Monday, May 31, 2010

FIFA World Cup 2010 predictions REVISED

So I continue to gather information (internet, magazines, podcasts) and I've made some changes to my predictions. Nothing major, just some results. Still produced the same round of 16 but a lot of results depend on whether key games end in draws or wins.

Here are my group standings and thoughts:

Group A

1 France 7

2 Uruguay 5

3 Mexico 2

4 South Africa 1

I believe Mexico must win their first game to make it out of the group. Otherwise, they will not score enough goals to progress.

Why am I picking France? I don’t know. Terrible coach, key injuries, lack of scoring. Hints of 2002 (not progressing out of the group stage) are definitely being picked up.

Uruguay will progress, while South Africa will get a host nation bump but won’t progress.

Group B

1 Argentina 9

2 Greece 4

3 South Korea 4

4 Nigeria 0

Who knows what impact Maradona will have? Argentina will be a quarterfinalist or not make it out of the group. With the firepower they have, surely they will score goals. At the other end . . . . ?

As for the rest of the group, if there is a winner in S.Korea/Greece, that team will progress. I’m not getting any positive vibes re: Nigeria. They have Lagerback as coach, but I’m not sure if that’s enough.

Group C

1 England 9

2 USA 4

3 Slovenia 2

4 Algeria 1

I originally picked a three way tie for second, with a lot of draws and having the US progressing on goals scored, but I have altered my predictions. US are going to put up a great fight against England but won’t win. I think they will draw Slovenia and beat Algeria. We’ll see.

Group D

1 Serbia 7

2 Germany 4

3 Ghana 3

4 Australia 1

I have argued that this is the group of death rather than the Brazil group. A very balanced group that could go any number of ways. Germany has been weakened by the loss of Ballack and Ghana has lost Essien, so those injuries could further complicate the group.

I’m on Serbia bandwagon. I thought they would have a strong showing and might win the group, and once Ballack was ruled out, I’m picking them to go through to the quarters (win the group and beat US in 2nd round).

I see Germany having enough will and talent to make the round of 16 but losing to England.

I really want Ghana to do well and make another strong showing, but I just don’t see it happening.

Australia is going to do poorly. They had a great run ended by a dodgy penalty four years ago, but I don’t see them any stronger and it sounds as if their coach is not making the difference.

Group E

1 Holland 7

2 Cameroon 5

3 Denmark 2

4 Japan 1

I see Holland making a strong showing and fall to Brazil in the quarters.

The rest of the group is balanced, but I’m guessing that Cameroon will somehow pull through to represent Africa.

Group F Group of Ugh.

1 Paraguay 7

2 Italy 5

3 Slovakia 4

4 New Zealand 0

If there is a winner of Paraguay/Italy, that team will win the group, and I also think that Slovakia might sneak in.

I’m very down on Italy. Too much of the old guard, not enough edge up front. I would like them to go out quietly but Lippi will find a way to make it to the second round.

New Zealand is in a race with North Korea as the worst team of the tournament.

Group G

1 Brazil 7

2 Portugal 5

3 Ivory Coast 4

4 North Korea 0

Brazil wins the group.

I’ve seen and heard so many conflicting reports on Portugal that I can only go by what I’ve seen. I watched several qualifiers and the playoff tie. They can’t score. They aren’t going to give up any goals but I have yet to see them dominate and lay the hammer down, even with Ronaldo, Nani, Simao, etc. I’m picking them to come second but if there is a winner between Portugal and Ivory Coast, that team will come second and face Spain.

Group H

1 Spain 7

2 Chile 5

3 Switzerland 4

4 Honduras 0

Spain should get through this group relatively easily. Switzerland will probably be a 1-0 tense opening game but after that they should be good. Honduras will be organized but I don’t see them scoring. The Chile game will be dependent on their first 2 results.

I’m going with Chile to advance, because they will go for it and I want them to be rewarded. Switzerland is too conservative and doesn’t have enough edge and Honduras just doesn’t have the talent and experience to progress. Having said all of that, if Chile doesn’t win their opening game, they have will have to for it against Spain, which will open them up and could cost them.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Joy Division

During the Totally Rad Show’s review of The Runaways, Dan mentioned that Control was one of the best music based movies he had seen, so I decided to check it out. In essence, the movie is about Ian Curtis and the rise of Joy Division based on Deborah Curtis’s biography “Touching from a Distance”. Sam Riley plays Curtis, sings all of the songs, and gives an amazing performance.

I was really digging the songs while watching the movie. When they performed Transmission, I was blown away. And then they did Isolation and I was like how did I miss this band? I was familiar with Love Will Tear Us Apart but didn’t know any other Joy Division songs.

Towards the end a song played that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but realized that it was Shadowplay, which I had associated with the Killers. Add to that Dead Souls, which I only knew from the Crow soundtrack done by Nine Inch Nails.

As I did a little investigation, (ie read Wikipedia), I realized that I should have been aware and loved this band 20 years ago. Joy Division spawned New Order, a staple of my formative years, which led to Electronic, a collaboration between Sumner and Johnny Marr. I also realized that Moby did a cover of New Dawn Fades on I Like to Score, which is on the Heat soundtrack.

I’ll be honest. I love the brooding, dark, depressed music of Joy Division. Just like I loved the Cure, Depeche Mode, and Sisters of Mercy. I can’t believe I found them 30 years after the fact. I have already checked all of the albums out of the library and saved some tracks on my computer. This will definitely go on the ipod for those dreary days and those ponderous walks I sometime take.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Champions League Final 2010

The Scarf v The Scowl. The Master v The Teacher. Punch v Counterpunch. Call it what you will, Inter v Bayern will NOT live long in the memory of fans. Another tactical masterpiece (read Inter defensive tactics) for the UEFA Coaching Nerds to savor and Milito took his goals well, but basically the game was a repeat of the second leg of Barca and Inter. Bayern had a ridiculous amount of possession but could do very little with it. Once the second goal went in with 20 minutes to go, you could find something else to do with your afternoon.

Mourinho got everything right as usual. Chivu got help with Robben, Sneijder pulled the strings in midfield and the defensive unit kept Bayern at an arms length. Bayern sent out a solid team but Schweinsteiger never got into the match and Olic was a shadow of the player who tortured United and Lyon.

Inter’s first goal was a smash and grab. Kick from the goalkeeper, flicked on by Milito, who received the return ball from Sneijder and froze the goalie. Demichelis was at fault and Maradona should be worried this summer. Inter were set up for the counter attack, which is exactly how they scored the second goal. What van Buyten was doing defensively, I have no idea. He had cover inside and yet stabbed when Milito faked to the inside, allowing the striker to walk in and slide the ball to the far post.

For me, the game turned at the beginning of the second half. Muller missed his chance and after that, Bayern never really threatened. Inter kept absorbing pressure, got the killer second goal and eased across the line. Bayern’s subs were worthless as I knew they would be. Gomes was/is terrible. Klose didn’t do much. Muller was wasted on the wing.

So that’s that. Inter wins the Treble in an amazing season which always seemed as if it was slipping away, yet they have all of the trophies. They avoided a catastrophic collapse in the Serie A, did just enough in the Coppa Italia and beat all comers in the Champions League, scoring vital goals when needed. Next season will be tough for them, even if Mourinho comes back. A long season followed by the exertions of the World Cup. I can see them winning the Scudetto for a sixth consecutive season (BLURGH!!) but not sure they can retain the trophy with the big ears.

On to the World Cup. 19 days to go.

Friday, May 21, 2010

New shirt

So I'm rocking out my new Juventus shirt from

Bull & Crown T-Shirt

From . . .

The charging bull is a symbol of the Comune di Torino.

The silhouette of a mural crown is a reminiscence to Augusta Tourinorum, the old city of the Roman era, which the present capital of Piedmont region is its cultural heiress.

Forza Juve.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Up in the Air

So I watched Up in the Air last week. There was a lot of hype about it, you know the one movie you must see this year, George Clooney gives a masterful performance, blah, blah, blah.

It was pretty good. I think I would have enjoyed it watching it uninterrupted but what are you going to do? It was 3 day rental from the library and I’m not home that much. Be that as it may, George Clooney’s character, Ryan Bingham, is my new hero. Trimming the fat from life, going from place to place with a swipe of his cards, working the system to maximum efficiency. Is he isolated? Yes. Is everything planned? Yes. Is there no room for error? Yes. Exactly how it should be.

Now would I want his job? No. That was terrible. But it did get me thinking, what is my dream? Not sure that I know that. And as for his side project, What would be in my backpack? Erin, Larry, my neuroses, my family, my house, my car. What would I save? Maybe a soccer jersey, definitely my ipod, probably a couple of CD’s and books.

Favorite quote:

Flight Attendant: Would you like the cancer?
Ryan Bingham: What?
Flight Attendant: Would you like the can, sir?

He goes after the woman in the end and is emotionally bitch slapped. That was kind of interesting. Usually I like that sort of thing but for whatever reason, I didn’t enjoy that part of the movie.

I will probably watch it again in its entirety. Not sure if it was the best movie of the year. Timely yes. Amazing, not so much.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Haircut Aftermath

According to the poll, the buzz cut barely won. There were some last minute run off votes, meaning there was a virtual 3 way tie between a buzz cut, Denis Leary and George Michael.

I went to the salon and presented my situation. Jenna advised me not to get the George Michael. Between the curliness of my hair and the maintenance involved, it was a no go. We finally settled on getting a very short version of Denis Leary. It accomplished a couple of things: cuts most of hair off (buzz cut) but also starts me on my way to letting my hair grow into the Leary pic. Since I don't get my hair cut very often, this allows me to ease into something.

So that's the hair situation for now. Thanks to everyone who voted and participated. I took a before and after pic along with my pony tail that was snipped as soon as I sat in the chair.

Thanks to Jenna @ Essex Salon in EL for helping me out.