Germany and Argentina in World Cup Final

Now that Hannibal Lecter (aka Luis Suarez) has been sent home and the tearful Brazilian lads will be playing for 3rd place in the God-forsaken city of Brasilia, we can get down to the serious business of determining who will be World Champion on Sunday: Germany or Argentina?  (Editor’s Note:  Actually, Suarez is being transferred from Liverpool to Barcelona as he has found Mediterranean cuisine more to his liking.)


The World Cup Final for 2014 will be played in the fabled stadium of Maracana – recently modernized at huge taxpayer expense – where Brazil suffered a historic defeat in the 1950 World Cup Final at the hands of Uruguay. Thanks to the Germans, the Brazilian national team can now play a meaningless game against Holland in front of all of the politicos who have enriched themselves building these soon-to-be-forgotten stadiums and their equally corrupt accomplices: the mercenaries of FIFA.

Other than seeing the artistry of Lionel Messi one more time, I have no great interest in this game other than the faint hope that it will a memorable one. Come on guys, let’s score a few goals and give each other a little space to work magic with the ball. Surprise me!

mark-oneOn behalf of Brazilian football fans, I can’t think of anything more revolting than an Argentine victory on Brazilian soil. If this were to occur, I suspect that Maracana will need to be demolished since no reputable Brazilian could live with the shame of having the Argentine dogs mark their territory in historic Maracana. As such, I am hopeful that Germany will raise their level of play and show Argentina and the muddled lads from Brazil that the “jogo bonito” is still very much alive elsewhere.

Frankly, I think this has been a great World Cup celebrated in a Brazilian style that brings merit to this great country. Unfortunately, Brazilian soccer was having a “down year” as its players seemed more interested in promoting silly electronic products than playing great football. I suspect that this will change soon. In any event, football finally captured the imagination and interest of millions of Americans and I hope that this interest is not short-lived.

In a lovely Opinion in The New York Times by David Brooks quoting extensively from Simon Critchley, he argues that soccer is far closer to “living” than baseball in ways we never imagined:

Finally, Critchley notes that soccer is like a 90-minute anxiety dream — one of those frustrating dreams when you’re trying to get somewhere but something is always in the way. This is yet another way soccer is like life.

Indeed, who am I to argue?  “Sheila, will you please unlock the door?”

Salmon and Farro Salad

Aware that I am into the World Cup in a big way, Gourmay readers across the world are asking me what we serve guests during the game. It used to be that we would serve some antipasti and, perhaps, a little pasta to whet the appetites of our guests. Sadly, after the biting incident in the Italy-Uruguay match, we have had to reconsider our menu because Luis Suarez gives new meaning to the term “al dente” when dining Italian.


Mind you, I am a refined carnivore and prefer my meat cooked rather than still on the hoof, but I can understand why some people might be attracted to someone’s shoulder if they haven’t been weaned properly as a child. In any event, we have now decided that a trio of salads would be better to keep nationalistic passions in check. Found below is a useful salmon and farro salad courtesy of Mamacita:

Poached Salmon and Farro Salad

Ingredients (Serves 4 to 6)

  • 1 1/4 lb salmon
  • 4 tsp of red wine
  • 4 to 5 sprigs of dill
  • 1/2 cup barley or farro
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 Tbs capers, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbs dill snipped
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil


  • Poach salmon in water with 4 tsp of red wine and 4 to sprigs of dill.  Cool and flake.
  • Cook barley or farro and then toss with 2 tsp of olive oil and let cool.
  • Combine vegetables with salmon, grain and Dijon.  Season with wine vinegar, lemon juice and salt and pepper.

A penitent Luis Suarez tells me that the salmon salad is best eaten at room temperature.

World Cup: Round of 16

Now that the World Cup preliminaries are over, we get down to serious business: The Round of 16. Win 4 consecutive matches and you are World Champion. It’s easier said than done and many factors – including luck, home field advantage, scheduling of games and the corrupt practices of FIFA – come into play. That being said, let us talk about the “high points” and the “low points” of the World Cup so far. First, the “high points:”

  • Brazil was up to the task and has certainly delivered a far more exciting World Cup than South Africa;
  • Kudos to Costa Rica, Chile, Colombia and Algeria for some unexpected yet very compelling football;
  • Not having to see Ronaldo take off his shirt after scoring a goal.
Celebrating Suarez's dental artistry with a sense of humor.

Celebrating Suarez’s dental artistry with a sense of humor.

Now, the “low points:”

  • Luis “Hannibal Lecter” Suarez chowing down on an opponent;
  • Brazil getting the FIFA-edge with a non-existent penalty in the first match.

While Suarez has been barred for the rest of the tournament (and several more games after that), the only real losers are fans having to sit through an important World Cup match featuring Uruguay without Dracula in the leading role.  While I am happy for Colombia – their adversary – I would far prefer to see Italy playing instead of Uruguay.  For those interested in more Suarez humor, found below are a few goodies circulating around the Internet:

  • Messi’s carrying Argentina, Neymar’s carrying Brazil, Chiellini’s carrying rabies;
  • Luis Suarez would like to thank his fangs for their support;
  • Luis Suárez says that when he retires from football he wants to become an MP. They also specialize in taking chunks out of people;
  • Luis Suarez: Still in the queue for teeth while God was handing out brains.

In the Round of 16 you must “win or go home.”  Games that end in a tie after the overtime are “resolved” by penalty kicks.   Found below is a brief overview of the games:

  • Saturday, June 28th
    • Brazil/Chile –  I would love for the entertaining Piscos to hammer the Caipirinhas, but don’t see it happening.  Nevertheless, it should be a very entertaining game.
    • Colombia/Uruguay – I just hope that Colombia is not afraid of the big occasion and sends Uruguay home – something the Italians should have done.
  • Sunday, June 29th
    • Netherlands/Mexico – The Wooden Shoes are very strong and I expect them to stomp on the Tacos, who are both lucky and overrated.  van Persie and Robben are magnificent.
    • Costa Rica/Greece – I am surprised to see either team in final 16, but hope the inspiring play of Costa Rica will continue – why not?
  • Monday, June 30th
    • France/Nigeria – I think you need to give the edge to the French, but would love to see an upset.
    • Germany/Algeria – Sadly, Algeria’s great run comes to an end!
  • Tuesday, July 1
    • Argentina/Switzerland – Although the Swiss are playing a little less inhibited than usual, I don’t see them making a dent in Argentina.  Don’t mess with Messi – the best player in the tournament.
    • U.S.A./Belgium – Love the grit of the Gringos, but the young lads of Belgium are simply better.  Game will be close, but Belgium should win.

Personally, I like the Quarterfinals best, but there should be some very entertaining games over the next few days.  Enjoy.