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Barstool's Weekend Soccer Guide

Sam’s Weekend Soccer Guide


Seriously though, how much have you guys missed me? I know, I know: “So, so much”… well I missed you, too.

As many of you know, I’ve been in mourning for the past couple weeks, grieving over the natural death of the 2014-15 season (of the domestic European leagues). I’ve also been drinking too much alcohol, sleeping too little and growing too manly a beard, all in the name of supporting the NHL’s newly crowned Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks – as if there was ever a doubt.



But now that we (they) brought That Old Thing Back…

Seriously, could listen to this on repeat all day

…and Copa America is officially underway, and the Women’s World Cup has mercifully concluded the completely meaningless group stage – seriously? We sat through all those games just to cut the field from a ridiculously bloated 24 teams to a slightly less bloated 16 teams? Weak shit, FIFA – today seems like an appropriate time to stop on by and make sure you know what games to look out for in those tournaments this weekend. And who knows, perhaps I’ll even provide you with some gratuitous South American eye candy for the picture readers in our midst while also pointing out some under-the-radar smokeshows from the WWC that might be worth keeping an eye on.

Not under-the-radar – or producing (yet)

Not under-the-radar – or producing (yet)

So without further ado, let’s get to the lawn fairy action…




So here we are two-thirds of the way through the South American championship and to say the tournament has turned into a circus would be a ginormous understatement – but if you were expecting anything less, that’s on you.

Upsets… golazos… “fights”… felonies… you name it, Copa America gots it.

Some highlights/lowlights from the first week on and off the field include:

1) Argentina looking like world-beaters in running out to a 2-0 lead in the first half of their opening game against Paraguay……. then promptly chupar-ing un pene the entire second half, settling for a 2-2 draw.


2) Mexico coming down with a case of Sunderland Syndrome (except not really since, while they have drawn both matches so far, managing a 3-3 draw against Chile in Chile is impressive af… and is a little reminder of what the USA will be up against come the Gold Cup next month).


Mexico in a nutshell (minus the drug mule)

Mexico in a nutshell (minus a drug mule)

3) Arturo Vidal, fresh off a shockingly poor performance with Juventus in the Champions League final, celebrates the 3-3 draw with Mexico by getting wasted and crashing his Ferrari


… though after a “tearful” “apology” he is allowed to continue playing for the team. Blatter’s corruptiveness + Solo’s punchiness + Vidal’s drunk-driviness = big month for soccer ethics! Hooray!!

4) Neymar saves Brazil’s bacon with a beautiful assist in injury time to secure a 2-1 win over Peru in their opener then has a howler in the next game, a 1-0 loss to Colombia, and compounds that with this incident just as final whistle was being blown…

Quintessential soccer fight. Guy #1 kicks ball after the whistle out of petulance. Ball hits Guy #2, who collapses as if he’s taken a shotgun blast to the back. Guy #2’s teammates rush in and do some yelling in close proximity to the face of Guy #1, who responds with a mini-attempted-headbutt. Some pushing ensues. End scene.

Can’t script a more soccer-ish “fight” than that. What is not shown though is the red cards that were given to both Neymar (Guy #1) and also the “main” Colombian “pusher”, Carlos Bacca, which will have serious implications – particularly for Brazil.

Make no mistake, Brazil is a team in crisis. Neymar is basically the lynchpin holding the team together. Guys like Dani Alves and Willian are great players, but look no further than what happened to Brazil in last summer’s World Cup as soon as Neymar went down injured:




So that was a quick and dirty recap. Here are the games on deck over next three days (starting this afternoon), which will determine who moves on to the knockout stages:


Quick word of warning for n00bs just learning about Copa America: in 2011, Uruguay beat Paraguay in the final while Peru beat Venezuela in the third place game. Read that again. No Argentina. No Brazil. No Colombia. No Chile. Point being, going with the favorites is not a strategy that always work off so well in this tournament because the margin for error is so miniscule

This year’s Copa has been shaping up the same way, with closely contested games between… well… just about everybody. Even Jamaica, a team last seen defecating on everything in site during the last cycle of World Cup qualifying, fought hard in a 1-0 loss to Uruguay.

In fact, guess how many games have been decided by more than a goal? ONE. Chile’s 2-0 win over Ecuador to start the tournament is the only one. In other words, only an idiot would attempt to predict how this puppy is going to turn out.



So without further ado, here are some predictions – roughly none of which will come true:

– Mexico stays true to form and manages a draw today against Ecuador

– Brazil does not advance to the knockout stage


– I reserve the right to change this pick given the complicated system that could put both teams on the same side of the draw but gonna go waaaaaaaaaay out on a limb and say…….. after all the close calls and early upsets, the cream of the crop eventually rises, with Argentina versus Chile facing off in the final on America’s Birthday (that’s July 4 for the picture-readers).




We’re two weeks in and the tournament can finally start! Yay! Seriously though, anybody who watched certain games knows there were a number of teams that “qualified” for the tournament but are nooooooowhere near ready for prime time. (I’m looking at you Ecuador, Thailand and Ivory Coast.)

So now the real WWC officially begins and the bracket looks like this:


For those of you wondering who to else root for [besides the USA, obviously] and thinking that you will choose the teams with the hottest players – we’ll call you the male equivalent of the chick at the office who fills out her March Madness bracket based on the cuddliness of each school’s mascot – here are some under the radar smokes that deserve some daps…

Lauren Sesselmann (D – Canada)

For the record, I “discovered” Miss Sesselman during the 2011 World Cup and have concluded she is still the hottest smoke on the field for any team in this tournament as well. If you disagree with me I will fight you.


Rachel Rinast (D – Switzerland)

Amandine Henry (M – France)

Ps: more than just a pretty face

Wendy Acosta (F – Costa Rica)

Ps: her game-face screams “like the kinky stuff” (for that reason alone she makes the list even though CR got bounced)


Lena Petermann (F – Germany)

Salomé di Iorio (Referee – Argentina)

And last but definitely not least:

Gaëlle Enganamouit (F – Cameroon)

Just tell me that hair doesn’t do it for you – I dare you

Just tell me that hair doesn’t do it for you – I dare you

This is in no way an exhaustive list as the amount of “talent” on display at the WWC is pretty damn solid, and feel free to tell me alllllllllll about the myriad I missed in the comments.



So now that the tournament has begun in earnest, the games are going to get more difficult, right? Um, actually no – at least not for the USA. (Schedule for next round below.)


Despite playing slightly better than warmed up dog shit, the USA managed to finagle their way out of the most difficult group overall and into an embarrassingly easy road to the semi-finals. Colombia will put up little resistance, and the winner of China and Cameroon will likely test us a little bit, but only because WE DON’T HAVE ANY DEFENSIVE HOLDING MIDFIELDERS ON THE TEAM. More on that in a minute.

Basically, you can pretty much take these results to the bank:


Unfortunately the two best teams in the tournament – as explained in my initial preview HERE – are on the same side of the draw, meaning that as in the recently completed Champions League where Barcelona and Bayern (when healthy) were likely the two best teams but met in the semi-finals, the USA and Germany are on track to do the same.

The real problem with the USA squad so far, aside from the fact that Abby Wambach has missed far too many easy chances and Alex Morgan has yet to shake the rust off, has been in the center of the field where midfielders Carli Lloyd and Lauren Holiday have been paired up together. Going forward they are both adequate, but on defense they are basically absent. The team is talented enough to get away with it against the Colombia’s and even China’s of the world, but against Germany this is going to be a serious, serious problem.

Alas, the squad assembled by the US coach, Jill Ellis, includes no obvious alternatives to fill-in at holding midfield so identifying an easy fix is tough. Perhaps one of the defenders will be able to pull a reverse-Jermaine Jones and step forward a bit into that slot. That is asking a lot to do so starting in the middle of a World Cup though.

Rather than make a prediction now, which I reeeeeeeally don’t want to do based on what we’ve seen so far, I’ll hold off and see how the team looks in the next two games. Hopefully they can find some sort of stop-gap because the alternative if getting our nuts (metaphorically, obviously) kicked in by Ze Germans.



So there it is, Barstool’s latest but not necessarily greatest Weekend Soccer Guide for your [picture] reading pleasure. ‘Til next time…

One for the road

One for the road

Samuel V. Army