World Cup Update

The two games played today most definitely rank among the best so far this Copa Mundial.

Other than the Ukraine actually getting to where they were today, there haven't been a tremendous number of upsets. There have certainly been a few close challenges, namely from Mexico and Ecuador in my opinion, but so far things are pretty ho-hum. Not to say that these matches aren't spectacular!

Every World Cup since 1938 has involved either Brasil or Germany in the final (except for 1978 when Argentina beat Holland). Will the two face each other on July 9th?

Even though Argentina beat Brasil last June in a qualifier, it's been twenty years since Argentina won its last World Cup, in Mexico in 1986, with Maradona. I guess it will be at least another four years now.

Brasil has a team of champions this year, with a group not too dissimilar from four years ago. Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Cafu, Roberto Carlos, Adriano, and Emerson are back. And, they're supplanted by Kaka and Robinho who have only performed extraordinarily well so far.

England won the World Cup once, in 1966, at home. Fortunately for this year's team, Rooney recovered quickly from his April foot injury and seems to be handling the field well along-side Beckham. It's hard to predict this team; after all they're banking on a 20 year-old to win it for them.

I think that France has had it fairly easy so far, and they're about to meet their match. They played well against a solid Spanish team, but are going to have a hard time repeating 1998 tomorrow. This is a team that's still thriving off of the days of Platini, Giresse, and Tigana. I'm not sure if Zidane, with a groin injury, and Henry, not playing his best, can pull it off.

I amazed at Germany so far in this World Cup. They haven't played all that well to date, but do have the home field advantage, which has proven to be useful in past finals (if they can get there). I would be happy for Klinsmann if his team can bowl on through to play Brasil in the finals.

Italy doesn't even deserve to be playing in this World Cup. Juventus have for many years been accused by their rivals of lining the pockets of referees to influence results, and this latest scandal was the icing on the cake. Italy has won the World Cup three times in the past, and they look like a solid contender if they can get past Germany on Tuesday.

Can the Portuguese saudade help them play like they did in the 2004 European Championship? A Brasil v Portugal match would be spectacular, but I'm not sure that Cristiano Ronaldo could lead his team past their former colony.

These are the greatest times!

Vamo BRASIL, vamo BRASIL, vamo ser CAMPEƃO !!!

The Gringos Lost

Because they weren't a good team. Period.

I must have heard at least ten times yesterday that they were robbed from a chance to advance in this World Cup. That's just ridiculous. I would venture to argue that the US lost because they had fewer shots on goal than most other teams in this first round. I know that's a bold statement, but I'm willing to step out on a limb here. The US played the game just like they did in 1998.

Although I love Robinho and would be ecstatic to see him get more field time, but Ronaldo showed that even a fat man can run the game.

Now, the question is... Can France and Zidane pull through today?

Brasil Qualifies

My home country qualifies in a series of somewhat disappointing games. If only the team would start Robinho more than the slightly rotund Ronaldo. I've read that he's pushing two hundred pounds!

Although I'm breathless watching Brasil play, some of the other games this first round have been absolutely spectacular. My favourite was the Sweden v England game on Tuesday; a truly amazing rally.

I'm not sure if Brasil has this World Cup clinched. Now that this first round is coming to an end, I'm starting to think that we should really keep an eye out for Portugal, Argentina, and Germany. My favourite back-up is always England, but I'm not sure the talent & unity is there this year. Italy could pull through, but I would find that hard to a country divided over such controversy can rally to a victory.

I've been glued to the television for the past ten days. And, when I'm not staring at a screen somewhere I'm glued to Folha Online or Yahoo Fifa for news & video.

This is the greatest event the world has to offer; the Olympics can't even compare in terms of energy, involvement, & excitement in my opinion. Even the television commercials (here, here, & here) are unsurpassed!

An Inconvenient Truth

I went to see Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth, on Wednesday night this week and very much enjoyed it. Although his monotone voice got a little old at times, the movie was generally well thought out and captivating. I've never been a big proponent of doom & gloom predictions, but the case here is well presented. The movie is definitely worth watching, but I wonder how much it has to do with a spark for the campaign trail (comments by Time Magazine here and New York Magazine here).

In contrast to the movie's arguments, I would look to Michael Crichton's speech on global warming. Hmm.

Weekend in Miami

I spent the weekend in Miami with some good friends and stayed at The Standard Hotel in South Beach. It's an extension of the two Standard hotels in in LA, and at this time of year it's a bargain. The hotel is not on Collins Ave, but rather on the Venetian Causeway on its own little island nearby, which makes it not as crowded or full of party-goers as Schrager's Delano.

I'd recommend a stay here next time you're in South Beach, the place has an incredible pool, a spa, and it's guests are very unique in an LA sort of way. No cell phones and no kids. I'll be back; definitely check it out.

I also finally had the chance to ride a Harley Davidson V-Rod down to Key Biscayne with a buddy; what a beautiful bike! I've been looking at buying a ride again, but don't think I'll go with that one. For starters, they're expensive and I think I'd prefer the agility of a sportier Suzuki SV650 or Ducati Monster. I had a cruiser in my Honda Shadow VLX for a couple of years and loved it, so I think it's time to try out something different.