Sixteen of the Best
Greece will field a stronger side than the one that dropped out in the first round of the European Awesome Football Names Cup. Alongside the experienced Patsatzoglou, they bring in three demons from the Hell Dimensions: Tzorvas, Moras, Gekas. They may cause some problems, but rely too heavily on the -opolous suffix.
Denmark will battle valiantly, with Kroldrup, Agger and Mtiliga and Enevoldsen giving support to Bendtner, but lack the randomness necessary to get out of their group. Italy face the same problem. Long-serving Buffon, will lead out the likes of Quagliarella and Gilardino. With only oddness (rather than outright weirdness) to offer, these teams will not challenge for places in the later rounds.
Spain have some good names, with Mata and Jesus Navas, supported by the weirdly-named veteran Capdevila. Brazil always have a chance when there's a player called Kaka in their team, and Nilmar and Grafite make up the numbers. But both teams lack awesome strength in weird depth. Neither through final sixteen.
Those other Iberians Portugal are in a rich vein of form with Beto, Ze Castro, Duda and especially Danny, backing up Nani and Fartface... I mean Cristiano Ronaldo. France have some good names - Mandanda, Squillaci, Planus and Gourcuff - but just not enough of them. Little Aussie battlers Galekovic, Culina, Vince Grella, Mile Jedinak, Tommy Oar will punch above their weight, but cannot prevail to the quarter-finals. Both teams will fall at the second hurdle.
Bobadilla: YES! Ortigoza: Fantasmus! Estigarribia: Wundermeistersturm! Rodolfo Gamarra (recently awoken by an accidental Nuclear explosion and intent on destroying Japan): A Thousand Times WHY!? Formidable names all. However, despite sporting an array of names that sound like they have gone through the word blender, Paraguay lack depth in their squad. It will cost them.
South Africa put together a super-strong team this time. Macbeth Sibaya led the line, ably supported by Surprise Moriri, Bongani Khumalo, Innocent Mdledle and Shu-Aib Walters. Cameroon too is back to something like its strangest, with Gaetan Bong, Rigobert Song, Eyong Enoh, Georges Mandjeck, Landry N'Guemo providing steel, and Aboubakar and Eric Choupo Moting giving a cutting edge. Both teams topped tough groups, but could not survive the pace of the final sixteen.
Sixteen have gone. Sixteen remain.