Thursday, June 24, 2010

World Cup Fever! Catch it! (WARNING: may cause spousal irritation)

Match Day 14- I love my wife and won't be watching until she falls asleep day!

Today is our four year wedding anniversary so I'll be keeping comments short as the warden is watching me. Ha! See how I made an outdated joke about marriage as a prison? HA!

Seriously, I love my cell mate, I mean wife...HA!

We just had a lovely dinner at this new restaurant called Madison which is run by some people who used to work at M on the bund, one of the nicer restaurants in Shanghai. Great interior that really takes you out of the city for awhile. It exuded a warmth and comfort. The food was excellent and it was just a great evening all together. We still can't believe we have been married for four years. I have had the best times of my life with this woman.

Tonight's matches:

Group F

Italy, Paraguay, Slovakia, and New Zealand tussle for control in what is still a wide open group.

Best guesses:

Paraguay 2-0 New Zealand
Believe me, I would love, love, love for New Zealand to pull this out and advance. I will be cheering my head off for them. So I hope I am wrong. Paraguay has been one of the most consistent teams of the tournament with very few holes to exploit. I expect them to seal first place in the group. Oddly enough, the "All-Whites" will look a lot more like their Rugby counterparts by wearing all black tonight. Please expect endless Lord of the Rings and Flight of the Conchords references if they make it.

Italy 1-0 Slovakia
Italy will get it's s#!% together? Slovakia probably won't win this but they certainly have a chance. If they keep their heads and don't let Italy mind-game them out of the match, they could still pull a win here. Ultimately, I think Marcelo Lippi will have sorted out any tactical issues with the team.

So final results may end up:

1. Paraguay 7 points
2. Italy 5 points
3. New Zealand 2 points
4. Slovakia 1 point

Group E

Cameroon who are already out play Netherlands who have already advanced. No real drama to be had. Denmark has to win versus Japan, but on the other side of that Japan can draw and get through. Japan will be playing for 1st place hoping to achieve the 3 goal swing they would need on the off chance Cameroon beat Netherlands.

Best guesses:

Netherlands 1-0 Cameroon.
Cameroon is playing for pride alone, but it won't be enough to break down the Dutch. The Dutch will probably start a lot of the substitutes until things get hot at which point they will bring on the first teamers to put out any fires. The Dutch may open up their game a bit which could make for some entertaining moments. I would think that now is the right time to play the youngest on the squad to give them the feel of what the big stage is truly like. Cameroon could give themselves a head start on the next African Nations Cup and qualifying for the next World Cup.

Japan 1-1 Denmark.

I just finished typing the line above and I already feel like it is wrong. Japan is very organized and should frustrate the Danish attack. At the same time, I don't see them keeping the promising yet inconsistent Danes out of the net. Nicklas Bendtner is a tough challenge for the Japanese back line with his skill and size. Okay, I'm starting to think Denmark wins tonight. Hmmmm, I'll hold fast on my guess, but don't be surprised if Denmark break it open.

Final results?

1. Netherlands 9 points
2. Japan 4 points + goal differential
3. Denmark 4 points
4. Cameroon 0 points

Tomorrow night is the heavyweight showdown between Brazil and Portugal for top of the group honors. Both are essentially through, but I think Portugal wants to make a statement tomorrow night. We also get what could be a thrilling and fast-paced game between Chile and Spain. Lots of scenarios are in play tomorrow night, so I'll be up and running with lots of breakdowns.

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