Brininho’s Den World Cup Thoughts pt. 1

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Hello everyone and welcome into the Brininho’s Den, your home for all the World Cup coverage you need. Since I don’t have the time/motivation to recap every single game, every couple days I’ll give my thoughts on things. Be it who’s playing well, who should return to their life as a dentist, who has the best hair, and any other random stories that pop up. The anthems have been sung, so it’s time for kickoff.

  • NSFW:neymarIf I could ever get my hair like this, you’d better believe I’d never try another style.
  • It really bothers me that the anthem tracks FIFA uses are clearly faster than normal, causing the players and fans to sing behind tempo, making everything sound horrible. Until I actually looked them up, I thought every South American anthem was the worst song ever recorded for this specific reason.
  • All-time blunder: cause a stir with awesome new jerseys that get everyone hyped for your team and think of you as a possible dark horse, don’t wear said jerseys in your opening game and give one of the worst performances of the tournament so far.

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    Really good look, guys. Definitely better than the ones everyone preordered.
  • No, watching Panama get destroyed was not triggering. I wasn’t even mad, it was funny to me.
  • Have to hand it to Putin. He really rigged Group A well. I’ll be curious as to what’ll happen in the knockout stages. I’m sure some significant others will be abducted. If they wind up facing Spain, I sure hope he keeps his hands off Shakria.
  • Mexico is either going to go to the semi-finals or lose the next two games. Those are the only available outcomes after that kind of yuuuuuge win.
  • Absolutely hilarious story: South Korea swapped their players’ jersey numbers in practice because Westerners can’t “distinguish between Asians.” Amazing. Now, here in America we have total racial harmony and no one even sees color so this wouldn’t be a problem for us, but Sweden? If you don’t have blonde hair and blue eyes/ if you aren’t Zlatan they have absolutely no idea how to pick people apart. Kind of shocked this didn’t work, to be honest.
  • I know there’s a joke about how many bugs are flying around Russian stadiums but I’ll let someone else think of it.
  • As someone who plays entirely too much FIFA, I understand the frustrations that come with not being able to score (please keep your snide comments to yourself). Some games it’s just not going to happen. If it gets really bad I just quit or press reset. Don’t know why Germany didn’t try this.
  • As the only country remaining that I have any ancestral ties to, I officially pledge myself to England until I sense their heartbreaking demise. My uncle is from Australia butttttttt I don’t think they’ll be around too much longer.
  • Rough couple days for us Messi truthers. Ronaldo takes a giant shit on Spain then Messi comes up smaller than small against Iceland. Still plenty of time left but you can see it in his eyes that he wants to be literally anywhere else in the world.
  • Spain is officially back, though.
  • The Belgian Golden Generation has officially Arrived (by winning a war of attrition against the worst team in the field).
  • If he could go back in time, Nick Saban would recruit a young Romelu Lukaku to play outside linebacker. Don’t understand how he doesn’t score 40 goals a season.
  • When Xherdan Shaqiri says he’ll take the Ring to Mordor.resd
  • Paul Pogba’s game winning goal was changed to an Aziz Behich own goal after the match. Both Pogba and Behich should be allowed to beat up the scorekeepers with no repercussions.
  • Folks, I hate to break it to you, but some players are exaggerating injuries. I, too, am shocked.
  • VAR has obviously been a big talking point, but I’m still in favor of it even though it’s far from perfect. I’d rather have the right call made despite the endless debates about what is or isn’t subjective and reviewable.
  • Mo Salah, for the sake of everyone’s eyeballs, please come back ASAP.
  • Fully expect Arsenal to offer $80 million for Hirving Lozano.
  • Kind of bummed out about Brazil and Peru. Started out like houses on fire then just died out. If only Peru had a way to keep people awake and energized….
  • Speaking of Peru, the announcer for their game (Jorge Perez-Navarro) might be the most electrifying man on English-language TV. The constant yelling started out funny, then became annoying, then became funny again, then became awesome when there was finally a goal.
  • Once more, for the people in the back

That’s about all I got for now. Pretty solid first few days, and it’ll only get better. Open your heart to soccer, America. It’s worth it.

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2018 World Cup Preview

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Rejoice, people of Earth, for it is finally time to kick off the World Cup, AKA the couple weeks every four years you pretend to care about soccer. Well, unlike you posers, I care about soccer 24/7/365, so if you were waiting for me to give you all the information you need to know to sound smart while watching, you’re in luck. I’ve ran the numbers, done my simulations, and have determined with 100% certainty that this year’s champion will be named somewhere in this post. It’s up to you to find it. You may be wondering why I didn’t release this yesterday before the tournament actually kicked off, but, if you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m very lazy, and, I assure you, Russia vs. Saudi Arabia will have no lasting impact on this World Cup whatsoever. Anyway, on to the good stuff.

Oh, right. USA. We’re not in it. But, we improbably got awarded the 2026 World Cup (it tells you everything you need to know about FIFA and international sports governing bodies as a whole that a combined USA-Canada-Mexico bid-a bid that in centered around the fact that there are ALREADY SOCCER STADIUMS BUILT- is less likely to happen than Morocco, where they’d have to use slave labor very expendable day laborers to build multiple stadiums in a short period of time, only for those stadiums to be completely abandoned once the tournament is over. Got to love bribery), so who’s really winning? I’ll let you decide for yourself. Also, European giants Italy and the Netherlands also missed out, so even though our qualifying region is infinitely easier, at least we can point and laugh at countries where fútbol is all they have. Italy being out is a big win for anyone who hates the “well USA stinks so I’ll just root for my ancestors’ team” crowd (no, Ireland didn’t make it, either, why do you ask?), and it may even reduce the amount of roid-fueled violence at bars and watch parties without the possibility of an Azzurri loss.

Who’s Good

  • Germany- Everyone on their team was genetically engineered to be dominant at one specific aspect of the sport
  • Brazil- Haven’t been the same since leaving Hulk out of the team, but they’re still stacked as hell
  • France- Some serious 2004 Lakers potential here
  • I bet if you’re reading this I could tell you just about anyone and you’d believe me. I could say Tunisia is the team no one wants to play and you’d pocket that nugget and throw it out to your friends right before they lose 4-0 to Belgium
  • Tunisia- The team no one wants to play

Players to Watch

  • Lionel Messi, Argentina- The fact that Argentines hate him while our national soccer savior is Freddy Adu is sickening
  • Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal- A young upstart looking to make his mark on the world
  • Mo Salah, Egypt- Is Egyptian Messi healthy? It’s what the people are asking
  • Robert Lewandowski, Poland- Poland could make some proverbial noise if he shows up. Only problem is he usually doesn’t for big tournaments
  • Paul Pogba, France- If he’s good every game France wins it all. Book it

Random Players You Can Sound Smart if You Know

  • Hakim Ziyech, Morroco
  • Sergej Milinković-Savić, Serbia

  • Timo Werner, Germany
  • Hirving Lozano, Mexico
  • Christian Cueva, Peru

Trendy Darkhorses

  • Peru
  • Nigeria
  • Morocco
  • Croatia
  • Colombia

Players Most Likely to be Sent to Siberia

  • Everyone on Russia
  • Everyone on Russia’s families
  • Everyone on Russia’s friends
  • Local officials from everyone on Russia’s hometowns
  • 1980 Soviet hockey team for good measure

Best Things About This World Cup

  • Early games- primetime games are so overrated
  • VAR- Replay hate has picked up steam lately (mostly because the NFL is inept), but count me among the radical thinkers who think human error shouldn’t decide major international tournaments
  • You can rest easy knowing the Russian government will use the revenue from this event for the good of their people
  • Impossible to get mad at USA for not beating superior teams if they don’t make it in the first place
  • Flaming hot anthem

Worst Things About This World Cup

  • Say what you will about ESPN, but their international soccer coverage is far superior to Fox’s. They always bring the heat with graphics and video packages. So, despite being helmed by living legend Rob Stone, I’m out on Fox soccer coverage
  • Impossible to get excited about a USA World Cup run if they aren’t there
  • It’s in Russia
  • International soccer is becoming more and more defensive and conservative as club teams assert greater control over players and training time
  • The same group of three commercials that plays on an endless loop

Best Jerseys

  • Nigeria

  • Croatia

  • Brazil

  • Belgium

  • Japan

  • Colombia

Best Snacks to Eat During World Cup 2018

  • I’m on a big Pringles kick lately, don’t know if it’ll last the entire World Cup
  • Borscht
  • Your daily ration of Siberian gruel
  • Caviar
  • Cheez-Its

Who Will Advance From Each Group

  • Group A- Uruguay, Russia
  • Group B- Spain, Morocco
  • Group C- France, Peru
  • Group D- Croatia, Argentina
  • Group E- Brazil, Serbia
  • Group F- Germany, Mexico
  • Group G- Belgium, England
  • Group H- Colombia, Poland

Most Likely to Win Golden Boot

  • Thomas Mueller, Germany
  • Timo Werner, Germany
  • Neymar, Jr., Brazil
  • Robert Lewandowski, Poland
  • (Wild Card) Olivier Giroud, France

Who’s Winning

  • The moment you’ve all been waiting for. The winner of the 2018 World Cup will be………

Brazil

Viva joga bonito

If I Die Before January 29th I’m Going to be Furious

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Folks, we’re in the heart of E3. There’s crazy video game news everywhere you look. Awesome looking trailers for countless awesome looking games. But there’s only one thing so far that’s really tickled my fancy- Kingdom Hearts 3 has an official release date. January 29th, 2019.

For the uninformed, the Kingdom Hearts franchise is a beloved mashup between Disney and Final Fantasy. It’s overwrought, self-serious, and could easy be crushed under the weight of it’s impossible storyline. It’s also one of the greatest franchises in gaming history. The first Kingdom Hearts changed my life forever. PS2 was the first system I ever owned, and Kingdom Hearts came out a couple months after I first got it. I rented it from Blockbuster (yes, I’m old enough to have rented video games from Blockbuster), then extended the rental when I hadn’t beaten it in time. My parents were optimistic enough to put a limit on how long I could play games every day to try and stem my inevitable descent into addiction, but that was broken right around the time you fight Cerberus in the Coliseum the first time. In many ways, Kingdom Hearts is responsible for my love of video games and my dependency of them to supply me with worlds that were better than boring old real life. My first Kingdom Hearts playthrough remains one of my five favorite experiences ever playing a video game (in no particular order- KHWitcher 3Persona 5Danganronpa 2 (yes, I’m a nerd), Pokemon Silver) (Yu-Gi-Oh: Duelists of the Roses is still inexplicably one of my favorite games ever, but it got better the more times I played it when I was old enough to fully grasp the strategies involved. I’m talking first playthroughs only). Then Kingdom Hearts 2 blew my mind again. And then it was 12 years later and they finally announced the third main installment. Yes, there were plenty of side games. Yes, I played all of them, despite having to read the entire wiki every time I started a new game because the plot was so dense. Some of them were even good. Some were even great. But KH 1 and 2 are in a whole different class. To say I’ve been waiting half my life for this game to come out probably wouldn’t be an understatement.

And honestly, I don’t think it’d be possible for me to be disappointed in it. Even if it doesn’t reach the highs of 1 and 2, just the fact that it’s finally being released is good enough for me. There was a time where I legitimately didn’t think it would ever come out. That the series would just kind of die. But now that it’s actually on the horizon I know it’ll be good. For starters, it’d better be good if they spent so long making it. But I know they wouldn’t spend so long on a game just to release something subpar or incomplete. It’s going to be a good game, mostly because the worlds look sweet and that’s half the battle right there.

So, I hereby declare that I refuse to die before playing Kingdom Hearts 3. I’ll look both ways before crossing the street, stay out of unseemly parts of town, make sure not to make eye contact with anyone on the subway, and break the rules of the Continental. If you’re someone with a grudge against me and are planning on having me killed, just know that ghost will haunt you for the rest of your life if you whack me before this game comes out. I won’t travel, I won’t get abducted by human traffickers, and, under no circumstances, will I try skydiving. Nothing’s going to stop me from playing Kingdom Hearts 3. Not even the haters.

Since it’s E3 and there’s been a billion game trailers released, here are the ones that caught my eye:

Edler Scrolls VI

Starfield

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Fire Emblem Three Houses

Octopath Traveler

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (!!!!!)

Cyberpunk 2077

Ghost of Tsushima

Last of Us 2

How Ruined is the NBA?

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So the Warriors won the title. Quite possibly the least climactic championship game/series in my lifetime. Total domination. Makes me sick. Sick league, guys. God, the NBA is such a joke. Why should any team ever play another game if they know the Warriors are just going to win in the end. I think I’m speaking for everyone when I demand the NBA put an asterisk next to these last two Warriors titles because they’re too much better than everyone. This would never happen in hockey.

Hey, Kevin Durant. Congrats, guy. You just became the first person to ever win two championships while also winning zero. Must feel great. Imagine a grown man deciding to take autonomy of his professional career? Imagine choosing not to play with Russell Westbrook anymore? God, this sham league was ruined the second he chose to use his legal right as a free agent to sign with whatever team he chose. Can you imagine a hockey player deciding his own personal happiness and quality of life was more important than some bullshit idea of “loyalty,” even though the Thunder would have just kicked him to the curb the second he wasn’t bringing a satisfying ROI? Just makes my blood boil. And signing with a 73 win team? Or any team that had previously won a championship, regardless of how long ago? Couldn’t be me. There’s no such thing as a viable free agency destination because real men stay with the teams that drafted them for their entire careers regardless of if they like it or not, but if there were viable free agency destinations, the only legitimate ones would be Brooklyn, Memphis, Toronto, Indiana, Charlotte, Orlando, Atlanta, Utah, Denver, Minnesota, Phoenix, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, or the Clippers. It’s called making your own legacy, not riding the backs of other, less talented players. Can’t believe a star would leave in free agency. Guys like LeBron or Shaq would never do such a thing.

Don’t get it twisted, though. This isn’t all on KD. The rest of the Warriors are to blamed for ruining the league, too. First of all, Larry Riley needs to be executed. He’s the guy that drafted Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Two guys who like 3s more than layups. While I think all three deserve the death penalty, Riley really needs to go. He’s singlehandedly responsible for ruining this game I love by bringing in the two guys who sparked the 3 point revolution. Every time I see a 3 point attempt, I want to claw my eyes out. THIS GAME IS ABOUT LOW POST BASKETBALL AND PHYSICAL DEFENSE GODDAMMIT!!!!!!!!!!! NOT 3s! What happened to the good old days of 74-61 games where there were no 3s made, no layups allowed, and no fouls called. Everyone’s is so soft these days. Only thinking about 3s. How about you run some team basketball? Maybe a little triangle action? Try having your big guy post up and attempt a bad fadeaway or ugly running hook instead of hunting 3s, playing fast, visually appealing basketball, and taking efficient shots? God, I just hate teams that try new styles to try and maximize their offensive output and take advantage of current defensive strategies. Just bang in the post like MEN and stop worrying about peacocking around after you hit your tenth 3 of the game. Love those Suns teams, though. Nash to Matrix? Couldn’t beat it.

I’m not done with the front office, either. You make smart salary decisions so you have the ability to sign Kevin Durant without gutting your roster? Are you kidding? What are all the bad GMs around the league supposed to do if you’re actually allowed to manage the cap correctly? Old school guys didn’t have this problem, mostly because the players these days are so overpaid. God, if Oscar was making all that money, had access to modern medicine and training techniques, was able to play in today’s game where there’s no hand-checking and you need actual basketball ability, played against this generation of soft, more-talented-than-any-crop-of-players-in-NBA-history-because-people-get-better-at-stuff-the-longer-we-do-them-so-it’s-not-an-insult-it’s-the-natural-progression-of-time players, and was 40 years younger, he’d still be playing today. And what’s up with the core of the roster? Three Hall of Famers through the draft???? What the hell? In my day you had to trade with all the stupid teams to form your SuperTeams. Imagine the Celtics or Lakers having the gall to draft incredibly talented players in non-premium draft positions? Hah. They would never. Red would just fleece some novice GM if he wanted a new star. Real dynasties take advantage of being smarter than anyone else to win.

And don’t get me started on Draymond. The game used to be played with honor and integrity. There were no loudmouthed, right-on-the-edge-of-dirty players when the NBA was great. Guys like Dennis Rodman, Bill Laimbeer, Karl Malone, Bruce Bowen, Charles Oakley, Rick Mahorn, Kevin McHale, Isiah Thomas, Reggie Miller, Gary Payton, and Kevin Garnett would never do something so heinous as kicking someone in the balls. Unlike today’s generation that only cares about their own brands, the real legends were so focused on basketball to even know what the human anatomy was. Today’s players have everything handed to them, and they still want to act dirty. SMH.

LeBron’s not off the hook, either. People forget he started all this SuperTeam nonsense when he joined the Heat. Before that, no one in NBA history had ever had three All Stars on the same team. Him and his Banana Boat Boyz are the driving force behind today’s buddy-buddy NBA culture. Imagine being friends with people in the same line of work as you? Or, even worse, imagine being friends with someone despite the fact that someone you’ll never meet or talk to hates it because, for some bullshit nostalgia-driven reason, thinks that you being friends with that person will make it less entertaining for him to watch you? Who would do that? Michael didn’t need friends. He made other people think they were friends, only to betray their trust and shatter them mentally when it was most convenient for them. That’s the kind of emotional manipulation I want out of my G.O.A.T., not seemingly legitimate friendship that, despite the fact that I find him annoying much of the time, actually makes me think I could get along with him if I met him in real life. Your G.O.A.T. is approachable? Please. You clearly know nothing about basketball. Next you’re going to tell me the greatest player of all time passed the ball to an open man underneath the basket instead of forcing up a contested fadeaway with less than five seconds left in a Finals game or something.

Lastly, if you legitimately agree with any of these takes, please jump off a bridge. The Warriors are probably the greatest team of all time. Deal with it. If you’re so upset, go pretend you hadn’t spent the last ten years crushing Ovechkin for never winning so you can feel better about yourself and leave the NBA to the people that still enjoy it. The Finals stunk, but the league has never been better. If you’re under 35 and disagree, I honestly don’t know if you know what a basketball looks like.

RIP Anthony Bourdain

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If you hadn’t heard already, legendary television host, chef, traveller, and author Anthony Bourdain committed suicide this morning at the age of 61. Normally I don’t really cover celebrity deaths unless they actually meant something to me. Anthony Bourdain meant something to me. Meant a lot to me, actually.

It’s a trivial thing, but I played football in high school, and every summer during two-a-days I would find a random show to watch in-between sessions. It helped me decompress and develop a (somewhat) soothing routine that kind of got me through some rough weeks. My sophomore year (first year of double sessions), it was American Chopper. Junior year it was Bizarre Foods. Senior year it was No Reservations. I had seen various promos for No Reservations before, but never actually tuned in. I had seen food shows and travel shows before, why would this be any different? It turns out it was way different than anything I had ever watched. The way he talked, the way he interacted with the environment around him just spoke to me. It felt like it was a real couple days in the life of a traveller, not another heavily scripted reality show.

I was hooked instantly, and, the more I watched No Reservations and Parts Unknown the more I considered Bourdain an idol of mine. I had always loved food and been interested in traveling, but he stoked a desire to experience the world through food that still exists today (even if I’m too poor scared to actually act on it). The way he could naturally bond with everyone around him and his complete openness to try new things were kind of a blueprint for how I, an extreme introvert with the people skills of a paper bag, could theoretically live my life. He made the world seem like a less scary place, and he showed that, regardless of where you live or what language you speak or what food you eat, everyone’s really just looking for the same thing. Which, of course, was the entire point of the show.

And more than anything, he was just so cool. He might have been one of the five coolest guys to ever live. Which just shows what a bear depression really is. I won’t insult people who are really suffering by saying I know exactly how they feel, but I know how hard it is to deal with. It’s not real depression or anything, but I frequently deal with bouts of overwhelming sadness and self-doubt, but since I’m too scared or embarrassed to talk to other people about it, it just kind of festers for a few days. Again, I’ve never been suicidal or felt like there was no way out of the tunnel, but I still sympathize with anyone who feels crushed by the weight of the world. Don’t be like me. If you’re ever feeling low, or trapped, or scared that there’s only one way to end the pain, reach out to someone. There are countless suicide prevention hotlines out there you can call. Or better yet, talk to a friend or family member. Sometimes it’s good to just talk to someone you know. You might think you’re burdening them, but believe me, anyone who cares about you would never think that way. No one should ever feel like there’s no way out.

RIP Anthony Bourdain.

Are the NBA Finals Actually Still Going On?

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Remember when there were NBA Finals games on? I don’t! No, seriously, I don’t remember. Someone needs to remind me what happened. How many games have there been? Is the league still ruined or has it been so long since the last game that the h8trs have a new anti-NBA narrative? Is LeBron Jr. in the league yet?

Look, I get it. I wasted my college years learning about media and TV, so I understand the league wants to optimize ratings and put out a quality, fatigue-unaffected product. But three days in between every game? Really? Who does that benefit? I guess J.R. is happy, but that has to be it. I mean it’s not like they need to let this series marinate and build drama. I think we all know what the end result is going to be. It’s honestly cruel and unusual punishment for LeBron, at this point. Every added off-day is another day he has to spend employed by the Cleveland Cavaliers and pretend to enjoy Jordan Clarkson’s company. The NBA should be able to flex these games. The day after each game Adam Silver should call up Steph, Klay, Draymond, and KD and ask them if they feel like trying next game, and if the answer is yes, just move the game up a day. I’m sure LeBron would love to just get this thing over with. You can only be Sisyphus so many times before you break. If the Warriors feel like winning, just let LeBron know beforehand so he can kind of take it easy and leave all these bums out to dry a little bit. Let them know how he feels. Adding all these off-days only lets him build hope, which leads to another 48-minute night, which means his body will break down in 2048 instead of 2050, robbing everyone. Do the humane thing, Adam Silver, and stop putting three months in between Finals games.