Some days you get the bear and some days the bear gets you.

The first full week of World Cup 2018 competition revealed an inverse trajectory for arguably the two greatest ball strikers on the planet. Cristiano  Ronaldo cemented a foothold into immortality with a hat trick (3 goals) in Portugal’s opening match against Spain, probably the best match so far.

On the flip side, Lionel Messi got punched right in the mouth by Captain Ignominy, and got his lunch money taken as well.

Missing that penalty kick was brutal.

Every World Cup has a relative newcomer who everyone wants to adopt; this year it’s Iceland. Youtube “Viking Clap”, Iceland takes their soccer seriously.

I know soccer does not blow up the skirts for most folks. Probably because of the lack of goals, the USA has been reluctant devotees of the sport, but this is changing. Athletic prowess has always been admired and these guys are absolute beasts. The corner-stone of mastering any sport is footwork, you hear it all the time. Many have remarkable dexterity with their hands and soccer takes a whole new set of skills, something I really admire.

This year is the first time instant replay is being used, about damn time. This has been one of my biggest beefs with soccer, a huge field, constant frenetic motion, limited referee’s watching the action, the best actors in the world selling flops and mystery contact. The object of officiating sporting events is to get it right, especially here where one kick of the ball can decide the entire match. Instant replay will go a long way in making the proper calls even if it is ex-post facto.

The other day Mexico, a really good team, defeated Germany, the reigning World Cup champ. Landon Donovan took to twitter before the match and gave his views on why he was supporting Mexico. Needless to say he got blasted. Look, as noted before in my kneeling for anthem posts, sports transcends politics, root for any team you want and be proud doing it.

Lastly, a few words about the host nation. I will put this as delicately as I can ……………………..FUCK RUSSIA!!!

As with the Olympics, my first allegiance is to the Red,White and Blue in all things competitive. Next I root for the host nation, winning on your home turf is special and I recognize the national pride in these achievements. But Russia is a gangster nation full of thieves, reprobates, criminals, and alcoholics. The only thing I like about Russia is their female tennis players, the rest of the nation can suck my dick. I want their soccer team bounced at the earliest possible moment.

We can add comments as the competition moves along, add any memorable matches or play throughout. I admit I’m a slug when it comes to World Cup. I will watch some matches every day and YouTube the highlights of the ones I missed.

This go round I will be rooting for Portugal to win, or Belgium, Iceland would be pretty cool as well.

Thank you, Donald Trump, for all your hard work in securing hosting rights for the 2026 World Cup.

We will be getting 60 matches here in The States, several played right here in the Bay Area. Although if I’m still living in the Bay Area 8 years from now, I’m going to be sorely disappointed.

18 comments

  1. Landon Donovan took to twitter before the match and gave his views on why he was supporting Mexico. Needless to say he got blasted. Look, as noted before in my kneeling for anthem posts, sports transcends politics, root for any team you want and be proud doing it.

    He can root for whoever he wants, but he isn’t taking flack because of politics. He’s taking flack from people (some his own team mates on USMNT) because Mexico is their main rival.

    Twellman said it best:

    https://twitter.com/TaylorTwellman/status/1008100642571907072

    Not to mention he appears to have been paid by Wells Fargo to openly support them.

  2. Americans just don’t do soccer. We have (or had) the NFL, baseball, and basketball. For all their faults, these sports are uniquely American. (PS My brother’s wife is from Brazil so she’s rooting for them).

  3. Lastly, a few words about the host nation. I will put this as delicately as I can ……………………..FUCK RUSSIA!!!

    Damn it. You’re going to ruin my dream of becoming a reporter for Sputnik with that kind of talk around here.

  4. Football is the only sport where I support England. Probably because (a) in most other sports they’re NZs rivals (cricket, rugby union, rugby league), (b) I’ve been a life-long fan of the Premier League so I know the players, and (c) having lived there for 4 years. They sure left it late this morning.

    I see the Germans are still struggling to perform well in Russia.

  5. I was pretty stoked to see Iceland go nil with Argentina. That was quite a feat for such a small country. As anyone here knows I’m in a bag for Nordic countries so Iceland, Denmark and Sweden are the teams I’m rooting for (sans American qualifying).

    However, I do also have to point out Mexico putting the surprise spanking on ZHE JERMANZ was a sight to behold. I think Latin America is often disregarded in the World Cup and the Mexico win should open some eyes.

  6. Football is the only sport where I support England.

    Foreigners, Oy Vey!!! Ah, over here we call it soccer, DUH

    I agree with you about England. Harry Kane just might outdo Ronaldo, although I do miss Wayne Rooney.

    However, I do also have to point out Mexico putting the surprise spanking on ZHE JERMANZ was a sight to behold. I think Latin America is often disregarded in the World Cup and the Mexico win should open some eyes.

    Mexico has been good for a very long time. And as far as them being our rival, since they kick our ass routinely, they would laugh at that comparison.

  7. The schedule hasn’t really worked out in my favour. I hungoverly caught the tail end of the Argentina v. Iceland match. Then I was pretty much out of the house for the rest of the weekend, just catching a minute or two here or there. I managed to have the 2nd half of England’s match today running on my phone at work in the background. I caught the celebration after the go ahead goal. As Pink Floyd says, Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way!

    I’m sure as the tournament goes on I’ll go out of my way to sneak in more watching time.

    I’ve decided that I will be cheering for Mexico as they are the only CONCACAF team in the tournament with a hope in hell of doing anything (sorry Panama and Costa Rica).

    Thank you, Donald Trump, for all your hard work in securing hosting rights for the 2026 World Cup.

    Yes! Toronto will also be hosting some games. Really looking forward to it. Here’s to hoping FIFA allows Canada an automatic bid. The only time we qualified was in 1986.

  8. And as far as them being our rival, since they kick our ass routinely, they would laugh at that comparison.

    *cough*

    A sports rivalry exists between the national soccer teams of Mexico and the United States, widely considered the two major powers of CONCACAF. The first match was played in 1934, and the teams have met 71 times, with Mexico leading the overall series 38–19–14 (W–L–D). However, the Americans lead the series 18–15–11 since the beginning of the 1980s.

  9. The schedule hasn’t really worked out in my favour.

    It’s been perfect for us West Coastee’s , all matches in the mornings up to early afternoon. Fox Sports has all the matches, either our local affiliate or the regular foxsports station.

    Here’s to hoping FIFA allows Canada an automatic bid. The only time we qualified was in 1986.

    I think they will. The host nation rule usually prevails and they are increasing the seeds like 30%.

    “Weird rule:
    https://twitter.com/BantsFootballFC/status/1008647459445313536?s=19

    That last guy on the field looked lonely, I guess he is the designated “pitch” guy.

  10. Sweden took care of South Korea. So much for the South Koreans flipping jerseys under the premise white people cant tell them apart. Lmao!

  11. What happened to my Portugal/Spain youtube clip that I embedded in the body of the post, it’s gone. Bad mouth the Russians and they mess with your post, typical.

  12. It’s been perfect for us West Coastee’s , all matches in the mornings up to early afternoon. Fox Sports has all the matches, either our local affiliate or the regular foxsports station.

    As usual we get pretty well fucked over with the schedule. Most games kick off at midnight or 3am here. Some, like the England game this morning, kick off at 6am which is decent, and the France v Australia game was 10pm kick off. But I think as the tournament goes on those times disappear. Hard to watch midnight or 3am games live. As soon as the quarter finals start I’m going to Fiji for 8 days anyway to escape the winter.

    Big streaming fuck-up in Australia. OPTUS have had to give up all games for the next 48 hours to the free-to-air station SBS while they sort their shit out. Even the Prime Minister was on the phone asking WTF.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-18/world-cup-optus-streaming-problems-prompts-sbs-to-step-in/9882152

    I think they will. The host nation rule usually prevails and they are increasing the seeds like 30%.

    We’re nearly as bad as Canada at football (mostly because everyone plays rugby union or rugby league). We qualified in 1982 (when I was 8, I remember it vividly, rugby took a back seat for months for the first time in our history, it was glorious) and then in 2010 (pub quiz question: who was the only unbeaten team at that tournament?). The weird and slightly embarrassing thing about the 2026 expansion of the finals tournament is that it looks like Oceania will go from 0.5 of a place to 1 place. So instead of usually losing in the qualifying playoffs to the 5th ranked South American side (Peru this time), we’ll just qualify instead. Which will be AWESOME but also kinda STOOPID.

  13. I am loving this World Cup. Granted my tradition of drinking at least one beer for every England game might have something to do with this. My pre-brakfast Steinlager Dry went down a treat.

    Ronaldo is a beast. He’s an absolute tool – but it freaking works. Bear in mind he’s 34, which is the age footballers usually retire.

    Portugal/Spain was one of the great World Cup games – but bear in mind Spain lost their coach just 2 days before the tournament. I don’t think they were at all outplayed, and think they still look the liveliest in the tournament.

    England should have done enough to get through the group. I don’t know if you get it over here, but there a really weird persecution of Raheem Sterling by the press in the UK. After 4 minutes of the game this morning, the Sun were already calling him a failure.

  14. Cress, did you read about Ronaldo’s tax problems? It’s just inconceivable to me that one of the richest athletes on the planet thinks he can skirt his tax obligations. To avoid jail he has to pay around $21 million in back taxes to Spain, ouch.

    I did read about Spain firing their coach like 2 days before the start of the event, but they really are good. Maybe I’m wrong but I have the impression that soccer is one of those sports where the coach is not that integral to success.

  15. So far the VAR has been a smashing success; judiciously used (about 7 times so far) and timely applied with little delay to the action.

    Messi has a chance today to get that monkey off his back.

    The Australia team has been very impressive even with their 1-1 tie today, I just got on their bandwagon.

    Twitter has been merciless in shaming Pepe for his flop the other day;

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xic8SV6Jp78

    We are going to see more of this as the tourney progresses.

  16. Some final thoughts on what many have said was the best World Cup ever;

    Superlatives like best ever or GOAT are like junk food, pleasurable and satisfying but in the end accomplish little. I will say that Russia [grumble] put on a good show and was up to the task with venues, security, transportation, and providing an overall positive experience.

    The final, France vs. Croatia was magnifique, 6 total goals scored, much better than the last winner, Germany, winning 1-0. Here is the highlights;

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fY3Z3od-kE8&feature=onebox

    VAR was a great improvement to the World Cup. That second France goal was a handball not seen by the official but later revealed by VAR. Getting the call right is all that matters.

    The sportsmanship was top notch. Aside from Columbia (who every 4 years releases their prisoners to compete for slots on their team, what a bunch of thugs), and Neymar losing his Oscar bid, here is how twitter dealt with him;

    https://twitter.com/l_tido/status/1014857579489644544?lang=en

    This World Cup I was really impressed by the goalkeepers. The game, like every other athletic endeavor gets faster. The speed of the players, the velocity placed on the ball during shots on goal, the reaction time needed to move and block shots, we are really seeing the best athletes in the world. The goal keepers from England, Belgium, Mexico, super studs the whole lot of them, Pickford especially, super human.

    I was hoping for a England/Belgium final, my two favorite teams, not meant to be, but they had a great match in the 3rd/4th playoff yesterday. Today I was rooting for Croatia, oh well.

    Patriotism- Anyone that has watched even just a few of these matches has to be struck by how the rest of the world views the sanctity and respect afforded during the playing of their national anthem. Not only the players, emotionally singing along with all of the fans of that country in the stands. What the rest of the world must think at our silly NFL national anthem controversy.

    I think the World Cup as supplanted the Olympics as the ultimate international sports competition. Total medal counts in the Olympics is fine (given that we usually kick ass in this regard) but the World Cup is a different animal. It is straight up, one sport, little nation against big, put up or shut up, our best against yours and we shall see who is the better, the very embodiment of competition. There was Putin, sitting there fat and sassy, along the the 2 world leaders in the actual competition, everything else in the world put on hold until we can determine which team reigns supreme.

    In 8 years we get to host. That will be my new motivation for eating better and working harder on the tennis courts, I’m gonna see some World Cup games, if I’m still around.

  17. It was a great world cup – helped in no end by the fact that some of the big guys got sent home early, leaving the knockout stages to be pretty open. Much more entertaining than Germany rolling through the competition with a bunch of efficient 1-0 wins.

    re: VAR – I agree, but we’re not really used to it yet. I’m still not used to the stopping and starting of the game as much as you guys are with (American) Football. That said, we will get used to it, and I think overall it was used pretty well.

    The goalkeepers were great and I hope the Liverpool FC scouts were keeping watch. For me Mbappe was the breakout star. The boy is just a teenager, and his skill and pace is ridiculous.

    re: National Anthems – yes, but we don’t do National Anthems at our regular games, so I think it’s a different thing. But, yes, you don’t f*ck with the anthem.

    (The closest thing we had to your NFL anthem controversy was ‘poppygate’ – where some players didn’t want to wear a poppy on remembrance day. In this case, the FA actually came down on the side of the protest)

    For England, I can’t overstate how successful this World Cup was. Not so much on the pitch (although it was) but actually in how it reinvigorated the national team. We got away from Posh n Becks, overpaid prima donnas trying not to get injured, WAGs and booze. These players seemed to enjoy playing for their country, seemed to give their best, and were entertaining. And in Southgate, you’ve got the guy who lost us the Shootout in 96 ‘bringing football home’ in 2018. Lovely.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: