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Back When Romeo & Juliet Were Kids

Is there such a thing as an end of summer song?

Music man Ryan Tedder is back with another hit single, this time with his band OneRepublic. The group from Colorado Springs, Colorado filmed and produced a music video that is set in what appears to be Mexico City’s best impression of Verona, Italy. The romantic thrill of Romeo & Juliet is an interesting choice for the song “Kids.” On the one hand, this storytelling choice fits and on the other hand, the decision to highlight young love seems a bit off for the lyrics.

And yet, the brand new music video and song are great in equal measure.

What do you think of the music video?

What I know is that I want to visit that movie-like alleyway for a late night dinner with a special girl, followed by a rocking concert.

Well played, OneRepublic, well played.

The American Dream

Belgium v. Algeria will see a European side sporting black, yellow and red that could very well become one of the sustaining darlings of this World Cup. They are fast, quick on the ball and creative. The snapshot analysis from a post on this blog late last week compared this Belgian side to (potentially) Uruguay from four years ago in South Africa. Also, don’t forget about the team play that propelled South Korea to the semifinals of the 2002 World Cup. Working and playing together matters. This is not to imply a direct replica in performance and/or style, but more so in a broad sense of an underdog that could make a serious run under the radar with efficient team-based soccer.

Brazil v. Mexico will be an exciting match between two nations that are clearly good, but nobody really knows how good just yet. With the opening night adrenaline likely subdued, Brazil will be a little closer to the pitch this afternoon. And, once on that pitch, they’ll meet a Mexican squad that was energized and dangerous offensively in their first game versus Cameroon. However, Cameroon is not Brazil and there’s the rub.

Who will win Group A? In all likelihood, that will be today’s winner.

Russia v. Korea Republic is not the marquee match today, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. Both teams can cause problems and disturb the flow of their opponents. Russian midfielder Victor Fayzulin had this to say about Korea Republic. “They are disciplined. As a footballer, I find it hard to play against them. They are quick, small and sharp players.” It’s very likely the #2 team from Group H (or maybe #1…) will be victorious in this game. One of the best parts about the group stage of the World Cup is to watch as many teams and varying soccer styles as possible. It’s always fascinating to see how different nations and cultures interpret the beautiful game. There are always surprises at this tournament every four years, but you never know when they’ll happen…

Speaking of which: well done Clint Dempsey (an American World Cup record 30 seconds into the game!) and John Brooks for scoring the two goals in a thrilling 2-1 victory against World Cup foes Ghana! With Brooks as a second half sub, Jürgen Klinsmann proved once again that he’s a maestro at substitutions. In fact, Brooks said he dreamed about his shining moment in his World Cup debut, in shocking detail.

“Two nights ago,” Brooks said. “I told my teammates about it. In the dream, I scored in the 80th minute and we won the game. I scored on a header from a corner kick.”

The 86′ minute is pretty damn close!

(Also, great cross from fellow substitute Graham Zusi to Brooks).

The World Cup: where soccer dreams come true.

These Games Should Be Scary Good

First of all, every fan (and team) should applaud and mimic the national pride the Brazilians showed last night by walking into the stadium for the first match of the 2014 World Cup with their hands on the shoulder of the teammate in front of them and by singing their national anthems with heartfelt passion.

It was a beautiful sight.

Three games scheduled today will continue the excitement from Brazil’s 3-1 victory against the Mandžukić-less Croatian side yesterday afternoon (the final score was a bit misleading). These matches include: Mexico v. Cameroon (Noon ET), Spain v. Netherlands (3:00 p.m. ET) and Chile v. Australia (6:00 p.m. ET). Not only will these matches provide us with a good idea of the dynamics for Groups A & B, but it’s also Friday the 13th. Just something to keep in mind. You never know what may happen?

After all, who would have predicted a Brazilian own-goal to open the scoring at this year’s World Cup?

Actually, Big Head the turtle probably picked that…

What to watch for:

Can Mexico erase the mighty struggles it endured during CONCACAF qualifying and compete at the highest-level versus Cameroon? It could go wither way for El Tri. In all likelihood, Brazil will win Group A, but it will be fascinating to watch which team will secure that coveted second spot. At this point, Croatia, Mexico or Cameroon could play themselves into the Final 16 with some purposeful and creative footballing rhythm.

Chile v. Australia will prove as a good example at this World Cup of two teams that may not be highly regarded, but who have the potential to be trouble for the teams that are better known and more heavily favored (ie- Spain and the Netherlands). As Croatia showed, a few dangerous crosses by David can put Goliath in a tricky, uncomfortable spot.

Spain v. Netherlands: a rematch of the 2010 World Cup Final. What form will Spain show up in? Will the Dutch be less physical and more fluid in possession and be more attacking-centric? The World Cup should always kickoff with the host nation before its home crowd, but this match-up warrants nearly as much hype. This game could be a nil-nil tie, a 2-2 tie or a thrilling 1-nil win or even a 3-1 domination. Don’t underestimate Spain and don’t underestimate the Dutch in 2014. The tournament is in the “games” phase right now, which means that an explosive offense can make up for early, silly defensive mistakes. Maybe not necessarily for the group stage, but this match can go a long way in defining each squad regarding its style of play and ultimate potential in its equal pursuit towards World Cup glory far beyond the round of 32.

Now, back to the Friday the 13th issue. In soccer, crazy things can and will happen. Today’s superstitious date adds just a little more spice to that Moqueca de Camarão. The question is: for what teams/players will this famed curse affect?

Perhaps keep an eye out for players wearing #13…

Mexico: Diego Reyes

Cameroon: Eric Choupo Molting

Spain: Juan Mata

Netherlands: Joël Veltman

Chile: Jose Rojas

Australia: Oliver Bozanic

Maybe the Dutch should wear black kits today, since their mascot is a lion, which is a member of the cat family…

Got Slogans?

A recent article on CNN revealed the winning slogans for all the teams that will be playing at the World Cup in Brazil this summer. The winning slogans, written by fans from each country, will be displayed on the team buses for all to see during the tournament. A few are good, but most of them are bad.

Solution?

Here is Jimmy’s Daily Planet’s list of better, more realistic team mottoes for some of the 32 teams that will compete in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil:

Algeria: “Yes, We’ll Keep Track of Landon Donovan This Time”

Argentina: “We Have Lionel Messi, So Yeah”

Australia: “Forget Kangaroos, We’re Bringing Our Damn Crocodiles!”

Belgium: “At the End of This, You’ll All Be Eating Waffles”

Bosnia and Herzegovina: “If You Lose to Us, Everybody Will Know”

Brazil: “Win or Lose, We’ll Be in the Final!”

Colombia: “We Brought Our Own White Powder to Line the Fields With…”

England: “Excited For Our 10-Day Vacation Every 4 Years!”

Ghana: “Time to Beat the U.S. Again”

Honduras: “Just Happy to Be Here”

Italy: “And You Thought a Flower Blew Over Easily”

Japan: “We Have the Sudoku of Defenses”

Mexico: “We Have No Idea How We Got Such an Easy Group Again (Ju$t Kidding, We Know)”

Holland: “Real Men Wear Orange” (It’s the real one, but it’s so awesome & true!)

Portugal: “We Have a Star Player Named Ronaldo Who Speaks Portuguese Playing at the World Cup in Brazil…I Mean, C’mon”

Russia: “What’s This Rule About Wearing Jerseys?”

Spain: “Hey, Does Anybody Care or Want to See the World Cup Right Now!?”

Switzerland: “We Don’t Want to Offend or Defend Anyone”

Uruguay: “South America’s ‘Middle Child’ Will Be Kicking Butts & Taking Names!”

The United States of America: “One Nation, Under God, We’re Praying”

A little truth in advertising doesn’t hurt. It definitely revealed how Spain would fare 4 years ago with their simple slogan:

Spain in 2010: “We’re Going to Win”

P.S. You have no idea how painful it was for me to write that as a longtime and dedicated Dutch fan…just one delicate foot deflection away!

Damn, it still hurts.