It is here. The Biggest Sporting Event in the World is about to begin… and you know what that means… that’s right VFLOAB is a little more than PUMPED about it all. So we’ll cut to the chase and just give you our predictions…
Instead of giving IN DEPTH REPORTS on each team, we’ll leave that to those who know and see the game more often that we do.* So if you want an informative and humorous take on each team, we suggest That’s On Point. Here’s the link to Angola, the Netherlands, and USA respectively. You should enjoy them. Read them. I love them and you should too. As for the rest… we’re going to use our buddies at the Guardian for help. They seem to like us and we know we like them.
For Info on Groups A and B go here
And for Info on Groups C and D go here
Oh and if you really care about checking out ALL the jerseys from the World Cup this year… go here.
So without further Freddy Adu…
The Czech Republic, Ghana, Italy, United States of America
The Group of Torture (this isn’t political commentary mind you, it’s like the Group of Death but a bit easier, so torture wins out).
The Czech Republic
Their Deal: Aside from having really hot women, being Bohemians, and having beer that’s cheaper than water… well they’ve got some style and skill. They looked like the best team in Euro 2004 until they crashed out in the semis. They’re getting a tad long in the tooth and have injury problems all over the place. A healthy Czech team could go far… a banged up team could lose to the US and Ghana.
World Cup Best: TRICK QUESTION… the Czechs on their own have never been to a World Cup… but when they had the Slovaks as side kicks they were Runners-up in 1934 and 1962.
Stud Muffin: Since we haven’t given any goalie love yet, Petr Cech is pretty good. Tomas Rosicky has a ton of skill and then of course Pavel Nedved.
Random Thoughts: The Czechs just seem too cool for Europe… Prague pretty much rocks no matter how you look at it… Bohemians rock pretty much any way you look at them… I wrote my senior thesis partly on the Prague Spring… They really do have a lot of hot womena lot… real lot… They’re good at hockey too, some day I hope the US can achieve the success that Sweden and the Czech’s have achieved in footie and hockey… this team doesn’t worry me as much if all these injury rumors are true… the US has to take at least a point, ideally three from the Czechs to have any hope of advancing.
Best Name: Milan Baros
American Sports Team They Best Compare To: Dallas Mavericks they can look great both to the casual eye (playing up and down game while being creative) and to the fan (because they get results) and some even consider them dark horse to go far… but in the end they usually lack something to get them over the top. (though the Mavs look like they’re on their way to the NBA Championship).
For the Women: If they were shoes... Horse shoes
As ever, they're nailed on dark horses. You also feel they'll live a charmed life this summer - though that could all change if they're turned over. So simple yet so effective but can they last the course?
Chances: If healthy… they’ll most likely move on and probably play an exciting match with Brazil where they’ll bow out. If not… then who it’s unlikely the US or Ghana won’t take advantage of them at some point. All depends on their health… and right now that doesn’t look too good.
Their Deal: The west African nation has some good players and talent, but the question is if they’ll be able to turn that into results. They’re in a tough group and only brought two strikers with them. It’s hard to win without scoring goals, but then again it’s hard to lose if you don’t allow many. They have a lot of players who are either playing in smaller European leagues or not in Europe at all… expect all them to be playing for a big contract.
World Cup Best: Hey look everyone, it’s their first trip!
Stud Muffin: Michael Essien (Chelsea)
Random Thoughts: American soccer’s answer to LeBron, Freddy Adu, was born in Ghana… a former co-worker of mine is dating a guy from Ghana… I don’t have anything that interesting to say about Ghana, though I think their nickname (Black Stars) is pretty cool. The former British colony in 1957 became the first sub-Saharan country in colonial Africa to gain its independence. That’s not a random thought, but deal. I’ve got nothing.
Best Name: The Irishman Sulley Ali Muntari… kidding about the Irish part… Otto Addo is pretty cool too.
American Sports Team They Best Compare To: Jacksonville Jaguars… both are newer kids on the block with some talent and if you play them on the wrong night, they’ll beat you good… but in the end they don’t have enough.
For the Women: If they were shoes . . . Clown shoes
Their novelty value has the potential to make a big impression and they appear ideal for giving someone a kick up the backside if they're caught unawares. But in serious company they might find themselves laughed out of town.
Chances: Again inexperience might be their down fall, but then again these guys do have a world class midfield. How much will it matter? If too many guys are playing for contracts rather than the team, expect them to crash and burn. The good news is, since they play the US last, they can’t hurt the US. If they beat the Italians and Czechs, that’s all good for the US. If they lose to ‘em, odds are the US should win that final game. US has to beat them to have any realistic shot at advancing. That’s easier said than done. I don’t expect Ghana to move on…
Their Deal: They don’t like goals and like to play D… so they’re not always the most entertaining team to watch. But they’re always a threat and they’ve got plenty of guys with skill. Some call Totti the best Italian player in the last 20 years, and Luca Toni scored a boat load of goals in Serie A this year. Pretty much they’ll go as far as those two take them. And let’s put it this way… two years ago Toni was playing in Sicily and Totti was busy getting himself kicked out of Euro 2004 by spitting on a Dane. Oh yeah, and there is a HUGE match fixing scandal that’s hitting Italy right now… names are being named, teams are in big trouble… and one of those things are going to happen. The Italians will crash out in the first round, or find themselves in the semis or something. It’s either going to tear this team apart or bring them together… you’re guess is as good as mine, but I’m leaning towards torn apart.
World Cup Best: Winners in 1934, 1938, and 1982
Stud Muffin: Random Thoughts: What are all those Italian Americans who have Italian tats and Italian flags as their bummer sticker going to do on Saturday the 17th of June when the US plays Italy? That’s one of the nice things about being Irish, conflicts like this are easy resolved by drinking a lot and blaming the English… I don’t know about you, but the females go crazy over Totti and you would too if you were Roman… It’s a safe bet to say that the Italians will have at least one, probably two, 0-0 games in the World Cup… they do have good food… Italy is great; I should say that… they wear blue because it is the color of Savoia, the ruling house of Italy from 1861 to 1946 in case you were wondering.
Best Name: No offense to Alessandro Nesta, but we just adore the name Fabio… so Fabio Cannavaro it is.
American Sports Team They Best Compare To: New Jersey Devils/Pittsburgh Steelers… these two teams can play D and have always been able to play D… and while their a bit boring, it usually gets results to the point where you never bet against either team because some times leads to championships.
For the Women: If they were shoes . . . Roller skates
Trundle along slowly and unsurely to start with but after a while begin to gather momentum. Then, just as onlookers are taking notice, there comes an undignified if spectacular fall - and red faces all round.
Chances: There’s no in-between with this team. They’re either going far or not far at all… let’s assume Totti is fit and doesn’t lose his head… then a trip to the Finals may be in order. Then again, Italian teams seem to come apart at the seams at times… could the scandal in Italy be a catalyst? We say no. The injuries to the Czechs should send the Czechs packing and the Italians move on with grace. A match up with France in the Semis would be CLASSIC.
United States of America
Their Deal: No longer just the five guys who were too small to play football who decided to take up soccer so they could get some money to go to college. American players are now borderline world class players. In a way, it’s amazing how far the US program has come in such a short time (a little over 15 years really). The US team is something to be reckoned with… but there is one major problem… the US stinks on European soil… can things change this time?
World Cup Best: Semi-finals 1930 (amazing just as good as the Spanish and better than Mexico has ever done).
Stud Muffin: I’m suppose to say Landon Donovan, but I’m sorry, he doesn’t do it for me. We’ll say Oguchi Onyewu who stands to make himself a lot of money over the next few weeks. Also, if he can’t defend Toni and the Czech forwards the US is screwed.
Random Thoughts: The day is fast approaching where the US might actually win the World Cup. It’s not as soon as some Americans think (2010) but it isn’t as far off as Europeans would wish it to be (3000). Soccer is becoming more than a ‘niche’ sport in the US, the MLS draws decent crowds, the game is pretty big in the ‘burbs, and the US has the money to build a successful program… and that’s just what we’re doing… And we’re going to be the best looking team in Germany… check out these beauties in white and blue. We like the blue ones… We’ve been using the Guardian as our Ten Commandments of this thing… and this made us laugh: “What they eat: Whatever they fancy and plenty of it.” L O L.
Best Name: It’s funny reading the names on this list: DaMarcus Beasley, Brian Ching, Brian McBride, Claudio Reyna, John O'Brien, Eddie Lewis, Oguchi Onyewu, Marcus Hahnemann, and Pablo Mastroeni… basically a little something for everyone in the world (black America, Asian, Scottish, Italian, Irish, English, African, German, and Spanish… take your pick).
American Sports Team They Best Compare To: Ummm…Notre Dame Football maybe? Love ‘em or hate ‘em, there is no in-between. And both look like they’re going to be forces to be reckoned with for a long time. They’re never as good as NBC says, but they’re never as bad as the biggest Domer haters like to say. And they’re only going to get better. (Of course the US footie team lacks the history of Irish football, but can you sort of see what I’m getting at?)
For the Women: If they were shoes: Doc Martens - You know the name and the reputation. They may lack a deftness of touch but this powerful ensemble makes a big status statement. And that statement is: do what I say or feel the force.
Chances: At best, second place and losing a heartbreaker to Brazil. At worst… three and out with maybe two goals in the three games. The US team is in better shape from a fitness and injury stand point than the Italians or Czechs, but they don’t have the quality of either side. It’s unlikely both the Czechs and Italians will fall apart, and it’s some what doubtful one of them will. The Czechs injury problems should help the US, and if they’re able to steal three points from the Czechs and win over Ghana will probably move them into the next round. If they can manage a nil-nil draw with Italy it’s a reason to drink. If they beat the Italians, buy champagne and drink it on the street.
Italy (7), USA (4), Czechs (2), Ghana (2)
I know we’re being homers, but the Czechs really do seem banged up.
Brazil (9), Croatia (6), Australia (3), Japan (0)