Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Guest DJ Scratchin': The Lone Reader on the Men's Under-20 World Cup of Soccer

Editor's Note: Welcome readers, to the first installment of guest writing on the House of Georges. This, like our other features, is sure to be a massive failure huge success, something we all bask on for months and years to come. This debut effort by the one and only Lone Reader examines the infinitely popular game of soccer. There's some soccer happenin' out there in the world, and TLR's gonna break it down for y'all.

Game on, folks. Soccer has surfaced on the HoG. Readers, consider yourselves lucky.

While I fully recognize that many folks in North America hold a strong, though curiously inexplicable, dislike for the world’s most popular sport, I just can’t justify wasting considerable column inches arguing their idiocy (this will all change within 10 years as North American soccer surpasses it’s European counterpart in just about every phase of the game – but we’re not talkin’ about that right now).To those of you who just don’t get the game … you’re goin’ the way of the public smoker, so go have a cigarette and listen to some Milli Vanilli.

For the past 10 days, Canada has played host to the Men’s Under-20 (U20) World Cup of Soccer. These teams represent the very future of international soccer, the very future of World Cups 2010 and 2014, the very future of humanity itself. Watch ‘em, damnit, or shut the fuck up. The group stage of the tournament has been completed, and only 16 teams remain. From this moment forward, it’s a do or die, single-elimination malaise for the ages. Those games begin in less than three hours, and it’s damn well time that the HoG get some prognostication in order.

I must begin by acknowledging some performances to date. All four African nations advanced out of the group round in fine fashion. The Canadian team set a new U20 World Cup record by becoming the first host-nation in history to NOT score a goal … sweet. The United States slaughtered Poland 6-1, behind a hat trick from up-and-comer Freddy Adu. Mexico, a popular pick for the title, coasted through and may well have the best individual player in the tournament, Gio Dos Santos. Spain and Argentina advanced with ease, and Brazil just squeaked past the cutting-board. Japan’s style of play proved electrifying, and may well move them late into the tournament. Chile conceded no goals and won accolades with their creative offense in defeating Canada, Congo and tying Austria to win their group.

Enough of that bullshit, who’s gonna be on top? Who’s gonna fall? Can an African nation really do it? What about North America? Are they the future of international soccer? Will we have yet another European champion … please, no.

So here it is, folks, place your bets and get ready to win. Round 2 predictions:

Spain vs. Brazil
We’re startin’ with arguably the biggest match of the round. I mean c’mon, Spain and Brazil? It doesn’t get much bigger. Spain is basically the Buffalo Bills of international soccer … choke, choke, choke. Brazil’s rather disappointing performance to date (losses to Poland, and the USA) will force them to focus. Brazil over Spain, 3-1.

The winner will face the winner of …

Japan vs Czechoslovakia
The Czechs have had trouble in this tournament, but managed to advance. Japan’s quickness and surprising toughness will prove the Czechs final problem. This one’s too easy. Japan over Czechoslovakia, 2-0.

Argentina vs Poland
Poland’s one win (1-0 over Brazil) was a goddamn miracle. Brazil had the ball 63% of the time and took 14 shots to Poland’s 2. Argentina didn’t lose in the first round on their way to scoring 7 goals. Only the US and Spain scored more, 9 and 7 respectively. Argentine soccer fans will be celebrating. Argentina over Poland, 2-1.

The winner will face the winner of …

Mexico vs Congo
This Congolese squad is the current African champion. There are few teams that combine this speed and strength. Too bad for those saps, the Mexicans have looked stunning while going undefeated. Congo just won’t be able to contain the tournament’s best player. Mexico over Congo, 3-1.

Chile vs Portugal
DO NOT MISS THIS GAME. These two teams have well orchestrated attacks and believe that attacking is the only way to win. That makes for some fun soccer … even if you’re from the States. Crowd favorites, the Chilean’s produce as explosive an attack as I’ve seen. Extensive travel and injury, however, will bring their run to an end. Watch Portugal defeat Chile, 3-2.

The winner will face the winner of …

Zambia vs. Nigeria
Both nations finished second in their respective groups, though Nigeria had one more win. Zambia finished second in a group that sent three of four to Stage 2. Still distraught from the 1993 plane crash that decimated their national team, the emotional Zambian team will march on to face Portugal. Mulenga scores 2 as Zambia knocks off Nigeria, 3-2 in overtime. BA ZAMBIA NA LELO BAWINA, CIPOLO POLO!

Austria vs Gambia
This is a tough one. Gambia suffered a tough loss to a heavily-favored Mexico, but beat Portugal handily. Austria got a win against Canada … who fuckin’ cares … but actually forced Chile to a draw. The Austrian defense will prove just a bit too slow, and Gambia beats Austria 2-1.

The winner will face the winner of …

United States vs. Uruguay
The US team has scored more goals than any other team in the tournament. On his way to 3 goals, Freddy Adu produced consistent scoring chances, while teammates Danny Szetela and Josmer Altidore capitalized with 3 goals each. Uruguay finished their round with a 2-0 loss to Zambia. The US keeps the momentum, and defeats Uruguay, 3-0.

Put a stamp on it folks. It’s as good as done.

Stay tuned, sports fans.

-- The Lone Reader

Editor's Note: The House thanks the Lone Reader for investing 400 times the amount of energy on soccer our staff of three would've if held at gunpoint. We just might have to have this guy back. Or not.


blairjjohnson said...

Might I add: a)this cat writes like a natural HoGer, b)3-0 US? that's freakin' ballsier than the jackass I know that runs, c) does Team USA have any actual American-born players on it?, and d) I thought it was Czech Republic and Slovakia in terms of country names these days. Did I miss something?

Unknown said...

Czech Republic indeed.

I missed three of fuckin' four. God I love this game.