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World Cup: Week 1
or is it Week 1,000 by now?
Hello, my friends. Welcome to World Cup Eve.
If you do nothing else, skip down to Outlaw Time. It’s my court mandated public service, telling you when the States play and could play. (IE, block your calendars now)
This is going out later than I had hoped for three main reasons:
Have you heard? I have a kid.
I finally (mostly) finished Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey at 4 am.
I kept thinking I’d have something smarter to say about all of this. Like I’d have it worked out. I don't know why I thought World Cup 2022 would be different than everything else in my world, though.
Let’s just get this part out of the way. I will be watching this year’s edition of the Winter
Olympics Men’s World Cup. It was not a decision I arrived at lightly or automatically. My dumb thoughts summed up shortly are this: The pie is baked. We cannot change its location or the corruption baked into it
But what we can do is keep our eyes on it and call it out. So that the next time some backroom deals stick a World Cup or an Olympics or CPAC or whatever somewhere shitty, we raise holy hell at the time.
Light listening and reading on the subject
For the best slightly better than surface level reporting on the Qatar debacle, I recommend this episode of Today, Explained from last week: Link
For a far deeper version of the story, I’d go with Roger Bennet’s 5 part podcast World Corrupt here, which I am still working through: Link
And for a far better set of thoughts about it than I can muster, I’d point you towards this Substack issue of Things I Thought About from the brilliant Naomi Accardi: Link
(Who, it bears noting is a subscriber and just a lovely human being I had the opportunity to chat with a couple of times through Substack Office Hours, and who was apparently in town and hung out with my longtime friend Who The Fuck Are Tens Club? but I didn’t get invited and that’s cool.)
And, I really do recommend we all do more to get smart about the specifics behind what makes this super, duper shitty. It’s not just the corruption. It’s not just the bending the world’s football calendar to their will. It’s not just the slave labor. It’s not just the homophobia. It’s not just the censorship. It’s not just the last minute reversal on alcohol sales. (Let’s not lie. They were never really going to allow alcohol sales.)
It’s all of that AND the fact that clearly FIFA are not in any way in control of this World Cup. They built and empowered a monster they cannot control and unleashed it on the countryside. Cause if FIFA could control it, I guarantee their $75 million partners of several decades would be peddling Budweiser in Qatar this next month.
Sidenote: I’m presently working on projects for 3 different clients. And in status calls yesterday all of us metaphorically poured one out for our comrades in arms working on Budweiser.
In September 2001, my client was the US Air Force. We had a brand new campaign with a brand new tagline. The first in like 3 decades for the Air Force. We were all set to roll out the new work on September 17, 2001, where we replaced “Aim High” with “No One Comes Close.”
Alllllllllll that work. Months and months of work by hundreds of crafts people not only had to be mothballed, never to see the light of day, but it also had to be pulled off the air and out of publications where it was already scheduled.
In the grand scheme of what the world was going through in the aftermath of September 11th, it was a small drop in a large bucket. It was also fairly awful. I can’t even imagine what the Anheiser-Busch marketing teams and all their worldwide agencies are going through. It’s legit awful.
Klopp calls football the most important unimportant thing. I’d apply that to what Budweiser is going through. While being 1000 awful, it’s nothing compared to slave labor dying while building slipshod stadia in the desert in a country that institutionally destroys gay people.
But, I still ask you to join me in hoisting more Budweiser than you normally would. cause, man … that’s shitty.
On to the footy
So, just to remind folks of the format we’re dealing with here:
We’ve got 32 teams. They’re divided into 8 pods of 4 teams by random draw. But the deck was stacked so that a limited number of teams from the same geographies were in the same pods. Problem children being Europe. Obvs. There’s just too many of them.
Teams play everyone from their pod once, so you’re guaranteed three matches. At the end of those three matches, the top 2 teams advance to single elimination knock out stages.
Winners of Group A play Runners up from Group B. Winners of group B play Runners up from Group A. And so on and so on.
We are in Group B with England, Wales and Iran. Group A is Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal and Netherlands.
And that’s enough of the lay of the land to get us to December 9th or 10th. So let’s look at the groups.
^means I guess they win the group
^^ means I guess they finish second
(and all that means I have no clue how this is going to go)
Qatar (FIFA World Ranking: 49 | 538.com chance of winning: <1%)
Ecuador (44 | 1%) ^^
Senegal (18 | 1%)
Netherlands (8 | 6%) ^
England (5 | 7%) ^
Wales (19 | <1%)
Iran (23 | <1%)
States (14 | 1%) ^^
Argentina (3 | 8%) ^
Saudi Arabia (53 | <1%)
Mexico (12 | 1%)
Poland (26 | <1%) ^^
France (4 | 9%) ^
Australia (39 | <1%)
Denmark (10 | 3%) ^^
Tunisia (30 | <1%)
Spain (6 | 11%) ^^
Costa Rica (34 | <1%)
Germany (11 | 7%) ^
Japan (24 | <1%)
Belgium (2 } 3%) ^
Canada (43 | <1%) ^^
Morocco (22 | 1%)
Croatia (15 | 2%)
Brazil (1 | 22%) ^
Serbia (25 | 1%)
Switzerland (16 | 1%)
Cameroon (38 | <1%)^^
Portugal (9 | 8%) ^^
Ghana (60 | <1%)
Uruguay (13 | 3%) ^
South Korea (28 | <1%)
US centric thoughts
We really, really need to win this group. Skipping the Dutch in the first knock out round would be rad.
I really wish Wales and England opened with each other. Would love to see Wales blow their loads against the English, take them out and then wilt against us. Alas, we get to open against a really good Welsh team.
Given the Iranian team’s stance on the protests raging in their country, I hate to have to root for them to drop matches.
I really like our team. I cannot believe Steffen didn’t get selected, but he did look pretty bad the last time I saw him on the pitch. Love Tim Ream making the squad. Love all the relationships woven through these picks.
I really, really, really want Weston MceKennie to wreck shit. Entirely because he’s a Texan, and representation matters.
Matches this match week
11 am | Qatar - Ecuador (FS1)
8 am | England - Iran (FS1)
11 am | Senegal - Netherlands (FOX)
2 pm | USA - Wales (FOX)
Tuesday, 11/ 22
5 am | Argentina - Saudi Arabia (FS1)
8 am | Denmark - Tunisia (FS1)
11 am | Mexico - Poland (FOX)
2 pm | France - Australia (FOX)
5 am | Morocco - Croatia (FS1)
8 am | Germany - Japan (FS1)
11 am | Spain - Costa Rica (FOX)
2 pm | Belgium - Canada (FOX)
5 am | Switzerland - Cameroon (FS1)
8 am | Uruguay - South Korea (FS1)
11 am | Portugal - Ghana (FOX)
2 pm | Brazil - Serbia (FOX)
Definite times of certain USMNT matches:
Monday 11/21 - 2 pm | USA versus Wales
Friday, 11/25 - 2 pm | USA versus England
Tuesday, 11/29 - 2 pm | USA versus Iran
Potential times of USMNT knockout matches:
(IE, decline wedding invitations at these times)
Saturday, 12/3 - 10 am | Winner of A versus Runner Up of B
Sunday, 12/4 - 2 pm } Winner of B versus Runner Up of A
Friday, 12/9 - 2 pm | If we play in and win 12/3 match
Saturday, 12/10 - 2 pm | If we play in and win 12/4 match
Tuesday, 12/13 - 2 pm | If we play in and win 12/10 match
Wednesday, 12/14 - 2 pm | If we play in and win 12/9 match
Saturday, 12/17 - 10 am | Third place match
Sunday, 12/18 - 10 am | World Cup Final
Jerry’s Colby’s Final Thought
We sit on the cusp of this mofo, and I cannot believe how excited I have finally gotten. The World Cup, like no other event, breaks down the us v them that is inherent in sports. For the next month, it’s us and another us.
I am thrilled and I cannot wait. Will probably start a chat thread for daily match watching, so feel free to pop in there.
Take care of yourself, and each other.
That was not intentional on my part, but holiday baking season is upon us. Who wants gingersnaps?!?