Okay, I am a giant football / soccer geek, not the most knowledgeable, but I try my hardest to hold conversations with those who know WAY more than me on any topic… and I know just enough about Futbol to be slightly dangerous. So before Friday’s matches are even played, I’ve got my final 16 bracket filled out, homer-ized, & Filled with upsets.

For reference, I have used my ESPN iPhone app to help me draw the brackets for the final 16. And I’m still not sure how these brackets shake out – but as you can tell by the whiteboard I enlisted at work, it was very confusing seeing how these play out.

I was under the impression that the groups cross-pollinate in the “elite 8” – meaning, winners getting into the final 8 “bracket jump” into the playing those from the “other side” of the draw – those from group A-B all of a sudden playing those from G-H or whatever. That being said, I guess this is how it is supposed to be – if not, I’ll amend next week. Plus I should also apologize for my “USA Centric” bracketing – having them in the top right corner. So you see what a homer I am.

So keeping this short, it’s my impression that the South American teams have caught up and zoomed past European players… France and today Italy’s shocking exit as example. If Italy would have played all three games like last 20 Minutes of the Slovakia, they probably would have won their group. But it doesn’t fall far from reality that we could see a final 4 of all-South American teams… Uruguay, Argentina, Chile/Paraguay, and of course Brasil. That is what my Head tells me – but as any good Homeresque philosopher type as I fancy myself, I filled out the bracket with my heart, not my head! (of course).

First, my take on Team USA – if you saw Donovan’s interview right after the game, what a humble, enlightened, passionate and really great interview in the moment…

But Donovan’s comments embody what this USA squad hopefully is all about… and they’ve had so much adversity thrown into their face – and on purpose I might add – since they have done this I think it is going to propel them way into the tournament – and in my dreamer fashion, I have them beating England in the final 4 to get to the final game.

I’ve got Brasil losing to my champion ‘the Dutch’ in the round of 8 – and I have picked my 3 favorite teams ( in order, USA, England & ‘the Dutch’, with Mexico a close fourth, but only because they are our neighbours… It’s easy to root against Mexico, especially when they play us. ) But they are our neighbors… and I tip me hat to them, I want them to shock Argentina big time. Maradonna has done a great job ( kinda ) – I LOVE Messi – best player in the world right now, and I can’t believe he’s only 23ish – amazing ! BUT I’ll root against Argentina every time. They’re like the Raiders and Brazil are the Cowboys of American Football – they are teams I enjoy see lose, only because they win all the time.

So here’s my brackets – Let’s hear what you have to say…! Does anyone think that the real world cup final is Spain ( if they go thru ) vs Brasil in the round of 16? What other chances do any of the other South American teams have…? Is Portugal ready to make a run? I’ve got them choking in the first go-through…

Or will Ivory Coast by some miracle Pummel North Korea by 12 Goals to knock Portugal out because they lose to Brasil tomorrow? Will Slovakia screw my whole bracket by upsetting ‘the Dutch’?

IMHO, this World Cup has lived up to the hype by far – the only bummer is that the African teams seemed to have faltered… which really puts the pressure on Ghana to perform. But I really think the US has shown their mettle and will push thru. And even if we didn’t qualify for this round… I’d still be interested. Japan, South Korea, Slovakia, Paraguay, Chile, Uruguay – congrats to all the ‘underdogs’ that have made the ‘sweet sixteen’!

I’ll end with this – I bitch and moan maybe a bit too much about the mentality of this country… and I’ll say it again, I blame our Foreign Policy as a Military Empire for the bad calls the US team has been subject to in this World Cup! Why should anyone give our players the benefit of a doubt when the Bush / Obama Doctrine is screwing up the planet? And I don’t mean that figuratively, I mean literally, in this physical realm! What in the frick ever – the Karmetic debt will be astronomically high for the poor souls responsible, that is for sure…!

But, as Donovan epitomizes, We the People of this, The Greatest of Experiments, are Not our Leaders… and my one political point I want to make is…

Can’t we do better?

Can’t we write a finish for the next 2 years to December 21, 2012, and whatever happens afterwards, Can’t we, as a country, mobilize ourselves to Score a Goal in the last minute that saves ourselves from impending disaster?

That is why I get so angry with the attitudes and direction of ‘ignorant’, bubba-esque ‘love it or leave it ’ Americans…. because I want us all to be as great, as poised, as humble…. as Landon Donovan.

It is my hope we refocus our efforts as a people and get our shit together…. and not worry how we got here, with our planet leaking poison and our corporations using lethal, toxic dispersments that can poison us to cover up their gigantic fuck-up. Let’s just get in there with our technology, our smarts, and our perseverance a fricking FIX this. Donovan – on the treatment by the refs and the disallowed goals – ‘You know What? Like I said last week, we embody what Americans are all about – we could Moan about it, or we could Get on with it, and we kept going, and we believe… We’re Alive!’

Regardless of what you have thought of Donovan in the past ( I thought he was kinda milktoast myself ) – his actions and even more so his attitude and words have changed my opinion forever. Even if we lose to Ghana 5-nil on Saturday… this is the we need to take from this World Cup.

We are not helpless – Let’s create the most hopeful, most amazing ending to this tragic crisis, and let’s start… right after the World Cup is over…!