Group D: Australia

I have a half-baked theory that I could beat a kangaroo in boxing. I’m completely convinced of it even though I’ve never talked to a single person who agrees with me. I don’t know, I doubt they have much power behind their punches and I think if I landed one good shot to its dome it’d be lights out. Yes, they can kick, which is bullshit, but as long as I can wear a cup I think I’m good. Especially if I can kick back. I just don’t see what the mystique is around kangaroos vis a vis their boxing skills. There’s only one way to find out: Hit the lottery, hire Don King, fly to Australia, set up a pay-per view match. It can be the undercard to Silverback vs. Grizzly I.

To change the subject completely…As you may know, up until the 19th century Australia was a penal territory for Great Britain. They sent their criminals, political opponents, tricksters and scalawags to roast Down Under. In addition, the Brits did their best to wipe out the indigenous population through disease and genocide. This sullen and notorious history now begs the question: How the FUCK did Australia turn out so well?

Just a century or two later, the country is top 5 worldwide in quality of life, education, human development and prosperity. It’s best known for awesome surfing and Crocodile Dundee. Again, how the fuck did that happen? It’s like their water supply is infused with Adderall and Prozac. Whatever your secret is, Australia, I want in. Hats off to you, sir.

Nickname: Socceroos. Now I just want to box their mascot.

Best Player: Tim Cahill, MF, Everton

Outlook: The Socceroos has a strong showing in the ’06 World Cup, beating Japan and Croatia before a very respectable 2-0 loss to Brazil in the round of 16. They cruised through qualifying, conceding only one goal in their final eight games and were one of the first teams to lock up a spot in South Africa.
They’ve lost some attacking options from the ’06 squad, most notably striker Mark Viduka, but Cahill is a dangerous player both in the air and with the ball at his feet. All in all their midfield brings depth and reliability. It includes Mark Bresciano (Palermo), Vince Grella (Blackburn), former PSV Eindhoven star Jason Culina, Brett Emerton (Blackburn) and former scouser Harry Kewell (now with Galatasaray).  The strikers are worrisome, however, and they’ll likely go with Joshua Kennedy with one of the midfielders playing just behind him.

Grella and Culina are defensive midfielders who can wreak havoc on the opposition’s pace of play. Captain Lucas Neil (Galatasaray), a 15-hear veteran of the Premiership, anchors the back line and goalie Mark Schwarzer (Fulham) is easily the best in the group and one of the best in the tournament.

Most Famous Citizen: Gotta go Steve Irwin here. Remember when you heard Steve Irwin died? Everyone’s reaction was the same, “Holy shit, how? Did he get swallowed whole by a whale shark? Mauled by a lion???” Nope. Fuckin stingray got em. That is proof right there that God does not give a fuck about Steve Irwin. If I were his publicist (Irwin’s, not God’s), I would immediately make up a story that he got bit milking an ultra-poisonous pit-viper or that he got cheap-shotted by a thirty foot crocodile after wrestling it into submission. A fuckin stingray, though?  Are you kidding me? I’d rather have had him go out like David Carridine than get killed by some pussy creature you can pet at the aquarium.  The most ridiculous part of the whole thing is that Australians were so distraught at his death that they started hunting sting rays as revenge killings, like some aquatic version of the Inglorious Basterds.  Okay. We’ve officially run out of fucking problems in the world if people are committing stingray genocide just because the Croc Hunter got murked.

Prediction: The Socceroos got a tough draw playing in such a deep group. I think they’ll undoubtedly make it tough on their opponents, but their dearth of scoring ability will undermine their efforts and cause them to finish third or fourth in Group D.

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