TVA’s Guide to the World Cup for Those Who Hate ‘Soccer’, Part II: The First Matches of the Groups
Well, just like you couldn’t be arsed to watch the games, I couldn’t be arsed to write about them in a timely fashion. Since you’ve read my first article giving you tips on how to survive the World Cup and not sound like a boob, here’s a summary of the first round of games from the groups. If you’re called on it, and you need to have a snap opinion on the Iran – Nigeria game (Hint: It was utter crap), I’ve given you all the high points so that you can all sound like the Sparta Prague-Supporting False-9-Loving Football Hipster that fans of the World Cup wish that they could be. Do not worry about what that last sentence meant. Read on.
Brazil 3-1 Croatia
Still stinging from the wreckage that was a JLo/Pitbull 1-2 punch that KOed the opening ceremonies, Brazil would start the month-long Soccer Showcase with a match against Croatia. The managers have different styles. Phil Scolari for Brazil looks like Gene Hackman desperately trying to track down a jury. Croatia are managed by a guy that looks like a modern-day Bond villain that would capsize the world’s economy and then burn down the White House with frickin’ lasers. Brazil, always the generous hosts, scored all the goals in this game for the guests. Croatia, put away yer shootin’ boots.
What to Say to Sound Smart: “Well. Brazil looked shaky.”
Rating: 7 Anti-Government Riots out of 10
Mexico 1 – 0 Cameroon
Dos cervesas, por favour. You’ll need them. Scoreless at the half. Yeah, there was plenty of chances, but poor finishing made this fairly unsavoury. Cameroon for all their argued bonus money should have been paid in “Connecting-Two-Passes-Together” school coupons. Thankfully, Mexico shone to end the misery.
What to Say to Sound Smart: “What happened to Eto’o? ”
Rating: 6 Coronas out of 10
Spain 1 – 5 Netherlands
Hey, if you predicted this scoreline, complete with the teams that scored them, you’re a very rich person. And a liar. Because even the Dutch wanted to get this match out of the way. This was a rematch from the last World Cup that saw Spain hold aloft the World Cup trophy that looks really a lot like a big gold knob. Things looked shaky for the Dutch as a penalty was given to Diego Costa who still, at the time of writing, has yet to be touched by a Dutch player. Nonetheless, Holland, feeling a bit slighted, fired five unanswered goals past Spain. This was helped by Holland’s defensive-yet-attacking formation of 5-2-3. Also, Spain were shit.
What to Say to Sound Smart: “More like ‘Tiki-Ta-ta!”
Rating: 9 Tear-Soaked Paellas out of 10
Chile 3 – 1 Australia
Chile came into this match-up wanting to prove themselves on the global stage and represent well. Australia were just happy to be here, and Australia fans were just pleased to be in a country where they didn’t have to tend bar. Chile, managed by Andre Agassi, flung themselves at Australia and beat them like a rented wallabee. Too much for the Socceroos, the most stereotypical and stupid nicknames since Germany adopted “The Let’s-Forget-About-That-One-Thing’s”.
What to Say to Sound Smart: “Why do Australia play like criminals? Oh, wait…”
Rating: 7 Sheilaroos out of 10
Colombia 3 – 0 Greece
Don’t make the mistake of saying that Colombia’s goal tally came because they were on jazz salt. Sure, they were, but Greece’s football players are about as good as their national finance department. You know the team is bad when the announcer resorts to telling you about the player’s hobbies during play (“Karagounis enjoys Transformers action figures and dresses up as ‘Starscream’ at the Athens ComiCon every year”). Colombia puts three over the white line.
What to Say to Sound Smart: “Greece don’t score.”
Rating: 6 Big Fat Greek Weddings out of 10
Uruguay 1 – 3 Costa Rica
Really? You think Costa Rica deserved that win because they have a great squad teaming with brilliance? Name three Costa Ricans. Not on the team. Any three Costa Ricans. This match was punctuated by a tackle that was probably the red card of the tournament. Anything beating this one in the tournament is going to have a stadium named after the victim.
What to Say to Sound Smart: “Sure Uruguay won the first World Cup, but they hosted it. Which is like when you let the kid that invited you to his birthday party win at dodge ball.”
Rating: 7 Clay-Coloured Thrushes out of 10
England 1-2 Italy
Whenever England play, it’s a really big game. Why? Because England say so. How dare you not even consider Italy’s feelings who, in this match, defied their traditional play and stayed on their feet for the full 90 minutes. There was no collapsing into a human laundry pile when asked for the time. Quick rallies back-and-forth filled the 90 minutes with adequacy, and delivered England something even worse than the loss; hope.
What to Say to Sound Smart: “I’ve always like Derrick Sturridge.”
Rating: 8 Steak-and-Kidney pies out of 10
Côte d’Ivoire 2-1 Japan
For hack comics from the 80s looking for new vehicles for their “black guys do this” and “Asians do that”, behold! Here’s your Abbey Road Studios. Ivory Coast were large, imposing and armed with six-packs that made the team shirts look like Ben Affleck’s Batman suit. As such they were able to eventually dominate the footy-sans. Nice goal, Japan. Next time bring a kaiju.
What to Say to Sound Smart: “Drogba changed the game. I can’t believe I said that either.”
Rating: 7 Mothras out of 10
Switzerland 2-1 Ecuador
Wait, isn’t anything involving the Swiss really, really dull? Sure it is. The team’s national colour is beige. Thank God Ecuador was there. Both teams chased this one with press-pack-on-Rob-Ford tenacity. In the end, Germany-Lite prevailed.
What to Say to Sound Smart: “Both of the Swiss goals came from substitutions. Should have started them. Also should have scored way more.”
Rating: 8 Lindts out of 10
France 3-0 Honduras
This game was everything the internet is about. Someone trying to put together a piece of work that’s beautiful and meaningful, and then some troll swoops in and shits all over it in a cloud of “You suck lol”. Honduras trolled France to no avail. France came out the victor despite the Honduras playbook looking like someone took YouTube comments and ground them up into a meatloaf.
What to Say to Sound Smart: “Abject thuggary!”
Rating: 7 You-Suk’s out of 10
Argentina 2-1 Bosnia and Herzegovina
This was the game. The time. The place. The man. Messi was coming to town in a return so big that if hype were syllables, it would be “Bosnia and Herzegovina”. B&H held their own and were it not for a deflecting own-goal shot, a draw would have had the world questioning life, the economy and perhaps focussing way more attention on the Brazilian demonstrations. And who needs that? Thank you Messi, our lord and saviour.
What to Say to Sound Smart: “Messi’s a bit blunt, eh?”
Rating: 7 copies of “Return of the King” out of 10
Germany 4-0 Portugal
Boy, did this match have anticipation. Could Germany actually do something this tournament? How many camera angles would be required to capture every possible reaction from Ronaldo? Super-Power v Super Model. One lame-yet-theatrical headbutt and Portugal found themselves with a Pepe-shaped hole on the field. Hopefully, after he left the field, Pepe found some England fans to show him “the proper way to do it.”
What to Say to Sound Smart: “Pepe? Le Pew!”
Rating: 8 Steins of Budweiser out of 10
Iran 0-0 Nigeria
It finally happened. After the drudgery of goal after goal being scored, despite all of the excitement that was garnered, it happened. The SuperBowl of “Why You Hate Soccer”. Two crap teams battling it out for a crap 90 minutes without even using their crappy arms. Congratulations. You have finally got what you were looking for. Grab this nil-nil result, hoist it above your heads, and go sit smugly with a grin that can only be described as “shit-eating” while watching the Blue Jays get swept by Minnesota.
What to Say to Sound Smart: “I didn’t watch this one.”
Rating: 4 ZZZZ out of 10
Ghana 1 – 2 USA
Let’s just cut to the chase and call this game “Rudy”. Forget for a second that more people in the US rank “Cheerleader Competitions” above soccer interest, but if this game were any more “plucky young American does good”, Sylvester Stallone would have been found just outside the 18 yard box punching eight shades of shit out of a side of beef. As great as Brooks’ goal was, since critics say he should have never been in the squad let alone on the field, there’s still one problem. Why is there a white guy with dreadlocks?
What to Say to Sound Smart: “Now THAT’s how you shut up your critics!”
Rating: 8 “Miracle” Screenings out of 10
Belgium 2 – 1 Algeria
Football Hipsters, unite! This is your game! Belgium, the new not-quite-cool-enough-to-be-dismissed team! Algeria, the highest ranked African team in the tournament, which is like being the best at Kindergarten! This game had everything you’d want. A referee that not only had to remove someone’s lunch bag from the field, but also applied the disappearing spray thickly like he was a twelve-year old boy using dad’s shaving cream for the first time. Algeria drew first blood against their Petrulli-smelling opponents. Belgium then equalized, Algeria mesmerized by Belgium’s ironic afros. Throwing their single-gear bicycle into the same gear, Belgium maniacally twirled their waxed moustaches, put down their PBR and netted the winner 10 minutes later.
What to Say to Sound Smart: “Why didn’t Fellaini play like that for Moyes?”
Rating: 8 banjos out of 10
Russia 1-1 South Korea
There are wonderful ways to close a beautiful story. Plot twist. Heroic ascent. Finding out the little kid has been chatting up ghosts the entire time (spoiler alert). This final match was not one of them. The Russian Bear was barely there (Ehh? Ehh?). Korea? Don’t see ya. One goal apiece six minutes apart in the second half, and this one’s done before you can see Tony Soprano’s face and…blackout!
What to Say to Sound Smart: “South Korea were better under Hiddink!”
Rating: 5 vodka kimchis out of 10