Posted by Matt Posted on 1:30 PM with No comments
Way back in the 90s, Generation X was young and full of angst. They looked to Seattle for leadership and found flannel shirts, grunge music, and Nirvana. Nirvana was led by a volatile genius whose music resonated with an entire generation fed up with hair bands and heavy metal. Curt Cobain was the drug addicted leader of one of the most talented bands of his generation, which included Dave Grohl, a genius in his own right who went on to form Foo Fighters (played every instrument on the debut album).
Way back about a year ago, Argentina’s national team needed a new leader. Apparently, all of the sane people were too busy, so they turned to the Curt Cobain of the Argentine soccer scene, Diego Maradona, a brilliant footballer who had led his country to the pinnacle of success and then thrown it all away for drugs. He nearly killed himself a few years ago and now is the manager of one of the world’s best soccer nations. So here we have an incredibly talented group, lead by a brilliant psycho who could self-destruct at any time and destroy the team. Hopefully, players like Leo Messi, Diego Milito, Javier Mascherano, Gonzalo Higuain, Walter Samuel, and Javier Zanetti (scratch that one from the list, Diego dumped him and Esteban Cambiasso), the team will avoid self-destruction.
Argentina will advance, but no one really knows how long they can keep it together. They have the potential to be one of the greatest of all time but could easily self-destruct like Nirvana. That's the risk when you are led by a madman.
Greece: Daniel Powter
Back when credit was easy and the European Union was strong, Greece won the European Championship, a tournament many consider harder to win than the World Cup itself. It was 2004 when Greece took down Portugal (in Portugal) to win the European Championship. Many consider it to be the greatest upset of all time. Two years later, they did not qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Sort of an ominous foreshadowing of the country’s economic situation in 2010 as the bubble has burst and they are now straddled with debt burdens that they can never pay off. They were a true one-hit wonder.
This is the list of the greatest one hit wonders of all time. These bands made it all the way to #1 on the charts and then faded out. Despite the fact that Greece hasn’t disappeared completely from the soccer scene, it just seems right to declare the team as the greatest one hit wonder of all time. We're guessing that they’ll win another major tournament about the time when they get their national debt paid off (is there a U.S. parallel here?). They are a gritty hard nosed team that looks for penalties and set pieces to win. I would save your time and only watch highlights of these guys. To us, they don’t play like any of these bands sound but it just seems right, given the current events over there that we should dub them Daniel Powter because “Bad Day” just fits. We know. Daniel Powter is not a band. It’s one dude. It just fits, all right?
Nigeria: Sufjan Stevens
The Super Eagles have are a decent but boring team. Their biggest advantage is that they are playing on their home continent. We're honestly not sure why that is such a great advantage unless the South Africans decide to adopt every other African nation in this tournament. Are Nigerians going to pour into South Africa to support their team? No. They’re not. Nigeria will rely on defense and counter-attacks (fastbreak futbol!) to advance.
This is Sufjan Stevens. Hi, Sufjan. Your music is enjoyable but gets a little boring. Chicago is your most famous song and, we like it. We're giving this song to Nigeria in hopes that it propels them to surpass their performance in 1998, when they advanced to the knock-out rounds. All things grow, all things grow. Nigeria, like Sufjan, you’re a decent but slightly boring team.
South Korea: Sublime
We somehow managed to make suicide the overarching theme for this group. South Korea doesn’t have a psycho at the reigns but they are a bit of a one trick pony. Without Manchester United’s Ji Sung Park, this team doesn’t pack much of a punch and might as well be North Korea and the Long Beach Dub All Stars. Hopefully Ji-Sung doesn’t kill himself in the meantime.
Our favorite South Korea moment of the past, well, ever, was when they hosted the 2002 World Cup and got sweet short track speed skating revenge on the U.S. That’s right. Short-track speed skating is very important over there. In the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, U.S. speedskater, Apollo Anton Ohno was awarded the Gold Medal in the 1500 m race after South Korean Kim Dong-Sung was disqualified blocking Ohno, who made an exaggerated motion to show that Dong-Sung had blocked him. It was short-track speed skating’s version of the dive. Fast forward to the World Cup that summer. South Korean Ahn Jung-Hwan scored a goal against the U.S. In his celebration he imitates Ohno’s exaggerated motion. Most Americans were confused and then shocked that it meant so much to them.
Enjoy the video of the celebration.
Labels: 2010 World Cup Preview