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. Enjoy them. Read them. I love them. 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
So without further Freddy Adu…
Argentina, Coste D’Ivroy, the Netherlands, Serbia-Montenegro
The Group of Death
Their Deal: The red head step child to Brazil… they’ve got talent and skill, flair and beauty; but also a dirty side of ‘cheats’ (in the past), floppers, and at times hard tacklers. Therefore they don’t get the love that Brazil gets… case and point Pele vs Maradona. Most of those who saw both play will say that Maradona was a better player, but Pele gets all the glory (partly because he’s kept his nose and body clean; something Diego struggled with until recently). Still, a side always to be reckoned with.
World Cup Best: Winners in 1978 and 1986
Stud Muffin: Juan Román Riquelme (Villarreal in Spain) BUT Carlos Tévez (Corinthians in Brazil) probably doesn’t get the props he deserves since he plays in South America and Lionel Messi (Barca) is rumored to have LeBron like talent (we haven’t seen him and soccer has a nasty habit of over hyping youngsters).
Random Thoughts: If we were to rank soccer mad countries, they’d probably finish atop of the list if we ranked only countries we’ve been too… everyone plays soccer over there all the time. It’s fun to see. Sort of like basketball here (think about how practically any time you go by an court someone is play… see). Nice country, very nice people, and they probably have the second best unis (only to the USA). Have to love the sky blue and white striped shirt… About 70% of the female population is a size C or bigger… the Ex-Roomie and I were calling it Heaven… Yummmmm, beef, yummmmm.
Best Name: A lame group for Latin American country… I guess Lionel Messi.
American Sports Team They Best Compare To: Boston Celtics, never as sexy as the Lakers and in the 1980s not as successful, but still damn good.
For the Women: If they were shoes . . . Kinky bootsCapable of looking extremely sexy. In fact, though they wouldn't admit it publicly, there are some who'd quite like it if they dominated this summer. Others think their style is a wee bit in-your-face and prefer a more demure approach. You decide.
Chances: Well… if they can get out of their group… then they’ve got a shot. They’re better than anyone in Group D, so even if they finish second they could still easily dispose the top team of D. From there… a trip to the final is possible. But they could also be facing England in the quarters… how fitting since they always seem to play each other!
Their Deal: Probably the best team from Africa in the World Cup. They’ve got talent all over the place. But they also have the misfortune of being in the toughest group. Will inexperience hurt them?
World Cup Best: First World Cup
Stud Muffin: Didier Drogba… no forwards are getting too much love. Kolo Touré it is from Arsenal in England.
Random Thoughts: The country is torn by war… but the team apparently is trying to unite everyone (btw, if you don’t believe on the uniting powers of footie, look no further than Italy in 1982). If the team really is united, then look out. Plus any team that has the guts to wear orange we enjoy. And they speak French. And supply the world with your cocoa. Love them for that, especially females who seem to be addicted to chocolate. We just picked up Gérard Gnanhouan for our Hibs team in Football Manager if you care.
Best Name: Lots to choose from… Emmanuel Eboué… Bakary Koné… Jean-Jacques Tizié… now the winner is: Gilles Yapi Yapo
American Sports Team They Best Compare To: Memphis Grizzles… a newer kid on the block with some talent and you’re just not sure what to expect from them… and they also play in the toughest conference in the NBA. Sort of like the Elephants.
For the Women: If they were shoes . . . Cowboy bootsFlamboyant and youthful, here we have an association with brazen confidence and a cocky swagger. They do look fine but ultimately they're an exercise in style over substance. Sorry.
Chances: They had the misfortune of being in the toughest draw. I think their inexperience will hurt them, but then again, if the Dutch fight between themselves and the Argentines choke… they could find themselves in the Round of 16… and they could beat anyone in group D… from there who knows.
Their Deal: They’re the team that wears orange and look damn good in doing so. Always filled with talent, the ‘best team never to win the World Cup’ have been close many times. Will this be the year? Seeing that they aren’t as talented as in years past, many have their doubts. Oh yeah, and Total Football. Johan Cruyff might be the greatest European ever… or at least since 1960. I’m sure someone would disagree and start shouting “Georgie Best!” or “Franz Beckenbauer!” or “Zinedine Zidane!”.
World Cup Best: Runners-up in 1974 and 1978
Stud Muffin: Arjen Robben (Chelsea in England)
Random Thoughts: Who doesn’t love the fact that they wear orange? They’re always talented and entertaining… probably the closest thing that Europe has to a Brazil. Despite with the Brits call them, they are not Holland. Holland is just part of the country, a region. Like Bohemia in the Czech Republic. Would you call ever call the United States, New England? Of course not.
Best Name: Again a ton to choose from, but we’ll go with Rafael van der Vaart; if he was bigger in America, we’d hear jokes like “Did you just van der Varrt” all the time.
American Sports Team They Best Compare To: Philadelphia Eagles – always pretty good, always pretty entertaining, always get close, and always lose. The Birds have lost the two Super Bowls they’ve appeared in, underachieved in the late 80s and early 90s, and have disappointed everyone in Philly since 2001. The Dutch seem to be much the same, either disappointing or coming close, but in the end coming up short.
For the Women: If they were shoes . . . High heelsMost blokes agree they look pretty good, others go a step further and say they scream sex, sex, shex. But they're not particularly adaptable and are often found out on their ear when the road gets rocky.
Chances: If they weren’t on European soil I think a lot more people would be sour on this team. They did reach the quarterfinals of Euro 2004 which should mean something… but honestly, it’s going to be tough for them to get out of this group. That game against Argentina figures to be huge. After that… you know the drill with this group… probable trip to the semis.
Their Deal: They are Serbian… and Montenegroese? I don’t know… and can’t find what they’ll be called. Anyway, besides this being the Swan Song for Serbia-Montenegro as a country (actually I think Montenegro is already independent, but they’re playing with the Serbians in the World Cup… and I have NO CLUE if anyone from Montenegro is on this team, so don’t ask). I think it’s kind of cool… this will be the last time for Serbia-Montenegro… after this it’s over. Sort of like a break up, but you know they want that one last night together. I wish them the best… as for their footie skills? Not bad. They came out atop of their group in qualification (which included Spain) and have arguably the best back line in the World Cup (I’m sure the Italians would argue… probably the English too depending on how they felt about Rio on that day). Amazing, I know.
World Cup Best: First World Cup… which doesn’t seem right. I guess they’ve been too busy producing basketball players.
Stud Muffin: Dejan Stankovic – Inter in Italy
Random Thoughts: I can’t get over this Swan Song stuff… it’s sort of sad isn’t it? Anyway, everyone seems to like them. And their Slavs… we’re fan of Slavs. Ummm… Serbia is going to be land locked once Montenegro says peace (if it didn’t already I AM CONFUSED).
Best Name: After D’Brickashaw, the quickest way to our heart is to be named Predrag. So Predrag Djordjevic is the winner.
American Sports Team They Best Compare To: Cleveland Browns – if for no other reason than they used to be Yugoslavia, then Serbia-Montenegro, and now just Serbia. Remember how the Browns just didn’t exist for a few years? Is this a bad example? Yes. I don’t have much here…
For the Women: If they were shoes . . . Flippers
Maybe not the prettiest around but pretty effective at what they do. But they'll have to work flippin' hard simply to stay afloat here. One false move and they'll go down quicker than Mateja Kezman
Chances: They’re in a tough group… okay everyone in this group has a shot and to be honest, we have no clue. One day we like the Dutch. Then we like the Argentines for a few days. They we say, Serbia can play D. Then we remember that the Elephants have talent… so who knows. They’re like everyone else in this group. They’ve got a shot. If they advance, then they’ll probably be in the semis.
Gun pointed to head…
Argentina (5), the Netherlands (5), Côte d'Ivoire (3), Serbia-Monntengro (2)
Angola, Iran, Mexico, Portugal
Maybe the most random mix of countries… EVER
Their Deal: Honestly… we don’t know. Everyone says they stink. I’m sure they do. Who knows… who knows… who knows…
World Cup Best: First Trip
Stud Muffin: Pedro Mantorras (Benfica, Portugal) Benfica isn’t half bad… so he can’t be half bad right?
Random Thoughts: Look at their flag for crying out loud. It’s like a five year old drew it up. I’d expect more from an oil rich country like Angola. A lot more… who draws up an evil looking flag? Make it busy like the US for all I care, but please, come up with a less evil looking flag. We’re happy that 27 year civil war is over (it ended in 2002), and I have no clue if it was high on Bush’s list of countries to spread freedom and democracy too… oh wait. It wasn’t.
Best Name: Loco – which apparently means “I lease” in Portuguese. It’d be a lot cooler if it was Spanish. Lot of good names on this team, btw.
American Sports Team They Best Compare To: THE Catholic University of America basketball team… a great Division III basketball team… wouldn’t win any games in Division I though (unless we played Ivy League schools. Then we’d have a chance). Angola is much the same. Not saying African teams stink, because they don’t, it’s just that some how Angola qualified.
For the Women: If they were shoes . . . Glass slippers A true rags-to-riches story: yes, Cinders, you shall go to the ball. But beyond the fairy tale you see a brittle, all-too-transparent number and, unless handling is spot-on, they could be smashed to smithereens
Chances: I do hear Germany is lovely in June. I hope they enjoy it.
Their Deal: You mean other than trying to build a nuke? Okay, they’re in a pretty piss poor group (if you haven’t noticed by now there are REALLY good groups (C, E, and I guess F (only since Brazil has one of those spots wrapped up)) and really bad groups (A, B, D, and H)… so since they’re in a piss poor group I guess they aren’t bad.
World Cup Best: Third World Cup never got out of the group stage… but beat the US in 1998 in one of the most embarrassing moments in US history. But let’s be honest, if the US four most embarrassing moments is/are Vietnam, losing to Iran in soccer, losing to Puerto Rico in basketball (still not sure how that happened), and the Iraq War… well we’re doing a lot better than say, the English.
Stud Muffin: Ali Daei, we’ll give him props because he’s 37 and his name is Ali. It’s a shame I’m Catholic, cus if I wasn’t, I’d name a kid of mine Ali. They Hossein Kaabi is good.
Random Thoughts: I probably shouldn’t say this out loud, but I’ve had a standing theory (sort of like Norm MacDonald’s theory about David Hasselhoff) that NO ONE LIKES PERSIANS. I mean Arabs don’t like ‘em… Greeks don’t like ‘em… Turks don’t like ‘em… Slavs don’t like ‘em… South Asia doesn’t like them… the West now doesn’t like them… no one likes the Persians. And I’m disappointed they haven’t switched back to Persia. Some day. Some day soon. And oh yeah, since I’m from America I’m suppose to hate them. It’s a right of passage, sort of like a first baseball game.
Best Name: Sohrab Bakhtiarizadeh if for no other reason than I have no clue how to say that in English. I could say it in Arabic, but you don’t read Arabic do you?
American Sports Team They Best Compare To: New York Yankees if the Yankees sucked… I mean NO ONE likes the Yankees expect for Yankee fans and no one likes Iran expect for Persians.
For the Women: If they were shoes... Python shoes Granted, to a few western eyes they're not the most politically correct addition. But however unpalatable those people consider them to be, it's certainly not worth kicking off about it. Besides, they might well surprise you.
Chances: They could surprise, but I’ve got faith in the Mexicans… which means we should all be worried. Round of 16 would be a dream and they’d bow out there.
Their Deal: I love Mexicans and Mexico… but they throw piss and shit at our players whenever we play them in Mexico. That isn’t cool. Anyway, Mexico has sort of earned the label of a dirty team who underachieves at the same time. They aren’t bad (they beat Brazil last year!) and their coach has lead them in a ‘new’ direction, but still it’s Mexico…
World Cup Best: Quarter-finals 1970 and 1986
Stud Muffin: Rafael Márquez (Barca, Spain)
Random Thoughts: As the US gets better and better in footies, we as Americans and Catholics, are sort of suppose to feel bad for the world because we’re “taking over” their game. But the people I really feel bad for is Mexico, because other than corruption, it’s the one thing they’ve always been able to do better than us (though you could argue beer, but that’s another day). Anyway, I felt bad until… THEY KNOCKED US OUT OF THE WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC. Now I’m willing to pull a Polk and invade them. There are few things I can’t stand for… beating us in baseball is one of them. Death to Mexico.
Best Name: Jesús Arellano because well… he’s Jesus.
American Sports Team They Best Compare To: San Francisco Giants – Don’t you always expect the Giants to be better. Don’t you always think they’re better than they are? And since they have a Spanish name… well that’s the comparison. This isn’t perfect, but it will get the job done.
For the Women: If they were shoes... Brogues Classically stylish since the year dot but never the hot fashion shoe du jour. They're good enough to do the job - but would you miss them if they had never existed? Difficult to say
Chances: They should advance out of their group, but after that… not good. But then again there are high hopes for this team. Best-case scenario is that they face either Argentina or the Elephants in the round of 16… they could handle one of those teams but would still be underdogs. As for making it beyond the quarterfinals who knows… this is a younger team and has a ‘different’ feel to it all. We shall see.
Their Deal: A football mad country who hasn’t had much success in tournaments. They’ve got players with skill and a decent back line. How far it will take them is anyone’s guess. They did reach the final of Euro 2004 (granted they were at home and lost to Greece who didn’t even qualify for the World Cup).
World Cup Best: Third place in 1966
Stud Muffin: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), though Deco (Barca) and Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea) aren’t bad.
Random Thoughts: Their loss to the US in 2002 was one of the biggest shocks of the tournament having been one of the dark horses to win it all… I’ve always liked their uniforms... The Golden Generation hasn’t won anything and in fact, they’re all pretty much gone or old at this point. Figo used to be study… Ronaldo does this step over move that’s pretty cool… I love maroon and throw some green in there and I like it more… Lisbon may be the most underrated city in Europe.
Best Name: Quim
American Sports Team They Best Compare To: Indianapolis Colts – They both did nothing for years… then all of a sudden had some good teams that always came up short… way short.
For the Women: If they were shoes... Floral welliesTwo years ago they were THE thing. But in the blink of an eye 2004 has become 2006 and we're already looking back and asking ourselves: what the hell was that all about? Not likely to take the world by storm for a while yet
Chances: Better than you’d think… they’re underdogs this time and drew a nice draw. They should top this group and can play with anyone in Group C. Is a run to the semis in order? Don’t rule it out.
Portugal (7), Mexico (5), Iran (4), Angola (Nada)