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What’s your politically-correct World Cup bracket?

on 79 Comments
Marouane Fellaini

Marouane Fellaini

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

Final Four

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.

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79 Responses

  1. Dutch
    Dutch on June 28, 2014, 11:37 am

    @ Phil
    “That means Brazil will defeat the Netherlands in the Finals.”

    If the Netherlands will beat Mexico tomorrow they might reach the final. Many people here would have preferred to play against Brazil instead of Mexico though; I believe Mexico is stronger.

    Not sure if the Brazilians will make it to the final; they’ll have to defeat Chile, Colombia and Germany or France. All these teams play very well.

    Four years ago The Netherlands defeated Brazil in the semi-final; in 1998 we lost against Brazil at the same stage after penalties. Holland made it to the final three times: in 1974 (1-2 loss against Germany), 1978 (1-3 loss against Argentina after extra time), 2010 (0-1 loss against Spain after extra time).

    The present Dutch team might be less strong than the previous teams – playing less attractive also, which is not taken lightly –, but mentally it seems ready to win a final. The most difficult hurdle: Mexico, in blazing Fortaleza, tomorrow at 13.00 local time.

  2. ritzl
    ritzl on June 28, 2014, 12:35 pm

    Three CONCACAF teams in the 16. World gone wild!!

    Go Algeria!

    • dbroncos
      dbroncos on June 28, 2014, 8:50 pm

      Spelled not spelt ;-)

      • lysias
        lysias on June 28, 2014, 10:01 pm

        Both spellings are admissible.

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty on June 29, 2014, 7:11 am

        I assume that you replied to me, not to ritzl. As a European, I (try to) use British English. That’s why I wrote “spelt”. I also think that the word looks nicer that way.

      • lysias
        lysias on June 29, 2014, 2:20 pm

        I use both spellings, depending upon whether I’m feeling more American or Irish at the time.

  3. German Lefty
    German Lefty on June 28, 2014, 12:51 pm

    we’re soliciting Politically Correct Brackets. Got one?
    No. I am not a fan of political correctness or reverse discrimination. May the best team win. I hope that it will be Germany.

    Klinsman has done a wonderful job
    The name is spelt “Klinsmann”.

    Europe has never won there
    Europe can’t win because it’s not a country and has no own soccer team.

    • Justpassingby
      Justpassingby on June 28, 2014, 1:11 pm

      Take it easy. Gosh.

    • philweiss
      philweiss on June 28, 2014, 1:27 pm

      Thanks GL

      • Citizen
        Citizen on June 28, 2014, 1:42 pm

        Who wouldn’t want GL on their side? She’s a pip, as they use to say in America. I’m an American but I’m rooting for Germany too. For lots of reasons.

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty on June 28, 2014, 4:40 pm

        She’s a pip

        I have no idea what that means. I tried to look up the word, but it turns out that “pip” can be anything from a dot on a dice to a decoration worn on a military uniform to a company that produced breast implants. However, I assume that being a pip is still better than being a PEP.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on June 28, 2014, 9:10 pm

        Rather old fashioned slang.

        ” An excellent or very attractive person or thing.”


        Has the added connotation of being attractive in strength of good character and showing that character in conduct. Watch a lot of old, black and white, American films, and you will get the idea.

      • lysias
        lysias on June 29, 2014, 2:24 pm

        On a lot of DVD’s, you can choose subtitles for the hard of hearing. I generally choose them even for English-language movies (my hearing isn’t what it used to be). For movies in languages that are foreign to me, subtitles in the language of the movie I find to be a great boon for learning the language.

      • Citizen
        Citizen on June 28, 2014, 10:20 pm


        I meant the phrase “She’s a pip” in a complimentary fashion; we must travel back to 1797 where ‘pip‘ was something that was perceived as being singularly extraordinary of its kind, e.g., “a really good apple.” If one said of a female he or she knew that she was ‘a pip” it meant that the person in question was a one-of-a-kind, excellent person in the speaker’s opinion. My father was born in 1914, here in USA; I learned that positive expression from him.

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty on June 29, 2014, 7:18 am

        @ Citizen
        Thanks for the compliment, but I am not sure if I deserve it. Any way, I like you, too.

        @ RoHa
        Oh, I am not a fan of old films because the audio quality is so bad. That makes it impossible for me, as a non-native speaker, to understand the spoken English.

      • Citizen
        Citizen on June 29, 2014, 11:19 am

        @ RoHa
        Yes, “pip” also refers to good character demonstrated, etc. My Dad’s generation used it in the same way people often say, “She’s a jewel.”
        It meant admirable in various context. Was never used as a negative noun.

        @ GL
        Here, list of 1930s US slang, many of which I heard from my Dad before I ever watched any movies from the era:

    • ohiojoes
      ohiojoes on June 28, 2014, 1:41 pm

      Who says Germans are humorless.

      • lysias
        lysias on June 28, 2014, 10:05 pm

        A joke from the Nazi time:

        Hitler, Göring, und Goebbels sind zusammen in einem Boot. Das Boot sinkt. Frage: Wer wird gerettet? Antwort: Deutschland. [Hitler, Göring, and Goebbels are together on a boat. The boat sinks. Question: Who is saved? Answer: Germany.]

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty on June 29, 2014, 7:21 am

        Great joke, lysias. It’s funny because it’s true. Where did you get the joke from? I have never heard it before.

      • lysias
        lysias on June 29, 2014, 2:16 pm

        Sorry, I don’t remember now where I got it from.

    • bilal a
      bilal a on June 28, 2014, 4:05 pm

      A good friend in college;s mother was in a concentration camp in Germany, after the war, an americancamp; I gathered that she was less than tem years old, wouldn’t talk about it much but did mention the bob wire. She did consider herself lucky not to be outside the fence, or in the eastern half.

      Looking at the unified Germany of today, and its proud soccer team, I wonder what would have happened to eruope and the middle east without sykes-picot, ww1 , british palestine and what was to follow.

      tragic, not least for the germans.

    • seafoid
      seafoid on June 28, 2014, 4:35 pm

      Italy are out so there is no team to scare the bejaysus out of Germany left in the competition.

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty on June 28, 2014, 4:46 pm

        Well, the USA is still in the competition. So, Obama could send his killer drones.

  4. ritzl
    ritzl on June 28, 2014, 1:09 pm

    Colbert had a good segment mocking FOX on the World Cup.

    Fox News calls World Cup craze a conspiracy to distract from Obama’s troubles. “It’s too convenient.” (Seriously!)

    An insidious “furrin” influence no doubt. Islamic, unless I miss my guess. (Damn, I could do that job.)–t-serious—the-vast-government-soccer-conspiracy

    • The Hasbara Buster
      The Hasbara Buster on June 28, 2014, 2:55 pm

      In this case it’s a Vatican conspiracy. Although the Muslims have made some inroads, soccer remains an overwhelmingly Catholic affair. No difference to FOX, since Obama is a Muslim passing as a Catholic anyway.

    • subconscious
      subconscious on June 28, 2014, 8:00 pm

      A clip posted at a hardline Iranian media site, suggests that major international sports events have been deliberate distractions for Israel’s crimes ever since that country’s founding. The narrator is Marzieh Hashemi, an American who’s been working for PressTV from Tehran.

  5. on June 28, 2014, 1:32 pm

    I am also rooting for Brazil. My young son is in Rio today so is sending me texts and pictures from his iPhone as we speak – what an epic world cup. Great analysis. I like it but fate will tell. The picture is taken today with the phone.


  6. Taxi
    Taxi on June 28, 2014, 1:34 pm

    The Algerians at the games are waving Algerian AND Palestinian flags!

    Go Uruba!

    • ritzl
      ritzl on June 28, 2014, 6:44 pm


      Also there were sideline ads cycling in the Brazil-Chile game that said “FIFA Say No to Racism. #SayNoToRacism” Were those Palestine related?

      • Justpassingby
        Justpassingby on June 29, 2014, 4:35 am


        No it was not. Its a message thats been going on for decades.

      • ritzl
        ritzl on June 29, 2014, 7:56 am

        Thanks, jpb. I used it anyway combined with #Palestine, #PalestineUnderAttack, and #Israel. Seemed like the thing to do in the moment.

    • German Lefty
      German Lefty on June 29, 2014, 7:30 am

      Great! Now I wish that I would have watched the game. However, this was not the only time Algerians waved the Palestinian flag at a soccer game:
      Let’s hope that they will do it again tomorrow when Algeria plays against Germany. Let’s also hope that the German commentator will recognise the flag and mention it.

  7. The Hasbara Buster
    The Hasbara Buster on June 28, 2014, 2:47 pm

    Well, I was born in Rosario, so how can you ask me to be politically correct about the World Cup? Go Messi! Go Argentina!

  8. DaBakr
    DaBakr on June 28, 2014, 3:12 pm

    you do realize “political correctness” is a term that was devised to describe hypocrisy among left, left-center leaning people who ….oh well. I guess if y’all want to imbrace it as some kind of gold star, thats nice. It helps you to pick out the racist bigots like me , I suppose who don’t ascribe to any sort of socially proscribed ‘correctness’. But for what its worth:
    USA-Ghana….US wins by 1 in overtime. omg. It may not be ‘correct’ but hard to deny it won;t be dramatic and for those wringing their hands over Ghana-they won’t be crying as they’ll be thinking about next year.

    • Bumblebye
      Bumblebye on June 28, 2014, 8:24 pm

      You may scoff at the term and claim it belongs to the left, but the smoothest practitioner of “political correctness” I ever knew was (and still is) on the furthest right in British politics (was elected an MEP for the BNP alongside Nick Griffin in the last round of Euro elections, so that’s over now). For decades he was a lecturer at our local college – in (hah!) politics, law, business studies and no matter how hard people tried (inc yrs truly) was impossible to budge. He never, ever brought up his politics in the educational forum, to the point that ethnic minority students would speak up for him in meetings. He has cleaved to his racist views since earliest childhood, and since he must be around 70 now, that’s a helluvan ingrained foulness.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr on June 29, 2014, 6:29 pm

        while what you say about this British guy may be true-I stand by my claim that the term Political Correctness was first put to wide spread use in the US as a term to define the supposed hypocrisy of the new left. that doesn’t mean it hasn;t evolved to encompass a more broad definition but that is questionable.

        and as for @jwp below:
        Misreading? Have no clue to what you are referring. I can read just fine, Can you? The US team is the epitome of a ‘politically correct’ team in terms of composition and status as underdog.

    • justicewillprevail
      justicewillprevail on June 29, 2014, 5:35 am

      The Baker scores spectacular own goal in his typical misreading of an article and its terms here, while making clumsy, heavy handed attempt at tackling superior opposition in his own box. Back of the net!

  9. DaBakr
    DaBakr on June 28, 2014, 3:15 pm

    pw: “Then the U.S. loses to Argentina.”

    is that because Argentina just lost to US in the scotus decision? ;)

  10. Citizen
    Citizen on June 28, 2014, 4:06 pm

    I think Chile won earlier today. Now col v uru– no scores yet

    • hungrydave
      hungrydave on June 28, 2014, 8:04 pm

      no, they lost to brazil on penalties

      • Justpassingby
        Justpassingby on June 29, 2014, 4:35 am

        Tough game, Chile should have won imo.

      • Dutch
        Dutch on June 29, 2014, 7:30 pm

        I agree. Great team. Brazil will face Colombia. Brazil will have to do better or they have a problem.

  11. Citizen
    Citizen on June 28, 2014, 4:29 pm

    Columbia just scored at 28 minutes into the game.

  12. atime forpeace
    atime forpeace on June 28, 2014, 4:45 pm

    Sophistication and enlightenment are the hallmark of post racist, politically correct individuals, who ultimately end up enforcing their dogma upon the less enlightened. The bolsheviks were intellectual geniuses who knew what was best.

    Colombia has a stellar team.
    Brazil, Costa Rica, I will take Mexico over the Netherlands because their goalie is showcasing his talent magnificently. I’d love to see Nigerian beat France but do not think it would be possible. Germany over Algeria simply because I am a fan and they are strong as hell. ( now i would love for the Algerians make a strong showing against Germany just because they support the holy cause (Palestinian statehood).
    I would love to see Switzerland beat Argentina just because i am not a fan and it is possible as well.
    I would love to see the U.S beat Belgium and it is a possibility. Just depends on which U.S team shows up.

  13. gamal
    gamal on June 28, 2014, 5:20 pm

    “(England was no surprise.)” bastard!
    The yute team failed even beyond my expectations, clearly I know jack,

    My oldest son, a semi-pro soccer player, liked Suarez, who pulled a Tyson, and is banned for a period and Uruguay aint the same without him.
    the great thing about the Arab sides is the abandonment of tedious bureaucratic football, of which Egypt were/are the masters, I hope a small unfancied side wins, which includes the US, who have played very well, didnt they beat England in the 50’s? Klinsman has done a great job, an African champion would be cool, but Germany, Brazil or France, despite the Chile game, is the way to bet.

    James’ goal for Colombia leaving Uruguay in some need, was brilliant, we can only hope for drama, like the battle of Santiago, I hope the US do well, they deserve it, but as to Americans not knowing much about football? dont those Hispanic guys, of whom there are quite few in the US, know a bit?

    I hope Greece, Switzerland, Algeria and Nigeria go far, but its unlikely, I miss the cynical professionalism of Italy, it speaks to those of us who trained in the old courtly amateur game of Rugby Union, where sportsmanship and courage were more important than winning, since professionalism Rugby has reached levels of skill, power and fitness unthinkable in my day, but its not as open and exciting as it used to be, the masters of competition like, the top European sides, can be soul destroyingly boring to watch. Oh Colombia score again.

    I’d like to see the US reach at least the semi’s, I can see no reason why they shouldnt, good mobile side, good to see you doing well at a real sport not the weird games you entertain yourselves with, Rounders and “Football”, really, Cricket, Rugby and Soccer are the only real team sports, we may need to invade you and enforce this, its for your own good!

    How many times is the NFL or Baseball mentioned in the Bible, Jesus played Rugby!(but never in the pack)

    • Shmuel
      Shmuel on June 29, 2014, 5:58 am

      How many times is the NFL or Baseball mentioned in the Bible, Jesus played Rugby!

      I’ll leave it to the wise sports commentators here to decide which game Isaiah was describing (22:17-19):

      Behold, the LORD will hurl you up and down with a man’s throw; and will wind you round and round; He will violently roll and toss you like a ball into a large country; there you shall die, and there shall be the chariots of your glory, O shame of your lord’s house. And I will thrust you from your post, and from your station you shall be pulled down.

      • gamal
        gamal on June 29, 2014, 9:07 am

        yes God definitely played in the pack, “He will violently roll and toss you” second row from the sound of Him “there you shall die”, thrusting from posts is all very well but if the ref sees you pulling down from that station its a penalty, but God like any other forward has no respect for the laws of the game.

        thanks I hardly know the Bible but can confidently assert that I knew that that had to be in there somewhere, its common sense.

  14. Citizen
    Citizen on June 28, 2014, 5:24 pm

    Now (45 min): Columbia has two scores, opponent: 0

  15. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich on June 28, 2014, 6:37 pm

    The day when the Clinton$ stop pushing their ‘I’m a democrat’ caveat beyond the goalposts of normalcy…

    Damn! I should have read the sign on the entrance door…

  16. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich on June 28, 2014, 8:11 pm

    1) France has to win this thing, coz I’m tired of munching on ‘Freedom Fries.’

    2) Holland/The Netherlands [which one is it?] 2nd, coz they love to lose finals.

    3) Brazil 3rd, coz they hosted this multimillion [sponsor alert] $$ fest.

    • German Lefty
      German Lefty on June 29, 2014, 7:34 am

      Holland/The Netherlands [which one is it?]

      Look here:
      “In English the country is called ‘the Netherlands’ (or frequently – but inaccurately – ‘Holland’).”

      By the way, the English team is really just the English team, not the British or UK team.

      • Dutch
        Dutch on June 29, 2014, 7:54 pm


        The country is called ‘Nederland’ (in Dutch) or The Netherlands (in English). Holland is a province (actually two, North and South); historically it has always been a very powerful region as part of several entities. Hence the name became known to the outside world, mixed up with The Netherlands that it became part of.

        I gladly admit that the Dutch add to the confusion by stricktly using ‘Nederland’ in Dutch, but ‘Holland’ in English – as they realize many foreigners know the country as such. Hyper-correctness in optima forma.

        Hope this helps. Otherwise this is the book to read on Holland (oops):

      • Daniel Rich
        Daniel Rich on June 29, 2014, 9:47 pm

        @ German Lefty & Dutch,

        Thank you, guys. This clip was also helpful. It seems my historical perspective is very limited, but it’s always good to broaden one’s horizon.

        Oh, and I stumbled over Holland. The Original Cool. as well. Looks great. Well done.

  17. hungrydave
    hungrydave on June 28, 2014, 8:11 pm

    “England was no surprise.”

    Ouch. It’s nice that you lot across the pond are finally getting into footy, but there’s no need to be mean, at least we train up your best players in the premiership for you.

  18. justicewillprevail
    justicewillprevail on June 28, 2014, 8:31 pm

    Well there’s definitely a post-colonialist flavour to a lot of this World Cup, which is a good thing. It’s a Latin American celebration in a lot of ways, but in answer to the question, I invariably support the underdog. It’s always heart warming to see the unexpected and largely unrecognised take on the established countries and give them a lesson in creativity, community and co-operation – which is often their greatest asset against the big guns – need I elaborate, lol? So hats off to Iran, Algeria, Costa Rica, Colombia and Chile.

  19. Dan Crowther
    Dan Crowther on June 28, 2014, 10:25 pm

    If Michael Bradley had made the trip to Brazil, the US might actually have had a chance to advance past the first knockout round.

  20. Citizen
    Citizen on June 28, 2014, 10:29 pm

    The World Cup thriller between the United States and Portugal on Sunday night was the most watched soccer game in American history.

    ESPN announced Monday that its telecast of the game averaged 18,220,000 viewers. The previous high for a soccer game came in 1999, when 17.975 million viewers watched the U.S. women win the 1999 World Cup final in a game played at the Rose Bowl.

    Viewership peaked at nearly 23 million during the frenzied final minutes of the 2-2 draw.

    Thursday’s World Cup match between Team TISI +2.82% USA and Germany may have come out as a 0-1 loss for the US, but given that Ghana lost to Portugal, and with it the US advancing to the Round of 16, ESPN could breathe a sigh of relief. Call it the bandwagon. Call it the new US obsession. No matter what you called it, World Cup fever would continue in the US, and with it ESPN would continue the ratings bonanza.

    The question for many was, how would the game compare to the record viewership for Sunday’s match against Portugal? That game pulled in a record 18.22 million viewers, the highest-ever for a World Cup match on ESPN. That game fell on a Sunday and in primetime on the East Coast. Thursday’s game against Germany started at noon Eastern Time. Early numbers are in, and given those variables, ESPN has to be happy.

    Thursday’s US vs. Germany matched averaged a 6.7 US household rating and 10,771,000 viewers, making it the second highest-rated, and third most-viewed, men’s World Cup match on ESPN or ESPN2 ever. ESPN’s highest-rated World Cup match – a 9.6 US HH rating for the 2014 USA vs. Portugal contest on Sunday, June 22 – is also the most-viewed soccer match across all US television networks, averaging 18,220,000 viewers. ESPN’s second most-viewed men’s World Cup match – USA vs. Ghana on Monday, June 16, 2014 – averaged 11,093,000 viewers and a 6.3 US HH rating. At its highest point, ESPN’s telecast averaged 12,055,000 viewers and a 7.7 US HH rating from 1:30 to 2 p.m.

    According to ESPN, the top markets were New York, San Diego, Sacramento, Seattle, Orlando, Baltimore, Columbus, West Palm Beach, Providence, San Francisco, and Austin.

    In terms of how the game fared via streaming media, ESPN had a blistering new record with 1.7 million concurrent viewers, eclipsing the most recent Super Bowl. Adding to how many may have been watching World Cup action online at the office, ESPN reports that and, led by Thursday’s World Cup matches, set platform records for unique visitors in one day, hitting 19,500,000 and 7,800,000, respectively.

    When you add in Spanish-language broadcaster Univision’s 3.4 million, U.S. viewers to push the total U.S. audience to over 14 million.

  21. just
    just on June 28, 2014, 10:53 pm

    Let the best men win!

    Trite, simple– perhaps. I love the game and the fitness exhibited by the athletes. It makes me happy that the US, with the brilliance of Klinnsman, is finally not only a ‘superpower’, but a player in a wonderful sport that has been largely ignored by lots of folks in the US.

    (looking very much forward for the Female World Cup, etc.!) This sport has LEGS! (and abds and passion!)

    (if only we would learn the metric system!)

    • just
      just on June 28, 2014, 11:28 pm

      the US thinks it is a’ superpower’, but it’s not…so…much.

  22. Taxi
    Taxi on June 28, 2014, 11:41 pm

    Just to remind you, folks, I’ve been hanging out in a farmhouse in a small south Lebanon village for a couple of years (going back home to LA after the summer). It’s a tucked away village, off a small and winding country road, so it usually gets little traffic: it’s old and quiet and biblically quaint. Nothing notable ever happens here – but the palace has sure gone lively-crazy with World Cup fever!

    Since the games began, there are flags everywhere: flags on rooftops; flags tied to garden gates, to windows, to lamp posts – on trees, on cars and trucks, on motorbikes, on bicycles, on tractors, even on baby prams: you name it – everything immobile and mobile in the village is waving flags! Full size German flags, Spanish flags, Italian, Dutch, Argentinean, Brazilian etc – it’s all international flags waving in this small village. You see flags fluttering right next to various and permanent Resistance flags; fluttering next to a giant Syrian flag in the village plaza – you see them flapping next to faded portraits of village martyrs fallen during the israeli ’82 invasion. Quite the odd juxtaposition, but a colorful and cheerful spectacle nevertheless.

    The only (seasonal) restaurant in the village, affectionately referred to as The Ritz at my crib, but really it’s a red-earthed olive field with tables and chairs under old olive trees with hanging lanterns – serving fantastic barbeques and local dishes btw – well, they’re celebrating World Cup games at the village Ritz too. A giant TV screen for those with no access to sporting cable channels – price of admission: 1,000LL (approx 80 cents) per game – and over there in a corner of the festive olive grove, plenty of colorful World Cup paraphernalia sold at a special counter, including badges of Pele and Nasrallah cheek to cheek.


    Needless to say, much applause and howling and horn-beeping and whistling and drum-banging echoes out from every corner of the village during game time. And by my count, Germany definitely has the most number of flags waving in the summer breeze of south Lebanon.


  23. Taxi
    Taxi on June 29, 2014, 12:08 am

    “World Cup Broadcasts: The Middle East’s Opportunity to Miss an Opportunity”

    • ritzl
      ritzl on June 29, 2014, 8:14 am

      The beneficiary of Qatar’s [broadcast rights owner for MENA] political faux pas [charging out the wazoo…], Israel, seems equally incapable of capitalizing on the fact that many in countries that border on the Jewish state tune into Amos, the Israeli satellite station that grants free access to World Cup matches.

      I’d sure like to know the backstory on this arrangement. How does Israel get away with broadcasting matches for free. Stealing signal, or a sweetheart deal with the Qataris, or officially not part of MENA, government-funded (i.e. US taxpayer) propaganda effort, or other…

      • Pat Nguyen
        Pat Nguyen on June 29, 2014, 11:05 am

        Are you really that daft? Israel broadcasting has its own deal and includes the games to its subscribers at no charge.

      • ritzl
        ritzl on June 29, 2014, 8:33 pm

        That would be the “not part of MENA” bit, wouldn’t it?

        Link? Details? Preferably non-fiction.

      • Pat Nguyen
        Pat Nguyen on June 29, 2014, 11:54 pm

        Here you go sir.
        This is a document which shows each country by FIFA geographical divisions. You can see here that Al Jazeera owns the broadcast rights to Palestine and the countries that surround Israel while the rights to broadcast in Israel were given to other broadcasters. No conspiracy here sir. And it took about 10 seconds to find.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr on June 29, 2014, 6:34 pm

        your really that skewered up with rage that you can’t fathom that the Arabs near the Israeli borders are benefitting from Israeli sat coverage because of Qatari greed and nothing to do with Israel? Pretty hysterical. That you turn it around into Israel ‘stealing signal’ as if your some kind of capitalist scold speaks volumes about your hypocrisy when it comes to Israel vs. Arabs.
        Those poor poor owners of Qatar, weep for them please.

      • Taxi
        Taxi on June 29, 2014, 10:56 pm

        Pat and Dab,

        Of course, how “daft” and “skewered” of ritzl! He shoulda known that israel signed a deal with god for the World Cup transmissions. Just like it signed a deal with god over Palestine.

      • ritzl
        ritzl on June 30, 2014, 9:02 am

        Look DaBakr, broadcasting free, unscrambled content into the territory that another entity paid for almost certainly violates Israel’s broadcast rights agreement. That method (violating agreements) seems to be just part of the way Israel does everything.

        Nothing hysterical about it. I just wanted to know what agreement they were violating in this case.

  24. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich on June 29, 2014, 6:22 am

    Israel strikes Gaza militant sites 3. I thought all Palestinian land is one big militant site…, no?

  25. Elisabeth
    Elisabeth on June 29, 2014, 12:30 pm

    Strange, here I am watching Netherlands-Mexico all alone from Tokyo in a hotel room. I hope the Netherlands win, mostly for my kids back home, but Mexico looks strong…

    • Dutch
      Dutch on June 29, 2014, 8:18 pm


      You picked an amazing place to watch MEX-NED. First half was indeed messy – after De Jong left the game (9”) the system collapsed. Mexico was stronger. Second half was for the Dutch though it took them long to score. You could see the frustration in Sneijder’s goal.

      BTW — it was 39 degrees Celcius during the game. Pretty crazy. Qatar, here we come!

      • tree
        tree on June 29, 2014, 8:57 pm

        BTW — it was 39 degrees Celcius during the game. Pretty crazy. Qatar, here we come!

        Wow! Worse apparent temperature than the one in Qatar today! (Sorry, I’m American, so I have to do this in Fahrenheit. ) Temperature in Rio today, 95 degrees with 74% humidity(!) equals an apparent temperature (temp and humidity combined in formula to determine perceived temperature) of 123 degrees! Temperature in Doha, Qatar today was 111 degrees, with humidity at 21% and thus not an aggravating component of apparent temperature, leaving the apparent temperature there 12 degrees less hot (can’t really say cooler at those temperatures) than in Rio.

    • Daniel Rich
      Daniel Rich on June 29, 2014, 9:55 pm

      @ Elizabeth,

      Off topic: did you happen to see the man who set himself on fire? The weird thing is that it is not mentioned in national [Japanese] papers [my wife scanned a few online ones, but couldn’t find any headlines about the incident]. Must be too embarrassing.

      Don’t miss the ‘Skytree.’

      • Elisabeth
        Elisabeth on June 30, 2014, 2:57 am

        I will ask around here about the incident. And I will go to Skytree. I plan to combine it with a visit to the Edo Tokyo museum.

  26. Hamishe_Sabz
    Hamishe_Sabz on June 29, 2014, 11:34 pm

    wait so no one is rooting for guys should all be ashamed of yourself..

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