We have on this day, the potential for actually lovely looking football being played by top teams. I'm very giddy over these games. Not giddy just like a schoolgirl, but the kind of schoolgirl who ends up in a threeway with a fellow student and their slutty teacher. I'm that kind of giddy. Pornographic giddy. And just like real life tends to deflate the pornographic balloon (I was a pizza guy for three years. I know that porn lies) I'm going to enjoy the anticipation as long as I can before these games start.
Game 21: Argentina vs. Serbia-Montenegro.
Did you know that in Spanish, Montenegro means Black Monte? It's true! Serbia played some decent defense agains the Netherlands in their first game, but had little in the way of offense. They aren't that scary of a team offensively, and I imagine Argentina will go right at them. That offense of Argentina is scary. Serbia needs a to find a way to lock down Riquelme, much in the way they didn't lock down Robben. Riquelme keys everything, and if he's allowed to make forays into the offense, he'll pick out his strikers with ease, or punish any lax defending with dangerous outside shots. As good as Riquelme was in his first game, we haven't seen his total game yet.
Prediction: Argentina 2, Serbia 0
Game 22: Netherlands vs. Ivory Coast
OOh, this is the game to watch. Watch this game, watch this game, watch this game! Ivorians looked friggin' tough against Argentina in their first World Cup game ever. They put up a great fight before losing. The Elephants are not to be trifled with. Didier Drogba and Arjen Robben were the two stars in their teams' respective games, and I don't imagine anything to be too different here. The Netherlands are a little bit more experienced, a little deeper, but the Ivory Coast has the players to pull off a minor upset here. But if you think I'm picking against a team helmed by Marco Van Fucking Basten, you crazy! You crazy, man.
Prediction: Netherlands 2, Ivory Coast 1.
On a very real and personal level, I want these predictions to be wrong. I'd love for this group to get decided on the last set of matches. I'd love to see a game in which both the Netherlands and Argentina are fighting to stay in the Cup. And that is within reach. Say Serbia ties Argentina, and the Netherlands lose the Ivorians. That would set up an absolutely huge day next week. That may be what to root for, really.
Game 23: Mexico vs. Angola
Mexico looked good against (cough) Iran, and Angola held their own against a rather uninspired Portugal. Essentially, I think this game will show us if Mexico is good, or just OK. They are in a tough spot, though, because even they beat the piss out of Angola, we can all sit around and say, "So, big deal, Mexico beat Iran and Angola. Very impressive. pfft." And we will. This should be Mexico's game from start to finish. They win this, they are more than likely through to the next round. Angola is coming off an emotional loss to their former colonial oppressors. Mexico has the easiest ticket in the world to the 2nd round, and they need to punch it here. They don't want to have to really play Portugal.
Prediction: Mexico 3, Angola 1.