Yes, the Elite Eight is upon us, and only mighty Belgium is keeping me interested whatsoever (ok, maybe Les Frogs a little). Coca Bros. pulling me back in to fuck it up at the death was just too much, man. RIP, Sarah Lynn:
France (-105) v. Uruguay (+350; draw +215) (10:00 EST, FS1)
This line has stayed remarkably stable, given the pessimistic things one keeps hearing re Edison Cavani’s likely availability for this match. Without him, I hardly see how the tourney’s last Nazi hiders keep up with the prolific French. Mbappe is the breakout star of this World Cup, without question. He overshadows the racist biter in the morning appetizer with a brace.
Wild Ass Guess: Les Frogs to Final Four, 3-1
Balls: I like both teams for different reasons.
Les Françaises jouent ces matches avec un esprit et énergie qui sont contagieux. On ne peut pas voir ces matches sans apprécier ces talents et comme tous les joueurs travaille l’un pour l’autre.
Por el otro lado, los Uruguayos también trabajan duro en grupo y juegan bien el fútbol. La defensa es la estrella de este equipo, no importa lo que dicen de Cavani, Suárez, y compañía. ¿Pero vieron ese golazo contra Portugal? Eso fue arte.
Predicción: Compré una camiseta de Suárez por $15 en DHGate. Uruguay 1 France 0.
Litre_Cola: I am looking forward to this day as these are by far the best two matchups. The French have been clicking and I have them going all the way to the final so I expect them to get through the Uruguayans. The back four who I had thought would be the weakest part of the French team has shown up and played formidably. They had be ready for a beating. The Uruguayans are tough, physical, and aggressive and will cut you down regularily.
Prediction: France 2 – Uruguay 1, Mbappe and Giroud get the French into the semis.
Don T: Hippooooo… Calling Uruguay “Nazi hiders” is libel. LIBEL!1!1 I say.
[Googles “Uruguay Nazis”]
France beat Argentina handily. Sure, ARG and URU are very alike. Both are in the River Plate region, have a similar flag, drink mate, share the same diet, and also use vos instead of tú and that peculiar second-person verbs that no other Spanish speakers use. The similarities end at the fútbol.
The Uruguayan Football Association (AUF, in Spanish) is a model of long-term planning and stability. Hell, I’d say AUF is the gold standard in the world, if you factor in population and GDP. By contrast, the Argentinian FA is broke (literally AND figuratively), and has a disdain for order only seen in the current White House. The countries’ coaches, Óscar Tabárez (URU) and Jorge Sampaoli (them), are as similar as Barack Obama and Alex Jones. Moreover, Argentina had a slow, unskilled, and aging team (especially on defense). ARG has tens of millions more inhabitants than Uruguay, and a domestic league of more prestige. Howeva, the new prospects to renew ARG’s team are unknown. Uruguay, well… During this World Cup, the recent crop from the U20 teams has been incorporated seamlessly into the adult Selección.
That’s Diego Laxalt (25, Genoa). He has nine caps for Uruguay and has drawn interest from Galatasaray, Lazio, Milan, Crystal Palace, and Benfica. He made goal.com’s “Best XI” of the Round of 16, at left back. In the area covered by Laxalt, Portugal did nothing. NOTHING!
This is midfielder Rodrigo Betancur (Juventus):
He has 11 caps with the adult team and just turned 21. He is currently pursued by Lazio and Barcelona, and goal.com called him “the Uruguayan Pogba”. Unlike Pogba, Betancur has not wondered aloud if this will be his last World Cup.
Dear Horatio (and bk?): this is Arsenal’s new signing, midfielder Lucas Torreira (22, Sampdoria).
Torreira has 7 caps for La Celeste and he’s been as physical as tireless.
Midfielder Nahitán Nández (22, Boca Juniors) has 16 caps, the veteran of the young guys. Like his teammates above, the guy only has one speed: balls out. Cagliari and Fiorentina have expressed interest, and I’ll be damned if I don’t post this again:
Uruguay has only conceded one goal: the Pepe header from a corner that was the only defensive mistake against Portugal, the reigning European champion. Captain Diego Godín is considered the best center back in the tournament and La Celeste’s defenders are playing with the tight coordination of a fussball table back four. And, IM objective O, Uruguay has been the most disciplined team in the touney, and only has one yellow card (Betancur).
Cavani won’t start, as he’s still nursing a strained calf. It’s expected that Cristhian (no typo) Stuani (Girona) will start in Cavani’s place. Stuani’s a fine player, but (maybe) Brazil’s Firmino is the only one in Cavani’s class as to tenacity and skill in offense and defense. Still, I cannot see France scoring more than one goal on this guy:
If it goes to PKs, France is toast. Toast! As noted earlier, Muslera prevailed in two tense shootouts: at the last 8 in South Africa 2010, and in the Copa América 2011 against host Argentina. France lost their last PK shootout, at the final of the 2016 Euros, which it hosted.
The referee for this game is Argentinian Néstor Pitana, who has been in 3 games in Russia. In Spanish, his last name could mean “whistles nothing” (pita na’). I’ve seen him in South American qualifiers; he’s more chill than disciplinarian, keeping it amiable with the players and not getting card-y. BUT, he ain’t shy about it. He’s given out several in the three games he’s reffed in Russia, notably in the MEX-SWE, penalizing a Tri after 15 SECONDS. As cards wouldn’t carry over to the to the Semis, I expect fuckery from both teams. But I will break the TV if / when URU gets a VAR penalty against them for shoving in the area on a corner.
I didn’t want this game because I like Varane, Umtiti, Mbappé, and love (LOVE) Griezmann. Antoine considers himself half-Uruguayan: his formative mentors were Uruguayan, he drinks mate, and Godín, his Atlético teammate, is his daughter’s godfather. For the hatahs: Suárez went all “cultural appropriation” on Griezmann for that two days ago. Since Godín is Uruguayan, I bet he gave Suárez a pass for badmouthing his compadre.
Cavani is also Mbappé’s teammate at PSG, and Umtiti is in Barcelona with Suárez. All this familiarity won’t make the proceedings cordial, and I expect URU to exploit any angle to frustrate the French.
Predicción: The most organized team in the tourney wins; France 0 : 2 Uruguay, in a very, VERY testy game.
Wakezilla: Oh baby, I’m pumped for this match! Uruguay continues to play well and should not be overlooked against les Frogs. Defensively, I can’t wait to see how Diego Godin and Diego Laxalt handle Mbappe and Griezmann. Uruguay has only lost once in their last seven games and only conceded one goal during that time. That’s pretty measty. They’ll be without Cavani, which hurts, but I think—also hope—Suarez has a big match in him. Over the past two World Cups, Suarez recreated the hand of God and became a vampire. He hasn’t done anything weird or extraordinary, yet. Maybe he scores 4 goals, or maybe he puts a Barcelona jersey on Mbappe. There is no in-between with him. Either way, I think he is cooking up something really nice for les Frogs.
France is coming off an impressive 4-3 win against Argentina. As impressive as the win was, it is worth mentioning that Argentina isn’t that good, which could be cause for concern when they face a much tougher opponent.
Everything about these two teams playing each other screams 0-0, followed by a shootout. Perhaps it’s the wine I’m drinking, but I have a feeling we’re in for an exciting 3-2 Uruguay victory. Suarez is going to score all three for Uruguay, Mbappe and Pogba will score for France.
Belgium (+255) v. Brasil (+110; draw +240) (14:00 EST, FS1)
On the other hand, the dramatic, comeback kid Waffles have seen their odds inch better and better. I appreciate the removal of temptation to bet on what is sure to be yet MOAR heartbreak combined with the loss of moneys. The bonkers match with Japan seems like sommet that could galvanize a side, make them believe more in each other, and that destiny is on their side. Or they could have just bought time against the inevitable. Who fucking knows? Anyway, it’s 2 v. 3 in the world rankings, Neymar is a big baby, so let’s hope our heroes come through in another thriller.
Wild Ass Guess: Make it a Frog Legs/Waffles combo platter, 2-1 (normal time)
Balls: I had waffles for lunch during that bananacakes Belgium-Japan game. When I started eating, the game was tied 0-0. When I finished, Japan was up 2-0. I wonder what would have happened if I’d chosen sushi…
Have you ever had feiojada? Or gone to a churrasqueria? Holy shit Brazilian food is amazing!
But I digress. A shitload of articles have come out during the break about Neymar’s childish antics
And they question whether his “clown act” is detracting from Brazil’s greatness. The answer is, of course, “Duh!”
But it doesn’t fucking matter because it’s kinda brilliant in a way. By focusing all the attention on him, Neymar has relieved the pressure on his teammates.
Let’s not forget that Brazilians of recent vintage are not exactly… mentally strong. It all started in 1998 with that crazy episode with Ronaldo at the World Cup Final.
Then there was the 7-1.
Anything adverse happens to this team and they will fold like napkins.
Prediction: Another 3-2 bananacakes game. This time Brazil wins.
Litre_Cola: Hoooo booy this one should be fun. How many times will Belgium cut down Neymar? Will he dive more than the Mexican game? In my opinion the Belgians have been the best team in the tourney thus far. They are so god damned deep that any freak injury happens they can more than adjust with who they have on the bench. Lukaku is a beast and the ‘dummy’ he played at the end of the bananacakes game was absolutely brilliant. His run without the ball during that sequence was even more impressive. He knew he could drag the CB with him and open up the right side of the pitch.
As for the notorious diver, injury faker, all around diva Neymar he is a finisher, but does not process the free kick mastery of Ronaldo or Messi. Finishing is definitely a skill but in order to be world class you have to bend free kicks like Messi and Ronaldo.
I ask you, do you think Neymar would have dummied that ball to a teammate like Lukaku did? No, no he wouldn’t have.
Prediction: Belgium 1- 1 Brazil, Waffles win in pks
Don T: Roberto Firmino not starting for Brazil is the biggest mystery of this World Cup. Belgium has let too many in, Brazil only one. I have a feeling this will be a massacre.
Predicción: Brazil 4 : 1 Belgium
Wakezilla: This is a treat for the fans. This matchup would not have looked out of place if it were the Finals. Belgium narrowly escaped Japan last week, which I don’t think is too alarming since that was the first off game they had this tournament. The Waffles seem like an intelligent team that will have learned their lesson from last game.
After a sluggish start, the take home from their victory against Mexico last week is that Brazil isn’t fucking around anymore, which is scary. Unfortunately for Brazil, they’re limping into this match. Marcelo is banged up, but is healthy enough to start. Douglas Costa is going to start from the bench. Casemiro has fallen victim to the bullshit yellow card rule. Replacing him is Fernandinho. That’s a YUGE blow for Brazil.
Predição: Christ, this is a hard one (that’s what she said). This tournament could become full blown banana cakes if Brazil were to lose. However, Brazil is going to win in penalties with a score of 1-1 (4-3). As great as the Waffles’ golden generation is in terms of individual talent, they tend to shit the bed at the quarterfinals stage. Also, their women didn’t travel well to Russia. C’mon Belgium, whenever your team wins or scores a goal, your gorgeous women are supposed to get nekked and post the pics online to share with rest of the world. This is why you aren’t Elite! As a result, I’m going to go with the team that is playing better lesser footy and brought lots of attractive women to Russia.