Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to another wonderful Happy Hour. Just in case anyone cared, and you probably don’t, I finally managed to get that hydride generation atomic fluorescence instrument up and running. I can now finally spend my time doing more important things like sitting at my desk and pretending to read “Chemical and Engineering News”. Enough bullshit about my scientific life, let’s get to the real news of the weekend.
The opening round of Euro 2012 qualifying begins today. (I am clearly not counting Thursday’s match between Israel and Malta). Euro 2012 will be dual hosted by Poland and the Ukraine. We have all seen this scenario before: the rest of Europe, and the world for that matter, fighting for control the Eastern Block. While I don’t expect the Germans to get too out of hand, I do predict a “blitzkrieg” of goals. While “the most influential blog of our time” will always focus on the USMNT, it can’t help but have a little fun at Europe’s expense. The following is a quick breakdown of the Groups followed by my predictions for the top three finishers. Just to be clear, the top finishers in each group, as well as the top second place team from all groups, qualifies automatically. The remaining second place teams must play in another two leg qualifying round.
Before you assholes start to think I forgot some countries, most groups have six teams, but a few only have five.
Group A: Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Germany, Kazakhstan, Turkey
While this group includes Germany, I jumped the gun in the introduction and already made the compulsory WWII and blitzkrieg jokes. Taking a look at this group, it’s really awful with the exception of the Krauts and Turks. Before I move on, I do have to give Sacha Baron Cohen a shout out and wish good luck to “Glorious Kazakhstan!”
Predictions: Germany, Turkey, Austria
Group B: Russia, Rep. of Ireland, Slovakia, Macedonia, Armenia, Andorra
When I was preparing to write this post, I literally wrote “insert jokes about small useless European countries here.” When I saw Armenia on the list, I actually laughed out load. The only people who have ever heard of Armenia in the United States have relatives who live there or are huge fans of System of a Down. Apparently these fans are real violent. My roommate used to date an Armenian and huge System fan. She used to sucker punch the shit out of dudes for fun. In all seriousness, I am really hoping for the Irish to make a good showing in Euro 2012 to avenge that bullshit missed call that kept them out of the World Cup.
Predictions: Russia, Rep of Ireland, Slovakia
Group C: Italy, Serbia, Slovenia, Estonia, North Ireland, Faroe Island.
Does anyone else really want to see the Italians run another team full of geriatrics out on the pitch for a repeat of last summer? If the new skipper really thinks he can win with so many players over 30, his tenure will be much shorter then Lippi’s. Even if the Italians “come correct” don’t be too surprised if the Serbians continue their excellent run of form and win the group. Faroe Islands, if you don’t concede over 12 goals during qualification, I will buy everyone in your country a beer… all 49,000 of you.
Predictions: Serbia, Italy, Slovenia
Group D: France, Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus, Luxemburg, Albania
Finally, I have another opportunity for me to make fun of the walking waste of humanity that is the French National Team. I wish I could be hanging out with Nicolas Anelka while he pounded beer and tossed popcorn at the TV while France continues to fuck up. While I fully expect the French to win the group, don’t expect everything to be peachy in Paris just yet.
Predictions: France, Romania, Albania
Group E: Hungry, Netherlands, Finland, Moldova, San Marino, Sweden
The real story of the group is the Dutch trying to salvage some sort of trophy after their embarrassing and dirty play in the World Cup Final. The Oranje will steamroll the competition in this Group baring any round house kicks to the face from my boy Nigel de Jong. On a side note, it will also be interesting to see how the Dutch use Ruud van Nistelrooy after Arjen “old face killah” Robben’s injury.
Predictions: Dutch, Sweden, Hungry
Group F: Croatia, Georgia, Greece, Malta, Israel, Latvia
This may very well be the most boring group in the history of football competition. The Greeks are a long way away from their surprising victory in 2004, and their erratic play in South Africa should have them concerned. I and the rest of TYAC staff are rooting for Yossi “the Jewish Assassin” to carry Israel through qualification. If you aren’t pulling for Israel, you hate America.
Predictions: Greece, Croatia, Israel
Group: G England, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Whales, Montenegro
Finally, we get to the English. All the English folks I know are tired of this “golden generation” underachieving. I do however find it funny that every decade in English football is labeled as a “golden generation”. Maybe, these jacklegs can finally put the pieces together and win something. Of course, they may fail to qualify just like 2008. If Capello has finally lifted his no sex rules, they should be able to get their act together.
Predictions: England, Switzerland, Whales
Group H: Portugal, Denmark, Cyprus, Norway, Iceland
I quite literally have nothing to say about this group other than the fact that I hate the Portuguese simply because I hate Christiano Ronaldo. Every time a finger is laid on him, he dives like he is trying to win the belly flop competition at the local YMCA summer camp. And don’t bother leaving comments about how good he is. I know he is a World Class player, the cream of the crop so to speak. However, you can’t tell me he isn’t an asshole. If you actually like the guy, never admit it in public or you will end up getting your ass kicked. On a complete side note, the only way Iceland has a shot of moving on is if they suit up the squad from Mighty Ducks 2. Those kids where a bunch of bruisers.
Predictions: Portugal, Norway, Denmark
Group I: Spain, Czech Rep, Liechtenstein, Scotland, Lithuania,
The reigning European and World Champions are clearly the class of the final group. Winning Euro 2012 would put a close the book on the greatest generation of Spanish footballers in history. Hopefully the Czech Republic manages to get their shit together and not blow this qualifying campaign like they did the World Cup.
Predictions: Spain, Czech Rep, Scotland
Jesus Christ, this post is entirely too long, and took way longer to write than I wanted. I have crushed about 8 PBR’s just sitting here. If I managed to correctly predict the outcome of every group, I should win a kick ass prize. Maybe an HJ from Katy Perry or a lifetime supply of PBR…a man can dream.
Time for PUCK’S FREE ADVICE.
It’s the beginning of college football season, go to a tailgate and get fucked up. End of discussion.
If you made it this far, I want to leave you with possibly the most underrated song on the great Album Thriller. It’s time to hit happy hour and find my own “Pretty Young Thing.”
Sorry for partying bitches.
Puck is the pop culture guy for The Yanks Are Coming. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and is a lesser man for not yet being on Twitter.