By Dan Loney on Jun 30, 2018 at 12:45 AM
  1. Dan Loney

    Dan Loney BigSoccer Supporter

    Mar 10, 2000
    Cincilluminati
    Club:
    Los Angeles Sol
    Nat'l Team:
    Philippines

    World Cup - Hermano!

    By Dan Loney on Jun 30, 2018 at 12:45 AM
    See? I told you it would be fun to cheer against Germany!

    I still hate Greatest Of All Time discussions. Nine times out of eight the nominees turn out to be either Thing That Just Happened or Thing From Nominator's Formative Years.

    But MAN, wasn't this the Greatest First Round of All Time?! I'm almost prepared to be immensely tedious, and come up with some cockamamie grading scale. I could go back all the way to 1930, and recapitulate each one, and rank them in order - despite the fact that I would have only been alive for half of them, and watched about a third of them.

    Yeah, a few of those games in the past looked great. Yeah, I'll bet watching North Korea school Italy in 1966 was amazing. But I just know in my tiny little heart that we just watched the very best. Certainly, the most fun.

    In every tournament we fall in love with minnows. In some cases, we fall in love with teams that are eliminated in the first round through misfortune or injustice. Usually, though, the minnows just quietly lose. Not this year! They weren't minnows, they were mermaids. For whatever reason, teams that were already eliminated played not merely for pride - any idiot team can kick with anger on the way to the airport. Iran was wonderful, Morocco was wonderful, Peru! Peru made so many friends this tournament. You just couldn't help but pull for them. Only the most market-oriented Barcelona executive preferred Argentina over Nigeria, and I say this as someone who kinda hated Nigeria's jerseys.

    And then there was Group F. F for FUN!

    Mexico fans in 2002: How can you be proud of backing in to the next round like that? If it weren't for Korea, you'd be going home.

    Mexico fans in 2018: Korea is so awesome.

    US fans in 2018: I KNOW, RIGHT?

    You were right, Landon. You told us to support Mexico, and it paid off. To this hour, when I read stories of the Korea fans in Russia, Mexico and Los Angeles who were feted and hailed as honorary citizens, I just can't help but smile. Korea, Mexico, the World Cup, soccer - this is why we became fans! This is what we all saw in this sport in the first place.

    Look, there's always going to be a lot of crap, nonsense, and evil around the game. We can go back to hating Mexico the minute they're out - I plan to, at least, nothing personal. And as far as what happens off the field - well, down the road we've got our own house to tidy up, and we have to make sure Qatar stops being an evil, ugly disaster as far as human rights go. There's also a lot of love and beauty, and I'm glad we're all here to appreciate it.

    And the World Cup champion went out in the first round! That hasn't happened since five times in a row and counting! Wait, what?

    Every year we get haughty pronunciations that the Champions League is the best that the sport has to offer. Sure, fine, whatever. When the Champions League comes up with a group stage anywhere near this compelling - and remember, the Champions League has a chance to do so every year - then we'll talk. The World Cup is supreme.

    Now watch every game going forward make the France-Denmark game look like Italy-Brazil 1982.

    My bracket is a smoking ruin, but yours might not be. Only two top seeds went out, and Poland might have been the shakiest non-host top seed in the history of the tournament. The only team you'd call an underdog remaining is probably Japan, and I don't think we'll need to worry about them very long.

    I flipped the finishers, which I guess is another way of saying I blew the group predictions, but I did call Uruguay v. Portugal and Russia v. Spain for the next round. I came to that conclusion using insane conspiracy theories, and I'm going to go ahead and keep my chips on that number. Either Uruguay-Portugal is going to be an all-time classic, or a two hour exhibition of Whack-a-Mole starring Cristiano Ronaldo's ankles in the title role. Maybe both, depending on how you feel about Chris Ron Seven.

    And explain to me why Belgium is supposed to be heartbroken about winning the group and getting in the "tough" bracket. The idea that Belgium and England were supposed to throw the game for the privilege of playing Colombia instead of Japan seems insane to me. Yeah, it wasn't a great match. And yeah, once Belgium beats Japan, Brazil might be on deck. Pop quiz, who would you rather face with a semifinal spot on the line, Brazil or Croatia? You sure? I'd take my chances with Neymar rather than Modric.

    I've been trashing Japan, but I can't be mad at them for advancing on a tiebreaker. Senegal should have made sure it didn't get down to that tiebreaker. Belgium would have thumped them, too.

    As for the games I didn't see coming:

    Argentina...does this sort of thing. Stink up qualifying, stink up the group, then go on a nice, long, hideous-looking run that offends polite souls everywhere. The snake-goddess Narrative is also shrieking for her Messi-Ronaldo quarterfinal. But France is damn good, and their group cooperated to give them a restful third game. I'm going to predict this is going to be one of those weird times in sports when a good team beats a bad one. Look at my wacky picks, everyone! Be sure to pound that Like button!

    Brazil made no friends in their uninspired group win. Mexico emerged from Group F looking like Billy Bob Thornton in "Bad Santa" after finally cracking the Kitnerboy Redoubt. I picked Brazil to win the tournament, but as I've already said, I'd be fine with fun Mexico going far for a change. Mexico is so fun to follow once they get out of CONCACAF. But I don't think Juan Carlos Osorio has stopped being Juan Carlos Osorio.

    Croatia-Denmark and Sweden-Switzerland sound like games to fill half of a stadium to - at least, before this tournament started. I still am not sold on Switzerland, certainly not as sold as I am by the strip-mining that Sweden performed on Mexico to win the group, so I'm expecting less than you probably are. And I might be expecting too much from Denmark. They bored the planet against France, and didn't deserve all three against Peru.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm hopping on the Croatia bandwagon too, but being an easier out than France does not make you an easy out. Maybe I'm nuts, but I see good things coming from this game. Modric has Golden Ball finalist written all over him.

    I'm not going to project beyond this, because within hours these predictions will be as useful as plans to fortify the Maginot Line.
     
    BalanceUT repped this.
?

Who is the early favorite for the Golden Ball?

  1. Giovani Dos Santos

    2 vote(s)
    28.6%
  2. Jonathan Dos Santos

    5 vote(s)
    71.4%

Comments

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Dan Loney, Jun 30, 2018.

    1. mschofield

      mschofield Member+

      May 16, 2000
      Berlin
      Club:
      Union Berlin
      Nat'l Team:
      Germany

      World Cup - Hermano!

      By Dan Loney on Jun 30, 2018 at 12:45 AM
      I love the greatest of all time arguments. because 1. The cases are made with intense passion and 2. The answers are completely unknownable.
      I also am a huge fan of the current notion that if Ronaldo is the greatest player of all time, then Messi sucks. Because, you know, that's how the world works. There's a single top, and a whole world of bottoms.
      And, we can definitely say, without the slightest bit of evidence, that the greatest players of all time are all attackers, because we all played lilttle kid soccer and the best kid was always a forward. It just stands to reason, then, that Der Kaiser doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same lifestime of breaths as CRon and, really, Yahsin wasn't even a true soccer player.
      That said, without a doubt, the two best world cups were USA 94 and Germany 06. Why? I had tickets to both. This version might seem fun, but suffers quite a bit from the fact that Russia banned me six years back.
       
      Paleworm repped this.
    2. Dan Loney

      Dan Loney BigSoccer Supporter

      Mar 10, 2000
      Cincilluminati
      Club:
      Los Angeles Sol
      Nat'l Team:
      Philippines

      World Cup - Hermano!

      By Dan Loney on Jun 30, 2018 at 12:45 AM
      That sounds like a story.

      Of course, I’m embarrassed I left out Beckenbauer. When you redefine your position, you probably deserve to be in the conversation.
       
      Martininho repped this.
    3. mschofield

      mschofield Member+

      May 16, 2000
      Berlin
      Club:
      Union Berlin
      Nat'l Team:
      Germany

      World Cup - Hermano!

      By Dan Loney on Jun 30, 2018 at 12:45 AM
      Ran into him (well, not really, I turned my bike at the last second so no actual contact) while out riding around a lake one day. Our entire interaction consisted of me saying (probably in a high squeaky voice) Der Kaiser! He gave me a sheepish smile and half wave and continued walking. So best buds.
      Listening to the recent GOAT debate, I've thought that when constructing an all time best 11 team, folks on here wouldn't insist that CRon, Messi, Maradonna and Pele were obviously the first four in, then wonder if maybe Landon wasn't next.
      To be fair to Russia, they aren't alone. My former gig was not about making friends. Laos and Kuwait had similiar reactions to my presence (only Kuwait jailed me, Laos very kindly offered to drive me to the Thai border and dump me by the side of the road). RE Ru: About four months before the Orange Rev I decided that Ukraine was a fascinating story, and kept going back until fall, 2016, when the last American stopped caring about the place. Russia kept rejecting my visa apps, which I didn't make too much of until Sochi, when they approved everyone except me and I was finally told I should stop applying, it wasn't going to happen.
       
    4. Bill Archer

      Bill Archer BigSoccer Supporter

      Mar 19, 2002
      Washington, NC
      Club:
      Columbus Crew
      Nat'l Team:
      United States
      #5 Bill Archer, Jul 1, 2018
      Last edited: Jul 1, 2018

      World Cup - Hermano!

      By Dan Loney on Jun 30, 2018 at 12:45 AM
      "Either Uruguay-Portugal is going to be an all-time classic, or a two hour exhibition of Whack-a-Mole starring Cristiano Ronaldo's ankles in the title role."

      - Why I love Dan Loney, Chapter One

      The most unfortunate thing about this tournament is having to watch it on FS1. It's wall to wall awful, starring a pompous, smug, insight-free Alexi Lalas who has been hired because Ian Wright, Clarence Seedorf and an English woman you've vaguely heard of are as interesting as watching grass die.

      It's just a shame that there aren't any American women - some with actual personalities - who have, you know, won world cups or scored lots of goals or earned lots of caps. Maybe someday.

      And who wouldn't quiver with anticipation at the prospect of listening to Fat Tony Meola and JP Dellacamera call an entire world cup match without once saying something that isn't a) obvious to the blind b) irrelevant and/or c) wrong.

      I say this is a perfect opportunity to try one of those "We're broadcasting a game without announcers" stunts. For the next two weeks.
       
      Martininho and Cavan9 repped this.
    5. vabeacher1

      vabeacher1 New Member

      DC United
      Australia
      May 26, 2018
      #6 vabeacher1, Jul 1, 2018
      Last edited: Jul 1, 2018

      World Cup - Hermano!

      By Dan Loney on Jun 30, 2018 at 12:45 AM
      [QUOTE="Bill Archer, post: 36833342, member: 20531


      The most unfortunate thing about this tournament is having to watch it on FS1. It's wall to wall awful, starring a pompous, smug, insight-free Alexi Lalas .[/QUOTE]

      The second most unfortunate thing is having to watch that clown, Fernando Fiore, on the prime time wrap-up show, while (or should I say "whilst") Kate Abdo has been hidden away on the early morning preview show. But I guess they are changing that for the knock-out rounds. Props to Kate for being to only non-German announcer to ever correctly pronounce Joachim Low's name.
       
      Bill Archer repped this.
    6. Bill Archer

      Bill Archer BigSoccer Supporter

      Mar 19, 2002
      Washington, NC
      Club:
      Columbus Crew
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      World Cup - Hermano!

      By Dan Loney on Jun 30, 2018 at 12:45 AM
      Quite agree. Abdo is the only note of charm or wit or class in the whole deal (and I forgot to mention that Fiore needs to be tied up in a broadcast trailer out back until the thing is over; could he be any more awful?).
       
    7. JayRockers!

      JayRockers! Member+

      Aug 4, 2001

      World Cup - Hermano!

      By Dan Loney on Jun 30, 2018 at 12:45 AM
      Pretty sure she’s fluent in German, and married to a German.

      Thx,

      Jay!
       
    8. Cavan9

      Cavan9 Member

      Nov 16, 2011
      Silver Spring, MD
      Club:
      DC United
      Nat'l Team:
      United States
      #9 Cavan9, Jul 2, 2018
      Last edited: Jul 2, 2018

      World Cup - Hermano!

      By Dan Loney on Jun 30, 2018 at 12:45 AM
      I've been watching the games on Telemundo (they are all broadcast over the air and I don't have cable) on mute and putting an LP on my stereo. It sounds much better.

      You described Alexi Lalas' shtick just right. I've disliked his broadcast "skills" ever since the fall of 2012 when he went on a ten minute rant about how DC United has absolutely no chance of beating the Red Bulls in the playoffs right before DC United went and beat the Red Bulls in the playoffs. At least he used actual arguments like one team having more talent back then. His alleged analysis has kinda gone into a decline since since.
       
      Bill Archer repped this.
    9. Beau Dure

      Beau Dure Member+

      May 31, 2000
      Vienna, VA

      World Cup - Hermano!

      By Dan Loney on Jun 30, 2018 at 12:45 AM
      Yeah, but Aly Wagner is also terrific at live-game commentary, and she can't be two places at once. (Or CAN she?)

      As always, though, I'll vote for Kate Markgraf over most of the random accents.
       
    10. RaisedEverywhere

      Mexico
      Aug 9, 2017
      Detroit

      World Cup - Hermano!

      By Dan Loney on Jun 30, 2018 at 12:45 AM
      I LUV the saltiness. It's a thing of beauty. JDS or GDS? Who's better? The answer?...they both are because they played in the WC (albeit meaningless minutes) while the US sat on their stupid asses at home. Il'l take this "L" every day of the year...your horrible NT failed to TIE (Much less beat) T&T. So, ******** off, douchebag. 12th best team in the world...I'll take it.
       
      It's called FOOTBALL repped this.
    11. JayRockers!

      JayRockers! Member+

      Aug 4, 2001

      World Cup - Hermano!

      By Dan Loney on Jun 30, 2018 at 12:45 AM
      Then why don’t they want to play in Mexico?

      Thx,

      Jay!
       
    12. Justin O

      Justin O Member+

      Nov 30, 1998
      Seattle
      Club:
      Seattle

      World Cup - Hermano!

      By Dan Loney on Jun 30, 2018 at 12:45 AM
      You forgot DJ Radenko.
       
      Bill Archer repped this.
    13. It's called FOOTBALL

      May 4, 2009

      World Cup - Hermano!

      By Dan Loney on Jun 30, 2018 at 12:45 AM
      Because money talks. What a dumb question.

      Thx,

      ICF!!
       

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