Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014



Everyone here at the DUNER BLOG has a severe case of WORLD CUP FEVER.  This means that instead of researching Ukrainian Election results, the staff is glued to the TV set, watching soccer.  With the first round coming to a close, bookies and casinos from Vegas to Vienna are scrambling to make sense of the early surprises and sudden eliminations.  Here's our esteemed opinion:

THE WINNERS:  Latin America.   The host Brazil is still the favorite to win the trophy, with impressive 3-to-1 odds.  Neighboring powerhouse Argentina is close behind at 4-to-1.  Also representing South America in the knockout round are Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Uruguay.  Al toll, the host continent is an astounding 12-3 in first round games.  From Central America, Costa Rica surprised everyone by winning Group D.  Also joining the party is 'El Tri' from Mexico are going on.  Anyway you look at it, it is a great year for Latin America!

THE LOSERS:  European Teams.  There is an old adage:  'European teams only win European World Cups.'  It's true: nine of the ten times European nations have hosted the event, they have won...with the only exception coming way back in 1958.  The trend is continuing this year.  Aside France, Belgium and Holland, who impressively won their groups, only Germany and Greece have advanced.  Defending champion Spain...widely chosen to repeat...is flying home to Madrid today.

THE UNDERDOGS:  African Nations.  The seeding for spots in the World Cup is determined by a Power Index.  This measures each nation's win /loss record and their strength of schedule.  Using this formula, Europe gets thirteen teams and Africa gets only five.  Of these, Nigeria's Super Eagles and Algeria's Fennec Foxes have advanced to the next round.  Since no African team has ever made it further, this is a major accomplishment!  One major reason for Africa's recent upswing are their players' experience in the Big Leagues.  Ivory Coast's Didier Drogba was the leading scorer on Arsenal's Championship team.   Cameroon's Alex Song is a star on FC Barcelona.

OUR PREDICTION:  Argentina.  Today is Lionel Messi's 27th birthday.  He told us what he really wants: The World Cup trophy.  The four-time FIFA Player of the Year heads a talented group, all with impressive resumes.  Argentina's close proximity converts Brazilian stadiums into home field advantage. While it is foolish not to choose Brazil, we think the above trends will result in a proud victory for all of the Argentines and all of Latin America!

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