Today begins the World Cup knockout round, where a ton of different clichés apply: Do or die, there's no tomorrow, win or go home, don't take any wooden nickels, etc. Only sixteen of the world's teams are privileged enough to be here.
And we're already down to fifteen. The Germans took care of the Swedes this morning with typical German ruthlessness, winning 2-0. Lukas Podolski scored twice within the first twelve minutes for the Germans, and a Swedish missed penalty kick in the 53rd minute buried them for good. My brother watched the game at an airport with a Swedish woman sitting next to him, crying her eyes out. But he bought her a beer, so I think she was OK.
At three o'clock, it's Argentina vs. Mexico, for the right to face Germany. Argentina's been arguably the most impressive team of the tournament thus far. Mexico... well, Mexico advanced because their group included Angola and Iran. If Groups E and C are the Groups of Death, then Mexico's Group D was the Group of Delicious Cupcake Frosting. They accumulated a 1-1-1 record there, while Argentina sports a 2-0-1 record, including a 6-0 thrashing of Serbia & Montenegro.