We’ve got World Cup fever here at Mondo, and we’re soliciting Politically Correct Brackets. Got one? Please post it in the Comments.
Adam sent me his yesterday:
Chile over Brazil
Colombia over Uruguay
Chile over Colombia
France over Nigeria
Algeria over Germany
ALGERIA OVER FRANCE (highlights here)
Mexico over Netherlands
Greece over Costa Rica
Mexico over Greece
Argentina over Switzerland
USA over Belgium
Argentina over USA
Chile over Algeria
Argentina over Mexico
Final: Argentina over Chile (I actually don’t really want this, but reality has to intrude at some point. And I like Messi.)
My politically-correct bracket is similar, though I put Nigeria and Mexico in the Finals. A first-time winner of the World Cup emerges: the first African team to win.
Now let me get realistic. I’ve watched the Cup pretty religiously, and here are my thoughts. (Take em with a grain of salt; I know jack about soccer.)
The U.S. has a great team. Despite my negativity, Klinsmann has done a wonderful job breathing discipline and belief into this squad. Clint Dempsey’s been phenomenal, so has Tim Howard. Jermaine Jones has emerged as a lethal threat. They dominated Portugal and kept pace with Germany. I take my hat off to the U.S., and much as I love watching the tall Moroccan-Belgian Fellaini prowl the net, I give the U.S. the victory over Belgium. “Hold the Stella,” says my friend.
Then the U.S. loses to Argentina.
Mexico has been an exciting team to watch, but the Netherlands even moreso. Van Persie and Robben have been the heroes of this World Cup, Fer’s goal was brilliant, and Sneijder is lurking. I see their dynamism going far. They will wear down Mexico’s great goalkeeper and defeat Mexico narrowly then end Costa Rica’s glorious run in a rout, and Argentina is too dependent on Messi to survive them in the semifinals.
As for the other side of the bracket, much as I love Chile’s upstart squad, and join Africa’s prayer for Nigeria, and thrill to the creativity of Algeria’s Slimani and Feghouli, Germany, France, Brazil, and Colombia will win. And though I thought Germany would go far after the Portugal game, Ghana and the U.S. seemed to figure them out. So will France; Karim Benzema will cement his supremacy– and crown the legacy of great Muslim strikers in this year’s Cup.
Then Brazil will knock off France in a tremendous game (2-2 in regulation), to face the Netherlands two weeks from tomorrow.
You can see from my bracket that I am saying there are no more surprises in the World Cup. All the surprises took place in group play. The strength and maturity of the U.S. The humbling defeats of Spain, Italy and Portugal. The brilliance of Chile, Costa Rica, Nigeria. The joy of Mexico– these were all surprises. (England was no surprise.) From now on there are no more surprises.
That means Brazil will defeat the Netherlands in the Finals. Because Neymar Jr. has been playing with such complete confidence like he’s in a schoolyard, because Robben can’t sustain the incredible runs we’ve seen so far, because this is a year for Latin soccer and South America (and Europe has never won there, I’m informed), because the twelfth man counts for two in Brazil, because it’s a happier ending.