At long last, the World Cup Finals, a.k.a. the best month in any given four-year period, begin tomorrow. Hopefully it’ll be relatively high scoring, there’ll be some great games, and a worthy champion will be crowned at the end.
The United States is in Group E with Italy, the Czech Republic, and Ghana. It’s either the toughest or second-toughest group in the tournament, depends on who you ask. It’ll be a low-scoring group, and it’s entirely possible that the group winner will have only five points (three for a win, one each for two ties).
Anyhow, here are my predictions for the U.S.:
Group E: June 12, versus the Czech Republic. I think the Czechs (#2) are even more overrated in the World Rankings than the Americans (#5) are. They barely qualified for the finals by beating Norway. Whoop de doo. The Czechs won’t overlook us like Colombia did in ’94 or Portugal did in ’02. We’ll score first, they’ll tie it soon after, and then both teams will be content with the tie. USA 1, Czech Republic 1.
Group E: June 17, at Italy. We will not score on the Italians. The Italians will not score on us. I’d like to see a more exciting game, but at this point the U.S. will be thinking, “tie Italy and then advance by beating Ghana,” and Italy will be thinking, “we’ve beaten Ghana, let’s just take the tie and pray we don’t wear our hideous white jerseys against the Czechs.” USA 0,Italy 0.
Group E: June 22, at Ghana. We will wear down the Ghanians and score late. They’ll have little left in the tank after having played two frantic and frustrating games against Italy and the Czechs. USA 1, Ghana 0.
We’ll finish second in Group E behind Italy and advance to a Second Round match-up against the winner of Group F, who will most likely be Brazil.
Round of Sixteen (I like this title better than “Second Round,” and it sounds better than “Eighth Finals”): June 27, at Brazil. Most experts believe that if we get past Group E, this is where the journey ends. Not I—but then, I’m not an expert. We will play shamelessly against Brazil, packing ten men into our penalty box, force extra-time, and miraculously win in the penalty shootout. Everyone will complain about what an ugly game the Americans played, while secretly rejoicing that Brazil is out of the tournament. USA 0, Brazil 0 aet, 4-3 in penalties.
Quarterfinals: July 1, versus France. France will forfeit. USA advances.
Semifinals: July 5, at the Duchy of Grand Fenwick. In a manner reminiscent of the Argentines against England in ’86, our boys—driven to avenge America’s humiliating defeat in the 1959 war—bury the Fenwickians behind five goals in the first half. Brian McBride scores a brilliant goal in the second half, but is red-carded for hurling racial slurs at the Fenwickianplayers. USA 6, Duchy of Grand Fenwick 0.
Final: July 9, at the Soviet Union. At the coin toss, the Soviet captain tells U.S. captain Claudio Reyna, “You vill lose.” Reyna responds, “Go for it.” In the first half, our boys are frustrated by the Soviets’ dirty play, which goes unpunished by the obviously paid-off referee. We use up our three substitutions early due to injuries, and then Landon Donovan is knocked out by a commie rabbit punch, forcing us to play with only ten men for the time being. At halftime, with the Soviets leading 4-1, the team decides to change into their old Mighty Duck jerseys from their days as a youth ice hockey team. In spite of being down a man, the Americans roar back to tie the game at 4-4. With only stoppage time remaining, Donovan returns to the game and scores the game-winner on a bicycle kick. The U.S. wins 5-4, but before they can collect the Jules Rimet Trophy, the fans go nuts and rush onto the field, which allows our players to blend in with the locals and escape to free Allied territory.
And if that doesn’t happen I’m picking either Brazil, Holland, Germany, Argentina, Italy, France, or England. Or Spain. Maybe Portugal.
8 Responses to “World Cup Germany 2006, Part One.”
- Doctor Hmnahmna Says:
June 9th, 2006 at 9:57 PM
Lessee, watch the World Cup, paint the living room, watch the World Cup, paint the living room . . .
I’ll be painting the living room.
But the Duchy of Grand Fenwick match was good.
- donnimikk Says:
June 9th, 2006 at 11:09 PM
or Mexico… i think i just discovered the ONLY war France ever won… the 98 World CUP!!! [Horrifically racist comment deleted by moderator.]
- aabrock Says:
June 10th, 2006 at 11:59 AM
I have tried to be a good world citizen and have spent some time watching the World Cup. Not bad, but this whole “flopping on the ground screaming in pain” business is ridiculous. Every 5 minutes someone gets barely touched (sometimes not even) and they flop on the ground in fake agony. And more often than not the ref whips out a yellow card. This poor Trinidad/Tobago player went for the ball, got to it first, this Swedish guy jumps over him and flops around after and the Trinidad guy gets thrown out. Pathetic. It is totally killing any enthusiam I try to develop towards the World Cup.
- VDV Says:
June 10th, 2006 at 12:54 PM
I agree about the flopping, but it’s not quite as bad as it used to be because refs have more power to punish diving and flopping (but then you have the problem Italy faced in ‘02 against South Korea: the ref wrongly carded Totti for diving, and replays showed he was fouled).
They have replay, why not put three refs in a booth to serve as replay judges? Spend 30 seconds looking at a dive or a goal, signal to the ref when play can go on, maybe cut away to a short commercial and pick up some ad revenue… Anything that will assist in the swift execution of floppers. I hate them.
It’ll never happen because the purists in FIFA are worse than the purists in any other sport (possible exception of baseball).
The least-diving teams I know of are England, Germany, and the US, in that order.
PS. Don’t worry about being “a good world citizen” (that’s a whole nuther issue)– just watch the games if you want to. The Germany-Costa Rica game was awesome.
- aabrock Says:
June 10th, 2006 at 5:59 PM
Then I will be pulling for England, [nothing to see here] and the US, in that order. Execute the floppers, I can get onboard with that.
I watched the first half of the England match and the entire Trinidad/Sweden match. I rather enjoyed it (except for the matters of the previous posting)…the massive underdog story of Trinidad was very compelling. That kind of thing translates well into any sport.
- VDV Says:
June 10th, 2006 at 7:23 PM
Do you mean that you’re rooting for England and Germany ahead of the US? Sounds like you succeeded in being a good world citizen.
- VDV Says:
June 10th, 2006 at 7:24 PM
Oops… I meant to add “you godless communist.”
- aabrock Says:
June 10th, 2006 at 9:21 PM
No, I suppose not. I will root for the US team…my disgust for the floppers clouded my mind for a bit.
And I am not a drunkard.