Short of visiting the pitchmen, where they actually know about soccer and don't hide lack of knowledge with exuberance, or simply checking out Trips' thoughts on the upcoming re-continuation of war in Rustenburg on saturday, I'm about to tell you all of my thoughts on the 2010 World Cup. Should only take about 300 words.
Originally I wasn't particularly interested in investing my hopes in the US team. What difference does it make if this collection of players came from my country? I don't know any of them more than Wayne Rooney. Their victory or defeat has little to do with my situation or the situation of my nation. I'm growing more and more interested in the sport soccer but I have no intention of watching the MLS. I'd rather follow the EPL, the Champions League and the Euro/World Cups.
Then my attention was drawn to the spectacular hatred and lack of respect shown to the US National team simply because other nations don't like the politics of our country. Well screw you, you think you could do a better job with all this power and wealth? You want Germany or Russia in charge?
Further considering into this decision is the joy I find in belittling other nations and singing the Team America anthem during games. All that to say that I'll be rooting for the US until they are eliminated.
Beyond the encouragement to support the guys who happen to be wearing your nation's colors I have these thoughts about some of the qualifying squads and their respective chances. If you are looking for substantive analysis, well...
Argentina: They have a player named Messi that is generally considered the best player in the world. I don't know how that has been determined, probably the typical eye test. The rest of the squad is talented as well, but their coach is some asshat named Diego Maradona. He doesn't look or sound like the coach of a winner.
For instance, the hated championship teams we have recently seen dominating American sports been captained by guys like Joe Torre, Greg Poppovich, Bill Belichek or Phil Jackson. Calculating men who are always calm and terrify with their manipulation and confidence, not clowns like this euro-mulleted Latin.
He has them playing a counter-attack style that doesn't match the strategy that Messi thrives in with Barcelona. I'm betting on his hubris providing an obstacle to a Argentinian victory.
Germany: Only Brazil has more World Cup finals appearances, but then they lost captain Michael Ballack from a team that was already predicted to fall short. On the bright side for Deutscheland, I'll again remind that the Nazi's beat the Vietcong on The Deadliest Warrior's simulation.
The Dutch: Probably won't win. Did you know though that Holland, Amsterdam, the Netherlands and the Dutch all share something in common? It's like, all the same place.
Brazil: Competing with the Spanish and Argentinians for most talented team. If God is pulling for a team it's probably Brazil after Kaka and co. announced their allegiance to the Divine upon securing the Federations cup. At any rate, He hasn't seemed interested in leveling the playing field for everyone else. They are a fantastic squad to watch and after the US team is finished off I'll be rooting for these guys. Or, uh, the Limeys...
Spain: The super-loaded Spaniards have 2 factors weighing against them, first is that the rampant injury bug has struck star striker Torres and left him in questionable shape for the Cup.
On a side note, it's been quite sad that we've been robbed of some great talents in what looks like one of the most loaded World Cups in some time. The best African soccer player (am I wrong? I really don't know) Drogba has been knocked out early as well. Just a damn shame on a level about 10x worse for Africa then the Colt injury was for us.
The 2nd problem for the Spaniards is that America (%$#* Yeah!) demonstrated an effective defensive measure in their Federations Cup upset for dealing with the attacks from La Furia Roja. Stacking the middle with large, physical defensemen and letting Spain try to make it happen from the wings. Unless they can adjust to that style I don't see them overtaking Brazil or Argentina.
England: The world's 2nd best player Wayne Rooney, a bunch of partyers, and a nation who's World Cup perspective reads like Red Sox nation pre-2004: ever hopeful but always waiting for the axe to drop.
Mexico: Screw these guys and their urine-bomb flinging fanbase. I hope their hopes are crushed and the various peoples of Group A cover their home fields with salt.
Portugal: This is the team that Christiano Ronaldo will be playing for, they are ranked high internationally but barely qualified for participation.
The team our founding fathers will cheer on from Heaven: We're looking for a big leap from forward Altidore paired with strong play from the stars Dempsey (plays in the English Premier League), Donovan (best player), and Howard (blocked more Brazilian shots than Carmen de Patagones before going down under a hail of goals) in order to achieve something more here than American teams of the past.
Onyegwu is another rising star who played the part of bully in the middle against Spain and demonstrated to the world how common citizens can form a democratic government. Joining him on defense, besides the spectre of George Washington crossing the Delaware to glorious triumph, is Jonathan Spector who also has experience playing across the pond.
Godspeed gentleman, give 'em another taste of colonial whoop-ass.
While LA blew a fantastic display of dominance by Andrew Bynum and allowed Boston to jump right back into contention, that performance by LA's 2nd 7-footer should be very ominous for the Celtics.
ESPN is claiming that game 3 will be a make or break for the series, I doubt that will be the case unless the Lakers win. Both teams had only one travel day and will likely be a little sluggish from game 2, their flight, and the time difference. Given that factor and the certainty of the Boston faithful in making the TD Garden a veritable hell, I expect home-court advantage to carry the Celtics to 2-1.
However, if Bynum keeps up the level of play from game 2 there is no way that Boston can finish the series unless Kobe just completely blows it...and he might. What was he doing taking 20 shots in game 2 when Bynum and Gasol were scoring at will?
Kobe scored 21 points on 20 field goals while Bynum and Gasol scored 46 points on the same number of attempts due to a 65% combined shooting percentage and getting to the line for 25 free throw attempts. What could have happened if Kobe had deferred for the 4rth quarter? If he keeps playing like victory is only important if he receives the Finals MVP and historical credit then Boston can absolutely take this series despite play from a Laker frontcourt impersonating Parish and McHale.