7 06 2012

The ball will roll very, very soon for the 2012 version of the UEFA Cup.

And who am I trying to kid? This is going to be a lot of fun. We’ve already broken down the groups and the brackets, so I wanted to take a few minutes to tell you where my eyes will be set for the tournament. Obviously, as futbol fans, we have different tastes and what not, so you don’t HAVE to be looking for the same things — but if you need a guide, then you’ve stumbled upon the right place.

MY TEAM — Haha, very funny. HUP HOLLAND BABY!! HUP!

Of course, your truly will be watching intently at the Netherlands futbol team. We just whooped the hell out of Northern Ireland (6-0) and took care of Slovakia soundly (2-0). I’ll be looking mostly at some newer faces Gregory van der Wiel … Kevin Strootman … Luuk de Jong … they might not see much playing time (except for van der Wiel), but I’ve heard good things. Holland is ranked 4th by the FIFA in the latest rankings and don’t get me wrong, I love this team, but that back line is suspect. So, we’ll see how it goes.


The Netherlands is stuck in the GROUP OF DEATH, or Group B, which features four teams currently ranked in FIFA’s Top 10. Obviously, the biggest most experienced hurdle there is Germany. And while many seem to not trust anyone on Portugal NOT named Cristiano Ronaldo, they are ranked 7th and won’t be a cakewalk. Neither will Denmark. This is definitely a group to watch for sure. No doubt. Hells yeah.

MUST SEE GAMES — Shit, if you can, watch them all. They’ll be on ESPN’s family of networks and I’m sure UNIVISION will do the same with their networks. Good thing for us West Coasters is that the games aren’t too early — 9 a.m. and 11:45 appear to be the consensus starts for the first rounds games. A couple that I have my eye on are:

It’s the first real test for Portugal, who you either love or hate. I have Germany winning 3-1 or 3-2, depending on what Ronaldo shows up.

I had a couple of people tell me they disagree with this pick. BUT, I’d like to remind the court that Spain in a notorious slow starter in major tournaments. I think La Forza has more than enough talent and moxie to push Spain and use that to get far into this tournament. Italia wins 2-1.

You have to watch this match because, well, it’s too damn fun. Futbol powers that don’t like each other very much going at it. Awesome. A lot of people seem to like England in this tournament. I uhhhh, am not so convinced. France looked really sharp against Estonia is a warm-up for the tournament. I like them in this match 3-2.

While I’ll be glued to all the Dutch matches, this one is going to be a dousy. It’s no coincidence that Germany is on my short list twice — they’re a young, exciting team to watch play the game. I didn’t pick a winner here … I think it’ll be a draw 2-2, 1-1. Which means BOTH teams must take care of business against Portugal and Denmark.

PLAYERS TO WATCH — Of course, you have your Ronaldo, your Xavi, Iniesta, Robben, Van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Ozil … the list is long. Here a couple players I got my radar on, just because.

Benzema looked really sharp in that game against Estonia. I saw both his goals, and wow, it’s always nice to go into a big tournament with that scoring feeling.

In order for my boys to do well, they’ll have to contain this guy in Group B. Ericksen is a true beast. Dynamic in the midfield, deadly around goal. He’s one of Group B’s most dangerous players.

Lost in that Italy/Spain thing in Group C, will be players like Luka, who exploded in the EPL this season and with a good tournament, will have transfer rumors swirling even more around his name. Modric is a treat to watch play the game.

He’s the best midfielder not named Xavi or Iniesta in Group C. Tough player, creative … I have Italy making the Finals mostly because of this guy.

I’m sorry guys, but a month of top quality futbol? Who can ask for anything better. I’ll do my best to blog a bit about the games I catch. Of course, my destination of choice is Mad Dog in the Fog, located in San Francisco Haight St. Click on the photo and LIKE them on Facebook. 

Seating is limited, but pure futbol awesome isn’t. It’s probably the best futbol vibe on the West Coast. Perhaps, I’m being biased. No wait, not perhaps, I am. With that said, let the games begin. HUP HOLLAND HUP!!




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