“Fans of the George R.R. Martin book series speculate the country will double for Dorne.”[THR]
The long-rumored location for the Kingdom of Dorne (RIP, Prince Oberyn) is going to be Spain! And HBO (which put out a casting call for extras via Spanish casting company Fresco Film Services) was inundated with over 10,000 applications from actors and fans . . . in the span of just 24 hours.
According to the casting notice, all of Oberyn’s extended family will be featured prominently in the next season of Game of Thrones.
Wow, what the hell happened to this chick? Selena Gomez went from classy to trashy in a single set of pics! Almost like she’s trying to be Kim Kardashian, which in itself is very, very sad. Actually, what would be even more sad is if Selena got these put in to please Justin Bieber of all people! Come on, Selena!
It’s a pity Brazil had to go out in such a painful way, so let’s hope Adriana & Ale found a way to cheer themselves up! Anyway, who’s excited about the Argentina/Netherlands match later today? Should be awesome…
Earlier today, I had moved some things about in my normal life to make some room for the match between Brazil and Germany. A part of me was hesitant to have such high aspirations for a game that would be missing two of the five, or six, most important players on the field. But the pure sports fan in me wanted to say “Brazil is at home, it’ll be a competitive game” just for the mere fact that fans around the world deserved a competitive match. I mean, this is one of the semifinals in the World Cup. Right? As we’ve learned throughout the history of professional sports, the word “deserve” should seldom, if ever, be used. We get some feel good stories here and there, but for the most part it’s just whoever decides to show up that day. Germany showed up today and Brazil did not, plain and simple. Playing without two of your best players in tough but playing like you shouldn’t even be on the same field as your opponent, well that’s a completely different story. Brazil started the match off well, attacking and risking as they forced Germany to drop back and hold their own on defense. I watched, thinking Brazil might get the early lead and “park the bus” or something of that sort. Not even close. Germany scores their first goal on a massive defensive mistake and it’s a barrage of German goals from there. From the looks of it, the game looked like Brazil was trying to recover from their first goal and all of a sudden, they were down 2-0. Then 3-0, and so on. Halftime arrives and football fans around the world are wondering, trying to comprehend, just what in the world we just witnessed.
After Germany’s first two goals were in the back of the net, it was pretty obvious that they were going to advance to the final. But then only six minutes later and Germany had scored as many goals, in one match, as Brazil had received so far in the World Cup. Astonishing. To put it frankly: it was men against boys out there. The cameras kept showing the tearful and bewildered Brazilian fans in the stands, turning the game turn into a sad affair. Then again, how sad can one really feel for Brazil? Winners of five titles and perennial favorites from competition to competition. Brazil also didn’t help themselves by playing with the swagger of a team that figured it could just cruise into the final of the tournament they were hosting. Not to mention that because of their perceived preferential treatment from the referees, fans that supported Chile or Colombia, among others, had little sympathy for the men in yellow jerseys and their fans.
What of the winners today? I’m sure that the German beer was flowing heavily throughout the match and it might still be flowing as i’m typing this out. Not since their 6-1 win over Armenia (last friendly) and their 4-0 dominant win over Portugal in the group opener has Germany looked so dominant. Germany was balanced, focused, tactically sound and knew when to strike, turning the match into a rout. Oh yeah, among their shocking win over Brazil, Germany also made history. 84-year history in that they matched Brazil’s largest defeat ever and were the first team to beat them in their home stadium in an international competition since the mid-70s. Also, veteran striker Mirosav Klose became the sole leader of most goals scored in a World Cup over an entire career; passing Brazil’s own Ronaldo, who watched in agony from the stands. With a 5-0 lead in their pocket, the Germans spent much of the second half passing the ball around and holding off Brazil’s best efforts. Two more goals for the Germans, the second of which (7th overall) came on a quality finish from Andre Shurrle. Oscar managed to put the home team on the board but Brazil will do some heavy soul-searching. Meanwhile, Germany will watch tomorrow’s match between Argentina and Netherlands, learning about the future opponent, fully knowing that they are now the team to beat and the favorite to lift the trophy after their impressive win.
Prediction: We saw what injuries can do to a team. But Argentina still has their best player and Messi will be the best on the field tomorrow. Netherlands risks too much and Argentina takes advantage, winning 2-1.
Before the World Cup began, Brazil was the favorite to win it all, followed closely by Argentina, Germany and Spain. With the exception of Spain’s unorthodox early exit, the addition of Netherlands, we’re more or less where everyone expected before the tournament began. The Dutch were a potential threat to advance this far but the group they were put in and their chemistry issues had people doubting. And they haven’t done much to convince people. They were inferior to Mexico for most of the game and while they should have scored multiple times against Costa Rica, they still needed to survive penalties in order to make it this far. Just goes to show how interesting and, frankly, chaotic this World Cup has been from the start. The only downside is that after seeing so many goals, the action slowed down in the quarterfinals. Teams were unwilling to take as many risks because they knew that the slightest mistake would cost their team and their country the chance to lift world football’s most coveted trophy. Just take a look at the goals: Argentina scores after an awkward/favorable bounce, Germany appeared to have fouled Varane on their goal and Brazil’s first goal was on a clear defensive mistake that came in a game filled with fouls and sloppy play. The only quality goal of all four quarterfinal games was David Luiz’s incredible free kick that is my personal favorite of all the goals in tournament. The only shame greater than the goals is that we’re going to be absent from two of the better players in the world. Neymar’s back injury and Di Maria’s thigh injury are keeping us from some great football but they’re also hindering their teams, who just so happen two of the favorites to win it. Is Brazil more likely to perform or is Argentina the more likely?
It’s tough to say. The obvious answer is that Argentina will still be near their top level because while Di Maria has been key, it’s not on the same level as losing Lionel Messi. Which would be equivalent to what is going on with Brazil. But can Brazil REALLY lose at home in an international competition? Hasn’t happened since 1975 but it’s going to be very tough for the home team to win against Germany after the personnel that won’t be participating. We can’t forget to mention that center defensive-back Thiago Silva will also miss the match after getting another yellow card on one of the silliest plays that I’ve ever seen. Two key players missing for Brazil has the Germans thinking that they could finally be back in a World Cup final since their loss to Brazil during the 2002 World Cup in South Korea/Japan. It’s hard to imagine that we’re going to have a real chance that it’s going to be two European teams in a final that is being held in South America. Especially after the group stages, when it felt like the UEFA teams were falling like flies and there wasn’t a doubt that a non-European team would be winning the title. The script has flipped. Can Argentina take down the Dutch? The “albiceletes” didn’t look impressive for any of their group stage games and needed heroics from Messi in order for their World Cup campaign to not be an embarrassment. They seemed to have gained some form but they haven’t been through the toughest of competitors. Yes, Belgium was the token “dark horse” team before the Cup began but they still carried lots of questions. As expected, all eyes will be on number 10 as he tires to lead Argentina against all odds.
Predictions: I’m still torn on Netherlands-Argentina so i’ll wait until tomorrow night to predict them. Too big of a loss for Brazil as Germany dominates the pace and wins 2-1.
From an entertainment standpoint, it’s been the best World Cup that I’ve ever witnessed. The ’98 France World Cup was about as dramatic as we’re going to get, but I was only 11 years old when it happened so I was more into imitating the star players, rather than actually analyzing their play. This time around, Brazil, despite the obstacles they were facing, has produced some excellent game play that has refused to slow down even as we’re through the first round of the knockout stages. My two favorite teams, Mexico and USA, both were eliminated in heartbreaking fashion but while their demise still stings at the sight of highlights, i’m still intrigued in every single game. I’ve been watching about as much as one can but I haven’t been able to discuss on here as much as I can. My favorite underdog of the tournament was Chile from the start and they put up a solid effort in their nail-biting game against Brazil. Big props to them and other teams like Greece who over-performed and gave us, at the very least, some really entertaining games in the first phase of the knockout stages. And while we can continue to go on about the losing team’s efforts, they’re no long part of the competition and it’s time to look forward to the quarterfinals.
So, which looks like the favorite to win it all? Right now the clear choice is Colombia. Them, and France, were the only two nations to win their previous game by a score that wasn’t a single-goal difference. But i’d say that Suarez-less Uruguay is tougher competition than a complete Nigerian team. It’s also impossible to ignore how good Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez has been; a 22-year old player who has risen his game above anyone else’s and is the undisputed best player in this World Cup. Just like Diego Forlan did four years ago, Rodriguez has led his national team with excellent play. He’s scored several goals but his volley against Uruguay the other day stands as the best of the tournament, so far. How high is his ceiling? Rumor has it that several of the biggest club teams in Europe are already starting their bidding war. But luckily for us, we won’t have to wait until club play in order to see more of him. Colombia faces off against Brazil tomorrow and the way things are going, this could be one of the best and most important World Cup games of all time. Yes, of all time. Brazil has been “champion or bust” since the start of the tournament and if they’re eliminated by a fellow South American team, expect lots of backlash. We also have Neymar, another player who has carried his team, go head to head against Rodriguez. Also, Colombia has never been made it this far into a World Cup and every single game going forward is their most important of all time. If you’re going to watch one game this World Cup, make it Colombia-Brazil tomorrow.
Hold on a minute: don’t we also have a huge European battle before that? Of course we do! Germany, who appeared to be the most balanced team in the World Cup, struggled to find rhythm in the opening match and needed extra time to take down Algeria of all teams. Now they’re up against a French team that has looked more comfortable but many wonder whether or not they’re more a product of their opponents rather than actually being that dominant. France has the individual player potential, while Germany looks to use their stack midfield players to control the pace of the game. This is the quarterfinal game that i’m most confused about and that i’m finding hardest to predict. My gut feeling (aka I have money on them) is to go with Germany. The Germans have looked like the more balanced team and faced tougher competition so far in the tournament. Yes, Algeria was lucky to be there, but they played the type of game that works well against Germany and I don’t think France will be as effective. Although, the Frenchmen’s attack is tempting with all of their talent. Forward Karim Benzema is looking for the tournament’s golden boot (most goals) and along with Mathieu Valbuena, they have been a deadly one-two combination for any defense. In the end, i’m leaning towards Germany their balance. I expect it to be a close game that might even go into extra time and quite possibly penalties.
Predictions: Germany edges out France; Colombia shocks the nation of Brazil. If you’re going watch some matches, do it during the holiday weekend.