Sunday, June 20, 2010

World Cup Previews: June 21

Battle of B Teams
(Portugal vs. North Korea)
Harro, Cristiano Ronaldo!

Brazilians often derisively refer to Portugal's national team as Brazil's B team. Well, that insult holds up well with Brazil-born Pepe (#15), Deco (#20) and Liedson (#9) on this uninspired Portugal national team in 2010. North Korea's national team you'd expect to be exclusively filled with North Koreans but even they have cast their net across a body of water. Jong Tae-se (#9) and An Yeong-hak (#17) come from "communist" families who escaped to Japan after the Korean War. It's a long story you can read here as to why this politically charged group of families were not booted back to North Korea way back in the '50s and live in the West.

Does the Teacher Have a Nickname?
(Chile vs. Switzerland)
Chile should win this match on nicknames alone. There's backup goalkeeper Miguel "Kryptonite" Pinto (#12), Matias "Matigol" Fernandez (#14), Gary "Pitbull" Medel (#17), Rodrigo "Little Clown" Millar (#20), Jorge "the Magician" Valdivia (#10) and the goal scorer in their first match Jean "Frenchman" Beausejour (#15). Should the Swiss want to get the game under control they should bring defender Ludovik Magnin (#3) off the bench. He's a registered primary school teacher and given the youthful Chileans could put those skills to good use in controlling their forwards.

Colonizers Take On the Colonized
(Spain vs. Honduras)
You'd think the Hondurans would take advantage of that historical connection but not a single member of their squad plays their club soccer in Spain. Of the Honduran national team members playing outside Central America, three members play in the English League, two in Italy and two in China. Spain won't feel too slighted as they know they have the divine on their side in Saint Ilker in goal. Now all they need is the Davids (Villa and Silva) to come through with some goals.

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