who turns in his cleats after scoring 13 Goals in 112 international caps. Keeper Gianluigi Buffon is even older, but shows no signs of slowing down at the age of 36. He played marvelously last night. The only A+ on the Azzuri pitch. We might see him yet again at Euro 2016. A 38-year-old keeper? Why not? He’s only a keeper, after all.

Image result for Italian football fans
Thiago Motta, Antonio Cassano, and Andrea Barzagli are likely all finished. We’ve probably seen the last of some of the elders that Prandelli left off this squad too. No more Alessandro Diamanti, Alberto Gilhardino, or Federico Balzaretti. The future of the attack belongs to either Immobile or Balotelli. I utilize “either/or” in this instance, as they clearly can’t play together. Last night evidenced that. Both are ball hogs who try to do too much on their own. There can be only one.

Nothing much doing in the Italian Youth System. There’s Palermo forward Andrea Belotti and Cittadella defender Cristinao Biraghi. That’s about it. It will thus be the new coach’s task to somehow build a team around either Balotelli or Immobile. Veterans Claudio Marchiso, Alberto Aquilani, and Danielle De Rossi will return to captain the midfield. The defense is anyone’s guess, but we can expect it to be fairly green.

Whoever assumes the helm will have two years to build an attack-oriented formation that possibly features only three defenders. No easy task, but two full years is a long enough time to get it accomplished. Good luck with that. We’ll see you in France.

Sweden—“The Blaugults”

Shirt badge/Association crestDidn’t expect to see them this soon. The post mortem after Euro 2012 was bleaker than one of those German “Vergangenheitsbewältigung” Films from the early Seventies. This bookie saw no future for this team. A complete rebuilding process had to commence. Ibrahimovic somehow found a way to interject one of his trademark moments of magic into an exciting stalemate against the Danes in the Qualifying Playoffs…and here they are. Schön.

The prospects of them making it out of the group aren’t exactly stellar, but every side stands a chance in a 24-team-tournament. Ibrahimovic, Källstrom, Granqvist, and Isaksson can carry them through. I’m more interested in taking a look at Ludwig Augustinsson, Victor Linelöf, and Oscar Hijemark.

For Old Time’s sake, Sebastian Larsson deserves to go out on a high note. Make the Round of 16, Blaugults. We’ll have a spot of fun watching the moldy oldies fight to the last man, and get an alluring preview of what the 2018 side will look like.

If the Bosnian could favor us with one last gangly-legged stretch goal, that would be cool too.  

 Projecting the Swedish Lineup (4-1-4-1) 

                          Marcus Berg
                      Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Jimmy Durmaz Kim Källström Sebastian Larsson      
                       Pontus Wernloom
M. Olsson  E. Johansson  M. Lustig  A. Granqvist
                         Andreas Isaksson

 The Talisman—Zlatan Ibrahimovic 

Image result for zlatan ibrahimovic smallHe needs to be here. The moment I saw that second goal go in during the Copenhagen Leg of the playoff draw, I knew that it was destiny. To shamelessly steal a line from the “Men in Blazers”, “Cometh the hour, cometh the Man-Bun”. This freakishly tall, skinny, and “man-bunned” master of all trades, who has won legitimate silverware with literally every European Club that he’s played for. Don’t forget that he scored perhaps the greatest goal of all time. Let’s all enjoy his unrivaled agility one last time.  

 “A Syndicate Classic—Sweden” 

From EM 2004—Round Three
EM 2004
Sweden vs. Denmark


The above quip tells you everything you need to know. These two oft-excluded countries are signatories to a covert pact. I’m so cocksure about an inevitable draw that I’ll wager my sizeable porn collection on it. For those with easy access to a dictionary, go ahead and look up the word “cocksure”. It’s defined as “Completely and somewhat arrogantly confident and certain of one’s own mind” Sneak that term into your next paper. Sprinkle it into your everyday conversations. Next time someone asks you if you’re sure, reply, “I’m cocksure, motherfucker”.

Well. I suppose that counts as my good deed for the day. Always nice to edify the people Let’s talk a bit about the friendly derby that will be the furthest thing from competitive. The Swedes will miss Everton midfielder Tobias Linderoth, but should be still be able to comfortably engineer some forward momentum that either Larsson or Ibrihimovic will deftly finish. Once the Swedes secure an early lead, their offensive package will be pulled relatively early in the interest of sparing their legs. Then it will be either Rommedahl, Jorgenson, or Dahl Thomason’s turn to equalize to effectuate their rest cure. Some other role players or young subs may swap a goal or two, but the result will one that benefits both sides. Draw the match and prepare for the quarterfinals.  

THE LINE: Pick em’

Editor’s retroactive notes:
RESULT: Denmark 2, Sweden 2. In spite of the perfectly picked line, the script played out very differently. The match was competitive right up to the final whistle. With a large chunk of change on the line, I found myself glued to the screen and Jan Dahl Thomason brace twice pushed the Swedes and my pocketbook to the brink. After Sorenson fucked royally by dragging down Larson for a patently numbskull penalty, he cost the Danes first place in the group by making a hash of a Wilhelmsson cross in the 89th minute. Mattie’s Johnson pounced on the rebound and emphatically drove it into the back of net. I leapt to my feet, let out a guttural yell, and broke into a ludicrous hot dog dance. Once I explained to everyone at the office that the Euros were taking place all was forgiven and everyone understood why I was typing more furiously than usual J 

The Republic of Ireland—“The Boys in Green”

Shirt badge/Association crestIt’ll be a short-lived reunion for those of us who can’t get enough of the Paddies. There really isn’t much sense in betting on a team coached by Martin O’Neill. Though the relegation of the clubs he coached in the Premiership weren’t entirely his fault, he does shoulder some blame for taking way too long to give up on ineffective players. The same could be said of your friendly bookie ; ( He’s fully guilty of the same crime.

Robbie Keane captains the squad in spite of the fact that he’s in semi-retirement playing in the MLS. The highly effective Shane Long backs him. Wes Hoolahan, John O’Shea, Seamus Coleman, Aiden McGeady, and Jonathan Walters still have some juice left…but I’m NOT getting talked into backing this team again.

NO!! It’s NOT happening. I lost too much money back in 2012. “Paddy Power” is a myth; one that we all wish to talk ourselves into. Our love of the color and culture completely skews our judgment. Our quixotic desire to see them succeed screws us over. I’m done with you, Irish. You won’t screw me over this year.

They’ll finish dead last.   

Republic of Ireland Projecting the Irish Lineup (4-4-2) Republic of Ireland

            Robbie Keane      Shane Long
Aiden McGeady                   James McCarthy
           Wes Hoolahan      Robbie Brady
Stephen Ward                          John O’Shea                         
        Seamus Coleman Stephen Ward
                         Shay Given

Republic of Ireland The Talisman—Robbie Keane Republic of Ireland

Image result for Robbie Keane smallEven the Talisman on this team inspires no belief. There’s simply no way that someone can play for the L.A. Galaxy and still maintain a sense of spirit and urgency. As a youth, he helped the Irish win a bunch of insignificant U-18 and U-19 titles. He’s been the best player that the Republic has ever had. He’s tallied 67 times for his country’s senior side.  He put in inspired performances at White Hart Lane and Merseyside. He…still….plays for the L.A. Galaxy. Aaaaargh. No. No. No. No. Sorry, Irish. Get drunk and have a good time. Your team isn’t going anywhere. 

“A Syndicate Classic—Ireland”

From WMQ 2009--"Syndicate Afterlife":

WMQ 2009 (2)

Ireland v. France


The “luck of the draw” pits two of my favorite teams against one another. I’ve paced around on this one. I’ve smoked two cigarettes at once. I’ve gone back and forth more than Tim McCarver after the game. On the one hand, a WM without the French is like a Bachelor Party without hookers. We simply must have our Henry, Gallas, Gouvou, Anelka, Riberry, Benzema, Evra, Abidal….I could prattle on all night! I’m also deeply concerned about the staff at “France Telecom”. France already tops the global suicide rate list. In the past three months, 23 employees have decided that corporate restructuring is too much for them and hurled themselves out the window! How horrible! Imagine what will happen if France loses, the Peugeot Factories close down, Germans stop purchasing plots for nuclear waste, and no French citizen can download pirated music anymore. I don’t want blood on my hands!

On the other hand, I have such deep affection for my Irishmen. The French will always have the number 1 suicide rate. “Life is Shit” ought to be the French motto. They wear depression like a red badge of courage. As for the disgruntled office workers….give them a 35-hour workweek and they still take their own lives! There is simply no saving some people. Sorry froggy, but I have to stand behind the boys. Conceivably, my support of the Irish is buttressed by one crucial longing: I DO NOT WANT GIOVANI TRAPATONNI TO GO AWAY!!!! The “Flasche leer” coach must be part of this WM!

If you don’t know who Giovanni Trapatonni is, allow me to introduce you to the best German poet since Heine. We call him “Flasche leer” to commemorate the time he described his Bayern Munich squad as having played like “empty bottles”. This man has been desecrating the German language for so long he makes my old roommate Niko look like Friedrich fucking Schiller. Yes, yes. I know. 98% of syndicate members do not speak German. It is not my intention to show off. Rather, I wish to enthuse ALL English speakers of the opportunity to witness this man destroy the English language! His audacity when trying to speak a foreign language is so marvelous. Now that he is the coach of the Irish team, the possibilities are endless. I promise you won’t regret it! Here are some of the greatest hits

< http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXsJSTkfZd8> Trapatonni talks smack against the French. You will DIE laughing at this one.

< http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnYBX3e5CgA&feature=related> Trapatonni goes nuts on Bayern! The infamous “Flasche Leer” Press Conference! Spanish subtitles provided!

< http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bqp64q7kHmw> A wonderful compilation of Trapatonni. English subtitles provided!

< http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6yC0UtFarc&feature=related> Here he is after Ireland’s defeat to Serbia!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyhZb7552SQ&feature=related The infamous Bayern Press Conference, with complete English subtitles!

The five clips I’ve posted comprise roughly 1/200th of the Trapatonni Collection I am presently assembling on You Tube. I trust these samples are enough to get most of you on board. We need the Insane Italian Maestro to be part of our WM! Without him, we are mere “empty bottles”

THE LINE: IRELAND+1 Goal (on aggregate)

Vicey’s Fearless Group Prediction (Straight Up Odds for bookie)

 1) Belgium
 2) Italy
 3) Sweden
 4) Ireland

Overall Championship Odds

 Belgium (2 to 1)
 Italy (5 to 1)
 Sweden (10 to 1)
 Ireland (43 to 1)

Round of 16 Odds

 Belgium (NO BETS)
 Italy (Straight up)
 Sweden (4 to 1)
 Ireland (12 to 1)

Quarterfinal Odds

 Belgium (NO BETS)
 Italy (2 to 1)
 Sweden (8 to 1)
Ireland (20 to 1)

Semifinal Odds

 Belgium (Straight Up)
 Italy (4 to 1)
 Sweden (10 to 1)

 Ireland (25 to 1)