I don’t know anything about soccer, but I freakin’ love the World Cup. The games are exciting, with thrilling shifts in momentum (see: USA-Portugal), and the fans at the stadiums and the players on the fields both act completely insane at all times. I’ve been wanting to write something about it, and now that we’re through this strange, tiebreaker-laden part of the contest known as the Group Stage, we’ve reached something that my uncultured American brain can understand: a sixteen-team single-elimination tournament! I have no choice but to look at this bracket and make some picks, right? Except, because, again, I know nothing about this sport (wait, you can’t use your hands?) I’ll have to make my picks for what is apparently known as the Knockout Round using what I know about the nations involved. Unfortunately, I don’t know much about the nations involved, either. So this won’t be edifying for anyone. I hope it’s at least amusing for someone other than me. Whatever. Onward!
ROUND OF 16
Brazil vs. Chile
¿El Rio Amazonas contra el Desierto Atacama? Take me to the river, baby.
Colombia vs. Uruguay
Ah, the battle of the sniffers vs. biters. Since no Colombian has been sent home for illegal substances, and Uruguay’s best player got booted from the tournament for reacquainting himself with the delicious, delicious flavor of manflesh, it’s Colombia 2-0
France vs. Nigeria
I was going to make all sorts of references to uprisings and colonial overlords and such, but then I went and looked it up and Nigeria was a British colony. Thanks a lot, Wikipedia. So let’s go a different route: film! French New Wave vs. Nollywood! Except shit, I’ve never actually seen a Nollywood movie. To be honest, I didn’t know Nollywood was a thing until two weeks ago. Jesus, a Godard film makes more sense than this entry. I give up. France 2-1
Germany vs. Algeria
Unlike a lot of my fellow Americans, I’m going to resist the urge to make a Nazi joke. One thing I will say is that the Germans do efficiency better than anybody else, and that extends to their soccer team: Those players work together like the parts of a Porsche engine. They’ve been the most impressive team I’ve watched so far. Algeria? Fuck if I know. Germany 3-0
Netherlands vs. Mexico
I’ve been stoned basically every moment of my life I’ve spent in Holland. I’ve been drunk basically every moment of my life I’ve been in Mexico. Now, normally I side with the drinkers, but in a contest that involves running around and attempting to be coordinated, I actually think I’ll go with the stoners. Netherlands 2-1
Costa Rica vs. Greece
I’ve never been to Greece, so I’ll have to go to a secondary source to form an opinion. What do you say, Detective Bunk Moreland?
On the other hand, who doesn’t love Costa Rica? ¡Pura vida! Costa Rica 1-0
Argentina vs. Switzerland
Who harbored the most Nazi fugitives after WWII? Argentina 3-2 (Not directed at Germany! Totally a clean Nazi joke!)
Belgium vs. USA
You know what, fuck it. I’ll say it: Belgium, your beer is overrated. The best beers in the world are American microbrews, baby. USA 2-2 (advance on penalty kicks) USA! USA!
Brazil vs. Colombia
These are two of the five best countries in the world when it comes to producing ridiculously hot women. I’d post pictures, but I fear the search would melt my laptop. But if you went out with one of these absurdly beautiful women, what drink would you rather buy her—a caipirinha or a cup of coffee? That’s what I thought. Brazil 2-1
France vs. Germany
We’ve all seen this movie before.
Netherlands vs. Costa Rica
I already used my weed joke. Shit. Let’s just go with the team that has the guy who is apparently the Dutch version of Superman.
Argentina vs. USA
I knew an American guy who was married to an Argentinian chick. You can probably guess how that ended. Latin bitches be crazy, yo. Argentina 4-1
Brazil vs. Germany
One of the world’s most fun-loving, beautiful, troubled countries vs. the grim, ruthless, authoritarian European power. My heart says Brazil, a million times. My head says Germany. A trend that I’ve noticed in my life is that I know I really should make decisions with my head, but no matter how many bad choices it leads me to make, I always go with my heart. Brazil 2-1
Netherlands vs. Argentina
God, I don’t know. Both these teams are freaking awesome. Both these countries seem awesome. This game would be so awesome. Let’s decide based on a totally arbitrary metric. Who has the better jersey? De Oranje?
Or La Albiceleste?
Prettiest unis in sports right there. Argentina 2-2 (advance on penalty kicks)
Brazil vs. Argentina
I mean, really, this is the final every impartial fan wants to see, right? The South American blood rivals playing in front of 100,000-plus murderous maniacs with the whole world watching? I knew this was my pick before I even started writing this column. And the home team has to win, setting off perhaps the greatest party in the history of the world, right? Well, as much as I’m a man who doesn’t mind running up the word count, sometimes all you need is a picture.
*If anyone reading this is an Argentina fan, I sincerely apologize for cursing your team with the From a Brooklyn Basement jinx.
**I’ll be back next week to write about one of the sports I actually know about.
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