Note: click here for my informal USA-Belgium review.
Someone will win the World Cup. It’s a fact. Someone will have to win it. You probably knew that. But in case you didn’t, it’s a fact. Though the soccer-haters criticize the sport for being communist where there is almost never a winner and winning is punished by having to spend time cleaning bird waste off the statue of Karl Marx that sits outside Wembley Stadium, none of that is actually true. Soccer is a sport like any other (only better) and someone will lift the trophy in less than two weeks’ time.
Let’s analyze the eight countries still alive in the competition, and why they will or won’t win the World Cup:
Why they will win: they’re at home…they have Neymar…they have some other fairly good players.
Why they won’t win: they’re not as good, talent-wise, as other teams…there’s too much pressure…they’re one-dimensional (it’s Neymar or Fred nothing).
Why they will win: James…confidence…local fan support without nearly the pressure of Brazil and the like.
Why they won’t win: they play Brazil next…they lack quality outside of James and a few others…this is as far as the nation as ever gotten in a World Cup; they’re probably getting a nosebleed.
Why they will win: they’ve looked great in their games so far…they’ve made the final in every other World Cup for my entire life.
Why they won’t win: it’s in the Americas…they play Germany next…remember 2010?
Why they will win: they’re probably the best team in the world…they’re due winning something…Lahm was forced to play at full-back last game; move him to left-back and it’s a team with no weaknesses.
Why they won’t win: it’s in the Americas…after France they have Brazil or Colombia…someone will figure out that 4-3-3-0 at some point.
Why they will win: they have good players…Van Gaal is leaving, he wants to do good for them, they want to do good for him (Ray Lewis Effect).
Why they won’t win: they never do.
Why they will win: they have momentum…they have no pressure whatsoever…CONCACAF goalkeepers have done great in this World Cup; Keylor Navas is the last one standing.
Why they won’t win: not enough talent to compete with the big boys; all of their wins have either came against a team lacking their best player, a team that just played in Manaus, or Greece.
Why they will win: Messi…Messi…Messi.
Why they won’t win: very, very one-dimensional…no defense.
Why they will win: loads of super-talented players who have never yet lost a World Cup game.
Why they won’t win: it’s in the Americas…very little World Cup experience.
I will genuinely be surprised to see anyone win this World Cup. I mean, I know that someone has to, but it seems so unlikely for any of these teams to win.
I mean, if Brazil wins it they’ll totally revise history and say “from start to finish we all knew they would win; they dominated; oh, how boring!” and if Germany wins they’ll say “yeah, we knew that they were the best. Brazil? Ha!” and if Argentina wins they’ll say “of course; the team with the best player wins, especially with that talent around him.” But we’ll know the truth. Don’t you all just love parity? MLS has more parity than any other sports league that I know of. And I’ll talk a lot about MLS here after the World Cup (actually, I might start on it next week).
Predictions for today:
France 0-2 Germany
Brazil 1-2 Colombia
Any thoughts? Questions? Requests? Threats? Predictions of your own? Respectfully add them in the comments below. Hopefully I’ll get back with a report tonight.