June 17, 2002

Japan v Turkey: and Korea v Italy kick off the second half of the Round of 16. My fantasy picks are for Japan and Italy.

However, can both hosts make it through? More importantly, can Korea overcome Italy? I don't mind getting the wrong pick on that one.

posted by worldcup2002 to soccer at 03:55 PM - 35 comments

I hope hope hope South Korea can beat the living snot out of Italy for a number of reasons. 1) I like their style. Korea have played beautifully. Fast and ravenous, they've shown that Asian teams can play beautiful, attacking football. 2) I hate the catenaggio. For me Italy is combines all the worst elements of European football into one nauseous whole. They keel over like cows getting hit by a train if someone as much as breathes on them, this combined with their signature we've-scored-one-goal-let's-just-all-pack-into-our-own-penalty-area-and-be-bastards makes them about as lovable as four week old milk. 3) It will be yet another egg in the face of the Europeans-and-South-Americans-will-always-rule-football crowd. They need more eggs thrown their way. (For the record, I'm Icelandic myself). 4) Spain v Italy: Boooooooooooooooring. Spain v S-Korea: Classic. Everytime I've seen two teams from southern Europe playing the games have been as exciting as the Spitzbergen Paint-drying Competition. I think the same principle is at work as that which make Belgium v Russia become goal frenzies. On the other hand all the S-Korea games have been superb. 5) It will increase the likelihood of a first time world cup winner. Lest people forget, France was the first new world champion since 1978 (to many "pundits" and "purists" that was quite a blow since France had traditionally been a second-tier football nation, one that gets into the semi-finals but no further. Similar to Sweden or Belgium. They're still blaming luck for this. Even after Euro2000). So keep on expanding the field. Am also rooting for Japan for similar reasons. But without the dislike for the opponent. But then Japan have shown themselves to be an even better side than Korea and Japan v Senegal would be a truly mouth-watering quarter-final in a way that Turkey v Senegal wouldn't be. Turkey has been lacklustre so far (except against Brazil, where they were unlucky not to win), while Japan has impressed. Adding the home advantage they should win. But Turkey can pull any number of tricks out of its bag so nothing is certain. Discarding emotions for a while I'd have to say that Italy are slightly more likely win, but only because they're complete bastards that always manage to score one goal and then hang onto that until the final whistle blows (except against France in 2000, YES!). However their defence is in tatters due to Nesta's injury problems, and if they can't organize properly, which they've failed to do sans Nesta, Korea should have more than a fighting chance to win. And if Totti can't pull himself out of the slump he's been in this tournament their midfield will continue to look asleep, especially with Cannavaro gone. Adding to that the advantage of having 70.000 red-clad maniacs cheering for you... So... Korea! Team Fighting! Korea! Team Fighting!

posted by Kattullus at 05:02 PM on June 17, 2002

hmm i agree they're not much fun to watch, but i like italy for all the reasons you don't. That said, i think korea is going to mop the floor with them unless a miracle happens. I'm hoping they start del piero, that might give them a little jump. I call Japan over Turkey as well.

posted by juv3nal at 06:58 PM on June 17, 2002

I've been abysmal at predicting results all the way through this World Cup. However, I HOPE that Korea and Japan both progress just because their fans have impressed me so much. Having said that both Italy and Turkey are hard teams to beat, whoever they are playing. At least one will go to a penalty shoot-out is my hopeless prediction, so expect both games to be decided in normal time.

posted by squealy at 07:20 PM on June 17, 2002

Squealy, you do yourself credit. By now, only the bookies still have confidence in their own picks. I had Mexico all the way over the U.S. (here's a positive-thinking American, eh?). My picks are for K over I and absolutely no Turkish delight tonight as well. By the way, for those of you who have a chance to watch the Japan-Turkey match, be sure not to go grab a beer when the camera switches to Coach Troussier on the Japan bench. Japanese fans love him, but they keel over with laughter watching his antics on the bench. Well, that's not exactly correct -- the antics are courtesy of his translator/sidekick/personal longhaired coach impersonator who sits next to Troussier and, whether consciously or not I cannot say, mimics the coach's every gesture. Basically, for the Japanese, Troussier and his translator are considered a great coaching team and vaudville act wrapped in one package.

posted by Bixby23 at 09:08 PM on June 17, 2002

This is going to be tough to decide which game to watch. I'll only get a chance to watch one of them (either tape the early one and watch it at 7:30, or watch the live one), and both are intriguing. Of course, I could tape the early game, get up an hour before I usually do, watch it on fast-forward, THEN watch the late game.... Japan v Turkey could be a real shootout, and the home crowd could be absolutely dynamite for the team. Korea v Italy could be a snore fest if Italy scores first, but the Korean crowds are even BETTER than the Japanese, and it would be wonderful to see a huge upset here. Prediction? I don't want to jinx them, but I'm picking Korea (penalty kicks) and Japan (3-2).

posted by grum@work at 09:27 PM on June 17, 2002

I keep telling myself that Italy will finally snap out of their doldrums and get around to being the stellar team that they are. They'll have a hell of a time getting past Korea though, but for shits and giggles, I say Italy wins 2-1.

posted by armando at 10:46 PM on June 17, 2002

ohmuhgawwwwwww... tomorrow, tomorrow's games ... do you realize these could be the best games of the tournament? Brazil v England and US v Germany. Graaaaaargh -- I'm going to have to watch both. Plan: Go to sleep at 8pm, wake up at 1115pm for first game. After first game, go to sleep at 230am. Wake up at 415am for next game. After second game, stand waist-deep in ice cubes and shower with cold water only. Commence IV caffeine drip ... 1 kilogram stat ... commission eye-lid holders from Clockwork Orange ... wear sunglasses all day ... cancel all meetings ... carry fork for intermittent hand-jabbing sessions.

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:29 PM on June 17, 2002

btw, looks like this discussion is unanimous about Japan and Korea winning tonite. Cheers, lads, let's hope we're right, and that we have enjoyable battles on the way to the results.

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:31 PM on June 17, 2002

My picks are Japan 2-0 and Italy 3-2. I think it's pretty damn clear though that when England beat Brazil 4-2, they have their spot in the final secured.

posted by kafkaesque at 11:34 PM on June 17, 2002

wc2k2: If you see another guy walking around with a fork - that's me. k: dont underestimate the senegalese (or the brazilians for that matter) Japan 2-1; Korea 2-1 (OT) I wouldnt lay any money down on these games, though.

posted by vacapinta at 12:34 AM on June 18, 2002

vaca: I just realized the first game ends at 130am. (whew) So I get one more hour of sleep than I thought. Yay. Maybe I can cut down on my caffeine drip. And a few fork-jabbings. Heh.

posted by worldcup2002 at 12:57 AM on June 18, 2002

Ouch. Well. In the sense that this Cup has been and continues to be the most unpredictable sporting event I have witnessed in my 30something-year lifetime, I'd say the J-T game was pretty much par for the course... drat...

posted by Bixby23 at 03:50 AM on June 18, 2002

I was rooting for Japan, but Turkey definitely was the better team in this showing. Their ball control was excellent. Maybe the rain hampered Japan.. they sure looked lackluster compared to their earlier games.

posted by ShinyKnows at 03:51 AM on June 18, 2002

Poor Japan, I was really cheering for them. And now it looks like Korea might go out also (0:1 at 68 right now). I really enjoyed watching both of these teams and I'm hoping that someone like Fox Sports World picks up some Japanese or Korean league matches now.

posted by elsoltano at 08:00 AM on June 18, 2002

arg. italy out. me sad. =(

posted by juv3nal at 08:57 AM on June 18, 2002

I think that I shall never see a thing as lovely as A BUNCH OF CHEATING, DIRTY PLAYING, BAD ACTING ITALIANS going home the losers that they are. I'm happy. Or can you tell...

posted by Bixby23 at 09:03 AM on June 18, 2002

I feel Italy's pain, but the sight of thousands of red-shirted Koreans celebrating was fantastic.

posted by Summer at 09:04 AM on June 18, 2002

This is too good to be true - who would have thought, the semis: England or Brazil v Turkey or Senegal Germany or USA v Spain or Korea I reckon the final is on Friday morning myself, though I have a horrible feeling England will beat Brazil and then lose the semi.....

posted by Brettski at 09:09 AM on June 18, 2002

Coco (pronounced 'cock-oh') with his condom-head, too. Totti getting his just desserts. Poor bloody Maldini, forced to deal with people in front of him who chose not to attack. Time for Italy to get a foreign coach. Glory to the South Koreans. And from the Guardian, explaining why the site hasn't been updated yet: "Italy have been knocked out on a golden goal; we'll explain what happened in a moment because everyone is too busy jumping about. Suffice to say we're excited" Did you lay that bet, vacapinta? (Suffice it to say that my predictions were exactly wrong here. I retire from predicting.)

posted by etagloh at 09:13 AM on June 18, 2002

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeessssss!!! Ahn is my new hero. After misusing a penalty kick, he still battled on and managed to score a golden goal... Damn the Koreans were good. They fully deserved it. Too bad about Japan though, but I guess you can't have it all. It's funny, in the second round one game per day has gone to the established nations and one to the upstarts. Only four european teams in the quarter-finals and one south american... This almost makes up for France's exit.

posted by Kattullus at 09:13 AM on June 18, 2002

It's great for football as a world sport. All 5 continents are represented in the quarter finals. In addition, all four matches are a European team against a non-European team. Four of the eight were totally unfancied to get anywhere near this far.

posted by salmacis at 09:18 AM on June 18, 2002

Kattulus: Team Fighting worked! Korea! Korea! Korea! You do realize that, aside from Brazil (2) and Spain (8), there are no top 10 FIFA-ranked teams left in the World Cup? France (1), Argentina (joint 2), Portugal (5), Italy (6), Mexico (7) have been knocked out. Colombia (4), Netherlands (9) and Yugoslavia (10) didn't even qualify. OK, boys, tonight's probably the night of the tournament ...

posted by worldcup2002 at 09:23 AM on June 18, 2002

I was rooting for Italy all the way, but Totti was pissing me off. He spent more time trying to draw a foul and acting than he did taking the ball to the goal. There was one instance where he impressively took the ball all the way down the field. Right when he got to the box, he hesitated, looking for a foul, instead of trying to put the ball in. What a dope!

posted by armando at 09:26 AM on June 18, 2002

Wait. I have the prediction to end all predictions (and given that predictions -- mine in particular -- have been less than worthless throughout, I figure "what the hey...") Korea over Brazil in Yokohama -- 2-0

posted by Bixby23 at 09:28 AM on June 18, 2002

Shit... the way things have been going it could well be Korea v Senegal in Yokohama. Or maybe tradition kicks back in and we'll have Brazil v Germany... which by the way would be a stinker which Germany would probably win. But Korea v Senegal would be a classic any which way you look at it. Since France went out I've been predicting that the world champion would be a first-timer... and I'm sticking to that one.

posted by Kattullus at 09:35 AM on June 18, 2002

Of course, last time a Korea beat Italy... and an England-Germany final is still on.

posted by etagloh at 09:50 AM on June 18, 2002

Depends on the spin, etagloh, sure England won in 1966, but who are the hosts now? ;) By the way... I never ever expected that I'd cheer for England two games in a row, but that's what's happening now... My dream semis are Korea v USA and England v Senegal... that would be awesome.

posted by Kattullus at 10:11 AM on June 18, 2002

Brazil-Germany would not be a boring final. For a start, despite their great record in world cup, these two teams have never met in a competitive match! The one final I didn't want to see was Brazil-Italy (again), even though I picked Italy to win it all before the tournament started. All the other permutations look potentially interesting.

posted by salmacis at 10:12 AM on June 18, 2002

worldcup2002: I hate to rain on your parade mate, but there's no use staying up tonight as the next round isn't until Friday. Get some sleep man, you are getting overexcited ;-)

posted by squealy at 10:13 AM on June 18, 2002

You do realize that, aside from Brazil (2) and Spain (8), there are no top 10 FIFA-ranked teams left in the World Cup? France (1), Argentina (joint 2), Portugal (5), Italy (6), Mexico (7) have been knocked out. Colombia (4), Netherlands (9) and Yugoslavia (10) didn't even qualify. I say it's time to imitate what happens in the boxing and chess world and start an alternative World Cup based on rankings alone. Strictly no funny stuff. Look at the quality of these rejects! Or at least at the width...(The fact it's our only chance in hell has, of course, nothing to do with it,) ;)

posted by Miguel Cardoso at 10:40 AM on June 18, 2002

Sorry to keep chiming in, but I wanted to thank Armando for the comment about Totti. When a player with his kind of talent feels like he has to draw a foul (and so blatantly, too) to win a free kick, and near-automatic goal, it's like admitting flat out that he doesn't have what it takes to score competitively. It's like Totti was admitting that Korea was the better team. Which, of course, they were.

posted by Bixby23 at 11:08 AM on June 18, 2002

squealy: Yeah, I messed up on the date. Chalk it up to sleep deprivation. Best part, tho, is the "extra" sleep I'll get before the games. Hee hee.

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:37 AM on June 18, 2002

Japan 2-1; Korea 2-1 (OT) Woo hoo! I called it. stupid japan.

posted by vacapinta at 04:04 PM on June 18, 2002

My picks are Japan 2-0 and Italy 3-2. My picks were spot on except that the other team won and by a different amount of goals. Apart from that, perfection! Look for my new book "Handicapping for the complete idiot" in stores before Xmas.

posted by kafkaesque at 08:53 PM on June 18, 2002

kafkaesque: I blew it, too. In fact, one whole half of my picks is shot because Mexico was knocked out by the US. But I don't mind. :-)

posted by worldcup2002 at 02:30 AM on June 19, 2002

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