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Summer Transfer Romance

It's summertime, which means it's transfer season for the European clubs and leagues. Transfer season is just like a summer romance. Lots of break-ups and hook-ups are happening. Even more rumors of break-ups and hook-ups. Some are true, most are false. Some hearts are broken only to then be healed by the rumor of a new romance. Many new romances are full of hope and optimism. You don't quite know how it will play out in the long term, but it's the start of a budding relationship so you are excited and believe that only great things lie ahead. In a few months it could all end miserably. But at least for the time being, it's July and things look good.

Liverpool fans are really running the gauntlet of emotions this summer. Lots of signings, lots of departures. Not to mention the ongoing saga with Fernando Torres. He's the hot girl that is with you, but sort of has a wandering eye. On one hand you want to just say good riddance to her and that she should just leave if she wants to. You think you would be better off with someone that wants to be with you and just you. Plus, it's summer, so you feel confident of your possibilities. But on the other hand, she's really hot and you don't really want to let that go. Frankly I don't know where most Liverpool fans stand with the Torres issue. No team wants unhappy players. But can you really compete without Torres? Many fans may not like that he's looking elsewhere as they think that he should feel honored to play for the wonderful and storied Liverpoool. Whatever their outward opinion, I think deep down they know they need him and that they'll have to live with the wandering eye.

If you are a Barcelona fan, you have once again had a great summer. Barcelona is the guy that is dating the homecoming queen while also dating the head cheerleader and the dance team captain. He's also flirting with the other really hot girl that isn't involved in any outside activities, but is just hot. Basically, all the ladies want him. He's not cheating on any of them as he's not "exclusively" dating any one of them and they all know he has "friends" all over the place. And although he has all the attention he could want and any guy could need, it's rumored that the hot volleyball player (Cesc Fabregas) is now interested. He by no means needs the extra attention, but he still goes after it. Why? Because he knows she's interested and more importantly, because he can. Barcelona is completely stacked and loaded with talent. As great as Fabregas is, they don't really need him. But he, along with most every other worldclass player, seems to be interested in playing for Barcelona. Great coach. Great core of old and young talent. Great team chemistry. Summertime really couldn't be better in Barcelona.

It's hard if you are a Valencia fan. You sold your two best players: David Villa and David Silva. But you knew it was a long time coming as your team is broke. You are just glad they didn't have to sell the team altogether. The silver lining is that you qualified for the Champions League last year. So although your really hot girlfriend bolted on the first sunny day of summer, you are optimistic because you are heading to a new school this year where there is endless potential. But it's cautious optimism at best and basically just trying to cover up the lack of self-esteem. Poor Valenicia. They are holding on to their last string of hope. Hopefully things go well for them. At the same time though, without talent, they could bow out of the Champions League early and not finish at the top of La Liga and their financial woes could really get out of control. You hope for the best at a new school, but the anxiety of the unknown is enough to kill you and ruin your summer.

Real Madrid is having their typical summer. Just a cold, heartless player. Cruising the beach looking for the most attractive eye candy and going after it. Somehow (he's so smooth and has money) the ladies always want to take a ride and seem to wait in line for their turn. It's the most ridiculous summer romance. And it happens every year. He's the guy that goes off to some random summer camp every single week and woos a different girl. All the girls know that the relationship is likely going to be short lived and that they have tons of competition and that they will likely be an afterthought come fall, but they all are interested. Its uncanny. You see it happening year in and year out. You think that one summer he will calm down and maybe take a break and work with what he has and see if he can't take one of current flings and turn it into something meaningful. But nope, summer rolls around and just like the previous year, he heads to the beach or camp and starts the process all over again. Pushing out last year's talent for new, fresh, and often unproven faces.

Not quite sure what to make of Manchester City. He's pulling a Real Madrid and going after a new girl a week and trying to make the most of his summer. But there is a little more of a party edge or feel to it. Real is the guy that dates all of the girls seperately and tries to keep them isolated until they all meet up in the fall and everything blows up. Man City is the rich guy that is inviting all the girls over at the same time for the pool party and bbq. Everyone is having a great time. Which is all fine and good for the summer, but at some point this has to end poorly right? I mean, how many midfielders can one team sign? Are they going to start 5 midfielders and 4 forwards and just play with a sweeper and a goalie in the back? Maybe. Who knows? It's carefree Man City. Live for the moment. You have the money, so spend it. It's summer. You'll figure it out somehow in the fall. And somehow they probably will, and it will likely end up better than most other teams in Europe.

So here we are. There are still 3-4 weeks of summer left for most teams. Plenty of time to do some damage and break some hearts or take on a new romance. It's all very exciting and fun in July when it's warm and life is good. Hopefully the romance still exists come November when it starts to get cold and bleak. Nothing is worse than the temperatures dropping and realizing that your summer of love was just a bad romance. At least there is a bright side. If things are bad, you can always look towards the December transfer window and hope for a nice short holiday fling to come around and get you through the rest of winter.

MLS vs Europe

A few European clubs are in the states for their pre-season tour (jersey sales/martketing). Let's recap how they've been doing. Keeping in mind the following arguments:
-MLS teams are in the middle of their season, and are fit, Euros are in pre-season.
-Euro teams are fielding weak lineups, stars aren't playing.
-MLS teams try hard, and have a point to show the big boys that they can wear pull-ups now.

MLS vs Europe
Philadelphia Union 0-1 Manchester United
San Jose Earthquakes 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur
DC United 4-0 Portsmouth
New York Red Bulls 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
New York Red Bulls 2-1 Manchester City
Kansas City Wizards 2-1 Manchester United
..and a few more are still to come, including Inter Milan and Real Madrid.

Originally, I figured that the big Euro clubs saw the USA as an un-tapped market to sell their marketing and jerseys, and gain a few fans. But now it seems that some decent footie is being played, and the MLS clubs are actually turning in decent performances. Dare I say that the drop-off in talent from Europe to the MLS is not that large anymore?

What about big name players. MLS allows each team to have 3 Designated Players. Some have chosen to use this option (LA, New York, Chicago), others have decided that the team is the star (RSL).

David Beckham: washed up, marketing legend, right? Over the hill, came to the States for the paycheck, can't play in the big leagues anymore. Then...goes on loan to AC Milan, sees some first team minutes, and contributes at the highest level, interesting.

Freddy Ljungberg: was going to show up in the MLS, and tear teams apart. After 2 years, he is now "exploring other options".
2009 - 2 goals, 9 assists (made all-star team)
2010 - 0 goals, 3 assists
He gets paid 1.3 million this season to yell at the ref, and get injured. Next.

Thierry Henry: Just signed with New York Red Bull
Nery Castillo: Just signed with Chicago Fire
Rafael Marquez: Rumors say that the deal is all but done for him to join Henry in New York.
Ronaldinho to LA Galaxy? They sure hope so. Galaxy are looking for a player with a name big enough to "move the needle", and $24 million for 4 years is waiting for him.

To sum up. I think the MLS is gaining credibility. Teams are getting better, over-aged yesterdays are finding out you can't just show up and get paid. The MLS is a physical playground, and are gaining ground on other leagues in the world. One more test will be conducted on Wednesday, July 28th, when the MLS All-stars take on Manchester United. True, the All-stars have never lost this game....but then again, they've never played the Red Devils, who are coming off a loss to a 10-man Kansas City Wizards. (Who?)

The Fantastically Horrible Thierry Henry Interview

Some people may have already seen this interview, but it's worth sharing. It's fantastically horrible on so many levels. I'm not sure what the goal of the interview is, but if it is to portray stereotypical ignorant Americans that know nothing about soccer, then they pulled it off flawlessly. Here is a video of the interview:

Let's run through the choice moments:

1. Henry's shoes.

Not really related to the interview, but what are those things? They look like the shoes Michael J. Fox wears when he goes to the future in Back to the Future II. I would mock them except that the Euros are always ahead in fashion so it's only a matter of months before things like that are all over the streets in the US.

2. Best. Question. Ever.

The interview starts off simple enough until the female co-host ("fo-host") jumps in with this fantastic line: "So you just won the World Cup, right?"

Excellent. You couldn't script a worse line. Look, I realize soccer isn't a mainstream sport in the US. I realize that many people don't even follow the World Cup at all. But really though? How does she say that? She can't know anything about soccer. If she did, she would have known France didn't win the World Cup. But these co-host people are so plastic there is no way they are writing any of the material. How did no one on the staff not know that France didn't win the World Cup? It must have been some bitter staff member who got edged out by the fo-host for the lead position and she was exacting her revenge.

But it's especially bad since not only was France not even close to not winning the Cup, they had one of the worst World Cup showings ever. It's like Andy Roddick losing in the first round of Wimbledon and then having an interview after the tournament and someone saying, "So, how does it feel to be the Wimbledon champion?" Good stuff.

3. The highlight video.

So the fo-host somehow makes her way through that last question with some awkward laughter and staggers through the next question about excitement and playing here in the US. The best part though is that while Henry is talking they show the video of the most controversial goal ever. The one that Henry scored off a handball. The goal that sent France to the World Cup and sent Ireland home. You can see in the video all of the Ireland players running and complaining to the ref. It's easily the most controversial goal in Henry's career and one of the more controversial international goals. Henry has had an amazing career. He was a human highlight film in his prime and had some remarkable goals. Is this the best they could come up with? They probably just googled his name and posted the first video that came up. What makes it even better is that they show the clip two more times during the interview. Either these people are utterly clueless or they are just sick and twisted co-hosts - not out of the realm of possibility by the way.

4. The racism question.

This question is actually fine. I'm not saying racism doesn't exist in Europe for some of the players. It's pretty well documented that it does. It's only great because with how little these people seem to know about soccer in general, the fact that Henry is saying that part of the reason he wanted to come here to play was to escape some of the racism probably leads them to believe that black players in Europe have to fly on separate planes or can only wear used jerseys worn by other players.

5. The reason Americans don't like soccer? Blowouts.

Another great statement by the mo-host. I don't think it's the blowouts. No one likes a blowout - in any sport. I think it's the lack of high scoring or general lack of understanding of the sport that turns people off.

6. The MLS season:

This is actually forgivable offense, but still funny. At the end of the interview the mo-host says, "When does [the MLS season] start by the way?" Um, four months ago. We are right in the middle of it. Hard to blame him on that one though since many soccer fans don't even that the MLS exists, let alone when the season starts. Of course, if I was interviewing an MLS player, when the season started is a simple fact I might bother to research prior to the interview. You know, along with other simple and basic information about the guy, like if their country won the most recent World Cup. Stay classy and cheesy co-hosts. I know you will.

New York, New York

Henry to Red Bulls
New York have been thru some ups and downs, mostly downs. It looks like they are getting close to completing their puzzle.

From this, to this:

From Giants Stadium, to Red Bull Arena


1999 "the worst soccer team in the world", following a disastrous 7-25 mark and a last-place finish.


2010 , currently 2nd in the Eastern Conference.

So, is Henry the answer. Will he give New York the additional firepower that they have been looking for? He will be 33 years old next month, and will partner with Juan Pablo Angel on the forward line. If the Red Bulls can serve their two deadly forwards the ball, I think the lethal duo will answer with alot of goals. Maybe the only thing the team is lacking is an experienced defender to shore up the gaps. Rafa Marquez.....we're looking at you.

World Cup Recap

It's all over. All is right in the world since Spain won. So many great things happened, so much to talk about, so little time. So here are just a bunch of random thoughts on it all:

The final:

I was on the edge of my seat, but I can admit that it was a boring final. If I didn't have a strong rooting interest in one of the teams, I would have been a little bored. The final is always tough though. The last thing teams want to do is have a mental breakdown and give up a cheap goal. So everyone is always a little cautious.

But both teams were sloppy. The Netherlands couldn't complete a pass in the midfield and while Spain did control the ball better, they couldn't pass and attack nearly as well as they could against other teams. I would credit that to the Netherlands, but I don't think they deserve credit for it, just like Spain doesn't deserve credit for the bad passes by the Netherlands. Both teams were just a little subpar, which is unfortunate for the final.

Not sure why the Dutch continue to complain. Both teams had their chances. The Dutch were complaining about all the cards, what did they expect? They played like barbarians. The Spanish were dirty too. It just wasn't clean soccer. I didn't get the impression the ref was against the Dutch. If anything they were lucky. If this play comes any later in the game or is in any other game that isn't the World Cup final, it's a straight red card. I'm sure the ref just didn't want to determine the game early on with a red card. That or he didn't see it clearly. It's just brutal.

Iniesta had already scored this goal in his career, and now he has scored this one. Just amazing.

This post-game video of Casillas has been all over the internet. Matt already posted about it. It's fantastic and worth posting again. It's a great moment. The reporter, who happens to be his girlfriend, asks how he is feeling, he basically says, "Honestly, what do you expect me to say? I feel great, amazing, the best, etc." He then starts to thank people, his parents and other significant people. He pauses before mentioning her and almost acting a little cautious and caught up in some emotion and not sure whether to mention it, or how to mention it. She understands the moment and says, "No worries" and proceeds to move on and keep the interview at a professional level. Bu then he cuts her off and kisses her. Which is fantastic. He plays the "You are my girlfriend. I want to kiss you. I'm kissing you. Oh, and I just won the World Cup I can do whatever I want on TV or anywhere" card. Just outstanding. I especially like how the video adds music.

The dominance of Forlan: Not just in hair, but also in play. He was named MVP of the tournament and I couldn't agree more. Villa was of course great, as were other players, but no one did more with less talent. Plus, his goals were amazing. I'm glad he shined on the world stage. He plays for Atletico Madrid and he has been fantastic for them. But Atletico isn't the biggest or most widely recognized club in Europe. So it's good to see a great player that plays for smaller club, receive some recognition. And he deserves his due, he was amazing. Check out these goals. This goal in the 3rd place game still blows my mind. It's such a strong strike. He bends it around the defender and skips it off the ground like a rock on a pond. Just remarkable.

Speaking of remarkable: David Villa is playing with Barcelona next year. That means that the starting two forwards for Barcelona will be Villa and Messi. Both of them will have Xavi and Iniesta feeding them the ball. Why even bother fielding an opposition? Teams should just forfeit. But speaking of Villa, here is a video of all of his goals at the World Cup. I'd post the Messi goals video as well, but, oh right, his World Cup goal highlight video is as long as Rooney's. Maybe in 2014 boys. By the way, this video has some AMAZING Euro music compilation/mash-up/mix-up/not sure what it is goodness.

My favorite call of the cup: I couldn't find the video of the call. It came during the Germany/Argentina game after Germany scored their 4th goal. The announcer yelled, "Beautiful! Efficient! Glorious! Germany." It was great and so perfectly captured the moment. Germany was really good. W well-oiled machine and when they got rolling in the second half of the Argentina game, it was the most beautiful and efficient soccer played by any team in the Cup.

Since I couldn't find the above call, I'll just post this video of the Spain announcers during the winning goal in the final:

These are the images I'll miss: You don't get gatherings like this with any other sporting event. Seas of people dressed in their country's colors flooding the streets to watch the game.

Or great celebrations like this:

Best goal: Almost too hard to determine. I was going to post some of the top videos, but then I saw this video compilation and I realized that there are so many great goals that I forgot about. Plus, it's so hard because each goal is unique in its own right. The Suarez goal against Japan is amazing and clutch. I think though I have to give the honors to Giovanni Von Bronckhorst. His goal comes at 2:19 in the video below.

The greatest summer that could have been: This was making some headlines prior to the final, but Wesley Sneijder, the Dutch midfielder, had the chance to have the greatest soccer year in the history of ever. His club team, Inter Milan, won the Serie A league title, The Coppa Italia (the Italian interleague cup tournament) and the Champions League. On top of that, if he would have scored a goal in the final and if the Dutch would have won the cup, he could have won the World Cup and would likely have received the golden boot for the most goals in the World Cup not to mention he would almost for sure win the Footballer of the Year award, AND he is getting married this summer. It was too perfect to be true. I don't even think there is a sports comparison for what he could have done. It would be like someone in baseball winning the World Series, World Series MVP, Triple Crown, Olympic Gold Medal, World Baseball Classic and the Nobel Peace Prize in the same year. Only it still wouldn't be the equivalent because no one cares about Olympic baseball or the World Baseball Classic.

The other great part about Sneijder: He was one of the many players run out of town by Real Madrid last summer when they went on their spending spree. He was let go to make room for Kaka and other signings. Kaka was largely absent for Real Madrid last year and poorly performed during the World Cup. But hey, he was a big name, so Real went after him. They sacrificed quality talent for talent with a bigger (although not better) name. Nice business model.

Band Recap:

So before the Cup we compared all 32 teams to bands. It was good fun. There is no need to review all of them, but some are worth revisiting:

What we got right:

Germany: Spot on with Coldplay. Above average and top-notch, extremely consistent, never the best. Germany is consistently really, really good in the World Cup. They have finished third in the last two World Cups and they were runners-up in 2002. Always good, maybe even great. But not quite the best. Like Coldplay.

England: Just like Kanye West. Overinflated ego and they think they are better than they really are. The unfortunate thing is that they are really talented individually, just can't put all the pieces together.

Algeria and Taylor Hicks. I'm actually not sure that they were spot on, but I'm just happy that Taylor Hicks and/or his fan club president visited our site and got so upset about our comparison.

New Zealand and Flight of the Conchords. We weren't sure if New Zealand was an actual soccer team like we aren't sure if Flight of the Conchords are a real band. We still aren't sure but it is evident that FotC are very creative and talented. Same thing with NZ. They definitely proved they have talent and they put on a great show, still not a world class team though.

Where we were a little off:

France and Green Day. It's an insult to Green Day to compare them to France. What happened there? I think a more appropriate comparison would be Oasis. Wildly talented, but totally crazy and way too many fragile egos. Complete self destruction. Watching France this summer was like being at an Oasis concert.

Ghana and Poison. This one is hard because we were off in that we didn't expect much from Ghana. But it actually works as a comparison because Ghana was very talented, but somewhat erratic, undisciplined and unpredictable.

Japan and the Spice Girls. Turns out Japan is legit. Who knew? They aren't a powerhouse by any means, but they were an impressive squad. Just lacking in offense.

Slovakia and Pras. We guessed Pras, probably should have gone with Lauryn Hill. Slovakia was better than a one hit wonder like Pras. But not much better. More like a one album wonder like Ms. Hill.

Spain and Zeppelin. This one is also hard. Spain isn't quite as exciting as Zeppelin. They are more of a finesse team that endures and outlasts the competition. Maybe more like a U2. Just a great band that is outlasting everyone else.

So there you have it. 2010 wrapped up. Here's to live blogging from Brazil in 2014. And here's to the Furia Roja and a repeat of the 2010 glory in 2014.

2010 World Cup: Spain's Iker Casillas after the Match

Most of those who care probably already saw this.  This video has subtitles.  The music in the video is a bit much, but the emotion captured by the video is very raw and shows how much the win means to Casillas, the team, and Spain.

2010 World Cup Final Preview: Why Spain Will Beat the Netherlands

It's finally here. The World Cup final. Netherlands v. Spain. Two countries, one winner. Matt in the previous post gave the Dutch preview and explained why the Neurotic Oranje will win. Here is why Spain will win:


Here's the best part about Spain's jersey, this Cup and even in the past, it's a legitimately good looking shirt that almost doesn't look like a jersey. Sure it has the number and the crest. But they are never wild or hideous looking jerseys. It's a solid blue or red with small, limited and necessary symbols and stripes. A very classic and simple look. If it didn't have the number and you saw it on a rack at the store, you would actually buy it because it's a great looking shirt.

Team Legacy: This one is sort of difficult for Spain. What legacy? There is no legacy. Well, up until 2008 it was a legacy of losing and under performing. For a team with such a rich soccer history, it's amazing that before this year they had never made the World Cup semifinal, let alone final. The Oranje have at least been to the final twice, even if they did lose. This would be more concerning were Spain not the reigning Euro champions. So they have at least been in a big game final before, and won. But this is the World Cup. Big boy soccer. Hopefully the losing demons of the past don't come back to haunt them on Sunday. Either way, some sort of legacy will be written.


We have tied music into most all our World Cup posts for some reason. So of course it will be a factor in the final (?). Let's be honest, unless you have lived in Spain, you probably don't know their music. If you have lived there, you know that most of the stuff they listen to is Euro Disco Trash a.k.a. Trance or House music. Yet the best Trance DJ's are Dutch. No good. Unless you are in the club in Ibiza in which case it's great.

Spain does have musicians. Alejandro Sanz, Monica Naranjo, Radio Futura etc. Those are decent names, but none of them really made a huge impact in the US. At least not yet. Arguably one of Spain's biggest rock groups, La Oreja de Van Gogh, is clearly inspired by a Dutch artist. Also not good.

So we are left with Paco de Lucia and the Iglesias father and son duo. Enrique is/was big. He's fading though. I guess you can't beat Paco on the guitar. You can't beat it technically, but he's not exactly getting you pumped up or your blood flowing - unless you are engaged in other activities while listening to his sweet serenades. Maybe I'm missing someone. If not, it's not the most impressive list.

Let's hope that if Spain wins, we get a better song than this one that Enrique did for the Euro 2008 Cup. I love that they performed it right before the final. So fittingly Euro.

Bad Karma:

A couple of things:

1. No team that has ever lost the first game of the World Cup has then gone on to win it. Spain of course lost 1-0 to Switzerland in their first game.

2. This Spain team is dominated by a Barcelona midfield as the controlling midfielders all play for Barcelona. Thus, they sometimes tend to play a Barcelona style. Barcelona seemed invincible in the Champions League last year until Inter Milan came in and shut down their midfield. The leader of that Inter squad: Wesley Sneijder. The same man that has been an integral part of this Netherlands team. Not good. They know how to beat Spain. Well, at least the Barcelona version of Spain National Team.

Good Karma:

Paul the octopus has chosen Spain! Don't pretend like this isn't a big deal. He's a German octopus that correctly picked the winner for all of Germany's games. It really wasn't that big of a deal before the semifinal match because he had picked Germany in all the games. A German octopus picking Germany to win. Typical. But to pick Germany in all the previous games and then go with Spain before the semifinal shows that this octopus knows his soccer. He's not your typical octopus that will always pick his favorite team or side with his countrymen. No way, he picks winners. He's a winner.

And now he is picking Spain again! As mentioned in the article, Carlos Marchena, Spanish defender is trying to downplay it all and said, "It's only an octopus." Look Marchena, there is no room for negative players on the team. It's that type of disbelief that keeps you on the bench. Of course, he may have been just trying to keep his head in the game and not get too carried away. In which case, I suppose his answer is fine. Seriously though, at this point, just give the Cup to Spain. Why even bother playing? The psychic cephalopod mollusk has spoken.

Starting 11:

Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas - He's solid. Maybe not the best in the world, but definitely in the conversation. He's good for a couple of brilliant saves a game.

Defense: Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos and Joan Capdevilla.

Interesting that it's Carles not Carlos and Joan not Juan ("It's not Ryan it's Ryne"). It's a solid line. Puyol was the hero in the last game. Ramos does like to play forward more than most defenders. It didn't pose a problem against the counterattacking Germans, so hopefully it doesn't cause problems with the dutch. That is really the only weakness here though.

Midfield: Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso and Xavi.

Love the Xabi and Xavi. Nice to get the Basque representation on the team from Alonso. All three have been great. I have been critical of Xavi because he seems to play without urgency sometimes and prefers to pass and control and not attack. But it worked brilliantly against Germany.

Attacking midfield: Pedro - He started for the semifinal game. Not sure if he will start in the final. I still don't forgive him for this move.

Iniesta - He has been great. I was critical of him after the first game and he didn't start the second game. But since coming back he has been attacking a lot more and making great runs. He definitely helps Xavi move the ball forward and attack more.

Cesc Fabregas - Not a starter, but usually comes off the bench. A great spark and excellent player. He would start on any other team in the world. Shows you how strong the midfield is.

The midfield as a whole has been great. Spain has to have the advantage. The midfield can control the game better than any other team in the world. So long as they have their rhythm, they should be fine.


Fernando Torres - Probably won't start, but will likely come in off the bench. He's been sort of out of form, but I think he should start as I think he has the greater potential to change the game than any other bench player.

and of course:

David Villa - El guaje. Really, the starting 11 are the only thing that matters on this list. If they are clicking and playing like they did against Germany, they will win. They know it, the Netherlands players know it, everyone knows it.

But Villa is a main reason Spain is untouchable when playing at their best. He's been incredible throughout the tournament. If Spain wins he is without question the MVP of the tournament. We heralded him well before he was becoming a household name. Not that it matters. It's just important that he is finally getting his due. It's the biggest stage in the world and instead of shrinking under the pressure he is rising to the occasion to become a national hero. A true clutch performer. 5 goals in 6 games. Here's to hoping he makes it 7 in 7.

Prediction: The Oranje are neurotic and as they have demonstrated, they have the talent to beat any team in the tournament. Spain's biggest enemy is being overly confident and coming out sluggish like they did against Paraguay or Switzerland. Makes me nervous thinking about it. I'm hoping they aren't that foolish and that they rise to the occasion like they did against Germany and are too much for the Dutch, and that they prove they have the best collective talent and are the best team in the world.

Villa finds the goal early and Torres finally pokes one in as well. Give the Dutch some credit though, Robben will also find the back of the net. Unfortunately, it's not enough: Spain 2 - Netherlands 1.

2010 World Cup Final Preview: Why Netherlands will beat Spain on Sunday

#10 Sneijder Netherlands (Holland) Home 2010 World Cup Jersey (Size L)The bright Orange jersey is an international icon (the color was adopted as tribute to the Dutch Royal family, the House of Orange - Nassau).  It is symbol of the best kind of soccer and a country that embraces the best aspects of the game.  The entire nation is dressed in Oranje when the national team plays.  Unlike Spain, Holland is united behind this team and it truly represents all of the people.  The Orange Jersey is the symbol of the nation.

Team Legacy

Total Football, Johann Cruyff, Clockwork Orange.  This is their legacy.  Two previous trips to the Final in 1974 and 1978 led to bitter defeats against the home teams, Germany and Argentina.  Their only major championship came in 1988 at the European Championships.  It is a legacy of brilliant soccer without the trophies.  They also have a legacy of petty spats and dressing room friction.  As for Johann Cruyff, he is soccer royalty.  He was a genius on the field and introduced Barcelona to the fluid "pass and move" style of play, the style that the Spanish National Team now uses.  Which is why Cruyff has stated that a Spanish victory would still bring him great joy.  In reality, this game is Holland 1974 versus Holland 2010.  Win-Win.


Armin Van Buuren - The best DJ in the world is Dutch and he is a Trance specialist.  Although I can't prove it, the Dutch team has Trance playing constantly in their locker room. 

Good Karma

1.  Undefeated in 25 straight matches - Their last loss was September 6, 2008. 
2.  Best soccer nation to never win the World Cup.  They're due.
3.  Manager without an ego.  Team without an ego.  Where was the Dutch drama this year?  Where was the bickering between teammates?  Where was the coup against the manager?  The Dutch are renowned for their independent spirit and inability to coalesce into a team.  Not this year.  The only thing resembling a spat was when Robin van Persie argued with the manager, Bert van Marwijk, when substituted during the Round of 16 victory over Slovakia.  After the game, van Marjwick settled the matter and that was the last that we heard.   
4.  The players have ignored the critics.  The Dutch live in the 1970s when it comes to soccer.  Everyone is measured against the Clockwork Orange team that invented Total Football.  They also lacked belief that they could really win it.  This is the only team to have won every game in this tournament.  They know they can win.
5.  Beating Brazil.  When you take down the favorite, you have a major psychological advantage. 
6.  Howard Webb is the referee for the final.  Webb was also the referee in Spain's loss to Switzerland.  The Spanish press is not happy about it and that will also seep over to the players, chipping away at their fragile egos.

Bad Karma

1. Undefeated in 25 straight matches - Their last loss was September 6, 2008.  That's a remarkable run and it has to end sometime. 
2.  Arjen Robben's diving.  Divers always end up costing their team at some point.  They either gain a reputation and the referee starts swallowing his whistle (think Cristiano Ronaldo), or their playacting gets them a yellow card.  No matter what, they lose respect.  
3.  The coaching staff's matching suits.  There's cheesy and then there's Frank de Boer and Bert van Marwijk:

 4.  Spain woke up after the Switzerland loss and got another wake up call against Paraguay (I'm not sure they deserved to win that game).  Spain is controlling the flow of the game.  The ball sticks to their feet and opposing teams are simply worn out from chasing the ball and have trouble counterattacking.
5.  Paul the Psychic Octopus predicted a Spain victory.  This is very bad news.  This octopus has a perfect record thus far in World Cup predictions.
Starting 11

Maarten Stekelenberg - The goalkeeper has been excellent.  He saved the team against Brazil  (Kaka's amazing shot) and has done very well.

Defense:  Gregory van der Wiehl, John Heitinga, Joris Mathijsen, Giovanni van Bronkhorst - This is the solid base of the team. 

Midfield:  Nigel de Jong  - Excellent tackler.  His job is to protect the back and get the ball to the playmakers.

Mark van Bommel - A bruiser and the most likely to earn a red card despite the fact that he only has one yellow the entire tournament.

Wesley Sneijder - 5 goals this tournament.  He has been outstanding.

Arjen Robben - He's very quick, dives too much, and has an incredible shot.  He is the best candidate to pin back the Spanish defense.

Dirk Kuyt - Kuyt is a workhorse.  He is the glue that makes this team stick because he'll do anything asked of him for the team.  Move to the left to make room for Van Persie?  No problem.  Play more defense to free up space for Sneijder?  Sign him up.  Unsung hero of the Dutch team.


Robin van Persie - van Persie is an excellent striker who has not seen enough of the ball this tournament, but he still requires teams to pay attention to him.  His role has become similar to Torres' role for Spain.  Smart movement off the ball by van Persie creates chances for the other players on this team. Still, I'd really like to see him score in the final.

Prediction:  Netherlands 2 - 1 Spain 

Arjen Robben will give Capdevila fits and Ramos will be stymied by Kuyt.  Spain will dominate the center of the midfield but end up on the ground with hard fouls from Van Bommel and de Jong.  Netherlands will score first on a set piece.  Spain won't deal well with the adversity and get hit for a second on the counterattack.  Finally, Spain scores a consolation goal at the end.  

Viva Espana!

Well, I can't say I don't know anything because I did pick Spain to win, but they didn't exactly pull it off the way I suggested. Apparently Vicente del Bosque knows his players and team better than yours truly. Below are my suggestions and how it actually played out.

1. No start for Torres.

Torres didn't start and while I love the guy, it was probably the better move. Spain played well and had plenty of attacking opportunities. Would they have had all of those if Torres had started? Perhaps. Probably.But the changes and combination really brought out the best in the players. Of course Pedro, who got the start over Torres, was extremely selfish at the end of the game. Spain could have iced the game if Pedro makes this pass. Instead Pedro tries for the glory and is denied.

2. No siesta.

Spain played their style, but with urgency. The team played well and didn't sit back and play possession without attacking. They created opportunities and didn't let Germany get into their rhythm. It became more intense in the second half when Germany finally started mounting their attacks with more frequency. But Spain weathered the storm, kept their possession and continued to play with urgency and it finally payed off.

3. Casillas. Had a great save and played well. Germany just didn't have as many shots as I expected.

4. Everyone hit their potential.

I honestly think it was because Spain entered as the underdog. They have been the favorites in every game of the tournament. Finally people were picking against Spain and I think it motivated them to play at a higher level.

So Spain v. Netherlands on Sunday. A historic final. Neither team has ever won the World Cup. So everyone wins. Only if Spain actually wins though.

Can Spain Actually Beat Germany? Spain v. Germany Semifinal Preview

If you would have asked that question two months ago before the World Cup, most everyone would have said, "Yes, definitely." Spain beat Germany two years ago in the Euro Cup final and their National Team has looked strong ever since then...until now that is. Meanwhile, Germany has emerged as the clear favorite to win it all. The teams have yet to square off and people are already discussing the Netherlands/Germany final. And with good reason. Germany destroyed Argentina in the quarterfinals whereas Spain barely escaped against Paraguay. Can Spain actually pull out the victory? Maybe. Here is how it has to happen:

1. Start Fernando Torres: Admittedly, I'm a huge Torres fan, with or without his long hair. But despite my unabashed mancrush, I do think he's a big key and should start this game for a few reasons:

a. You will know within the first 20 minutes if he is going to impact the game. He has been off his game but has great potential. If he is going to do any damage he will do it early. If he is as poor as he has been, yank him after the first half. Germany knows what he did to them 2 years ago when the one and only goal he scored in the Euro Cup was in the final to beat Germany. Germany isn't afraid of him, but they will respect his ability and will make sure he doesn't burn them again.

b. This opens up room for David Villa. The MVP of the tournament. Spain has no other scoring threats besides Villa. Germany and the entire world know this. Villa has 5 goals off of 14 shots. The rest of Spain has 1 goal off of 21 shots. Astounding. Naturally, Germany's game plan should be to crush Villa like he was Polish (Zing! for the WWII joke). Spain can't score without Villa. If Germany only pays a little attention to Torres it frees Villa up just a little bit. Not a ton, but three defenders marking you is better than four.

c. Torres has size. Germany dominates Spain and pretty much every other team in size. Torres can hold his own against the big defenders. Here is the goal from the Euro Cup to prove that:

2. Spain can't play their "cultural" style. When we did our band comparisons before the World Cup, we compared Spain to Led Zeppelin and Germany to Coldplay. Now that we are down to 3 teams in the tournament we probably should have switched those two teams and bands. Spain has been much more like Coldplay - very predictable and lulling you to sleep with all the passing. Whereas Germany has been the exciting, out of control, but under control team like Zeppelin.

The thing that is also awesome about Germany is that they play exactly how you would expect a German to play football. They are big, fast and efficient. If they have four shots on goal, they will score four goals. They also sort of play a blitzkrieg style. Once they mount that counterattack, there is no stopping them. They all just barrel down the field so quickly and just pick up steam as they go. They get in front of the goal and don't waste any opportunities and just punish defenses.

Spain on the other hand has been taking a siesta for most of the tournament. They were the most dominate team coming into the World Cup, but it's as though they are taking their August vacation a little early this summer. They are just relaxed and passing the ball all over the field and hardly attacking. They try and wear the other team down. They are waiting for the perfect opportunity, but it's not coming. They are all bark and no bite. I want to blame this on Xavi as I think he controls the game and looks to keep possession more than attack. Regardless, if they do this, Germany will punish them. Germany is too good and too fast. They will force Spain to turn the ball over and they will kill Spain on the counterattack. Spain has to break away from the relaxed siesta soccer and attack from the start.

3. Iker Casillas: Let's be honest, Germany is going to have their chances and is going to pound the goal. Casillas will have to be other worldly and come up with at least 3 amazing saves if Spain is going to win. It's a tall order, but it will be amazing soccer if he pulls it off.

4. Everyone has to hit their potential: This is essentially what it boils down to. There was a time (May 2008-May 2010) when Spain played to their potential and they fired on all cylinders and had fantastic team chemistry. I'm not sure what happened, but it has been largely non-existent throughout this Cup. I'm not sure if the team got cocky or if everyone would rather spend their summer in Ibiza instead of South Africa. Something is off and if they are going to win, they have to get it back and everyone has to play to their potential.

Spain is wildly talented. They didn't come into this tournament as the favorites because they won the Euro Cup. That contributed to it, but it's also because their roster is stacked. Even more so than other countries. The talent level is higher than any other team in Europe, including Germany. All teams have great players, but also have some gaps. Spain has no gaps. In four years they probably will have gaps and another country, Germany or Brazil will be the team with no gaps. For whatever reason, this is just Spain's time. Because of that, if you just looked at both teams on paper, Spain would still be the favorite because of their talent level and the potential of all of the players. The potential is definitely there to beat any team in the world. But that's all it has been thus far, potential. Talking about it but never reaching it. They will have to in order to win.

So can Spain beat Germany? Sure. It could happen. Will it happen? Because my heart resides in Spain I want to say that Spain will win. And logically and on paper you can make an argument for Spain. But logically and based upon recent play on the field, you really can't pick against Germany.

Too bad logic is never a fun way to live your life. Bring out the passion! We live and die by our team. Either you are all in to the end, or we didn't want you on the wagon in the first place. I had Spain in my heart and in my head since the beginning, so I'm sticking to it. Here's to risking the pain of the low of lows of defeat all for the slight chance for futbol glory.

Final Score: Spain 3 Germany 2

In Villa We Trust.

Heroes and Villains: Luis Suarez and Ghana in the 2010 World Cup

The one question that the world wanted answered after the 2006 World Cup was, "What did Marco Materazzi say to Zinedine Zidane?"  Shortly after the 2006 tournament, videos starring Materazzi's dirtiest fouls emerged on youtube.  Materzzi had quickly become the villain of the tournament because he had provoked our hero, Zidane, to ruin what should have been his finest hour.  

This year, heroes haven't emerged as easily.  Perhaps David Villa is the hero of the tournament.  His goal scoring has been incredible.  Perhaps you jumped on the Leo Messi bandwagon.  Messi didn't score but enabled everything Argentina produced on the field.  Stateside, it was Landon Donovan.  His last minute goal was a changing moment for soccer in the States.   Maybe Tomas Mueller is your guy.   In Africa, the hero was a country:  Ghana.  

In the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup, Ghana and Uruguay met, with Ghana holding the hopes of a continent on its shoulders.  Ghana was looking to become the first African team to make the semifinals of the World Cup.  They were the only African nation to make the knock-out rounds and had taken down the U.S. to reach the quarters.  

The game itself was excellent.  Two very nice goals meant that the game ended in a draw.  In Extra Time (not Overtime for some reason), nothing happened until the 120th minute of the match when the 2010 World Cup villain emerged.  Luis Suarez deliberately reached out his hand to stop a shot from going into the goal.  Ghana should have won, but Suarez decided that the Ghanains might miss a penalty.  He reached out and blocked the shot.  He got a well deserved red card.  Ghana missed the penalty and then lost the game in shootouts.  Kent has posted more about the cheater, Luis Suarez, asking us what we would do and said that he would do the same thing in that situation.  I'm not sure what I would do (but I have scored a goal with my arm so...).  Either way, Luis Suarez destroyed the hopes and dreams of the African continent and cheated his way to victory.  Luis Suarez is the villain of the 2010 World Cup.

Here's to Uruguay losing 10-0 to Netherlands on Tuesday.  Come on Oranje!

What Would You Do?

Oh the drama. If you didn't see the Uruguay/Ghana game, you missed out on a classic and some fantastic drama. With seconds left in overtime, Uruguay player Luis Suarez blocks a sure goal with his hands. He is justifiably red-carded. Ghana is given a penalty, but misses! Check it out:

Suarez isn't even trying to pretend like he didn't block it with his hands. He knows.

What would you have done? Is that poor soccer play? I'm all for it. Maybe that makes me a cheap soccer player. But if the ball goes in, like it's going to, Uruguay loses. There is too little time left in the overtime for Uruguay to score. At a different point in the game, I might feel differently. But at this point, no freebies. Might as well block it and make Ghana score the penalty kick. A big gamble that paid off. Especially since Uruguay later won the game on penalty kicks. Suarez was of course red-carded and will miss the next game. But hey, if he doesn't do that, the whole team is going home. He misses the next match, but the Uruguay dream lives on. Talk about taking one for the team.

Dutch Disrupt Brazil and the Beautiful Game

I know I predicted it yesterday, but even I was still a little surprised to see Brazil go down. I knew it was possible, but didn't really think it would happen. In order for it to happen the Netherlands needed somewhat of a perfect game; which involved disrupting the beautiful game.

Brazil came out strong. They looked really good. They are so fun to watch sometimes. They really do play beautiful music together. It's like you are watching a samba or some sort of performance. They are so fluid and the ball moves effortlessly throughout the team and across the field. When they are all in tune they are scary good and so fun to watch. They started out in perfect pitch and just dominated the game. Everything quickly came together in the 10th minute when a perfect pass was made to Robinho who touched it into the goal on his first touch (video below). A beautiful finish to a beautiful start.

Unlike an Italy or even Spain though, Brazil isn't content with just one goal. The music continues and they continued to pound the Netherlands for the rest of the half. I thought the Dutch were somewhat lucky to get out of the half only down 1-0. It's not that Brazil had many great opportunities, but the Netherlands didn't really have any chances and Brazil was playing their style and had complete control of the game. That is until the Dutch disrupted the beautiful game.

I don't know if disrupting Brazil was Netherlands' game plan exactly, but its what they did and it worked perfectly. The game became choppy. Lots of fouls. Lots of flopping and falling by Robben and doing all sorts of things to get under Brazil's skin. They made it difficult for Brazil to keep their rhythm and keep playing their music.

By the way, the play of the game easily was the awesome corner kick "fake" the Dutch tried to pull. One player goes over to take the corner and puts the ball in the little semi-circle by the corner. Then, he motions to another player to come and take the kick. But before leaving the corner, he taps the ball out of the semi-circle so that the ball is now in play. Ideally the other team doesn't notice what the first player did and when the other player gets to the ball, he just starts dribbling towards the goal. It's straight out of a AYSO handbook. It's like in Little League baseball when the players have a meeting at the mound and they give the ball to the first baseman and he tries to hide it and go back to his base and hope that the guy on first will lead off so he can tag him out. Only imagine the Yankees trying that move in the World Series. Brazil of course noticed Netherlands' poor attempt at trickery and foiled the plan. You can see it in the video below. Just awesome.

Anyways, despite the failed tricks, the Dutch were actually doing a good job at disrupting the flow of the game. But they needed a gift. And they got it from an own goal from Brazil. A complete fluke and unfortunate goal, but a gift nonetheless. At that point, the Dutch were in Brazil's heads and Brazil couldn't keep their cool. Bad passes, not much chemistry and lack of music together. Before you knew it, Brazil was flopping and whining at the ref for calls just like the Dutch. Brazil isn't traditionally a team to do that, well apart from Robinho. But all of the players were aggravated. The Dutch had completely frustrated them. Suddenly, amidst all the frustration, the Dutch scored another goal. Practically the knock out blow. Instead of getting up though, Brazil lost their cool even more and lost a man to a red card for a cheap foul that was clearly the result of frustration. And that was it, Brazil was done. The coolest and smoothest team in the Cup had completely lost their cool.

I said yesterday that if these teams played 10 times I would pick Brazil to win 7 of them. I still stick by that. Brazil is the better team and if they don't give the Netherlands the free goal and if they keep their cool, they win most every time. But that's the beauty of the World Cup. It's the biggest stage and anything can happen. The pressure is greater, the stakes are higher, it's a completely different game. The Dutch disrupted the beautiful game and as a result move on. I'd feel bad for Brazil except that we all know they will win it in four years when they host the tournament. There is no way I will pick against them in 2014.

Brazil's goal:

The awesome failed corner kick trick:

Holland second goal:

Quarterfinals Preview

Four games in the next two days, 2 1/2 exciting ones, let's preview them:


I'm starting both days with the afternoon games since they aren't quite as exciting.

Uruguay v. Ghana

Musical Match-up: Beck v. Poison. Interesting. Frankly, I'm partial to Beck, especially when he's at the top of his game. He's a musical genius. But he has been known to mail it in at times. Poison is crazy and always on the verge of doing something unpredictable - like OD'ing or dying. But I think the edge has to go to Beck as far as musical ability. Poison probably puts on a better show though. Although can you beat the Beck dancer? I don't think you can. Edge: Beck/Uruguay.

Soccer Match-up: Another tough one. Both decent teams, both likely to be bounced next round by the winner of the Brazil/Netherlands game. Uruguay has looked like the more complete team. Just a solid team that has been able to get the victories. But they are solidly average. A bright spot for them is at forward with Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez. It's a solid one-two punch, but nothing that can't be beaten. Ghana on the other hand is practically unpredictable. One thing is for sure, they are fast and strong. But pretty erratic. Edge: Uruguay.

Summer movie comparison: The A-Team. Did you know the tagline is, "there is no Plan B"? Come on now. You have to do better than that. Regardless, I'm sure it's actually a good and entertaining movie. I'd like to see it. I'll probably see it. Will my life be over if I don't see it? Of course not, just like my life won't really change much by seeing it. Much like this game because the winner will likely lose in the next round to the Brazil/Netherlands winner.

Prediction: The US could have beaten Ghana with a better starting lineup and if they would have stuck to their game plan of controlling the ball and not playing the long ball so much. I think Uruguay will have a game plan and outlast Ghana by the end.

Brazil v. Netherlands:

Musical Match-up: The Beatles v. Radiohead. Tough choice. If you are a casual music fan and you saw both those bands you would probably go with The Beatles; much like if you were a casual soccer fan you would probably go with Brazil. Neither decision would be bad, even if you were a intense soccer or music fan. But if you know music, or know Radiohead, you know that there is a definite brilliance to Radiohead. Is it always there? Well, depends on how much you worship Thom Yorke. Most music fans respect Radiohead, but probably don't love everything that they produce. Whereas, you can't really go wrong with any Beatles songs. Edge: Beatles/Brazil.

Here is a really the only Beatles v. Radiohead mashup I could find. I'm sure there are others.

Soccer Match-up: This is a very efficient Brazil team. There is a subtle dominance about them. They aren't killing teams or running up the score, but they are somewhat quietly getting the job done. Even in close games they always look like they have things under control. I thought Chile would give them more of a challenge, but they calmly and casually weathered Chile and very efficiently and methodically moved on. Somewhat scary how quietly good they appear.

Netherlands was also quietly moving through the group stages. They just made headlines because of an argument with Robin Van Persie and the Dutch coach. Not the best thing to happen before a game against Brazil. Also not too surprising though. There are a ton of superstars and big personalities on the Netherlands team. It was bound to happen. Regardless, its no French implosion and I don't think it will really impact the on-field play. Edge: Brazil.

Summer Movie Comparison: Inception. Still not sure what this movie is about. Dreams? Buildings folding up like paper? Not sure what's going on here, but I know I'll be seeing it. It's directed by Christopher Nolan. After the Batman series I'll pretty much see anything that this guy does. It's Brazil and Netherlands. Both of these teams have a historic track record. One complete with trophies and championships, and the other full of "almosts" and "should have wons." There is no way of predicting what is going to happen in this game. You aren't sure what is going to happen and you don't want to miss it.

Prediction: You can't go wrong by picking Brazil here, but I'm not going to. If the teams played 10 times I think Brazil would win at least 7 of them. Law of averages says Brazil, my gut says Netherlands (but my gut is also telling me I'm hungry...)


Spain v. Paraguay

Musical Match-up: Led Zeppelin v. Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. Hmm. Interesting. Not really sure how to compare this here. There was a time and place for the Cadillacs. Unfortunately, that was in the late 90's as they are sort of a ska/rock compilation band. Not that the Cadillacs aren't good. They are fine. Zeppelin, well, they are just better. End of discussion and debate - if there ever was one. Edge: Zeppelin/Spain.

Surprisingly, I couldn't find a mash up for these two groups. So here is a fantastic Zeppelin v. The Beastie Boys Mash-up. Well worth the listen.

Soccer Match-up: Let's give some credit where credit is due: This came from Matt who wrote the Fastbreak preview on Paraguay: "Paraguay has foiled more than a few teams over the years and has a solid history in the World Cup. They will advance and could easily win this group. They’ll be overlooked by the casual fan but the diehard will know them." Impressive. And Paraguay has been legit. But it will all likely end with this game. This game very well could be close, but it really shouldn't. Spain is just an all around better team and has better players than Paraguay. That doesn't mean Paraguay can't pull off an upset. Spain isn't unbeatable. They came out firing after the Switzerland loss and have been pulling back the reigns a bit in the last couple of games. If they come out explosive and looking to attack, Paraguay won't win. If they play their control midfield and look for the perfect play, then Paraguay has a legitimate chance. Edge: Spain.

Summer Movie Comparison: Knight and Day. For a couple reasons: Lot of hype for this movie just like there was a lot of hype for Spain before the Cup. So much hype that no movie, or team (especially not Spain with their poor National Team track record) could live up to it. It also works for this game because Knight and Day is surely fun and has lots of action and is entertaining, but leaves you a little empty, like it's missing something, like a plot. There is a good chance this game could leave you feeling empty, like there wasn't a worthy opponent.

Prediction: Everything points to Spain.

Argentina v. Germany

Musical Match-up: Nirvana v. Coldplay. Man. What a tough choice. Both bands are great. Both have also been overplayed almost as much as a Knight and Day movie trailer or K-Ci and JoJo at a high school dance. Nirvana ruled the 90s, Coldplay dominated the 2000s. Both have a landmark album: Nirvana - Nevermind, Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head. And both also have other great albums, that pretty much sound and revolve around the landmark album. Frankly, it's a "mood" thing. You can be totally in the mood for one of the bands, but also be completely sick of the same band a couple days later. Edge: Tie.

No mashups. Sorry. Well, besides this one. Here is an entertaining Nirvana mashup. And below is a pretty good Coldplay one as well.

Soccer Match-up: This game is so awesome. First of all, both of these teams hate each other. Germany knocked Argentina out of the 2006 World Cup. Argentina beat Germany in the 1986 World Cup final and then Germany came back and beat Argentina in the 1990 final. Just lots of good history and bad blood. The fighting words have been going back and forth before this match as well. It's pretty great.

But on top of that, both teams are really good. Germany was hard to read in the group stage because of their varied results. But then they came out and thumped England. There was a controversial call, but Germany was the better team. Argentina on the other hand has been consistently good. They have a solid team with an amazing offense. Messi, Tevez and Higuain are playing so well. But Germany also has very efficient strikers and a young up and coming outside midfielder in Mesut Ozil. He's been a stand out player in the Cup. Some (other Germans) are even saying he's playing better than Messi. I don't necessarily agree with that, but he is playing really well. Edge: Argentina. Barely.

Summer Movie Comparison: Toy Story 3. This game is just another chapter in a fantastic story. Toy Story 3 has to be the best movie of the summer thus far. This Argentina v. Germany game could be the best of the Cup. Granted, there could be other good games, but as mentioned, there is history with these teams. Familiar players and characters. Not to mention that both of these teams are world class. You are missing out in life if you don't go see Toy Story 3. You are missing out on the World Cup if you skip this game.

Prediction: It's hard. Germany has the size and seems to be able to score against anyone. But the Argentine trio up top of Messi, Tevez and Higuain seems to be too much for any team. I see Messi dribbling and creating too much and Teven and Higuain finding the back of the net more than the Germans.
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