Greetings from the Land of Chocolate!
My American, Hasselhoff-hating cousin, Lil' Hater, asked me to stop by and say a few words about the World Cup. As you may know, the planet's biggest sporting event starts Friday in my – as he said – "lederhosen-wearing, Sproket-dancing, metric-loving, no-good country." His words, not mine.
No problem, I said. If there's one thing a German knows, its soccer. Well that, and beer. And waging unprovoked, destructive wars against innocent countries.
So Americans, we can at least bond over two of those things! Let's see if can learn soccer together, too. Achtung!
Also, Lil' Hater mentioned that I should keep it simple, based on the appalling lack of knowledge about the Beautiful Game on the site, as evidenced by his boss’ embarrassing attempt at 'humor' last month.
Nice try, Der Kommissar, but I'll take it from here. But you can keep on blogging about those all important college softball games and reality game shows geared towards women viewers. Not that there's anything wrong with liking those things. But let's just say that you made Dean Martin cry.
So, anyway, here are a couple bits of background info before Friday's first games, based on reader’s questions.
Question: Is it true that Frankfurt has a NFL Europe team?
Lil' Dieter: What a stupid question. The answer is yes.
Question: Would Frankfurt beat the Raiders?
Lil' Dieter: Another stupid question. Yes they would. And they'd cover the spread, too.
Question: I really, really hate the Raiders. Who should I root against at the World Cup?
Lil' Dieter: Mexico. Like the Raiders, Mexico's soccer team is known for two things: cheating, and choking. And yes, there may be some crossover in the fan bases.
Question: How would a stereotypical Raider/Mexico fan stack up against some of the world's more notorious soccer hooligans?
Lil' Dieter: They would be made to look (more) like dopes. English, Dutch, Turkish, and the up-and-coming Polish hooligans wouldn't even bother beating on a Raider fan. It would be like starting a fight with Scrappy-Doo. Why even bother.
Question: Which big-name coach at the World Cup has the best chance of pulling a Norv Turner, and losing in a truly embarrassing fashion?
Lil' Dieter: No one will be as bad as Norv, but keep an eye on France's coach, Raymond Domenech. Like Norv, he likes ignoring his best player (Arsenal striker Thierry Henry) by playing him in a central forward role he’s not suited for. Like Norv, he's already lost control of the team, by letting over-the-hill players like Zidane, Thuram, and Barthez return to the National Team and dictate the shape of the club. And like Norv, he's bound to be out-coached by someone who exploits France's lack of midfield width and speed.
Question: Was that actual analysis? WTF? Say something funny, bobblehead.
Lil' Dieter: Ok. Let's just say that in its dealings with Germany, France's isn't exactly known for its courage, or coming out on top. Expect the same in the World Cup.
Now, I hope that helps. And if not, just remember the old Germans saying: Shut Up, Or We Will Crush You! Whoops, I meant to say: Enjoy the Match!