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The FIFA World Cup Is an Unforgettable Experience

The 2018 FIFA World Cup has kicked-off with host Russia defeating Saudi Arabia 5-nil. And with President Putin present, at least the Russian players can be confident in drinking the water after the win…

While tomorrow’s post will feature a few predictions for this glorious tournament, today’s post will focus on a particularly well-done ad by Hyundai.

Yes. Hyundai.

Nothing may ever top Nike’s airport commercial featuring Brazilian stars for the 1998 World Cup. It’s brilliant. However, a commercial spotlighting World Cup champion–and the ever-cool–Thierry Henry doing his own show-and-tell of personal soccer memorabilia is pretty awesome.

I’ll never forget seeing Thierry Henry in-person play for France in the 2006 World Cup against South Korea in the incredible Leipzig Stadium on June 18 that resulted in a 1-1 draw.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Henry doesn’t run. He glides and plays with world-class precision.

That’s my World Cup memory as a fan of Thierry Henry.

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.

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.

More Proof the ’80s are Coming Back

The U.S. Men’s Hockey Team will play against their neighbors from the north in Canada later today (noon, ET) in the semifinals of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The United States has already defeated Russia in the group stage that ended in a thrilling shootout victory. Especially since Finland knocked Russia out cold with a 3-1 win the other day (some may want to place a GPS tracker on those players…), this match-up between the Americans and the Canadians will be elevated to another level.

The stakes are high with a spot against Sweden in the championship game, plus bragging rights between these two great nations, as well as between players on various NHL teams, are on the line (technically, the blue line).

Canada is traditionally considered the better hockey nation. So, how can the United States rally together to shock the world again this Winter Olympics?

I’m glad you asked (different opponent, but still the underdog).

Go Team USA!