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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).

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The Dutch own goal, plus all the other odd plays so far in this World Cup – I agree… the own goal is most unfortunate. However, I also think that the BALL with all it’s changes and the players being somewhat unfamiliar with it ( why did they change the ball again, $omeone tell me please? ) is so unpredictable that we are going to be seeing many more snafus like own goals, goalie blunders, etc. The good news is that they all have to deal with it collectively, but you can tell that all the players are in the process of trying to figure out how this ball flies and its characteristics.

I don’t know if that lends itself to the biggest sporting event in the world… if I were coaching, I’d just tell my team to fire away from any angle, regardless… it’ll probably karoom in somehow, or the goalie will mishandle it… this new ball, in my opinion, has taken away the “sharpness” of the highest caliber play making we all have come to expect from this tournament.

I think the Danish defender is laughing, and rightly so, at the absurdity of the situation. What else can you do..?
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