TheFeed's Mostly Meaningless World Cup Final Predictions


Posted July 8, 2010 - By Andrew Pfister

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TheFeed's Mostly Meaningless World Cup Final Predictions

Did you know that in the times of the Holy Roman Empire, as presided over by Charles V of Spain, the Netherlands was under Spanish rule? It wasn’t until 1581 that the seventeen provinces of the Netherlands region declared their independence under the Act of Abjuration, and then it wasn’t until 1648 when King Philip IV officially acknowledged it. What does this all mean?

It’s time to predict the World Cup Final.

Just like we did with the Super Bowl of American Throwball earlier this year, we’re referring to our Predictive Sciences and Intermediate Astrology (Fifth Ed.) textbooks in an effort to choose the winner of Sunday’s big game of NED vs. ESP. Soccer/Football/Himalayan Horseshoes is a complex sport, and many factors need to be seriously considered: tactical formations, first touch ability, stamina, maths, the attractive qualities of players’ significant others, and of course, cheese.

The winner of each category receives one point, and the final score will be converted to a result that can realistically happen in a soccer game.

Let’s begin.

(Entries by Andrew Pfister and Sterling McGarvey)

1. 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa

The first task is to see which country is superior on the field. For that, we’ll use EA’s 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa game. But instead of wussing out and simulating it, Andrew and Sterling played out the game in real-time, which ended up being about 17 minutes.

Pre-game adjustments were made, with Sterling’s Spanish squad switching to a custom 4-3-3 tactical formation. Individual defensive marking assignments were made, and positions were tweaked based on the pending Dutch attack. Andrew changed his control setup to “simple” and it was time for kick-off.

An early chance for the Dutch! Van Persie receives the cross in the goal box for a magnificent header past the Spanish keeper Casillas! But hold on! The referee assistant’s flag is up, and the goal is disallowed! The replay kicked in for the questionable call, but was immediately terminated by FIFA from a remote location.

No matter, as the Dutch are on the attack again in the 33rd minute. Well, if you can honestly call this an “attack”…

A critical error by Casillas leads to a goal for Van Persie and a surprise 1-0 lead for the Oranje! A fully-rendered female goal line reporter/girlfriend was seen scurrying away from the scene…

Van Persie was so overcome with emotion that, immediately following the restart and completely away from the ball, he accidentally slide tackles Spanish striker David Villa from behind. Van Persie’s been sent off by the ref, despite the frantic pleas that it was unintentional. And in the first case ever of a slide tackle from behind away from the ball, that’s the honest truth.

In the second half, the Spanish went on the offensive, and after a flurry of Dutch fouls and defensive miscues, they had ample opportunities on direct kicks and corners that sent the Oranje into a panic. David Villa made a last ditch shot on goal that sailed harmlessly over the crossbar, and the whistle sounded for full time. Your 2010 World Cup video game champions, The Netherlands! But more challenges remain…

Advantage: Netherlands

2. Wives and Girlfriends

TheFeed's Mostly Meaningless World Cup Final Predictions

Not only is Holland’s #10 playmaker Wesley Sneijder having the season of his career -- he helped Inter Milan, one of Sterling’s least favorite club teams, win every possible title in Europe -- he’s  now going into the final with a good chance of being voted World Player of the Year. Player, indeed. He shacked up with model Yolanthe Cabau Van Kasbergen, who was the official face of the Giro d’Italia. You might be an arrogant jerk, Wes, but we approve.

TheFeed's Mostly Meaningless World Cup Final Predictions

Though Rafael Van de Vaart hasn’t seen as much play time as his compatriots, his wife Sylvie has managed to tear up the German version of Dancing with the Stars, is the official face of Microsoft Germany (she was at the Kinect launch event, right under our collective noses), and fought back breast cancer, all within the past year. Over under on every member of the Dutch National Team getting a slim Xbox 360 if they win Sunday?

TheFeed's Mostly Meaningless World Cup Final Predictions

Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas (or Saint Iker, if you will) decided that he didn’t wanna be a player no more and settled down with TV sideline reporter Sara Carbonero. This is the equivalent of Lamar Odom shacking up with an NBA sideline reporter instead of one of the Kardashians. Problem came during Spain’s embarrassing defeat to perpetual buzz-killers Switzerland in their first group match. Carbonero asked Casillas “how they could muck it up” in a televised post-match interview. It was awkward.

Advantage: Netherlands

3. Oranje Orange Box: TeamFortress 2

(tactical expert Sterling takes this one)

Soldiers Battle Demomen For Bonus Weapon In Team Fortress 2 Kill-Off

I played through two rounds of Capture, one on 2Fort, one on Dustbowl. Blu Team is the Netherlands, since they have blue in their jersey, and the disc is The Orange Box, for crying out loud. Spain, of course, being La Furia Roja, are designated as Red here.

Before playing, I sat down and started thinking about player roles in each team.

The Engineer is reliable and is the backbone of a good defense. In this case, that’s a center back. For Holland, that’d be Van Bronckhorst, for Spain, Puyol. Both have meticulous attention to detail and can break down an offense.

In Spain’s style of possession, distribution, and passing, the Medic/Heavy chain works between Xavi, who holds the ball before passing to striker David Villa, the obvious Heavy of the group. In case you’re wondering, Fernando Torres has been the Soldier this tournament: he always softens up the defense, but ends up getting shanked in the back by a Spy or bopped over the head by a Scout (back wingers). As a backup, Xavi can also switch over to play as a Sniper for free kicks.

On the Holland side, it’s attack, attack, attack. While Van Persie takes on the role of the Heavy, minus the high level of Medic support seen on the Spain side, it’s the Soldier (Sneijder) and the Pyro (Robben, who burns through defenses), who Spain will have to look out for. And in trying to attack the Oranje, it’s important to keep an eye out for Van Bommel, who’s obviously taking on the role of Demoman, based on his explosive (and messy) tackles, and De Jong, who’s just as good as playing that class as his compatriot.

What does this have to do with my rounds of TF2? I got killed a lot when I didn’t play as Pyros or Soldiers. But alongside my teammates, I managed to stave off a valiant fight by the Blu Team while playing defense on Red Team. I wasn’t nearly so lucky playing as the Blus with my other teammates. But any excuse to play TF2 is a good one.

Advantage: Sterling Spain

4. Hair

Carles PuyolArjen Robben looks like Benjamin Button at the exact same age. Wesley Sneijder is only 26 but has already lost most of his hair. Dirk Kuyt’s flowing blond locks don’t make up for a bunch of dudes who look like they’ve done hard time.

Spain has a diverse range of styles, from captain Carles Puyol’s flowing locks to defender Sergio Ramos’ headband to David Villa’s perfectly gelled Eurofin cut. This is no contest.

Advantage: Spain

5. Contributions to the Gaming Industry

Killzone 3

When you think of Spain, no big-name game developer immediately comes to mind. That might change when Madrid-based MercurySteam finishes up Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. But the Dutch have a leg up in this category thanks to Guerrilla Games and the Killzone series. They’re also home to the non-profit publisher OneBigGame, developer of the XBLA puzzle game Chime, so they’ve got good karma on their side.

Advantage: Netherlands

6. Historical Scuffles with the United States

The Rough Riders

The Spanish-American War in 1898 gave us control of Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam. It also birthed what would become Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, and put America on the global map as a major international player. So we made out pretty good with that.

On the other hand, the Dutch have been historically neutral when it comes to military matters. Which means that we totally had to save their asses in World War II!* Since then, the Netherlands has been pretty welcoming to American tourists, particularly those interested in the historical and culturally-rich city of Amsterdam for some reason.

Advantage: Trick question. United States. We’re #1.

Landon Donovan

(*purposeful use of jingoistic sarcasm)

7. Cheese: Gouda vs. Manchego

Manchego cheeseIf we were to use national cuisine as an all-encompassing category, it’d be no contest. Everything in Spain is served in some sort of seafood soup, whereas the Dutch put mayonnaise on the French fries. Mayo on their French fries! It’s no contest.

So to be fair, we’re limiting it to what’s perhaps the most important food of all: cheese. Genuine Dutch gouda is a delicious treat, and when aged to a perfect semi-hard state, it’s an ideal complement to whatever assortment of crackers you may have. However, Spanish Manchego, made from sheep’s milk of the La Mancha region, is even tastier. And since it needs to fit certain criteria (established by the European Union) in order to be called proper Manchego, this allows you to be a complete and total snob about it.

“Oh, this? It’s made from sheep’s milk of the La Mancha region. Yeah, the European Union needs to approve it. I’d tell you where to get it, but it doesn’t seem like a place you would shop.”

Advantage: Spain

8. Euro Flip

Wearing #10 on the pitch is considered an honor. If you’re #10, you’re the field general. The go-to-guy to get things done. Quite simply, you are The Man. So that’s why we flipped a 1 Euro coin 10 times to determine the winner:

Result: Spain 5 -- Netherlands 5

We can’t have a draw, these are the Finals! So we had to go to the 5 Euro paper bill, which fluttered and spiraled in the wind with breathtaking probability:

Result: Spain 6 -- Netherlands 4

Advantage: Spain


Spain 4 -- Netherlands 3


Spain 2 -- Netherlands 1.5


Spain 2 -- Netherlands 1 (0.5 converted into disallowed goal)

But it should be known that after declaring independence from Spain, Dutch rebellion leader William the Silent was assassinated by a Spanish supporter named Balthasar Gérard. According to Wikipedia, this is what happened to Gérard upon his capture:

“He was tortured before his trial on 13 July, where he was sentenced to be brutally -- even by the standards of that time -- killed. The magistrates sentenced that the right hand of Gérard should be burned off with a red-hot iron, that his flesh should be torn from his bones with pincers in six different places, that he should be quartered and disemboweled alive, that his heart should be torn from his bosom and flung in his face, and that, finally, his head should be cut off.”

The lesson? Don't mess with the Dutch. That’s at least a yellow.

TheFeed's Mostly Meaningless World Cup Final Predictions


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