Tuesday, June 29, 2010

At least he didn't cry



Poof-naldo is maturing...maybe not. Maybe, for the next big tournament, he'll show up to do something besides take free kicks. Ye hear that, princess...because you didn't hear it when Bokolis pulled your card two years ago. You're never going to win anything by hanging on the wing and taking the path of least resistance.

So Spain win the battle of Iberia on a murky offsides situation. That call was a product of not having two linesmen across from one another, as there was little way for the positioned linesman to properly determine whether David Villa- who just about managed to put the ball in the net- was offsides. Well done, again, Sepp.

Otherwise, both sides put up a credible account of themselves. Except for Poof-naldo, who was nowhere, there was both fight and ball movement. In the end, Spain were the better side and Portugal suffered for their lack of a striker. Torres wasn't of much use, but Spain did enough. It turned out that I had good reason to balk at picking a winner, as it was a "cookie crumbles" decision that settled things.

So, Bokolis goes 7-1 in the round of 16. Totally coincidentally, the group winners went 7-1 and the only loss was the USA. That almost makes up for the rotten NFL Playoffs.

So, we'll get two QF match-ups worthy of a Final and at least one surprise package in the semi-final. Before that, the world may get some more bullshit-ass predictions and possibly flawed analysis. Before that, two days of productivity at work, maybe. Stay tuned, kids.

Are You Ready for Some...Iberian Heart?

SPA over POR - Neither side is bolded here. While both sides have quality, this is a case of the resistable force meeting the movable object. Going up against its fellow no-hearted Iberians gives Portugal a real chance to step up in a big game.

Having not conceded in their first three matches, Portugal may well have turned the corner on learing how to play tournament football. So, I would really like to pick Portugal to bounce Spain, but I fear that Poof-naldo will, as usual, be nowhere when it comes to the big stage. Spain grinded out a Euro 2008 championship, which, even though they are not playing at the same level, counts for a lot. Bottom line, I've never seen Poof-naldo and co. come through when it matters.

I'm not ready

PAR over JPN - Doing these off the phone is a bit of work. Japan have shown me nothing. Their goals have come from nothing and they will have nothing for Paraguay. It's all on the finishing of Paraguay to keep this from going nil nil into penalties.

Boy, oh boy...a matchup of the Iberian Heart. Portugal, having seemingly mastered the corporate football put out by countryman Mourinho, have yet to concede and shared the spoils in crushing the Kim jong-Il select.. Spain have been nothing special. Can Spain be taken out? Sure. Can Portugal do it? Lemme tink 'bout it.

Fucking posted this in the wrong place. These phones are good for what they've allowed us to do. But, you have little room for misfortune.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Are you ready for some Voetballl!!! 2010 WC Round of 16, Day 3

What is there to say about that non-goal that hasn't been said? Karma blowback for '66? Been said. Howls for replay? Been said. About the only thing I haven't heard is how, instead of having the best referees, we have regional quotas. Slobs that couldn't get a gig in League Two are officiating World Cup games. I wonde if we could get the Hebner twins to referee a few of these matches.

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The blown call during the ARG - MEX match was only slightly less appalling. Bokolis immediately had his hand up. Not that I saw it because I was tripped up as well. With the goalie out of position like that, no way Tevez was still going to be in front of two defenders. The replay was shown on the monitor, so the linesman immediately knew he had royally screwed up.

Those games may not have been decided by the officials, but they sure as hell were defined by them. Oh, well, nobody is going to miss either Mexico or England.

NED over SVK - Slovakia remind me of the mini-Russia team that smoked Holland out of Euro 2008. They are some lucky fuckers, too. Nonetheless, I think the Dutch will get enough out of their firepower to advance.

BRA over CHI - Finally, a South American team will be eliminated. It would be good to see Brazil get bounced. Hopes should not be raised, as Bokolis is told Chile have an awful record against Brazil when not playing in Chile.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Are you ready for some Foootbaaaalll!!! 2010 WC Round of 16, Day 2

Uhhh, yeah. I sure wish we still had Friedel in goal and McBride were still the same age as in 2002. Those two on this team would have done something. It was proven that Howard isn't as good as people think he is and, unlike what Bokolis postulated, the US couldn't overcome its lack of a striker.

Uruguay impressed by finding a goal after sitting on its collective asses for a hour, trying to protect the lone goal. Fucking hell, next thing you know, the South Americans will be clamoring for more teams...especially since the next one is in Brazil.

GER over ENG - I would like to watch this game, as it's always fun when two people that don't like each other play. Bokolis has better things to do. I think England will play better against the devil it knows. This one has 1 - 1 penalties written all over it. Lets hope I'm wrong.

ARG over MEX - A rematch of the last go around. Mexico are good about playing up to their competition, but have lost in the second round in the last 3 or 4 WCs. Why should this be any different?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Are you ready for some Foootbaaaalll!!! 2010 WC Round of 16, Day 1

IuTo clear up some lingering business, that phantom foul...the US should have never had a free kick in the first place. Knowing that, the ref had already decided that he was going to blow a foul, taking the chance that there would actually be a foul. That's how it goes.

Dempsey being ruled offside...it was a shyte call, but I could see how it would be called. Besides, all that should settle up the karma account depleted by Rob Green's howler. As it worked out, the draw looks favorable. On we go, cards cleared and all.

The worst thing about those vuvuzelas, much more so than being annoying, is that when someone scores, instead of cheering, you get the vuvuzelas. It destroys the ambience, as the screams of joy are integral to sports. Of course, I have no faith that we'll get tempered and judicious use, much less FIFA intervention. Don't say that Bokolis didn't tell you how to get it done.

As always, the side Bokolis would like to win is in bold.

URU over KOR - If Bokolis is not mistaken, Uruguay have yet to concede. They are good at that, but not so good at scoring. Yet, they've gotten it done...it must be the southern hemisphere. On the other hand, Korea have scored in every match, even when they were torched by Argentina. Something has got to give. Will it be Korea's workrate, or Uruguay's...I'm not sure what Urugray has, other than divers, Forlan and kissing sub-ins...that will win out? Having played against enough Asians to know, Bokolis feels that, once you match their running, they have nothing. Uruguay advances on the lone goal.

USA over GHA - I am leery that, as the only African team left, they will get some serious home cooking. Ghana defeated the US four years ago, but there are differences. Our boys are improved and, most importantly, the CANCER Claudio Reyna is gone. For their part, Ghana 's two goals have come on penalties. Granted, a handball stopped a goal that was finished off by a penalty. Our boys may give them an early goal but, without a gift penalty, I see Ghana struggling to score.

The US should be concerned that all of its goals- even those ruled out- have come from midfield. Nonetheless, I think that the US will overcome that in this match-up. Even Clinton and Obama have jumped the bandwagon- an African president (I mean Clinton, not Obama) should help balance out that factor- does anyone really believe that the US can be stopped? 2-0 or 2-1 to the US.

Off to the beach then. Live life, don't watch it.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bokolis Presents: You make the call



So, for all the hugging, mugging, fondling, etc. that went on during this play, the official word is that there was a foul on Maurice Edu, the guy that puts the ball into the net. I dare you, I double dare ya, muthafucka, find me the foul on Edu.

Referee quotas are beautiful, aren't they. As the Brits often say, Fucking Hell!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Not Surprised

On the morning after the WC draw, the headline on one of those Brit rags read:
England
Algeria
Slovenia
Yanks



Pretty clever.

As easy as a two-hopper straight at the keeper, isn't it? I had a keeper that used to let them in like that all the time. We still won the league, but I'm a hell of a defender and he wasn't the keeper for the final. With its stable of dodgy keepers, England won't be so fortunate.

The sensationalists that the media are, they will focus on that awful misplay. They will blame it on the ball. To be sure, it was a howler for the ages and it was the most telling moment in the USA-ENG match. But, as hard as it will be for people to get away from it, the Hand of Clod (those Brits are so clever) does not define the game.

In Bokolis' own matches, I always tell the lads that the first thing they should evaluate is why we didn't win the match 4-0. This is because we would too often focus on the unfavorable events in the match. As it applies to England, the reason their talent and skill didn't dominate is because they failed to control the midfield.

Structurally, the USA's relative strength is in midfield, as their two best players are the wingers. Dempsey and Donovan did enough from the wings to allow Bradley to sacrifice his offense to shore up the spine. So, you have to wonder where Lampard and Gerrard were. Typically, Gerrard has to perform the clean up for Liverpool because of the lack of wingers and skill in midfield. I'm guessing that, given his issues with playing with Lampard, he decided, especially after scoring the early goal, that he wasn't going to be the bitch. As such, the US won more than their share of the balls and won the battle in the middle of the park.

To get Rooney out of the way, that's why he couldn't get service and had to lie deeper to get touches...this isn't man united, mate.

Capello's lineup also made for less than optimal performance. Glen Johnson and Ashley Cole are effectively the same player. Both are flawed, as Johnson doesn't have the savvy to match his speed and Cole isn't in the right frame of mind to utilize his skill set. Capello fielded Aaron Lennon, who is Ashley Cole with more skill, but not as good as Theo Wolcott, who Capello left off the squad. Then, he brought on the Bastard Son (Wright-Phillips) after 15 minutes, taking out Milner. I'm not sure if he has issue with Milner or he was trying to counter the USA's wingers with speed. I don't know WTF he could've seen that early...the US wasn't even settled. In any event, that's four guys who are effectively the same; and none of them check papers.

It was also evident that Heskey's strength was giving the US problems. He was winning everything in the air and was either being triple-marked on balls in the air or, when single-marked, being conceded the ball. He made the telling pass on Gerrard's goal and was still giving the US fits. But England largely went away from that and it allowed the US to get settled. All this explains to Bokolis why England didn't have the US under constant pressure.

And...I've seen Terry get sent off for less than what Heskey did to Tim Howard. WTF?!? It's too bad no one would exact some justice on Heskey's ACL.

In the end, it could be said that the US played well enough to lose and were bailed out be a howler. Why feel guilty? We knew going in that we had three keepers that were better than anyone on the England side. I thought that England's keepers were the great equalizer; I just thought it would have been "Calamity" James that would have gifted the goal. That it turned out to be Green is no surprise; he's good for 5 of those per year.

And, there is no blaming the ball, either for Green's or the Algerian's howler. I've played with that ball about 4 months ago, but I didn't know at the time that it was the WC ball. I only remembered it because it was so awful. That ball sucks. I was trying to get it taken out of play. It's made of some weird material. I didn't get to rip into it, but that was mainly because I couldn't get it to sit still.

In any event, neither Green nor the Algerian can blame the ball for their howlers. The Algerian has no excuse for not getting in front of a side footed shot. Moreover, if you can't catch it, parry it wide, fucker...fucking up our nil-nil draw, ye sumumabich. The US will now have to go in search of goals against Slovenia.

The US still has issues up top. They didn't trouble England much, even Carragher (and WTF was Capello doing taking off Ledley King?). They had one instance when they spun around England and Altidore shot off Green and onto the post. Sure, he had (Dempsey?) in front with the goal yawning, but he was never going to make that pass. He's not capable. As I've often said about Altidore, if he ever learns how to play football, he's going to be dangerous.

Capello's substitutions may be questioned, but I'm sure his madness considered that England didn't necessarily have to win this match. Dropping points to the US is far less of an issue than dropping points to Algeria or Slovenia.

Nonetheless, with Onyewu back on, Howard sharp the and DeMerit emerging, USA's spine is really strong. I can dream about winning the group and getting on the weaker part of the draw, no?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Not yet ready for some footbaaa...

The World Cup is great but, as a three day a week footballer, I'd much rather be playing than watching. Nonetheless, having been roped into one of these pools (and having dragged in others with me), Bokolis has to ogranize my thoughts on what I think will happen...nofuckingway am I doing research.

Anyway, here's the pre-pre overview:

Despite the push from the worldwide leader, there isn't as much buzz to this one. Ironically, it might be because it's not "everybody vs Brazil." More likely, it's due to:
the locale...$2200 a plane ticket is some buuullshit to have to endure an African, comped a seat next to the one for wich you paid $200, spitefully blaring a horn in your ear,
and
a European side having never won outside of Europe, which will surely continue because the African squads are sure to get home cooking from the officals at the Eurpoean sides' expense,
the confluence of which turns off the rest of us football snobs.

So, even though Spain probably have the strongest side, it narrows the possible victors down to: Brazil, Argentina and France (rim shot).

Here's the obligatory rundown on Europeans sides:
Portugal, of the #3 world ranking, will be victimized by the Iberian (lack of) Heart and will be picked off in the group stage by sleeper Ivory Coast, driving Poof-naldo to cry enough tears to (further) sheen his legs, UPDATE: Put a big strikethrough on that...Drogba has a broken elbow and is probably out
Germany aren't that good and could possibly get picked off by the USA in the second round...if the USA were any good, that is,
Italy's defense won't be good enough to carry them within a sniff of the podium,
the Netherlands are good, but can be beat at their own game, hardly the mark of a champion,
Engalnd's defense/keeper will not stand up against the strongest teams,
Spain, having conquered the stigma of the Iberian (lack of) Heart, are good enough, but are just as likely to get hosed, like they did in 2002.

France aren't that good and probably won't be motivated. Brazil, with a team full of European-based players, aren't that strong and play continental football..the jogo bonito is a myth; it died in 1982. This leaves Argentina, who, while they have the goods (a stable of strikers, led by Messi) on paper, haven't won outside the Spanish speaking world and have a batshit crazy, old Italian aunt as their coach, who will surely sink the side by employing bad tactics and playing the wrong players (Veron and Palermo are on the squad, Cambiasso is not).

Maybe it makes for drama, after all.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Imperfection

I see about 50 calls per night that are- context removed- just as bad as Jim Joyce ruining Armando Galarraga's perfect game. But, the shop never howled like it did last night. I was too wrapped up in my work to follow the game and didn't realize what the situation was because it was relatively early in the night (the game only took 1:44). When they filled me in, it was OMG-WTF for about 10 minutes. I couldn't work and I was getting pounded with texts.

In this case, it was far worse to take away the perfecto on a bad call than it would have been had he gotten the perfect game by being on the right side of a blown call. In Halliday's, he threw a 3-2 pitch easily 6 inches outside, but the ump rang up the batter and nobody said anything.

Bokolis has said it countelss times; until baseball effectively implements replay, it's just like WWF. My issue is that we have 55-60 year old fat guys- out of position more often than not because they can't be bothered- officiating these games, yet we can't use replay. The replay was on TV in 10 seconds, but we can't equip the umpires with an iPad-like device so that even these old, sausage-handed fuckers could swiftly deal with blown calls.



As can be seen from the picture, Joyce is at an angle where he cannot easily keep ball, bag and runner in his line of sight. This would be more easily accomplished if he were a few steps to his right. This is the problem with having these old farts. After 20 years in the show, Joyce can't be bothered and nobody's going to teach him. He calls what he calls. The post game mea culpa is lip service. To boot, he could have had a plausible out by saying the snow-cone catch by Galarraga didn't constitute possession (the ball took a while to settle after initially hitting in the palm of the glove and, after a short snow-cone, Galarraga released the ball so that he could tuck it away...it would have been flimsy but, in applying some NFL catch-and-contol logic, Joyce would have put it over), but tried to sell us that I-thought-the-runner-beat-it bullshit.

It's not like guys in their 30s and 40s don't blow calls (and aren't cunts about it). The older guys are set in their ways and think they are part of the act. Joe West, because there isn't much he (or C.B Bucknor or Angel Hernandez) won't do to get on TV, got into his own dust-up last night, with the Rays' manager Maddon using West's own rant (on the games taking too long) against him. If they're going to keep y'all old-timers around, y'all had better learn that, if you want to be part of the act, the bar is going to be raised on you.

To his credit, Galarraga didn't say a word. The game ended on the next at bat. Miguel Cabrera spent it lacing into Joyce. Joyce surely must have realized by the tone of Cabrera's vitriol that he royally fucked up.

As for Galarraga, he's left to make lemonade out of this. Maybe he'll be the 21st Century's Ernie Shore, or he'll be at least as famous for having been jerked out a perfecto.