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.