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Hey, look, it's the World Cup

So here comes the World Cup to Brazil, where unrest has roiled the country, the main stadium in Sao Paulo isn't finished and one stadium (Arena de Amazonia) is so far back in the bush it's accessible only by A) dugout canoe, or B) Charlie Allnut and the African Queen.

In other words: Let's play futbol!

And while we're at it, let us dispense a little advice on how to fill out your World Cup bracket, because there's no better place than the Blob to come for informed, in-depth soccer analysis.

Which is to say, I've actually talked to a soccer player. You know, once or twice.

Anyway ... let's first address three sides you should definitely not pick. In order, I'd rank them this way:

1. Iran.

2. England.

3. United States.

You don't pick Iran because, the last I looked, it's going off at odds of 1,500-to-1. You don't pick England because, come on, it's England, and England never wins. And you don't pick the U.S. because, first of all, its own coach is on record as saying his team has no chance, and, second of all, the same coach (the breathtakingly honest Jurgen Klinsmann) left Landon Donovan off the team.

Everyone knows Donovan, who's 32, was about to break out and score eleventy-hundred goals in the World Cup. Now he won't. Now the U.S. will be lucky to get off a shot, at least to hear all the Donovan fanatics tell it.

Moving on ... here are three more sides you should definitely not pick:

1. Costa Rica.

2. Honduras.

3. Bosnia-Herzegovina.

You don't pick the first two because, at 2,500-to-1, the odds of them winning are worse than the odds of FIFA president Sepp Blatter awarding the 2026 World Cup to Pluto (although for the right price, you never know. It is FIFA, after all).

And Bosnia-Herzegovina?

It won't win because the Russians have promised to invade if it does. Because, you know, Russia.


Next, four sides it might be kind of cool to pick:

1. Chile.

2. Uruguay.

3. Colombia.

4. Ghana.

You pick the first three because it would really, really tick off Brazil if another South American country won its World Cup. And you pick Ghana because it would be awesome to hear more smack from that witch doctor who claims to have caused the leg injury that might hamper Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo.

The witch doctor's name, by the way, translates to "Devil of Wednesday." No, really.

And finally ...

Who do you really want to pick?

1. Spain.

2. Germany.

3. Argentina.

4. Italy.

5. Brazil.

Spain because it's the defending champ.

Germany because it's kind of always the next defending champ.

Argentina because, you know, Lionel Messi.

Italy because watching Marco Balotelli play (and disrupt his own team at the same time) is more fun than kittens on Red Bull. And also because I was there two years ago during the Euro Cup, and watching the Italians go nuts for their side was the most fun I've ever had.

And Brazil?

Come on. Can you imagine the party?

Ben Smith's blog.