As in 2010, Bokolis went 7-1 in the round of 16, with the USA again spoiling running the table. At least this time around, I tried to advertise that it was a pick of blind patriotism, that I really didn't think they would win. It would've been one of the all-time smash-and-grab jobs, too. But, Wondolowski missed the sitter. Aside- several people- typically ignorant American soccer fans- came up to me, knowing that I play, live and breathe football, and said, paraphrasing, you'd've scored that, right, bro? I responded with, I'd've been the one making the pass. It's for the best, as it wasn't meant that America should be hailing someone named Wondolowski.
Further, if we apply the Ali G method of rating footballers, we'd've known beforehand that this dude didn't have the goods. Bokolis knew, without seeing the bird. It's because I also knew that Klinsmann has not been given a full deck with which to work; he's done the best that can be done with a bunch of not-so-good footballers. This team certainly wasn't as good as the 2010 squad, and it had nothing to do with Donovan. Tim Howard, never a Bokolis favorite, was fantastic. Jermaine Jones may alternate between a poor man's Gullit and a poor man's Rijkaard. But Bradley, solid in 2006 and 2010, was largely poor. Neither one of their fullbacks could cross worth shyte, which, when you use them to get forward as much as the USA did, is a massive hassle. And, of course, if you don't have a striker, which the USA has not had since McBride, you're going to be pissing in the wind.
Nonetheless, we have that uniquely American trait to function at a very high level given far less than ideal circumstances. But, the flip-side of that is that USA seemed to be waiting for it to turn into a Rocky movie before turning up the effort.
The good news is, all the bananas can go now home and leave the football to the rest of us 24/7/365ers. We've seen some tense affairs, likely because of parity, but also because of very little enterprise. Let's hope that changes.
Germany over France - I suppose there is a crack in here about the French ever beating the Germans. It's a pretty even game. This French edition is decent- Bokolis has underestimated them and, while I don't think Pogba is as good as his hype, Sakho means business back there- and has as good a chance of picking off the Germans as they'll ever have. But, getting to the QF seems just about right for them, which is code for saying that I'm married to my SF picks. Nonetheless, France is another side that's had an easy ride. They will need something special to oust the Germans, for whom the SF is almost a birthright, otherwise they'll have to wait for those u-20 champs to ripen.
Colombia over Brazil - I had picked Brazil to beat Colombia in this matchup before the tournament. However, if they both play to prevailing form, Colombia wins. Hey, Bokolis is getting 4/1 here. This is some serious reputation pricing.
I've been playing football with Colombians all my life, so I know this style of play all too well and knew ahead of time that the '94 team was shyte. I've never seen Colombians that play like this. This is at least a semi-final team. They've had the benefit of flying under the radar because of diminished expectations with Falcao shelved and having rather impotent opposition. Brazil with Fred and Jo are even more impotent than the set Brazil had to run out there in the '98 final because of Ronaldo's coke binge. Just to hedge a bit, the draw is 3/1, as nothing shits more than being right and still not getting to the window.
Argentina over Belgium - Lost in the world's frenzy to suck Tim Howard's dick was that the Belgian finishing wasn't much good. He wasn't as good as Ochoa against the Brazilians, as Ochoa made four superhuman saves, while Howard made one. All the rest were saves he had to make.
Belgium, despite being well-balanced and stocked in all positions and, even with the soft opposition haven't looked particularly good. As noted above, they were a missed sitter away from getting bounced. Further, I suspect that they will look a bit creaky at the back when Argentina eventually figures out how to support Messi in attack.
Netherlands over Costa Rica - We'll just do this one on the papers…sounds good?