To the Semis
Big day, big game(s). Let’s start with the 1st game:
Germany-Argentina @ 17:00 Central European Time
Both teams are playing well and this would have made a great final. Actually was the final in ’86 (Argentina won) and in ’90 (Germany won). So these teams have history. Which means absolutely nothing to this game except for cool highlights during the pre-game and several shots of Maradona in the crowd.
This has all the potential of a classic. Although with the stakes being so high, it could turn into Swiss-Ukraine II. It should fall somewhere in the middle of these extremes. (I know I really went out on a limb on that prediction. After the WC, I’ll return to writing speeches for Hillary Clinton).
Both teams have clinical finishers on form up front. And great players litter the midfield. And are a bit shaky on defense. And I have no idea who is going to win. Sorry. Take the day off, put the brats on the grill, chill the beer and enjoy. If the game lives up to its potential you can watch again immediately after on ESPN Classic.
Italy-Ukraine @ 21:00 Central European Time
Italy should and will win. Ukraine is essentially a one-man team with Shevchenko being that man. While he’s crazy good, one man will not beat the Italians. And this game could be quite boring with the Italians trying to desperately defend against a team who won’t attack. So I suggest you play the Italian soccer drinking game instead. Take the indicated number of sips of your drink (preferably Zima or a wine cooler) when the following occurs:
1 sip: For anybody named Andriy and when an Italian protests the ref’s decision:
2 sips: For Ukranian corner kicks and every glimpse of the overwrought Italian coach Lippi.
3 sips: For every shirtless Ukrainian fan and every Italian dive.
4 sips: For each card issued and every stat the ESPN announcers blather on about.
Continuous drinking: While the stretcher is on the field until the “injured” player magically reappears in the game.
Pass out after 15 minutes of gametime and catch the “highlights” later. But seriously, Enjoy The Games.
(If you haven’t check the site lately, that’s 3 posts within the past 24 hours, including “Joga Bonito” about going to Brazil-Ghana and “The Last (16) Roundup” a review of the past 8 games. I apologize for being slow on the trigger earlier this week).