SportsCrack Blog

Thursday, July 01, 2010


Captain America* is back to give you his betting advice for the World Cup quarterfinals...

Well, folks, here we go. We’re almost through the first break in action from the World Cup’s exciting first round and nail biting round of 16, and it’s on to the quarterfinals. You might feel that, like USC’s football program, the best days of the cup are behind us since the untimely elimination of team USA, but the excitement is just beginning. Here’s a quick rundown with a few points of interest for all of you sportscrackheads:

GAME 1: Netherlands vs. Brazil

Friday, July 2, 10AM EDT

Great matchup of the 5 time winner and the consistent under-achiever. The Oranje of Holland have had some of the greatest teams in history and only one European Championship to show for it. Not sure if this team has what it takes to beat Brazil, who could easily field three separate teams in this tournament and reach the final with two of them.

Why you should watch: The Dutch fans are freaking awesome: brass bands, orange paint, beer and gorgeous women, and star Arjen Robben’s last name probably makes Nelson Mandela scream in his sleep. Plus, he looks like your math professor. Watching Brazil at times looks like the Harlem Globetrotters on grass. Many don’t realize that they are monsters too, and can play a physical game when they need to. This should be an amazing game.

Bet: I’m picking the underdog Dutch. It’s a longshot, and a cup without Brazil is a lot less fun, but I want to see a new winner and historically the Dutch are due.

GAME 2: Uraguay vs. Ghana

Friday, July 2, 2:30PM EDT

Here are two teams nobody was expecting. Uruguay own two titles, but they were in 1930 and 1950. The last great Uruguayan player was Enzo Francescoli who retired well over a decade ago. Superstar Diego Forlan might be the man to fill his shoes. Ghana is here because the USA thinks the game starts five minutes after the whistle blows. Their greatest player, Michael Essien, didn’t make the roster after an injury. They have shown skill at times, but mostly are thuggish and defensive. Plus they are called the Black Stars, but wear red and yellow striped oompah-loompah uniforms.

Why you should watch: It would be a great story to see Uruguay return to the top after 50 plus years. Ghana knocked out the USA, so they need to go. Plus, Freddy Adu’s career has been rough enough without having the country he fled making the semi-finals while he watches team USA struggle to score from his crummy Greek league team.

Bet: Uruguay, and it shouldn’t be close.

GAME 3: Argentina vs. Germany

Saturday, July 3, 10AM EDT

This is the big one. Three time winners Germany and three time winners Argentina, both playing at their peak and with a long and bitter history, fighting for a likely spot in the final. Argentina is on a scoring tirade and is coached by one of the two greatest players of all time, who also happens to be bat-shit crazy. He might be a genius too, deflecting attention from the team and onto himself, resulting in some relaxed and artful soccer. Germany is a machine. They play with precision, run hard, don’t dive and cry and just hammer teams into submission. Two differing styles, two great pedigrees. Awesome.

Why you should watch: Maradona is insane. He’s a wild haired coke addict and a communist with a stapled stomach, squeezing into a suit too small for him. He has no coaching skills other than hugging and telling everyone he loves them. He makes outrageous and insulting comments. He has a history of wild accusations of corruption and death threats. Well, maybe he’s been right the whole time, and is actually a genius. And since the exit of France (Ribery) and England (Rooney), Carlos Tevez is the last remaining Disney character in the tournament.

Oh, and they have this:

As for Germany, star Bastian Schweinsteiger’s last name might indicate that his ancestors had sex with pigs, their nickname is “Die Mannshcaft”, and their coach eats his own boogers.

Bet: I think Germany is going all the way. Expect them to roll up the goals early, and then expect Argentina to try to cheat and Maradona to make a scene. Should be epic.

GAME 4: Spain vs. Paraguay

Saturday, July 3, 2:30PM EDT

Spain came into this tournament as a favorite, but we’ve heard that before. They are a lot like Holland in having great players and great teams that just can’t seem to win the big one. They are current European champions and have some incredible talent, but losses to Switzerland in the first round and a thumping by the USA in last summer’s Confederations Cup leaves us wondering who the real Spain is. Plus I sense some tension in the team as certain stars sit the bench (Fabregas) while others struggle on the field (Torres). Paraguay might have another advantage: They are from South America. South American teams have been very good in this tournament. It might be climate, it might be altitude, or it might be the smell, but for some reason they seem to be clicking. But despite some great players and goal scorers, they had to defeat Japan in penalties to get here and are probably fatigued. Spain will run as hard as Japan and are just better. I think!

Why you should watch: The further Paraguay goes, the better chance we have of seeing more of this:

Bet: Hard to not pick Spain, and my desire for a new cup winner lies with them and Holland. But if there is going to be an upset, this would be the one to watch.

So there you have it. Should be a great couple of days. These last two without games have been unbearable. Luckily I can still get my fix on Fox Soccer Channel with Lara Baldaserra.

In other news, Kennesaw, GA hosted the WPS All-Star game last night, and nobody gave a shit. Until next time I leave you with this video of soccer hooligans. Enjoy.


Captain America*

*=in no way related to or in violation of Marvel Comics and their creations

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