Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The World Cup of Senseless Violence

Soccer's World Cup begins on June 11, creating a tremendous opportunity for the nations of Earth to get together in South Africa and celebrate peace and brotherhood through a shared love of "the beautiful game." I will now dissect the teams, looking at who has contributed the most to Red Cross efforts in Darfur.
On second thought, instead of that boring hippie crap let's pick the winners of the eight groups through the most violent, yet educational means available, a comparison of the military histories of the countries involved. Instead of just one group of death, we can have eight - let the senseless bloody carnage commence!

Group A: South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay, France
1. South Africa: The South Africans have surprised a couple of times, with victories in battles during the late 19th century over the British Empire courtesy of their Zulus and later on the Boers taking place on their home turf. Of course, both groups were later stomped out like the ashes of a near-dead fire by the British juggernaut. However, these whites (Boers) and blacks (Zulus) have united into a force the country has never heretofore known. They also own the home advantage and no home team has ever failed to make the second round - expect Bafana Bafana to go on to round two.
2. Mexico: Although well known for their trouncing at the hands of the Americans in the 1840s, the Mexicans have been known to surprise - with a successful revenge incursion into the United States led by their great striker Pancho Villa in the early twentieth century. A French force was also expelled from Mexico during the 1860s. The Mexicans also spent a lot of time during the last century practicing by killing each other - expect them to be prepared and move to the final 16.
3. Uruguay: I was not aware of this but apparently Uruguay is a small country stuck between the butt cheeks of Brazil and Argentina in South America. Hopefully planes fly there since they will finish on the bottom of their group and be sent packing with alacrity.
4. France: The French have struggled in the last one hundred years, with defeats by the Germans, the Germans again, Vietnam, Algeria, and god knows who else. Their glory days under the management of the great field general, Napoleon, referred to by soccer military historians as "The Special One", are far behind them. Expect the French to beat Uruguay, lose again to Mexico, and fall in a close contest to the home side, ending their 2010 campaign with the traditional spectacular failure.

Group B: Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea, Greece
1. Argentina: The Argentian side is known mostly for the Falklands War of 1982. A few years earlier, the national soccer team had irked mighty England by cheating - using a method known as the "hand of God" to score a goal, defeating the English. The wrath of the scorned Brits was quick, they invaded the Falklands, a group of islands off the coast of Argentina. Due to a poor defensive backfield the majority of the Argentine soldiers were quickly massacred. Expect poor defense to be the Achilles heel of this Argentina squad as well. They fail to advance.
2. Nigeria: On the down side, the Nigerians have also been conquered by the British. On the plus side, like the Mexican team, the country boasts several different tribal groups as well as large Christian and Muslim populations, which have spent a lot of time killing each other in recent years. Unfortunately, I think they lack the experience necessary to advance out of this tough group.
3. South Korea: With the help of their allies the Americans, the South Koreans successfully repelled forces from North Korea, China, and the Soviet Union during the 1950s. Just watch reruns of MASH if you'd like to check out the highlights. With nearly 40 United States military installations in their country, expect the powerful friends of South Korea to help launch them into the next round.
4. Greece: Clearly the top of Group B, Greece can boast Alexander the Great amongst their former stars and home victories over the Persians at Marathon and Salamis (not to be confused with the deli meat), not to mention their great tie while playing a man down in the battle of Thermopylae, where they showed their amazing ability on the defensive side of the ball. Despite falling on hard times in recent years with losses in several wars against Turkey, expect the Greeks to win the group behind the strength of their defense, which is known to bore opposing teams and fans into tears of submission.

Group C: England, USA, Algeria, Slovenia
1. England: A dominate world power from the 18th century up until World War II, England has perhaps the most experience in the field, with many great victories, mainly over the French. With a record of 0-1-1 against the United States and a clear record of being their boy-toy over the last fifty years, I find a second place finish in the group likely.
2. USA: The most unstoppable military force on Earth has claimed victory in two World Wars, a tie in Korea, a disputed loss in Vietnam, and wins over Grenada, Panama, , Yugoslavia, and Iraq (twice) in the last century alone. With an annual military budget just under one and a half trillion dollars, the United States is without equal in the field. The US side will steamroll the competition in the early rounds.
3. Algeria: The Algerians own a hard fought home victory over the French during their war of independence in the 1950s and 1960s and can also brag that they are the home of Zinedine Zidane, the dangerous Italian head-butter from the 2006 World Cup Final. Their guerillas invented many of the terrorist tactics still used by their Islamic brethren today. Unfortunately though, their victory is over the French after all and does not count for much in such a loaded section. The Algerians will finish a tough third.
4. Slovenia: Using vodka and hefty bribes, the Slovenians managed to win a playoff against Russia to make the World Cup. Interestingly enough, Slovenia is a former part of Yugoslavia, which broke up in the 1990s. The Slovenian soccer team will also break up after being clubbed to death like a baby seal by their three superior opponents.
Note: The above imagery nearly made me cry. Why do babies have to be so cute?

Group D: Germany, Australia, Serbia, Ghana
1. Germany: Obviously the class of the group, these Nazi bastards should advance easily based on their past victories over France, France, France, and France. Belgium, Denmark, Rumania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Namibia, and Tanzania can also be listed amongst their conquests. Only the USA and England (and Russia who failed to qualify) have given them trouble in the past. First place all the way for the Krauts despite the loss of midfielder Michael Ballack to injury. Deutchland Uber Alles!
2. Australia: Although not a country with a great military tradition Australia has shown great tenacity when given a chance to show their might. Just watch the film "Gallipoli" and you will see wave after wave of Aussie charge into machine gun nests with absolutely no hope of success. The saddest part of the movie is when Mel Gibson fails to die at the end. I feel the never say die yet die repeatedly attitude of the Australians will suit them well in this group, I expect them to surprise and advance in second position.
3. Serbia: The Chicago Cubs of war (I know you thought it would be the French) the Serbs are still mad about losing the battle of Kosovo to the Turks in 1448. That losing tradition has continued in the recent past while the country went under the alias Yugoslavia. Civil War losses to the Bosnians and Croats were followed by crushing bombardments by the USA and the defection of Montenegro, Macedonia, and even Kosovo itself. No one loves Serbia and neither does this prognosticator - say goodbye to the fourth place Serbs.
4. Ghana: The West African country of Ghana was ruled mainly by the Ashanti dynasty until the colonial period when they were steamrolled by the British bulldozer, much like the rest of the world. Considered a great civilization and a military power in its region during the medieval period, Ghana lacks the firepower without the absent Michael Essien to contend with the modern weaponry of this group, although even they can kick the sorry Serbians' asses. Third place and a trip home for these challengers.

Group E: Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Cameroon

1. Netherlands: The Netherlands or Holland (if you're into the whole brevity thing) have a long streak of success starting in the the 16th and 17th centuries with their successful rebellion against the Spanish, after merely eighty years of warfare. Clearly sticktoitiveness is not lacking in the Dutch spirit. Wins over Sweden and Indonesia and an impressive draw against England followed over the next fifty years, establishing a solid reputation. Van Gogh also cut off his own ear to impress his girlfriend which is totally bad ass. Too bad she turned out to be a dike. I predict the Dutch to advance second in the group and that you will vomit on an unfortunate pet of your choice when the complete puntacularity of the dike joke hits you.
2. Denmark: If you turned the map of Europe upside down, Denmark would be Germany's penis after it was put into a paper shredder. Their military has also been hacked up a bit over the past century with the Danes competing in eighteen different wars that historians have bothered to name as well as myriad rapes and pillages during the Viking era. Placed in the right group Denmark would have had a great chance, but the Dutch and the Japanese should prove to be too much. In addition, the refs have been cracking down on the hacking of players with axes this year and the Danes will likely struggle with red cards - 3rd place.
3. Japan: Renowned for their samurais, ninjas, and Kurosawa movies, Japan holds a high place in the history of beating the shit out of people. With two big wins over China, one thanks to the divine wind or kamikaze and the other due to the fact that the Chinese had all cracked out around the opium bowl. Another win against the vaunted Russians was followed up by a hard fought loss to the USA. Known for their advanced strategy and sneak attacks (surprisingly they are rarely caught offside), this offensive-minded Japanese side should ambush the opposition and finish top of the group.
4. Cameroon: Cameroon doesn't have much of a military history, but they do have Lake Nyos, which leaks a lethal gas into the atmosphere when it is feeling chippy. If the Cameroonians can trick any of their opponents into nearing Nyos they may have a chance. Otherwise they are pretty much fucked.

Group F: Italy, New Zealand, Slovakia, Paraguay
1. Italy: Far and away the class of a very weak group, the Italians, who once went by the name the Roman Fucking Empire split a lot of ass cheeks in twain with their boots in the old days. Fighting successfully against the Carthaginians, Gauls, Germans, Persians, Dacians, and many others, the Romans established an empire that has never been rivaled in the history of mankind. Sadly, the last 1500 years since the fall of the Romans has included quite a few defeats, but what the hell - everyone has a bad millennium. Besides, the Sicilians alone could defeat these cream puffs. Three easy wins and a pass to the round of 16 for the Italians.
2. New Zealand: I gave the New Zealanders short shrift earlier when discussing the Australians at the battle of Gallipoli. Those battalions were known as ANZAC and included quite a few Kiwis as well. These islands also boast a tough indigenous group of warriors called the Maori that have cannibalized the flesh of their human enemies on occasion. Expect opposing teams to be intimidated by the sight of the Kiwi defense gnawing on the skull of their star striker. Author's Note: Maoris are offended by cannibal humor finding it in poor taste according to spokesman Tamati Kruger - or did he said cannibalism tastes poor? I may have misquoted. Anyway New Zealand should eat their way through to the next round with a second place finish in the group.
3. Slovakia: Slovakia used to be part of Czechoslovakia, but they rid themselves of those worthless asshats in a desperate attempt to qualify, which they somehow managed to do. Sadly, without the Czech part their country is now often confused with the Greek dish souvlaki. Expect the Maoris and Italians to make souvlaki out of their fresh corpses. The Italians will do the cooking, of course. Mama Mia! 3rd Place.
4. Paraguay: A small country wedged between giants Brazil and Argentina in South America, Paraguay is a great example of the importance of coaching. Led by José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia from 1811-1840, the young nation managed to stay out of the affairs of their neighbors and enjoyed an era of peace and prosperity. When Francia retired due to death in 1840, Carlos Antonio Lopez (who apparently was kind of a fat ass) and later his son Francisco took the reigns and succeeded in getting the Paraguayan military some much needed practice. Of course, they lost all of these wars, most notably the famed "War of the Triple Alliance" ( a menage a trois never works out in the end), where Brazil and Argentina managed for the first time to agree on something, mainly that they hated the Paraguayans.
The retirement of the indefatigable Chilavert, who played all 11 positions for Paraguay from 1990-2006 will also hurt the squad. Recently, the country's military has tried to get their game in shape for the World Cup by staging a coup d'etat against the civilian government. Unfortunately the coup failed miserably and so will the Paraguayan soccer team - 4th place.

Group G: Brazil, North Korea, Cote d'Ivorie, Portugal

1. Brazil: Although not known particularly for their martial prowess (with the exception of the aforementioned thrashing of Paraguay), Brazil does have an impressive array of footballing weaponry, mainly the deadly feet of their starting eleven, which I would take over a saturating artillery barrage any day. Great players of yore like Pele, Socrates, Gattuso, and Ronaldo have left their mark on a grand tradition inherited by current superstars Kaka, Poopoo, and Doodoo. Coached by the defensive mastermind Dunga, expect Brazil to explode in a diarrhetic orgy all over the faces of their hapless opponents and achieve first place amongst the G crowd.
2. North Korea: As the owner of a tie with the United States in their 1950s conflict (with assists from Russia and China)and the only country in Group G with nuclear capability you would expect the Koreans to waltz through to the second round. As I have mentioned before, however, leadership is crucial and North Korea is burdened with the absolutely batshit crazy Kim Jong-Il at the helm. If anyone can fuck it up its that guy. Follow the link for more funny thanks to the genius of Trey Parker and Matt Stone. 3rd place.
3. Cote d'Ivorie: As you can tell Cote d'Ivorie was conquered by the French. This alone does not bode well for their chances. The country at least had the dignity to go by the name the Ivory Coast for awhile, but as you see even their nation's name was eventually degraded by the frogs. With the announcement that their best player, Didier Drogba, had broken his arm all hopes of a second round birth faded away. 4th place.
4. Portugal: During the 15th century the Spanish and the Portuguese actually had the gall to divide the world into two halves. According to the Treaty of Tordesillas, half of the acreage belonged to Portugal and the other real estate went to Spain. What's more, the two kingdoms had the military prowess to back up this outrageous development scheme, which would have made even Donald Trump blush red with envy. Portugal has lost most of their colonies from that era, including Brazil, who shook free from the boot of foreign domination in 1825. During this World Cup, expect the golden boots of Christiano Ronaldo to bring back that time of glory - 2nd place and a shot in the final 16 is assured.

Group H: Spain, Switzerland, Honduras, Chile
1. Spain: The yin to Portugal's yang (does that mean they are the top or the bottom?) Spain also laid claim to half the world at one time. Like Portugal they have had a bad run of things lately with losses to France, England, seventy five different colonies, and a complete and total ass-kicking at the hands of the USA in 1898 when according to legend Teddy Roosevelt took turns beating up every member of the Spanish member individually, kind of the like the bloody fight scene in "Kill Bill Part 1". Even worse, they lost to the US soccer team in a meaningful match last year - no respectable team does that. Despite all these things, I believe they can manage a 2nd place in a weak group.
2. Switzerland: The Swiss misses have made a habit of hiding behind their mountain walls and avoiding conflict over the centuries. Neutrality has always been the nation's declared policy in the past. Well, guess what? There will be nowhere for the Swiss to run away to in South Africa - 4th place.
3. Honduras: No team of all the 32 is more qualified to win the World Cup than Honduras. They actually participated in a war that was started because of a soccer game. The "Football War" of 1969 with El Salvador resulted in thousands of casualties and no clear winner: except for the game of soccer. 1st place for this amazingly passionate and perhaps insane footballing nation.
4. Chile: One would think that Chile, who gained their independence from Spain, would therefore be the stronger team in the group. Not so fast my friends, as that raging douchebag Lee Corso would say. At the time of the Chilean revolt the French were actually at the helm of the Spanish government thanks to a succession crisis that had brought one of the Bonapartes to the throne. The efforts of field general Bernardo O'Higgins (his real name - frankly I don't think I could have made up a better one) helped to break the Chileans free from the French yoke after a ten year struggle that ended in 1820. As you know, we can't give much credit to a country for beating up on the French, so alas 3rd place belongs to Chile.

For some serious info on the World Cup let my good friend Robert drop some mad knowledge on you at


Anonymous said...

Awesome bro, I especially like the part about watching MASH to brush up on your Korean War history. Of course repeated jabs at the French "military" are always fun as well. I saw one thing thing that I thought I would bring to your attention-I think the World Cup actually starts June 11 and not June 10 if I am not mistaken. I seem to recall that date from the millions of ESPN commercials. Anyway, looking forward to the next installment.


R. Mera Velásquez said...

Always learning a little history with you. I wasn't ever really sure about the "football war," who had fought it and all that. Now I know.

If only real life worked like your picks... man, that would be a great world cup!

Hopefully we get to see the US - England game together.

Anonymous said...

I love the description on Cameroon, that was hilarious. You had some great links in there too, I enjoyed revisiting Team America and the classic pic of Lee Corso being brought down a peg on live TV. The link on the U.S. military expenditures was very interesting as well. I of course remember some of that from Chalmers Johnson, but this was more recent figures and it is mind blowing to see the discrepancies between our military spending and the rest of the world.