Let’s get the NASCAR out of the way straight off this time. No facile conceit about being dragged into it by some cute anime babes. Nope, none of that.
Gentlemen, start your engines.
It’s NASCAR’s good fortune that they’re on a series of Saturday night races. Kentucky last night. The Firecracker 400 at Daytona next Saturday night.
None of these races interfere with essential World Cup viewing time. The Quaker State 400 last night teed of at approximately 10:46PM Brazilian time.
I was able to watch most of the race. Matt rolled out 16th, Danica 10th, and Danica’s Boss had to drop to the rear because he made a transmission change. Her Boyfriend teed it up in 21st.
Smoke’s transmission change didn’t cost him very much. He was able to claw back into it and finished 11th. The irony, if there is one, is the driver who would have finished last, Mike Bliss in the #93 Dr. Pepper Toyota, pulled his sled into the garage on lap with a transmission problem. I say would have, if not for an unfortuitous wreck on lap 27. Denny Hamlin, who had already completed the fastest lap of the race, a speed that stood for the duration, went flying off into the wall out of turn 3 and that was the end of that. Hamlin probably could have won the race or at least given Clint Dempsey…errrrr….Brad Kesolowski a run for his money at the end.
Danica rolled in 21st. A bit of bad luck in her case as she’d gotten caught in the pits on a green flag stop when a caution came out. She did beat her boyfriend (again) as Ricky Ricky Ricky took the checkers in 25th, one lap down.
As I mentioned, if Denny Hamlin hadn’t wrecked, he quite well could have won. If the race had been, say 10-15 laps longer, Matt Kenseth sure would have. That’s my story on Matt, and I’m sticking to it.
Acute NASCAR observers will note that the photo Clint Dempsey winning, leading a NASCAR race is not quite accurate, and will no doubt be furiously scribbling a pedantic email or comment to me bellowing about what is wrong with that picture. The picture of Clint Dempsey is, of course from the 2014 World Cup. So, obviously that’s not what’s wrong. I’ll give you two little hints.
- Jeff Burton no longer drives the #33 Caterpillar Chevrolet.
- Kevin Harvick no longer drives the #29 Jimmie Johns Chevrolet.
Obviously it’s a race from last season, but which one?
Discuss amongst yourselves.
I would bet just about all of my mother-in-law’s money that before last Tuesday that at least 85,361,288 Americans did not know who Luis Suarez was and couldn’t have picked him out of a line-up.
Now, thanks to the Bite Heard ’round the World, that number has dropped significantly. People who wouldn’t know soccer if it came up and bite them on the ass ((pun not intended)) know of him and the infamous biting incident that occurred at the 79 minute mark of Uruguay vs Italy group stage match where Suarez suddenly, and inexplicably, fancied taking a bite out of Italian defender Georgio Chellieni’s shoulder.
Suarez has done this twice before. Back in 2010 when he was playing in the Eredivisie fror Ajax he fancied taking nibble out of Otman Baakal from PSV Eindhoven. Then, last year in April, in a match with Chelsea, which my Blues won…he hauled of and chomped on Branislav Ivanovic.
His most recent incident is the biggest shame of all, since his last season at Liverpool went remarkably well, He led the EPL in goals scored, was a model teammate and stayed out of trouble. He was having a good World Cup, recovering as he did from knee surgery and scored a brace to boot England out the Cup in a 2-1 victory.
But his moment of insanity against Italy cost him plenty besides more damage to his generally unsavoury reputation. He’s been banned for 9 international games, and has been banned from all game worldwide for 4 month. He was also fined 100,000 Swiss Francs.
Though Uruguay went on to defeat Italy 1-0 to move on to the round of 16, his moment of madness cost his team even more.
Yesterday, a Suarez-less Uruguay were dumped from the World Cup 2-0 Colombia on a brace by James Rodríguez.
A reminder to you all….If you ever happen to run into Luis Suarez, on the street, in a pub, at the market, and somehow you happen to get mad at him for whatever petulant and spurious reason ….or get into a fevered discussion about politics, religion, or culture….whatever you do, just DON”T tell him to go bite the bag.
The rains had turned the streets of Recife into raging rivers. Both Jürgen Klinsmann and Joachim Löw looked like they had showered with all their clothes on and kept on with their showering on the pitch as the game progressed.
USA started out by tiptoeing through the puddles and showed a bit too much respect for the Germans. The Germans seemed to hold possession for 30 minutes of the first 20. The US finally got themselves into the game and got possession. But there wasn’t much in the way of attack as both defenses held strong….though Beasley and Besler were severely tested at times by Özil and Müller.
Before the match, there was a bunch of natter about how USA and Germany could have simply pre-arranged a draw, since that would take both teams through regardless of what happened between Portugal and Ghana.
But clearly, that was not the case as both USA and Germany went after the win.
Müller scored Germany’s only goal at the 55th minute when a corner kick clearance from Tim Howard dropped at his feet. Müller had originally wanted the corner kick dropped to him since he realized no one was marking him. But fortuitous for him, he got the ball where he wanted it and slotted it home through a wee bit of space. Brilliant. Genius on his part. But who was supposed to be marking him?? I’m sure the guilty party has been watching the film on that one over and over as a subtle reminder of what he must do when we meet Germany in the World Cup final on July 13th.
You think we won’t make it that far??
Klinsmann thinks we can. He’s already told the team to have their families cancel their return flights and reschedule them for the middle of July. That from the coach who said before the World Cup that we had no chance in hell of winning it ((a conceit, by the way, that I thought was brilliant on Klinsmann’s part)).
We lost the match with Germany, but we went on through to the Sweet 16, and we just might win the war. Our next opponent in Belgium on Tuesday. Before the World Cup started, I’d tabbed Belgium as a dark horse to win it….but now, based on their run of play in a weak group, I’m not so sure.
I’m confident we can beat Belgium. Lukaku has not been the Romalu Lukaku he’s purported to be….and maybe Mourinho is right for not rating him as highly as some of of us Chelsea fan’s do. My man, Eden Hazard has not been the wunderkind he’s been at Chelsea the past 2 seasons. Defensively, their captain Vincent Kompany has got a groin strain and Vermaelen has a hammy twang. Their strongest and most dangerous player is their young goalie Theobold Courtois. Courtois will be Chelsea’s starting goalie this upcoming season…he’s been out on loan to Atlético Madrid ((who won La Liga last season and lost to crosstown rival Real Madrid in the Champions League final)) for the past 3 seasons.
But enough about Chelsea and Belgium. USA USA USA will win this. If….Brian France and Mike Helton, right now, announce that Team USA will pose with the World Cup at the Brickyard 400 on July 27th and who will then in unison shout out those most famous words in motorsports:
“Drivers!!! START YOUR ENGINES!!!!”
Ha ha ha…etc. Just thought I’d get one last rub in on England before congratulating Costa Rica on their outstanding World Cup so far.
Costa Rica has done surprising well so far this World Cup. They’ve gotten hot at the right time. I’m glad they waited until after CONCACAF qualification.
They thumped both Uruguay (3-1) and Italy (1-0)…..and against Italy in the heat….one of the Costa Rican players asked one of the Italian players late on, “Are you guys enjoying this?? WE are!!” Italy was wilting in that match. The only thing Costa Rica doesn’t seen to like is snow. I wonder why that is?
After the England match, evidently the Three Lions didn’t have shirts to trade, so Los Ticos took their panties.
Ha ha ha.
Christiano Ronaldo spoiled our automatic qualification for the Sweet 16 by firing a cross into the area that Silvestre Verela headed in at the death to beat USA 2-2 in a draw that should have been a 2-1 USA win.
Then again, if Ghana and Portugal had drawn each other on Thursday, it wouldn’t have mattered.
But…as luck would have it, Ronaldo helped sail us through to the Sweet 16 by scoring the winner against Ghana…whose witch-doctor spells had backfired on them and left their squad in disarray with Boateng and Muntari sent home, as the Prime Minister of Ghana dispatched a plane full of cash to Brazil to appease the lads so they wouldn’t boycott their final match with Portugal.
They got their cash. Portugal got their win.
Both are going home.
It didn’t seem like the Netherlands were seriously in this match, until Wesley Sneijder leveled at the 88th minute. The only thing that seemed serious about the Dutch was that they were in serious trouble and were about to be seriously booted out of the World Cup.
Giovani dos Santos opened the scoring 3 minutes into the second half and Mexico, who dominated the shape and tempo of the game looked to be on their way to the Elite 8. The Dutch got serious after the dos Santos goal, but no matter what wizardry Robben and Sniejder and Dirk Kuyt tried, they couldn’t get anything to vanPersie to drive home….and what they did get they was swept by Meme Ochoa’s goaline magic. Ochoa would have easily been Man of The Match had Mexico held on.
But after Sneidjer’s goal, it all fell apart. Little mistakes crept in, and finally, 4 minutes into stoppage time, Robben was tripped in the area by Rafael Márquez. Referee Pedro Proença pointed to the spot, handed Márquez a yellow card…and after a bit of protestations in which Mexico’s Andres Guardado also picked up a yellow, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, on for the ineffective van Persie, slotted the ball home with authority.
And that was it.
That was it.
6 World Cups now in a row where Mexico has been booted from the Sweet 16. The only times they made it past the round of 16 was when they hosted the Cup in 1970 and 1986. I feel bad for Mexico. I really do. They played their asses off in this World Cup. Quite a contrast from how shite they played in qualifying.
Well…next up oday is Costa Rica and those scary fockers from Greece. I mean how the fock did Greece even qualify for the Cup let alone get through the group stage.
I will tell you all about in the next installment I suppose.