The Not Looking So Clasico Clasico

Sigh. The last five years have been pretty dreamy. No, not in the sense Real Madrid has won title after title. Rather, we’ve at least been close to winning title after title. We’ve been a respectable second place. After the depths of the Galactico era, this was a nice relief. Capello, Schuster and Mou coached teams to titles. More importantly, under Mou, Madrid started to sign and field coherent teams with strong player at every position. The Zidane y Pavon policy was discarded.

Then Carlo took over, let the horses run wild, and things got really fun. Continue reading “The Not Looking So Clasico Clasico” »

Qatar 2022: Will FIFA Learn Anything from the Australian Open Debacle?

FIFA has awarded the World Cup to Qatar in 2022. Newsflash: Qatar is a pretty hot country. This past summer, Ecuadorian striker Chucho Benitez died from heart failure shortly after signing and playing for a Qatari club. Many construction workers have died toiling away in the heat. Qatar is a “subtropical dry, hot desert climate.” Summer temperatures can reach up to and over 40 degrees Celsius, which translates to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, during June, the average temperature is 105 degrees Fahrenheit. There’s little rain and little cloud-cover.

As part of its bid, Qatar included some stadiums with magical floating roofs (ahem, “solar clouds”) that looked like spaceships and, surprise surprise, are impossible to actually build. FIFA has promised that the Qatar World Cup will be during the winter. But, then again, FIFA has promised to combat corruption and Sepp Blatter is perpetually running for office “one last time.” For this post, I operated on the assumption that the tournament will happen in the summer and scoured FIFA’s website for an extreme weather policy.

The results were not pleasant. Continue reading “Qatar 2022: Will FIFA Learn Anything from the Australian Open Debacle?” »

The Real Madrid Season Preview as Represented by the Shifting Eyebrows of Carlo Ancelotti

Real Madrid has basically kept the same roster from last year. Yes, Higuain has left. We will miss Pipita. However, the bigger movement happened on the sideline. Madrid pried Carlo Ancelotti from PSG. Thus, the story of this season is this: can the Italian coach get the best out of a still strong nucleus of talent? Can Real Madrid balance a fight against Barca in La Liga with the grueling demands of search for the Decima?

Some folks point to stats to make predictions. Others like to wax tactics. Here at Futfanatico, we prefer superstition, correlations, and random observations. Thus, our season preview of Real Madrid revolves entirely around explaining and deciphering the various eyebrow gestures of Carlo Ancelotti. Enjoy. Continue reading “The Real Madrid Season Preview as Represented by the Shifting Eyebrows of Carlo Ancelotti” »

Champions League Semi-Finals Preview: Real Madrid v. Team and Barcelona v. Other Team

The universe demands, dare I say, cries out for another clasico. However, UEFA is a tease – rather than repeating a Spanish Champions League semi-final from two years ago, a few German speed bumps have emerged. As in, Barcelona and Real Madrid will not face one another. Rather, they will face German teams. Fans of Real Madrid and Barcelona are terrified. Uncertainty plagues the proceedings. Both teams are so used to playing one another that playing a club who is not your bitter and eternal rival feels like a letdown.

What can Real Madrid & Barcelona fans expect in the two semi-finals? Let’s start with the fundamentals. We do know that Real Madrid and Barcelona have played a boatload of clasicos in the last few years. Using this trove of data and negative inferences, we now present a very special preview of the upcoming games. Continue reading “Champions League Semi-Finals Preview: Real Madrid v. Team and Barcelona v. Other Team” »

The US vs. Jamaica: What to Expect

I know that I’ve made one too many ‘Merica jokes on twitter and alienated many of you with my “split allegiances” posts at Fox Soccer. However, I assure that I have white skin, blue blood courses my veins, and that blood when exposed to air turns red. Thus, I am American. Emphasis on the last three syllables. Thus, I frequently turn my gaze to our plucky national team.

Here are a few half-thoughts on the upcoming games vs. Jamaica. Continue reading “The US vs. Jamaica: What to Expect” »

England vs. France Preview: the Battle of the Already Battled

England will win against France. Why am I so sure? Well, many disingenuous soccer sites make predictions based on starting lineups, the form and presence of star players, and a recent results. Here at Futfanatico, we solidly base our predictions on centuries old naval and cavalry warfare history. And archers. Therefore, I repeat, England will defeat France. It has happened before. It will happen again.

The only question is how. Continue reading “England vs. France Preview: the Battle of the Already Battled” »

LIST – Bayern Munich vs. Chelsea, Champions League Final Predictions

Your gambling addiction is a serious problem. Savings. Car payments. Rent. Cash flows through your soon-to-close bank account like a raging river. However, there’s still hope. All you need is one really really big win to leap back into the red (and not get your knee caps broken). How can you accomplish this feat?

With these can’t miss Champions League predictions. Continue reading “LIST – Bayern Munich vs. Chelsea, Champions League Final Predictions” »

Manchester United v. Manchester City: the True Signs of Weakness

Not all weaknesses reveal themselves easily on a silver screen. Sometimes, we think we’ve found Achilles’s heel, but instead encounter steel-backed boots. Sometimes, we use our hands to part the scales on the sleeping dragon’s chest only to realize, crap, we brainfarted and left the sword at the cave entrance. The world of soccer is no different. Nor is the world at large.

Thus, we’ve sifted through a few key historical and Manchester-related alleged “signs of weakness.” Some are obvious. Some, not so much. Please keep them in mind as you watch Mario Balotelli either score a winner or get red carded during the derby. Continue reading “Manchester United v. Manchester City: the True Signs of Weakness” »