It’s been a turbulent couple of months and Red has been more than a little bit distracted by the business of life. That shows no real signs of letting up any time soon, but Red needs to vent on occasion and this blog (albeit lightly followed) serves as a much needed bleed-off valve. So buckle up cowboys, Red is back.
The world’s largest single sport event gets under way in less than one hour with host Russia taking on Saudi Arabia in what is the worst match up in the entire tournament between the two lowest ranked teams. Nonetheless, Red will be watching as much as possible. And despite the scandals, despite Russian, despite the USA failing to make the Finals, despite everything – Red is still excited. So hear goes:
Group A – Uruguay and Egypt. The weakest group by a long shot with Russia and Saudi Arabia bringing up the rear. Uruguay is the overwhelming favorite to win and Red sees no reason why they shouldn’t be 3-0-0 with the disagreeable Suarez and sulking Cavani up front. Mohammed Salah should be enough to carry Egypt into the Round of 16 with a 2-0-1 total.
Group B – Portugal and Spain. The winner of Friday’s Iberian rivalry will have the inside track to finishing on top here. Look for Ronaldo to have his hair and game in perfect form and Pepe to anchor a solid defense on the way to a first place 2-0-1 ranking going into the knock-out rounds. Spain sacked its coach 48 hours before the Finals begin and will be playing catch-up but will finish 2-1-0 and be the most dangerous second place team. Morocco and Iran can’t match these powerhouses.
Group C – France and Peru. Les Bleus are the class of this group led by centerback Varane who has the difficult task of keeping and shaky back line in order, France will move on at 2-1-0 possibly losing to Peru or Denmark. Peru is an up and coming squad with most of the players coming from the rough and tumble of Liga-MX. They play tough defense and will squeak in at 1-1-1 on a tiebreaker with Denmark. Australia will enjoy the show.
Group D – Argentina and Iceland. If Argentina doesn’t overwhelm this group then Los Albiceleste need a thorough housecleaning. All should go well unless Higuan blows it again. Messi, diMaria and others will carry the day but only at 2-0-1. Iceland – Cinderella story from out of the North Atlantic about to move to the Round of 16 – unless the Super Eagles get in the way. That could happen, but Red is going with the upset here and Iceland getting in at 1-0-2.
Group E – Brazil and Costa Rica. Brazil!!!!!!!! Neymar!!!!!! Enough said. Brazil 3-0-0. Costa Rica rides on the mighty shoulders of world’s best goalkeeper Navas. And mighty shoulders they are. Switzerland is the hot pick for second here. Red is not a believer. CR has just enough offense to move on at 1-1-1.
Group F – Germany and Mexico. The Germans look for back-to-back for the first time since Brazil did it a good while back. Red doesn’t discount their chances. There has been a lot of turnover, but that is usually a good sign of rising talent. Kroos in the midfield is the new leader and the Germans know how to follow. Deutschland 2-0-1. Mexico is Red other choice. This is a struggling Mexican squad that looked uninspired and unimaginative in their last friendly with Denmark. Maybe that is a kick in the pantalones. This is the last chance for this generation. Chicarito, Lozano and Corona must attack, attack, attack. And hopefully there will not be a rotating cast of characters in goal. If they beat Germany on Sunday all bets are off though. Mexico 2-1-0.
Group G – Belgium and England. Belgium is a real contender for the Semis. They cruise through this group 3-0-0. England by default at 1-1-1.
Group H – Colombia and Poland. Colombia finally lives up to its potential and James Rodriguez again competes for the Golden Boot. 2-1-0. Poland is a dangerous squad with another candidate for top scorer in Lewandowski who scored a European-high 16 goals in qualifying. Polski in at 2-0-1.
Just in case you were wondering, Red has been visiting our former imperial masters to the South now know as Los Estados Unidos Mexicanos or Mexico. He was down south for a week with Mrs. Red enjoying some mescal, sopa de tortilla and chiles in nogado. And although the trip was bigly fun, when Red gets back to Texas the first thing he wants is an ice-cold glass of good ol’ American water. After drinking cool to luke warm agua mineral (con gas) for a week, there’s nothing like the refreshing taste of your local water – unless you live in Odessa. In that case, go get an Ozarka or a cold Lone Star if you are so inclined (and you better be half inclined to guzzle down some Lone Star).
All the Mexico ignoramuses were amazed that Red came back with all body parts intact and that they didn’t receive any ransom demands last week. The average American’s view of Mexico is remarkably uninformed. Years ago when talking with one of Red’s friends about driving down to Zacatecas, Red’s buddy seemed amazed that you could actually drive in Mexico. “Do they have cars?”, he asked. “Only about 35,000,000 of ’em”, Red replied. And at one point on this trip, Red was convinced that every last one of them was out on the streets of Mexico City, DF.
Red will be blogging about the trip over the next few days, so stay tuned. Until then, Adios Amigos.
Red celebrates his first anniversary of blogging today. Red has spent much of the time learning how to keep his ear to the ground, not follow the masses too much, and carefully pick a few topics each day to give his particular spin to. In the limited time that Red has to devote to this enterprise, he does try to get your attention and maybe make you think a little differently about this beautiful, great and definitely bizarre at times place called Texas.
Red is the first to admit that picking up readers and followers has been harder than expected and he had not met his targets after one year. But it is pretty darn cool that someone in Uzbekistan would even bother to check out what Red has to say. So undiscouraged and ignoring the signposts of failure, the blogging will continue. Red knows you won’t always agree with him, but hopes that you at least find this blog occasionally interesting.
Red would like to thank Charles Kuffner of Off the Kuff and Katy Anders of the strangely insightful FascistDykeMotors blog for their comments and support during the past year. Red also thanks that Brazilian guy or gal who checked in almost every day for the first several months of operation. Sometimes Red felt like he was blogging just for you.
Muchas gracias amigos,