Saturday, June 24, 2006

COM: Blogarithmic #129

If you haven't seen Argentina's second goal against Serbia & Montenegro in the first round here it is. Besides being a phenomenal piece of scoring, the play leading up to it is a clinic from one of the world's best teams. Argentina is so much more fun to watch without crybaby Diego Maradona. And Messi looks to be a legitimate star in the making.

My picks for the rest of the tournament:

SECOND ROUND
Germany over Sweden (would like the Swedes to move on, but Germany is improving by the minute)

Argentina over Mexico (Messi will make a difference)

Italy over Australia (Australia would be a likely Cinderella, and i'd like to see them move up a step, but Italy will win based on decades of knowledge, and a habit of making the big games count)

Switzerland over Ukraine (the weak game of the second round, but equally weak, and may be a fine game)

England over Ecuador (another weak game considering the English non-performance of round one; also the game i am least comfortable with my choice -- Ecuador is hungry)

Netherlands over Portugal (well, i'm an Oranje fan since the early 1970s -- they were my models as a player and as a coach, and i will always be a homer for them; but i am steeled for the possibility that a talented Portugal, having beat them three times in the last three years, will have a solid shot; still it would be nice to see the long-denied Dutch make the finals for another shot)

Brazil over Ghana (this is a replay of my comments about Italy-Australia; but i wouldn't bet against the hunger of Ghana v. the listlessness of a so-far underperforming Brazil)

Spain over France (before the opning round i would have picked France, an old favorite; but Spain seems to have drawn all the right numbers so far)

QUARTERFINALS
Germany over Argentina (Germany is performing better in tight matches; update: Argentina was outperformed in both of its draws)

Italy over Switzerland (as before)

Netherlands over England (more than wishful thinking now; the Dutch are in their element)

Spain over Brazil (continued improvement matches Germany)

SEMIFINALS
Germany over Italy

Netherlands over Spain

FINAL
Netherlands
over Germany (hoping the home crowd isn't the difference)

SI predicts an all-South America final (Brazil over Argentina; funny, i'm predicting an all-Europe final)


Cool bugs about last night, pictures coming soon. Storms threatening as i write, and a dozen+ hummers swarming the feeders.

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