So you haven’t been paying attention to the soccer tournament down in Venezuela huh?
But that doesn’t mean you have to go on without finding out the hotties playing. I’ve spent countless hours winding down all the tale running up and down the pitch so we can all truly enjoy “the beautiful game.”
A little info first: not all countries are represented here. Including the stars and stripes. The USMNT will be getting their own post sometime soon. I tried to have at minimum three players per position minus goalkeeper. I wanted to field a team of hotties. Yes, it adds up to more than 11.
To get us started, here is Rafeal Márquez:
I’ve decided to make it my life’s mission to lick peanut butter off his abs.
More Copa goodness, after the jump.
*players whose team is still in the cup are in color
Donieber Alexander Marangon (Doni)-Brazil, Goalkeeper
Roberto Ayala-Argentina, Centerback
Javier Zanetti-Argentina, Rightback
Maicon Douglas Sisenando (Maicon)-Brazil, Defender
Iván Córdoba-Colombia, Centerback
Rafael Márquez (Rafa)-Mexico, Centerback[Note: MMMMMM…peanut butter…]
Darío Verón-Paraguay, Defender
Pablo Aimar-Argentina, Attacking Midfielder
Gonzalo Galindo-Bolivia, Midfielder
Diego Ribas da Cunha-Brazil, Attacking Midfielder[Note: I’m going to learn Portuguese for him. And then become his wife. That’s all.]
Robson de Souza (Robinho)-Brazil, Leftwinger/Striker
Luis Angel Landín-Mexico, Striker
Claudio Pizarro-Peru, Striker
The final is Brazil-Argentina in Maracaibo, Venezuela. Third place game is Mexico-Uruguay on Saturday in Caracas. I know nothing about soccer and won’t pretend to. But I have someone who does to give you a preview. The very hot and very sweet Mike from Digital Headbutt knows what he’s talking about, so his thoughts about what’s going to go down on Sunday:
We’re getting to the good game now. Trust me, no amount of fiestas on La Republica Deportiva could make Peru versus Bolivia watchable. It’s now a battle between the two best teams in the American continent, and quite possibly the world, for bragging rights and the chance to give Jozy Altidore a rude welcome to senior international soccer at the 2009 Confederations Cup. It should a very heated game, as Brazil and Argentina absolutely hate each other.
Argentina is the heavy favorite to win this year’s Copa America. They bring with them a team that could be more formidable than their World Cup team. In their five games leading up to the final, Los Albicelestes have outscored their opponents 16-3, including a 3-0 annihilation of Mexico in the semifinals.
A lot of pressure is on Argentina to win. The team has not won any championship of significance since the 1993 Copa America, an unprecedented dry spell for one of the world’s best teams. In Peru 2004, they held a 2-1 lead in the final a against Brazil heading into stoppage time, but Adriano robbed them of a title by scoring in the 93rd minute, in essence when the game was supposed to already be over. Brazil took advantage of their new opportunity, beating Argentina 4-2 on penalty kicks to win. Make no mistake, they need to win this game. For pride. For revenge. To take back their place among the world’s best.
Key Players (club affiliation in parentheses)
- Lionel Messi, striker (Barcelona). Quite possibly the best soccer player in the world right now, and he’s only 20.
- Carlos Tevez, striker (???). Ugly as sin, but he’s the reason West Ham is still playing in the English Premier League.
- Juan Roman Riquelme, midfielder (Boca Juniors). Has five goals in this tournament. Messi and Tevez may be the flash, but Riquelme is the centerpiece, the man that keeps team Argentina running.
Brazil is perhaps the most legendary team in all of sport. At least outside of this country, but we all know that the universe revolves around the U.S. of A. Why else would American football have grown so quickly overseas?*
If you have a hard time recognizing this Brazilian team, that’s because Brazil sent a young, experimental team to Venezuela in order to build for the future. You aren’t going to see names like Ronaldo, Ronaldhino, Dida, Cafu, and Kaká (heh heh, ka-ka). The United States took a similar approach to Copa America. However, Brazil is the soccer equivalent of pre-Coker Miami Hurricanes football. Just about anyone whom they put on the field, even their third and fourth-stringers, can compete with the best teams in the world. The USA, they’re more like Notre Dame; impressive against lesser opponents, but tends not to show up for the big games. (Our youth team notwithstanding, of course. this year they beat Brazil 2-1, and they have a real chance at winning this year’s U-20 World Cup.)
Brazil’s Copa America “B” team was embarrassed by Mexico 2-0 in group play, and nearly lost to Uruguay in the semis. However, anyone wearing those yellow shirts has a chance to win a soccer game, and this Sunday’s final is no exception.
- Robinho, striker (Real Madrid). He leads all Copa America players with six goals in five games.
- Gilberto Silva, midfielder (Arsenal). Captain of team Brazil and a standout midfielder for a British powerhouse.
- Vagner Love, striker (CSKA Moscow). Just because he has the oddest name. Ka-ka would have been funnier, but this will suffice.
The game will be played only on Univision in America. Don’t fret if you don’t speak Spanish; it’s a lot more fun to watch soccer on Univison than on any English-speaking network. I’m very new to soccer, but the past two insanely hot summers would have been unbearable without Fernando Fiore and Pablo Ramirez; instead, I would be worrying about the Red Sox’s dwindling AL East lead, which by the laws of physics will dissolve sometime in August.
I cannot bring myself to root for either team. To be honest, I despise them both. Argentina because they’re smug, holier-than-thou and are the second dirtiest team in the world (Italy being #1), and Brazil because…well, they’re Brazil, that’s why. The ideal situation for me would be for FIFA authorities to find them both guilty of steroid use and award the Championship to Uruguay. However that’s not going to happen. Brazil will compete well in this game, but they are undermanned against a stacked, angry, and determined opponent. Argentina wins 3-1, but they don’t get the go-ahead goals until the second half.