Wednesday, June 07, 2006

spinachdip's guide to the 2006 World Cup: Matchday 1 - Sausage Fest!!

For the next month, yours truly will guide you through the trecherous terrain of world cup viewing, highlighting what to watch out for, and warning you when to avert your eyes. If you have any questions about the World Cup, i.e. "Why do all those eye-talians look like chicks?" or "Exactly how does one get nutmegged and is it a painful procedure?", I will be more than happy to answer them in a more-or-less helpful manner.

So here's how things work - we have 32 teams in 8 groups of 4. The 4 teams play each other for the next 2 weeks, and the top 2 advance, and it's single elimination from that point on. During the group stage, we're going to have 2 to 4 games a day. Since the tournament's held in Germany and they use this crazy time zone, the games are going to be on TV during the day, 9 am or noon to 5 pm ET each day - but seriously, if the game is good enough, it's well worth skipping work and getting fired.

Weltmeisterschaft, as the sauerkraut eating practioners of schadenfreude call this little tournament, gets started this Friday at noon. So like Clint Dempsey says, "so like young jeezy say 'lets get it'."

Matchday 1: Friday June 9
Let's start with the opener, the host nation versus the home of the airborne urine bags and Jurassic Park.

Germany vs Costa Rica (12:00 pm ET - ESPN2/Univision)

Key player: Germany's unquestioned leader is Michael Ballack (#13), who kinda reminds me of Matt Damon from School Ties (whatever happened to that young actor?), but Michael Ballack is out for this match so watch out for Lukas Podolski (#20). He was born in Poland (will the Germans ever stop stealing from the Poles, ever?) but he's all teutonic, tall and scores a lot. He appears in this German Axe body spray commercial, presumably because he's teutonic, tall and scores a lot

Reasons to watch this game: It's the opener so there's going to be a lot of pomp and circumstance and shit. Plus, Germany is a deeply flawed team that could be exposed by a dangerous attacking team like the Ticos - it's always fun to watch European teams lose.

Reasons not to watch this game: Germans are traditionally boring and there's very little star power besides Michael Ballack. Plus, chances are, Costa Rica will outplay Germany but end up losing on dubious officiating or some stupid error. Also, you're probably supposed to be at work. Or on your way to a wedding.

Verdict: If you can take off a couple of hours for lunch, go down to your local and down a pint or two. If not, no big deal. There are more (entertaining) games in the coming weeks.

Poland vs Ecuador (3:00 pm ET - ESPN2/Univision)

Honestly? I don't really care about this game. I'm going to be on the beach. Poland should win and Ecuador is quite possibly the least entertaining South American team.

Verdict: If you had a pint too many and you're too drunk to get back to work, you might as well finish your workday at the bar. Otherwise, take it easy. Go take a nap. You're getting up early Saturday.

Matchday 2 preview to follow, obviously.

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