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Hello fans! We’re only one game into Brazil 2014 and I already have a couple of things to get off my chest. Let’s get to it:

Opening Night Butterflies?

It didn’t take long for Marcelo to make an impact in this World Cup… unfortunately for Brazil. (Paulo Whitaker/Reuters Sports)

El Bolso’s day job, unlike Jobu’s, doesn’t come with unlimited World Cup breaks and lavish parties, so I was only able to catch the second half of the opening game. Brazil got away with one, folks. Despite dominating possession for the most part, they were one tremendous Neymar shot and a friendly referee away from entering the last ten minutes of this game down a goal. Croatia clogged the passing lanes near their goal and showed the Brazilian defense’s weakness with long forward balls that split the back defenders more often than not. Look, the first game is always the toughest for the favored teams, and I think Brazil will be fine, but they definitely need to tighten up their backline and get better at finding holes up front. Croatia is nowhere near the toughest test they’ll face if they want to lift the cup. Also, they better hope that small limp Neymar was showing off near the end is nothing to worry about, although yesterday the real offensive star was Oscar.

Also, did anyone else think the Croatian goalie was indecisive on all three goals? It certainly looked like he didn’t see the ball early enough on the first and last strikes, causing him to just miss both balls, and I’m still not sure how he got both hands on the penalty kick and still let the ball through. Maybe he needs the Ricky Vaughn treatment…

There’s No Place Like Home

Neymar may be the lobster chunks in Brazil’s mac and cheese, but Oscar is the cheesy goodness that holds the entire dish together… I shouldn’t write these articles right before lunch. (ABC Australia)

Here at Jobu’s Rum we aim to bring you the Cup from a different perspective. If you’re like El Bolso and have no cable TV, your best bet for watching the games at home is Univision’s streaming coverage. The quality is pretty damn good (on mobile too, at least when Verizon cooperates), and the games are free until the quarters. The problem is, of course, the announcers. If you understand no Spanish then you’re ok, but if like El Bolso you are fluent, you’re in for two hours of torture. Here’s a little advice for you, Univision announcing team: I know that the penalty call was a little ticky-tacky, and there’s no way it gets called in the other penalty area. Still, if you’re going to loudly pronounce that there’s no way in hell there was contact on the play, let your video tech know in advance so he doesn’t show the Croatian defender clearly planting his hand on Fred’s shoulder as you do so. The thing that always amazes me about Univision’s soccer coverage is the ability of the announcers to watch slow motion replays and describing the exact opposite of what is happening on the screen. It’s like they teach that at the onboarding training sessions. That may be fine for Sunday Mexican League matches (no offense to the Mexican League, that just seems to be all Univision ever shows), but this is the World Cup. Step up your game, please.

More Like CRAPixar, amirite?

After the game, the kids took over the TV and decided to watch this movie they got from the local library (El Bolso says support your local library, because free DVDs). I’m not going to name it, I’m just going to say that they’ve been eyeing it for a while now, and we never bring it home because it looks like an awful ripoff of “Cars”. Well, I’m here to tell you, it’s much more (less?) than that. Look, we’ve gone through a lot of kids entertainment: Pixar movies (I just had to talk my four- and two-year-old through the Mufasa death scene this week), Dora the Explorer, Yo Gabba Gabba, and so on. If I tell you something is crappy, it’s really crappy. First of all, your animation should look like something my kids aspire to create someday, not a bunch of crap they could do themselves if I gave them an MS Paint license and a couple of beers each. Second, it’s never (e-e-e-e-e-ever!) good when barely ten minutes into the movie there’s a character on screen talking about how she’s going to fulfill her community service requirement. That’s just not the kind of skill-building I want my kids to engage in at this age. This particular vehicle then proceeds to plan a scam wherein she organizes a charity race and charges the other cars money to participate, only to pocket most of the proceeds herself, which we know because she proudly tells us. And this isn’t the movie’s evil foil, either; she’s a friend of the main character (whom she swindles for race fees, of course). The main plot involves the theft of some crown jewels (just… stay with me here) and a Studebaker with a British accent who arrives to solve the crime and spends the next hour trying his best to frame someone for it so he can close the case. It’s like Peter Jackson’s cult hit “Meet The Feebles,” only with cars, and if Peter Jackson had suffered a debilitating stroke just before starting work on it.

You may ask, what does this have to do with the World Cup? Absolutely nothing! I just thought you’d like to know that my local library doesn’t have a quality control program in place, because it took me 30 seconds of googling to find out that this is a terrible movie, made by someone who specializes in making terrible movies. Shape up, GPL.

About El Bolso

El Bolso is Uruguay’s foremost soccer-fan-in-exile, a true authority on the Celeste and its favored son, the Club Nacional de Football. He believes in precision passing, tireless marking, and strong finishing, and is not above the occasional slide tackle from behind when the situation calls for it.