Monday, July 14, 2014

World Cup 2014 Aftermath: Chuck Kowalski's Top, Shittiest XI

Back again with another World Cup post of glory for yinz. I'm sure we all agree that the World Cup is packed with punctuated moments of scintillating skill and glory, and many more moments of utter embarrassment and humiliation -- all magnified on a global scale.

As the actors in this 'quadyearly' comedy, tragedy, or drama, players always lead us to joy, tears, and half-full beer cans chucked violently at the TV. As such, here are Chuck K's tournament formations for the Top and Shittiest XI:


Tim Howard and Guillermo Achoa, GK, The United States and Mexico
These two were pivotal in their team capturing points in the group stage. They were both so good, in fact, that they are just going to take turns playing goalie throughout the game. Tendency for heroics would lead one to believe that they will form first North American crime-fighting tandem.

Benoît Assou-Ekotto, FB, Cameroon
Got in a fight with a teammate as Cameroon’s odds for making the next round began to sour. That scrappiness could come in handy if the team gets in a fight on the field, in the parking lot, in the runway, or with one another.

John Brooks, CB, The United States
Highest ratio in the entire tournament of goals scored per minutes played. I mean, that pretty much sums up the point of the sport right there.

Pepe, CB, Portugal
No matter the circumstances, no matter the suspense – you can always count on Pepe to use his head.

Fabian Johnson, FB, The United States
I’m not even fucking around with this one. Did you watch this guy? He was really good.

Keisuke Honda, RM, Japan
I’ve owned the same Honda for more than ten years now and it still runs like a champ, so he’s got to have something going for him.

James Rodriguez, LM, Columbia
Beloved by all of Columbia and now heralded as its “King James,” Rodriguez will hold an ESPN special titled La decision where he will announce that he is taking his talents to the south beaches of Argentina, only to return to Columbia after he’s won the World Cup a couple of times.

Kevin De Bruyne, CM, Belgium
Deserves praise for being one of the tournament’s best players despite clearly only being ten years old.

Andrea Pirlo, CM, Italy
Sure, Italy didn’t make it out of the group stage, but you say no to the flowing locks of this 35-year-old stallion.

Luis Suárez, ST, Uruguay
A clinical finisher with an insatiable hunger for the game and the flesh of fellow man.

Samuel Eto'o, FW, Cameroon
The circles and arrows on this diagram are meant to convey the general position and movement of the player. In this case, though, Eto'o will not move from this spot, play defense, or stop mentally writing his autobiography until he is passed the ball – at which point he will lose it immediately and continue business as usual. He did buy the entire Cameroon national team 30,000£ watches when they qualified for the 2010 World Cup, however, so let’s sign him up and see if we can get some free gear.


Juan Zúñiga, FB, Columbia
Such a powerful presence on any backline, he can take down an entire nation in just one play.

And moving on...


Júlio César, GK, Brazil

Way to be the worst player on arguably the most talented team in the tournament – OK, Fred and his facial hair fit for adult films weren’t much better. But seriously talking Kukoč to Jordan, (Marc) Gasol to Bryant here. On even the weakest of shots, he looked like he was playing ‘hot potato’ with a live grenade and a stick of dynamite; given the riots leading up to and during the tournament, I suppose he was just happy it was a soccer ball instead.

Álvaro Pereira, FB, Uruguay

I can’t tell if Pereira is an opera singer, mythical sea creature, or Seabiscuit disguised as a Uruguayan defender. Every time this ‘guy’ – still holding judgment here – flopped aimlessly to the ground, he displayed a mouth so large it could likely inhale an entire bushel of hay… or he was just hitting his falsetto. Extra shit points for being utterly incapable of passing a ball that wasn’t darted straight up the line to nobody or passed directly to his right to nobody.

Sergio Ramos, CB, Spain

Now here’s a player kids can really look up to if they want to grow up to mug enfeebled women in streets, slash somebody’s tires out of spite, or just be that insufferable shithead that nobody wants to talk to at the family picnic… or fiesta – the fuck if I know. It’s just a shame he was too busy elbowing people in the back of the head and missing the net by a mile on free kicks instead of playing, you know, defense. 

Unfortunately for the extended Ramos family, Spain’s failures in the tournament mean Sergio will make it home in time for the fiesta they scheduled purposefully for him to miss, where, I can only assume, he will steal small change from the neighborhood children and bicycle kick a relative of advanced age in the teeth for asking how that “football tournament thingy” went.

Gerard Piqué, CB, Spain

The Chris Kirkpatrick of Spanish soccer – yes, the one from ‘N Sync who was so revolting that none of the teenage groupies even dared, by folly or by choice, to conjure up an image of him in an attempt to make their hormones run wild. Piqué reinforces one of the most underlying foundations of humanity: being tall and having pedigree are more important than actually being able to do your fucking job.

And as if one pop music reference weren’t enough, the guy is married to Shakiri – absolutely fucking ridiculous. I can only imagine she tops as Piqué cries underneath her,  playing ‘Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely’ over and over in his head and fantasizing about the Carter brothers.

Brayan Beckeles, FB, Honduras

Did you watch Honduras? God, they were fucking awful, and nothing summed it up like their defense attempting to foil the opposing attack by forcible amputation and decapitation. 

Kyle Beckerman, CM, The United States

Listen, this sad combination of Shaggy and Chris Kirkpatrick (yes, him again) was given one job to do the entire tournament: take up space. Not cover a specific player; not be a reliable outlet for the back four defenders; not connect the defense with the offense – no, his task was literally to exist in a solid physical state for 90 minutes in the hopes that his repulsive hair would push the other team to the sidelines or that opposing forwards would trip over his nearly lifeless body lying in the middle of the field because, you know, playing soccer is really hard. Plays regularly in front of Mormons.

Nigel de Jong, CM, Netherlands

Admittedly, a victim of the role stipulated for him, which was to do nothing but follow around players better than he is and physically assault them until he had to be subbed because the authorities arrived at the field with a warrant for his arrest. By fouling players 7000 times, he successfully took what could have been an exciting game and slowed it down to the point that it was more suitable to sedating geriatrics than being a live sporting event.

Also completely useless in possession because his go-to technical maneuvers – throwing violent haymakers, premeditatedly kicking someone in the abdomen, and the Tombstone Piledriver – don’t work on a soccer ball.

Raul Meireles, CM, Portugal

I don’t think another human has ever rubbed his or her own jaw that long in muted pain without having first performed marathon fellatio. Portugal’s version of De Jong, but so shitty that I only have two sentences worth of material to complain about.

Wesley Sneijder, CA (central asshole), Netherlands

As if watching this dickhead lazily romp around the field weren’t enough, I actually had to put in more effort and redo the formation just to make a spot for this infuriating asshat. While many teams will play a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, I had to create a 4-3-2-who gives a flying fuck, so that I could field a guy so pained by work that he can list it as a severe allergy on his medical forms. Makes the unemployed look industrious.

Neymar, FW, Brazil

Just not the kind of player who can carry the whole team on his back – or more specifically, his third vertebrae. 

Gonzalo Higuain, FW, Argentina

I really feel bad for Higuain … not because he missed a gift from Toni Kroos in the final that, one could say, cost his team the game – not that at all. I empathize because he must suffer from a very serious psychiatric disorder – one that seems to convince him that he isn’t irrevocably offsides on every other decent run of play, that he should haphazardly shoot the ball anywhere but on target, and that he is somehow the player teammates should be targeting on the field, a sign of either massive hallucinations or early-onset Alzheimer’s, as he has clearly forgotten about players named Messi, Di Maria, and Aguero (who should both still get the ball over Higuain, even when injured).

So there you have it, jags. Another World Cup, another series of unmatched highs and myriad more life-shattering lows. Be sure to follow up here throughout the summer on Sports Unfiltered, as I tackle... I dunno... football or some shit.

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