ITALY v. GHANA [2-0]


Vincenzo Iaquinta = Proof positive that Italian Tactics Training for Euro 2004 is still in effect. A most undeserved goal (for him in particular -- Luca Toni's half-volley off the crossbar was speziale; Andrea Pirlo's goal was also topshelf.)

But y'all want to know what's going on in the streets, right? What's really hood, Hamburg? It's the Ghanaians nickname: The Black Stars. Every German is asking: Why are they so named? Are they as excited about the rumored new Black Star album as we are? Where are they hiding the album, and, as a corollary, is the demo disc the very object constantly lodged in Talib Kweli's throat while he raps to beats? If so, let's get it out. Are the Ghanaians the actual members of Mos Def's famed Black Jack Johnson band? We know they can tackle, but who will spit the hottest 16s? I'm betting on Michael Essien.


ROADHOUSE, a/k/a, Boyz II Men, a/k/a On blast, a/k/a, Aired out, a/k/a Smashed.

The Czechs deserved to win the last European Tournament based on the superb brand of football they played, and had it not been for the shock-horror hyperextension of Pavel Nedved's knee, we might have had the dream final of (home nation) Portugal-Czech Republic that neutrals deserve. So to see the Czechs dismantle any team is no surprise. To see them William Wallace the U.S. straight w/ no chaser was about as tough as watching that evisceration scene in Braveheart...but still, no surprise.

What was surprising was the utter lack of any identifiable tactics, game plan, fluidity, imagination, tenacity, or any other adjectives or adverbs that, appearing in abundance, carry good connotations. But we're past that. B&C presents...

7 Ways the U.S. Can Improve:

1. Petition FIFA for an injury exception; fly over Dirk Nowitzki immediately. Diggler, a/k/a Das Cabdriver of the NBA will be free and flying on air after leading his team through the NBA Finals and to the championship. Dude's got ups, can score, and Germans love him. More than say, Steve Cherundolo.

2. Pre-game to T.I.'s King. Works for Morehouse sorority chicks; why can't it work for Eddie Lewis?

3. Have Pharrell produce their next album.

4. Have Just Blaze produce their next album.

5. Training ground team talk = Sam Jack. Someone needs to tell these jokers straight up in their grill how disastrous their performance was. And it can't be their coach. Real talk, knowhaI'mtalkinbout? Ain't none realer than Mr. It Is What It Is.

6. Stop calling the shit "soccer." Sure the word's English in origin as it was derived from "association football." We're not wholly to blame. But it's football the world over, mates.

7. Find this kid. Sign him up. Schnell.



You can read (for my money) ESPN's best announcer's views on this subject (at least based on the Champs. Lge. -- don't know if he's doing any games Stateside. Hit me up @ blueandcream@gmail.com or something & lemme know. Or, that Skypetonite: I BE ON THAT ALL NIGHT, MAN I BE ON THAT ALL DAY. YOU CAN FIND ME IN THE HANSEATIC CITY OF HAMBURG) but hey, this is my ish, so I'll speak on it deuce.

A nonevent for 80 minutes, especially the nongoal "scored" by the Japanese (which should have been disallowed for two distinct fouls on the 'keeper) but the last ten minutes were quite special, especially when surrounded by a hundred or so Aussies suffering in the Hamburg heat. Tim Cahill's goal was really, really well-taken, under pressure (well, he was in the center of the box, but the Japanese didn't close down quick enough), and it's another case of the Everton man rescuing his underachieveing team at the death.

Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi.



It looked to be a rout early on, as soap opera star and part-time Portugal winger, full-time captain Luis Figo weaved his way through the Angolan defence at will, setting up Pedro Miguel Pauleta for the first and only goal. And the Angolans threatened comedy with a series of acrobatic yet misguided attempts at bicycle kicks. Remarkable that they actually came quite close with one of their later tries. But more troubling was the Portuguese imagination, or lack thereof. Ronaldo is making quite a career of tonking shots bound for the woodwork or the goalkeeper's chest. And he certainly leads both league and international play in snide looks, seemingly marveling at and questioning his own perceived genius. Stick to the stepovers and leave Aço Azul for the Pepe Jeans commercials, homey. The Portuguese will qualify, but they'll have to step their gameface up.

Also: LOCO.

Does It 'Ave Somefin Innit Dat Hactually Make U Dance Like A Prick?

As much as I love Cristiano Ronaldo, his mere existence makes it possible for legions of youths, Portuguese or otherwise, to dress like this. Or worse, act like this.

MEXICO v. IRAN [3-1]


The Mexicans were the first team I've seen to clinically dispose of a dangerous team with second and third goals, both of good quality, though the winning goal was created out of a mistake by the Iranian keeper Ebrahim Mirzapour and Rahman Rezaei, who gifted the advancing naturalized Mexican (nee Brazilian) Zinha with the ball. He in turn fed Omar Bravo, who cooly finished. Zinha himself powered home a drawing board header to ice the win.

And speaking of Naelson Zinha (who got shit from some corners of the Mexican press for being selected for the team -- a variant of that same-old "we don't need the foreigners" lame jive Brits are familiar with -- on claiming Mexican citizenship rather recently) how charming is it to think that in the midst of all the immigration hullabaloo back in Amerigo Vespucci, there are actually those out there trying to be Mexican. Leave it to football to bring nations closer together, or rather, expose delicious ironies like these.



...a shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a country who does not exist...


How the Dutch Are Like the Wu-Tang Clan

If Busta can jack that Knight Rider beat, then I can gaffle the voiceover. And a player still has his locks. But fe-real though, two-on-one shouldn't be fair.

However, when you're relying on Mateja Kezman to score your goals, the psychic scars left after the oft-brutal disintegration of a nation are the least of your worries.

And though it took the better part of 10-15 mins for the Dutch to settle in, with Serbia looking (gasp) dangerous early on, it merely took one incisive lobbed pass from (cough) Arsenal striker Robin van Persie through to (choke) Chelsea winger Arjen Robben to open the scoring. Robben attacked mercilessly throughout and probably deserved a hat trick.

Which is a lot more than the Horseface Killah deserved, meriting his seat on the Manchester United bench for the past few months with his absent performance, and subsequently, Marco van Basten's substitution of Dirk Kuyt for him.

Only thing left to settle for the Dutch now is who is more deserving of the title DutchMasta Killa -- Robben or van Persie -- now that Dennis Berkgamp has been put out to waterlogged pasture.