Showing posts with label 2010 World Cup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2010 World Cup. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Why Horse Racing Tells me That Germany Will Beat Spain

By: T.R. Slyder,, @AndyDisco on Twitter

Horse Racing Lesson #1: Recent Form Means Everything

Why it favors Germany: Germany won their last two games, 4-1 and 4-0. Spain won their last two games 1-0 and 1-0 with David Villa scoring both goals. Hmmm, that looks like a pattern, does it not? Germany scores 4 a game, and Spain 1. 1 David Villa goal to be exact. Who on Spain has PROVEN they can beat you if Villa doesn't? No one. Spain may have better passing, a deeper team, and a Euro 2008 and trophy, but zero people find their last two wins more impressive than Germany's.

Horse Racing Lesson #2: The Fewer Changes for a hot Horse/Team, the Better

Why it Favors Germany: This could be a wash, because Mueller is out for Germany as well, but with Spain benching Torres, we don't know how that will disrupt their (delicate) offensive rhythm. What if this throws off David Villa? Who else will score? What if Germany just loads up on Villa and lets the new guy beat them?

Horse racing taught me to take a pass on a horse trying something new for the first time at a high level. For instance, if Rachel Alexandra (a dirt horse) ran on grass against elite company, I would bet against her. If she started running sprints (she prefers longer distances) against elite company, I would bet against her. The only way I'd bet a horse trying something new is if they did so against far lesser competition.

Spain is making a change and it is against elite competition. I'd bet Rachel Alexandra on the grass in an allowance race, but not in the Arlington Million. Sorry, Spain.

You don't change horses midstream, if there is any current.

Horse Racing Lesson #3: History is a Factor, Even if you are Unsure why or how.

I'm in a relative hurry to get this post published before the soccer match starts, so I can't research this as much as I would have liked. But certain trends in horse racing can be hard to ignore. When I first heard about these trends I was very skeptical of them because I couldn't explain them, nor could anyone else. For instance- European horses do disproportionately well in Breeder's Cup grass races, and the Arlington Million. Other than Street Sense, the winner of the Breeder's Cup Juvenile hadn't went on to win the Kentucky Derby in a very, very long time. In the last decade, The Arkansas Derby has produced significantly better horses than the Wood Memorial.

Can I offer some explanations for those trends? Yeah, kinda. But I can't paint the whole picture, and I don't think anyone can. As I've gotten a bit better at horse playing, I have learned that the question is NOT "WHY is that the trend?" the question really is more simply, "WHAT is the trend?" and follow it.

I don't think Native Americans could explain why three-leaved ankle-high plants resulted in an itchy rash after touching it, but they ignored those poison ivy plants, nonetheless.

The World Cup tie-in here is that Germany has the history here. They have won three World Cups and Spain is in their first ever semi-finals. Do I know why that is? No. Can I profit from that phenomenon, without being able to explain it? Yes. Historically, Germany has found a way to win and Spain hasn't. That is objective and is there for us to observe. I don't know exactly what about capsaicin on our papillae makes chili peppers taste hot, but I know they are. That's really all I need to know.

Horse Racing Lesson #4: Don't Be Afraid to Pick Against the Experts

Spain seems to be the slight betting favorite in this match. It's about a half-notch below a "Pick 'em", but Spain is favored, albeit slightly. Alexi Lalas picked Spain over Germany though and he knows a ton more about soccer than I do. Shouldn't I be concerned?

Not really. He cited his rationale for why he thought Spain would win, but he could have picked them for reasons we don't know. Maybe he has a Spanish wife or girlfriend. Maybe he thinks Germany will win, but Spain is the trendier pick to make, and he doesn't want to go against trendy soccer thinking. Maybe he believes Spain will win, and is simply incorrect.

Horse Racing Lesson #5: Avoid the Results That Would Make you Feel the Most Stupid

This sounds stupid, but has been done me a world of good at the track. Here it is in practice. I think Germany will win. They scored 4 goals against an ok England team, 4 goals against a very strong Argentina team, and more impressively, held Argentina to just one (garbage time) goal. They shut down Messi and Tevez, so why can't they shut down only David Villa? If Germany won this game 4-1, wouldn't you think, "Well, yeah. I shoulda seen that coming, both teams were trending in that direction." and you would feel stupid if you took Spain.

Taking Spain, essentially, represents your thinking that Germany will, for some reason, score 3 or 4 goals LESS than usual and Spain will probably score more than they usually have been. Doesn't that seem like a big departure? A lot of trends have to end for that to happen. If you DID assume that, and it didn't happen, wouldn't you feel like kind of a dumbass? Let's go over the 4 possibilities and how I see it.

Your Guess/Actual Winner.......Thoughts afterward

Spain/Spain.....Hot Damn. Spain scored a lot more/Germany scored a lot less than they have been trending, and I predicted that correctly. I know my soccer.

Spain/Germany....Goddamnit. I got talked into Spain. I mean, of course I knew Germany looked unbeatable. I just assumed some trends would do a 180, Germany would randomly suck and Spain would score more goals against Germany than they could muster against Portugal. Any monkey with eyes could tell you that Germany looked to be playing better. I just incorrectly predicted a major trend reversal.

Germany/Spain.... Goddamnit. Can't blame me for that one. Germany's last two games were against solid opponents and they had an 8-1 goal differential. Spain? 2-0 overall goals versus Paraguay and Portugal. I took a stand, bet the on-the-field trends, and ignored a lot of experts and the betting odds. I guess they knew something I didn't afterall. Next time I will have to weight their arguments more.

Germany/Germany...Hot Damn! I told you! I told you! I told you! Germany has too stout of a defense, too creative and multi-faceted of an offense, too much history and no reason to think that train was going to screech to a halt against its will.

What option makes me feel the stupidest? The first one of four, so I have to avoid that in favor of the last one.

We'll see how I do. The game is about to start.

That's how I roll.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Show me the Size of Your A-hole, Miroslav Klose!

By: T.R. Slyder,, @AndyDisco on Twitter

Miroslav Klose's post-goal celebration could be a cryptic message denote the size of his rectum.

Pay attention particularly at the :59 second mark. It essentially deciphers Klose's code. Here is one of my favorite sketches from Upright Citizen's Brigade:

Upright Citizens Brigade
Bosco's Foot
Futurama New EpisodesIt's Always Sunny in PhiladelphiaRussell Simmon Stand-Up Comedy

here is the hand gesture German striker Miroslav Klose makes after he scores:


Oh, by the way, here is Klose coach, Joachim Low picking his nose and eating it.


The comedy sketch above was edited. In the actual episode, after Bosco threatened to put his foot in their a-holes, Moses came out and asked if they like tricks.

Upright Citizens Brigade
Moses' Tricks
Futurama New EpisodesIt's Always Sunny in PhiladelphiaRussell Simmon Stand-Up Comedy

That's how I roll.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I Told You Germany was Awesome

By: T.R. Slyder,, @AndyDisco on Twitter
England : 2010 World Cup :: Tim Henman : Every Wimbledon. Wussy, yet rabidly embraced by fans which lead to unrealistic expectations, humiliation. Thanks for coming out. I'm done respecting Wayne Rooney's international game until he scores a World Cup goal. Or at least puts a decent shot on goal. I can't even recall a good scoring chance he had. England wasted EVERYONE's time this World Cup.

That being typed, Germany looked outstanding. I'm still sticking by them to win it all, and I'm still standing by Mesut Oezil looking like Peter Lorre.
Germany is still the most poised-looking team in the front third I have watched in this World Cup. They get eerily calm in the zone, stay patient and create great scoring opportunities. Even when the opportunity isn't great, Klose finds a way to push it past the keeper or Podolski just muscles it through. Youthful exuberance, power, finesse, skill, momentum, maturity, skill, they seem to have all the physical tools and their coaching has been unassailable thus far to boot.

England looked more like Lynndie England than England.

That's how I roll.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The United States Led for 3 Minutes and 15 Seconds for the Entire World Cup

By: T.R. Slyder,, @AndyDisco on Twitter

That isn't going to get it done. Unless by "it" you mean "the cry and wap", because it will certainly result in doing the cry and wap after the game is over.

That's how I roll.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why The Common Vuvuzela Apology is Stupid

By: T.R. Slyder,, @AndyDisco on Twitter

Every conversation about the vuvezela I've heard from World Cup talking heads goes like this:

"Boy, those vuvuzela horns sure are annoying. But I guess that's the custom here in South Africa and we are guests to this host nation so we may as well get used to their customs. When in Rome..."

That rationale forgets what the word "host" at least SHOULD imply: graciousness and empathy. I live alone and I will be honest with you, when I am home alone I burp out loud. Have I ever audibly passed gas while no one was around? No comment. Sometimes When when I get home after a long day I take my shoes off right in my entry way and don't put them away until hours later when I feel like. It isn't unheard of for me to watch television in only my underpants. A lot of times when I shower I don't bring my change of clothes into the shower with me, but instead I walk from my shower to my room nude to find some clean clothes.

But I never do any of those things when a guest is over. That's part of being a host. If I were like South Africa, I would do all of those annoying things when I had guests over and when they look perturbed I would simply say, "You are in MY apartment, after all."

It reminds me of a story my cousin told me. He was at a Stop n Shop grocery store in Connecticut where he lived and several people there witnessed a grubby-lookin dude reaching into the fruit salad bar, taking out lemon wedges, sucking the juice from them, and putting them back in the container. When someone tracked down an employee to complain about this the response from the employee was, "Oh, he does that all the time.".

That's how I roll.

Friday, June 18, 2010

World Cup Corprolalia

By: T.R. Slyder,, @AndyDisco on Twitter

- It seems like the 2010 World Cup is becoming a lot like the NCAA men's basketball tournament has been lately. Since kids are leaving college ball increasingly early, the smaller schools have pulled a lot more upsets. The reason is that the smaller schools graduate more of their players and that team is likely to have a cohesive team that is battle tested, has veteran leadership and oftentimes, has played together for a few years. When it comes to crunch time, the battle-tested, savvy veteran teams seem to be doing better against the favored, high-flying youngsters. It seems as though team cohesiveness really does count for something.

England's poor 2010 World Cup showing supports this theory. Algeria had no business tying them, but they did. One reason for England's slump is that they haven't played together. They're basically an all-star team and are playing against actual teams- albeit, teams that are less talented (so far). No professional soccer players play more games in a given year than English Premier League players. All of that club ball is cutting into National Team practices, film sessions, etc. A similar case could be made for France and Spain as well.

The upsets that have taken place have all benefited cohesive teams who lack multiple premier league players with club ball obligations, and victimized the teams with the most marquee talent.

- An investigation should be undertaken to look into how the referee in the U.S. vs. Solvenia screwed up as badly as he did. It looked like he had an interest in keeping the goal total low.

- I'm standing by Germany despite their wonky loss today. Miro Klose getting sent off like 10 minutes into the game kind of tinkled on their offense. So the kids got a baptism by fire and played on their own (kinda poorly). Michael Ballack would have helped there.

- England looks humiliatingly bad.

- One team has a dude named Shabalala. I really hope a racehorse gets named after him sometime soon because I would be way-too-interested in hearing Tom Durkin give him a stretch call.

- Mesut Ozil looks like Peter Lorre.

- Brazil's coach's name is Dunga and they have a player named Kaka. If fecal sounding names is a good thing, Brazil is a shoe-in to win the world cup.

- Is the tradition of holding hands with kids before the game really necessary? When did this tradition start? and why? and Whose idea was it? Unless they're Make-A-Wish kids, it's just odd.

- The announcer with the Scottish accent is just too hard to understand. Furthermore, two accented dudes in the booth can be a bit much. A jingoist, I am not, but it just takes more energy to decipher them and I'd rather focus that energy on watching.

- Despite England's struggles, I like their chances on Wednesday. The reason is that they're playing at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. Why is that significant? Because you can't spell "Mandelay" without the "Mandela". That link may be NSFW. It's for Mandelay cream (Man delay cream) that is the featured "male genital desensitizer" at

- I have learned a bit about the world from the world cup. I didn't know a few of these countries existed. Like, North Career, South Career, and South Africker,

- This English team might be wussiest English sporting entity since Tim Henman's annual Wimbledon collapse in the semis or quarters after getting all of England wussydom's hopes up because he beat a lower-seeded player and this could be his year! The first Englishman to win Wimbledon since Moses's dad did it. I love it when a stereotype comes together.


I thought of two more.

-Did U2 sponsor this World Cup or something? Enough of them already. It's bad enough they seem to do the Super Bowl every 3 years. And the Grammys. And any aid/relief telethons. Just enough. Not them. Not now.

-A while ago Jeff Van Gundy told a story about watching Rasheed Wallace during practice. During the scrimmage a foul was called on Wallace which he vehemently denied doing. Being a shooting a foul, the fouled player went to the free throw line and missed his first free three throw. Wallace then turned to the ref and said, "Ball don't lie." As if to imply that the ball refused to go in on an unjust call.

Well considering how France got into the World Cup and how they are doing now, I have to agree with Rasheed. Ball don't lie.

-THIS is bad as hell!!! I will tell you how it works, since it took me a minute to figure it out. You highlight the bubble to see which game the dot represents. (for this example I recommend going to Germany's 4-0 win over Australia on the bottom left). So you click on it and it takes you to a streaming twitter stream/feed kinda thing. Scroll down so you can see the moving time bar along the bottom to see which part of the game is being highlighted. The bigger the world bubble, the more mentions on Twitter that topic has had. So you can see the explosion of activity during goals.

That is a really, really cool concept.

That's how I roll.