It's the night before the World Cup and I can't sleep. These four weeks, these sixty-four games, this World Cup will define the rest of my life, in one way or another. The life cycle of football fans is linked to seasons, temporadas, campeonatos, fixtures, and World Cups. I frequently count backwards in four year increments to 1930. Uruguay. Monumental. Despite the horrors of producing and hosting the World Cup and all of the criminally banal acts of intimidation, corruption, and authoritariansm that accompany these thrity days, there is something irresistable about the World Cup.
11:00, Brasilia time, Mexico vs. South Africa. Where will you be? I love to hate Mexico. It wasn't always that way. I used to like Mexico. But when the US started beating them regularly, El Tri turned into a swarthy group of petulant punks, kicking and crying their way to defeat. The Yanks were, and are, a better side. Not as creative or tricky, but much more mens sano em corpore sano.
During qualifying, Mexico did well to get rid of the ineffectual Swede Ericksson, now the manager of the Ivory Coast. They recalled former coach Javier Aguirre, who has El Tri playing like El Tri. Mexcio are fun to watch. They pass the ball beautifully and have players with real techincal gifts. This generation of youthful attacking players (Dos Santos, Guardardo, Torres, Vela, Franco) are all in the top European leagues. And even though C. Blanco has headed so many balls that he's lost his neck, having your talismanic triker named after the last Aztec emperor is cool. So, arriba Mexico?
The Bafana Bafana will be performing under more pressure than the Mexicans. It's hard to know what to expect from them, other than an incredibly high work rate. I think they'll be fortunate to get a draw, probably with a little help from the referee. It's hard not to sympathize with them, but perhaps best to lose early to get started with the decades-long hangover.
Prediction: RSA 2 x MEX 2
15:30, Uruguay vs. France. Les Bleus are tout enigmatique that it's impossible to say what they're going to do. Coach Dominech doesn't really seem to have a clue and the players are openly confused. France might just be a bunch of well-fed eurostars who can't be bothered to fight their way into the second round. I don't envision a coherent performance, but if three or four players get into sync they will score more than they concede.
Uruguay is no fun to play against, and only slightly more enjoyable to watch. They will kick and pull and counter and run until they have to change feet or get sent off. Diego Forlan is a world-class striker, capable of turning a sleepy draw into a win.
Prediction: URU 2 FRA 1
2014 World Cup Rio de Janeiro Maracanã FIFA 2016 Olympics 2016 Summer Olympics Eduardo Paes CBF Copa do Mundo 2014 Rio de Janeiro Olympics Ricardo Texeira World Cup 2014 Vasco da Gama 2010 World Cup White Elephants mega-events APO UPP BRT Brazil football Flamengo Lula Orlando Silva violence ANT Aldeia Maracana Carlos Nuzman Dilma Eike Batista Rio 2016 Sergio Cabral 2007 Pan American Games Campeonato Carioca Corruption IOC Jerome Valcke Novo Maracanã stadiums BOPE BRASIL 2016 Brasil 2014 Engenhao Joao Havelange Maracana Policia Militar Vila Autódromo Aldo Rebelo Botafogo Henrique Meirelles Medida Provisoria Metro Revolta do Vinagre Sao Paulo Sepp Blatter World Cup 2010 forced removal Carnaval Elefantes Brancos Fechadao Marcia Lins Minerao Morumbi Odebrecht Porto Maravilha Rio+20 Romario Security Walls South Africa South Africa 2010 TCU Transoeste protests public money public transportation slavery transparency x-Maracana Andrew Jennings Argentina Audiencia Publica Barcelona Brazil Carvalho Hosken Comitê Popular Confederatons Cup Copa do Brasil 2010 Cost overruns Crisis of Capital Accumulation EMOP FERJ Favela do Metro Fluminense Fluminese Fonte Novo IMX Jose Marin Leonel Messi London 2012 Marcelo Freixo Maré Museu do Indio Olympic Delivery Authority Perimetral Rocinha Soccerex Transcarioca bicycles consumer society debt idiocy militarization transportation 1995 Rugby World Cup 2004 Olympics 2015 Copa America Banco Imobiliario Barcas SA Belo Horizonte Bom Senso F.C. Brasilerao CDURP CONMEBOL Champions League. Mourinho Complexo do Alemão Copa Libertadores Cupula dos Povos ESPN England FiFA Fan Fest Istanbul 2020 Jogos Militares John Carioca Kaka Manaus McDonald's Obama Olympic Village PPP Paralympics Providencia Recife Russia Salvador Soccer City Taksim Square Tatu-bola Urban Social Forum Vidigal Vila Olimpica War World Cup Xaracana attendance figures cities corrupcao drugs estadios football frangueiro futebol mafia planejamento urbano police repression porn privitization reforms shock doctrine taxes 201 2010 Elections 2010 Vancouver Olypmics 2013 2018 World Cup 2030 Argentina / Uruguay ABRAJI AGENCO ANPUR ANT-SP Amazonia Ancelmo Gois Andrade Gutierrez Anthony Garotinho Arena Amazonia Arena Pernambucana Athens Atlético Paranaense Avenida das Americas BID Barra de Tijuca Blatter Brasil x Cote d'Iviore Brasileirão 2013 Brasilia Brasilierao Bruno Souza Bus fares COB COI COMLURB CPI CPO Cabral Caixa Economica Canal do Anil Cantagalo Celio de Barros Cesar Maia Chapeu Mangueira Chile 2015 Choque do Ordem Cidade da Copa Class One Powerboat Racing Clint Dempsey Comite Companhia das Docas Copa do Brasil Corinthians Cuiabá Curitiba Dave Zrin David Harvey Der Spiegel Eastwood Edge of Sports Escola Friendenrich Expo Estadio Expo Urbano FGV Fonte Nova Gamboa Garotinho Geostadia Ghana Globo Greek Debt Crisis Greek Olympics HBO Hipoptopoma IMG IPHAN ISL Iniesta Internatinal Football Arena Invictus Istanbul Itaquerao Jacque Rogge Jefferson John Coates Jose Beltrame Julio Grondona Julio Lopes Julio de Lamare Knights Templar Korea Lei Geral da Copa MAR MEX Manchester United Mangabeira Unger Maracanã. Soccerex Marina da Gloria Mexico Milton Santos Molotov Cocktail Mr.Balls Neymar Nicholas Leoz Nilton Santos Olympic Flag Olympic Park Project Oscar Niemeyer Pacaembu Pan American Games Parque Olimpico Pernambuco Plano Popular Plano Popular do Maracana Plano Popular do Maracanã Play the Game Pope Porto Alegre Porto Olimpico Porto Seguro Portuguesa Praca Tiradentes Preview Projeto Morrinho Putin Qatar Quatar 2022 RSA Realengo Regis Fichtner Roberto Dinamite Russia 2018 SETRANS SMH Santa Teresa Santos Sao Raimundo Sargento Pepper Security Cameras Smart City Sochi 2014 South Korea Stormtroopers São Januário São Paulo Teargas Templars Tokyo 2020 Tropa do Elite II Turkey UFRJ/IPPUR URU USA USA! Unidos da Tijuca United States government Urban Age Conference VVIP Via Binário Victory Team Vila Autodromo Vila Cruzeiro Vila do Pan Vilvadao Vivaldao Volta Alice Wasteland Workers' Party World Cup 2018 Xavi Zurich apartments atrazos barrier beer bio-fuels bonde capacities civil society comite popular copa sudamericana crack crime dengue dictatorship estádios favelalógica feira livre fiador flooding freedom of information furos geral graffiti guarda municipal host city agreement identity infrastructure ipanema istoe labor rape riots schedule school shooting security segregation social movements stadium state of exception supervia tear gas ticket prices torcidas organizadas tourism traffic tragedy trash trem-bala velodromo wikileaks xingar