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The football guide to fùtbol – World Cup Fever has made ùs write things about soccer and over ùse ù

World Cup Fever has made ùs write things about soccer and over ùse ù. Our guide to the World Cup. 



Nick Jurney is our regular Mostly Sheep commentator. When I asked him to comment on the World Cup, he said, “I don’t speak futbol.” Then he produced a football, spiked it and drank an American beer. So I’ll take this one.

Introducing the World Cup is a lot like introducing the Super Bowl. Hey, there’s this huge tournament and billions of people are going to watch it. So instead we will just say, Here’s Mostly Sheep’s guide to watching the World Brazil.

Serious story line of the tournament

After seven years of planning, host country Brazil is still not ready for the World Cup. Strikes, corruption, and protests plagued construction efforts for tournament’s 12 venues. None of this will matter if the matches go off smoothly as Brazil will celebrate the tournament being hosted in South America for the first time since 1978 Argentina.

Brazil’s other storyline is rampant poverty. For the Sochi Olympics, Russia could just crack down on any unsavory elements but Brazil has favelas–the overpopulated slums in its cities. Some are controlled with gangs others just have extreme poverty, but it’s a problem so big in Brazil it will be hard for the television broadcast to ignore the poverty of Brazil.

The newbie guide to the World Cup in a paragraph. 

Wins are 3 points, draws are ties and 1 point. Each team plays 3 group stage games then the tournament enters a playoff system where the team with the most goals wins unless it’s tied then you go to penalties.

The experts guide to the world cup in a word

Germany, Argentina, France, Brazil or Holland? I will not talk about Spain.

F’n Spain

I don’t hate Spain but I don’t like them. Spain could do the unprecedented and win 4 major tournaments in a row. Not since the ‘62 Brazilian team has a country won back-to-back World Cups. If they do win, this Spain team will go down as one of the greatest teams in the history of the sport. What’s even more impressive is the lack of a true worldwide superstar. Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Cesc Fàbregas (Barcelona) and Juan Mata (Manchester United) are good players but not in the same class as Ronaldo, Van Persie, Messi.

Number of minutes before ESPN tells you it’s not soccer but fùtbol.

Two minutes. ESPN will from its very first broadcast annoy us all by telling us all how the rest of the world calls this sport. Soccer, football, fùtbol it doesn’t matter except on the lame Sportscenter highlights.

ESPN’s coverage at 2010 South Africa was excellent with Ian Darke and Steve McManaman being the standouts of the broadcasts.  ESPN hates soccer and I expect a lot of misses when they ask Alexi Lalas to open his trap on the US team. Macca come baccca.

Brazil will riot if:

I’m a little scared because the host country could descend into a civil war if they don’t make it to the finals.

Dream Final

Brazil versus Argentina. Neymar and Messi against each other in a South American World Cup in a South American country. If this does happen, both countries could be going to war afterwards. Maybe that war will go to penalties.

US’ Chances or El Grupo Azteca Ōllamaliztli 

Remember in school when your history teacher said the Aztecs used to play a ball game with their hips and losers were killed.  That’s the group of death and the U.S. has found itself matched against Germany, Portugal and Ghana.

Germany is Germany and should, at minimum make the semifinals. However, at the World Cup ‘06 Jurgen Klinsmann, now US Coach, was the coach for Germany losing at the 119’ minute in the semis. Redemption and revenge is on the line.

Portugal is mostly Cristiano Ronaldo with some other guys. The team should be a second tier European minnow but CR is so good he can take the team to the quarters. If CR plays poorly the door is wide open for the US.

Finally Ghana. They are big, fast and we do not match up well against Ghana.

Best case scenario, the U.S. might be able take a point off Germany or Portugal and beat Ghana. That would give the US 4 points and needing help with the goal difference. Should the US beat Germany or Portugal, sit down and buckle up, Jurgen Klinsmann is going to make a run.

The U.S. will play Ghana on the 16th, then Portugal on the 22th and Germany on the 26th.

Who cares about Landon Donovan?

The guy scored penalty goals and one incredible clean-up goal in South Africa. This year’s tournament is Clint Dempsey’s final story line at age 31. For the U.S. to go anywhere Michael Bradley (Toronto FC) will need to control the midfield and not make bad passes. Jozy Altidore (Sunderland) will need to relearn how to score goals. It’s a problem with Jozy. And the defense will have to play fast, tight and physical against world class players.

Or the U.S. could go home with no points losing by 4 against Germany, after losing 2-1 to Portugal on a Ronaldo free kick,  and having only 5 shots on goal in a 1-nil loss to Ghana. This is the fear.

Matches to Watch (Non-U.S.)

Luis Suarez versus England. Luis Suarez of the Uruguayan side had a sensational year at Liverpool with 31 goals for his club. He knows the England players and their style. If there’s one man to ruin England’s tournament it’s the Liverpool front man.

Spain versus Netherlands. It’s a rematch of the 2010 Final and it happens in the group stage. But there’s another story line here and one that has both club and country ramifications. Dutch Coach, Louis Van Gaal will take over Manchester United after the World Cup with fellow Dutchman Robin Van Persie is spearheading the attack for club and nation. A great tournament by Van Gaal and he lands in Manchester as a savior. A poor tournament and United Fans will tighten the leash.

The Franch, I mean the Franch

France is more like Franch, the French dressing—ranch mixture from TV’s Breaking Bad. That’s French Football. In 2006 Zinedine Zidane, the French legend, headbutted an Italian player in the final costing them the game. In 2010, Les Blues imploded again after the team revolted against their manager Raymond Domenech.

Here’s the thing about the French. They either self-destruct or make the finals. This 2014 team has players that can win the World Cup with Karim Benzema (Champion’s League winner with Real Madrid), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Patrice Evra (Manchester United) and Frank Ribery (Bayern Munich). If France and not Franch show up, they play beautiful football.

Franch 2 aka Mexico

You have to feel sorry for the fans of the Mexican team. Every World Cup the team is brought down either by aging stars or dysfunctional teamwork. The Mexico team is so disorganized that during qualifying matches, manager Miguel Herrera fielded a team mostly made up of club players. Arguably Mexico’s best player, Chicharito, Javier Hernandez (Manchester United) could be on the bench in favor of a team dominated by Club Leon and Club America  players.

Dark Horses

Inevitably, there will be one or two minnows to capitalize on a mistake by a big nation. I’m watching Belgium. They have one of the easier groups against Russia, South Korea and Algeria. They also have Eden Hazard and Vincent Kompany, key figures of Manchester City’s Premiership title.

Best looking worst team 

Except for Ghana don’t worry about the African Nations. I think there’s a rule—the better your kit (team shirt) looks, the faster your team gets knocked out. The Ivory Coast wins for best looking kit so that means they will lose all three group games.

Who will win?

The cameramen. You know how in baseball, the cameramen seem to find an attractive girl in a tight t-shirt. This is what Brazilians wear when they need to dress conservatively. I would be surprised if by day 3, feminist bloggers didn’t start a hashtag:

Who will win #2?

This is the most open tournament, since 2002. It’s so open even England has a chance to get their hopes up of reaching the semis and then see their fate sealed by an act of divine cheating. No wait that’s every tournament.

Then you have the Brazil fans who aren’t right in the head and will demand a trophy. I will guarantee one thing, there will be a lot of talk about redoing penalty shoot-outs and that’s the only given at World Cup Brazil.

March Madness x 14 days = lost job

The World Cup kicks off June 12th and the final is played July 13. During the group stages the tournament is like March Madness everyday with three games on average broadcasted. The best part is you can watch soccer all day with games starting at 10 a.m., 1 p.m.  and 4 p.m. Don’t have ESPN? will stream all the games.

Why watch?

In 2010, I was at a pub in Denver when Landon Donovan kicked home the winning goal against Algeria. Type into the Google machine “World’s Reaction to Landon Donovan’s Game Winning Goal” if you can’t remember four years ago. Only the Colorado Rockies’ 2007 Wild Card win and the Denver Bronco’s first Super Bowl win are ahead of the 2010 Donovan goal. There is no explanation why soccer brings out  this type of emotion. Only the World Cup can force a bunch of complete strangers into a pub at ten in the morning, screaming U-S-A after one of your own countrymen puts the ball into the old onion bag.

It’s World Cup fever.

(Also Nick Jurney loves it when you ask him about soccer. Tweet him at:
@nickjurnals. You can tweet me at @johnmrod

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Denver’s Wes Watkins dynamic new future-funk EP is from another planet




Future-Funk Party Starter | Wes Watkins

Dreams Out from Denver’s best kept secret Wes Watkins wears so many musical hats it needs a rack; downtempo G-Funk homage and sweltering nee-Soul / Rn’B are all over this release, all covered with a thicc pop glaze and a penchant for electronic-sonic experimentation that keep every song fascinatingly adventurous while maintaining a danceability and groove that easily, easily warrants multiple listens. Don’t sleep on this one.

Lo-Fuzz Folkie | Hoi Ann

The beauty of Hoi Ann’s Tangenier lies in both what you can hear and what it may want you to not hear. Lo-fi folk and bedroom-pop are easily tangible on its surface, but the buzzy electronic tones that sparingly flourish the 5 songs of this release lie low and create a unique aural atmosphere for listeners, like hidden secrets for your ears only.

Indie-Punk Sweeties | Gestalt

The pop-punk shred-bois in Gestalt are back at it again; The irresistible combo of the Get Up Kids earnest midwestern-emo and smart pop-punk wit of the Wonder Years is strong on the tracks that encompass LongBoix, as is an acute fondness and growing appreciation for the finer indie rock of yesteryear. Well I guess this is growing up.

Psych-Rock Screamcore | Gone Full Heathen

On their criminally good self titled EP, Fort Collins heavies Gone Full Heathen friggin dare you to try and trap them in a single genre. Nice try, but they’ll just chew right through your puny ropes using a gnashing blend of crushing stoner-rock laced hardcore punk and overdriven psych-rock / post-metal induced bite like the righteous rock and roll wolves that they are.

All releases available for purchase now thru Bandcamp. Go Local!

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The Haze Craze for Lazy Days



There are many different styles of beer. Ranging from light lagers (think Bud Light) and ales to sours, stouts, and IPAs.

Within those styles, however, are varying styles.

For example, one would think a sour beer is a sour beer, right? Wrong. According to the Beer Judge Certification Program, which defines every style of beer, there are six recognized European sour styles.

For IPAs, there are seven. American beers have four; stouts have three… You get the point.

Even with viewing the list of recognized styles, it’s not a complete list.

Take New England IPAs (NE IPA), as a prime example. Many breweries are currently mass producing this style of beer, and it’s selling like crazy.

You may have heard one of your annoying beer loving friends talk about drinking a “juice bomb,” or a requesting a “hazy IPA” at the pub, and shrugged it off. It turns out, they (sometimes) know what they are talking about.

What makes NE IPAs so popular when compared to a more traditional, West Coast IPA? NE IPAs have all of the hop flavors, without an overabundance of bitterness.

Instead of constantly adding hops throughout the boil to achieve a fruity flavor balanced by bitterness, the NE IPA has a small hop addition at the begging, and then nothing else until after the boil has finished.

That translates into a beer with very little bitterness, and plenty of hop aroma and flavor. Hops like Citra, Mosaic, Mosaic, Galaxy, and El Dorado are most common in NE IPAs, according to the Homebrewers Association. Those hops tend to impart a fruity, and dare I say, juicy flavor profile.

Between the juicy flavor and the seemingly natural haziness to NE IPAs, it’s not far fetched for an NE IPA to look like a tall glass of orange or grapefruit juice, only carbonated and full of alcohol.

NE IPAs are starting to gain momentum here in Colorado, with breweries turning their focus to the haze craze. Specifically, Odd13, WeldWerks, and Epic Brewing coming to mind.

Odd13 is based in Lafayette, Colo. and has a long list of NE-inspired IPAs constantly rotating through the tap room and distributed throughout the state. Codename: Super fan and Noob are two beers that are found in cans, and both offer a different approach to the haze craze.

WeldWerks is based in Greeley, Colo. and has accumulated a cult-like following in just a few short years for its Juicy Bits NE IPA. The brewery just started self-distributing locally, so you’ll have to make the trip to the brewery and pick up a crowler or four. Be sure to check the WeldWerks Facebook page for availability and limits. Yes, they have to place per person limits on how much you can purchase.

Epic Brewing recently announced its NE IPA, which will rotate between four different flavor profiles throughout the year. The cans will look the same but will be different colors as a quick way to tell identify which version you have.

So the next time you walk into a brewery or liquor store, it’s OK to ask for a hazy or juicy IPA. It’s a thing, and, frankly, they are damn good.

On Tap: By the time this hits newsstands, ThunderZone Pizza & Taphouse will have opened on the CSU-P campus. Located at 2270 Rawlings Blvd., the ThunderZone features 32 taps, a carefully curated tap list, and is locally owned.

At the opening, the tap list includes tasty brews from the likes of Florence Brewing and Lost Highway.

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Senators upend GOP health care bill in true Trump style… Twitter



WASHINGTON — When Sens. Mike Lee and Jerry Moran decided they were in ready to disrupt the GOP rewrite of the health care law, they chose President Donald Trump’s favorite medium.

They could not support Senate Republicans’ plan, the somewhat unlikely pair of conservatives tweeted at 8:30 p.m. Monday night, giving no heads up to the White House or Senate leaders before pressing send.

The story behind the statement reveals two senators willing to be branded as bill killers and seemingly unconcerned with trying to soften the blow with party leaders.

The announcement, coming after some 10 days of conversations between the men, stunned official Washington and left Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at least two votes short in the closely divided Senate from being able to move forward with the GOP bill, effectively sinking the measure. It landed shortly after Trump dined with a group of senators to discuss strategy – unwittingly plotting a plan that would immediately become outdated.

Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican leader, found out about Lee’s defection after the White House dinner of rosemary-grilled rib eye and summer vegetable succotash. He “had no idea it was coming,” Cornyn said.

Another Republican, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, found out from TV news.

Moran, a second-term lawmaker from Kansas who isn’t known for making waves, and Lee, a two-term senator from Utah who has clashed with Trump, have been talking over the past 10 days about the health care legislation and agreed the GOP bill did not go far enough to repeal Obamacare or address rising health-care costs. They decided to announce their position to make the bill’s fate clear and allow senators to move on, Moran said.

“It could have been prolonged for days or weeks while no one said anything,” Moran said in an interview.

Moran, who oversaw the Senate Republicans’ 2014 election campaigns, concluded last week he wouldn’t vote for the latest version of the bill but “gave myself a weekend in Kansas to think about it,” he said.

Lee had helped draft an amendment, along with fellow conservative Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that would allow insurers to sell skimpy plans alongside more robust ones to lower costs. Cruz agreed to some changes in wording by GOP leaders, but Lee thought the new language allowed too many Obama-era regulations to remain in place.

After talking again, Moran and Lee agreed Monday night on a statement drafted earlier in the day. They issued their statement shortly after a White House dinner attended by seven GOP senators – all likely yes votes on the health care bill. Neither Lee nor Moran attended.

A Lee spokesman said the statement – and its timing – “had nothing to do with the White House dinner. It was not a reaction in any way.”

The statement was made public as soon as it was ready, the spokesman said.

Neither Trump nor McConnell received advance warning about the statement, although it’s likely that neither the president nor the Senate leader was completely surprised.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spent the weekend calling lawmakers, including Lee and at least seven other GOP senators, according to the administration. Trump talked politics, while Pence discussed policy.

Trump called Lee on Saturday, and Lee told the president he was leaning against the bill, for the reasons he later made public.

Lee told Utah’s KSL Newsradio that he had a great conversation with Trump, when he told the president his “consumer freedom” amendment had been weakened and that he wasn’t sure that he could support the bill.

“He was encouraging to me and said, you know, ‘Just see what changes you can make to it,’ ” Lee said.

Lee and McConnell did not talk over the weekend, but Lee spoke twice to Cornyn, R-Texas, the majority whip.

Trump, who frequently takes to Twitter to announce proposals or denounce opponents, was blindsided by, of all things, a tweet.

He told reporters Tuesday he was “very surprised when the two folks came out last night, because we thought they were in fairly good shape. But they did. And, you know, everybody has their own reason.”

Moran said while he remained committed to repealing the health care law, Congress needs to make a “fresh start” on writing a replacement bill in an “open legislative process.”

“We should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy,” he said, in a statement that followed the tweet.

In his own statement, Lee said the GOP bill does not repeal all the Obamacare tax increases and “doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle class families; nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations.”

Both explanations were issued on social media.

“Twitter is a nice medium to get your message out,” Lee’s spokesman said.

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