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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Can the Drink in Your Hand Predict the World Cup Champion?

The FIFA World Cup kicks off in South Africa a month from today when the host country takes on Mexico in Johannesburg.

When this tournament is played every four years productivity takes a major hit as workers have sudden unexplained illnesses on the days when matches involving their countries are played. Wagering on fixtures is big business based on the number of casinos posting odds on the teams – the odds listed below are from United Kingdom’s bet365 Group Limited. And the tournament provides a big boost to the drinks industry, not only in the host country where thirsty fans from around the world put a strain on the distribution system, but also back home where supporters either celebrate victories or drown their sorrows after each match.

As the teams make final roster adjustments and fans look hard at group stage opponents to see how likely it will be for their teams make it to the round of 16, Lyke2Drink has decided to play a fantasy World Cup not based on soccer playing prowess, but instead by examining the skill and creativity the country brings to the drinks world. Might it be that a country’s drinking heritage is a sound predictor of its performance on the 2010 World Cup stage?

Take a look at the results of the Lyke2Drink World Cup and follow along during the action in South Africa. The bookies might want to take notice and adjust the odds.

Group Stage

Group A
1. France (18:1) France wins the group based on the strength of its many wine regions.
2. Mexico (80:1) Tequila can do many things, including helping Mexico advance.
3. South Africa (125:1) Before South African Breweries became SABMiller and moved their headquarters to London the hosts may have pulled off an upset.
4. Uruguay (100:1) The per capita alcohol consumption in Uruguay would have put them through in some other groups. Not this one.

Group B
1. Argentina (7:1) The mighty Malbec grape helps Argentina win the group.
2. Greece (150:1) Ouzo served liberally gets Greece to the knock out round.
3. South Korea (250:1) Riding high on traditional Soju, Yakju, Cheongju, Takju, along with fruit, flower and herbal wines, watch out for upset minded South Korea.
4. Nigeria (150:1) A large Muslim population in Nigeria means that a significant segment of the country refrains from alcohol. Beer is by far the most popular alcohol beverage and sales are growing, so look out in 2014.

Group C
1. USA (80:1) Combine the strength of the craft beer movement, popularity of California wines on the world stage and the demand for Bourbon and you have a group stage upset.
2. England (6:1) Fans might be bitter (while drinking a pint of Bitter) about not winning the group, but England survives to fight another day.
3. Slovenia (200:1 )Fans will need a shot or two of Brinjevec to get over their disappointment.
4. Algeria (350:1) The sale of alcohol is restricted and taxes on booze are very high in the country. Many shops selling beer and wine were forced to close recently.

Group D
1. Germany (12:1) Germany wins this group based on Bavaria’s Beer output alone.
2. Australia (125:1) The Aussies pull an upset in the group thanks to the one two punch of good affordable Wine and crisp Lagers.
3. Ghana (66:1) Palm Wine, Pito (millet wine) and Akpeteshie (a local 80 proof spirit) make a good case, but Ghana falls short.
4. Serbia (66:1) Rakia and Slivovitz are not powerful enough to move the Serbs forward.

Group E
1. Netherlands (12:1) Dutch courage is on full display. Genever helps Holland sweep the group.
2. Japan (250:1) People did not see this coming, but Sake and Japanese Beer pulled off the major upset.
3. Cameroon (100:1) A few years back promotional beer bottle caps were turned into make shift currency by locals. Cameroon just fails to make it out of the group.
4. Denmark (150:1) Carlsberg and Schnapps notwithstanding, Denmark makes an early departure.

Group F
1. Italy (12:1) Italy does not even have to break out the Grappa to win this group.
2. Slovakia (200:1) Decent Pilsner-style beers, a strong local Wine industry and Slivovica and Borovicka brandies carry Slovakia to the next round.
3. New Zealand (2000:1) Sauvignon Blanc and Lager is just not enough to move forward.
4. Paraguay (80:1) Among drinkers in this group, Paraguay is dead last by a good margin in per capita consumption. They just did not come ready to play.

Group G
1. Brazil (5:1) Cachaca has the Brazilians doing the samba into the next round.
2. Portugal (28:1) Portugal is ranked at the top of alcohol consuming countries in Europe. They have earned a place in the next round.
3. Ivory Coast (28:1) Beer is more popular than water in most of the country, but this is a very tough group.
4. North Korea (1500:1) The government allowed its first ever advertisements for Beer just last year. And North Korean diplomats have been tossed out of a couple of countries from smuggling alcohol into those nations.

Group H
1. Spain (4:1) Sherry and Cava help Spain win this group in style.
2. Chile (66:1) They have been making Wine in Chile for five centuries and they are a force on the world market. No need to break out the Pisco to move to the next round.
3. Switzerland (150:1) Domestic Beer, Wine and Eau de Vie just is not enough in this group.
4. Honduras (1000:1) Some decent Lager Beers for hot days, but no way competitive in this group.

Round of 16

France vs. Greece: The French use Cognac and Calvados to match up against Ouzo and Greek beer. Champagne scores the winner.

USA vs. Australia: The Aussies come out strong, but they cannot keep up with the Americans who throw Moonshine in as a second half sub on the way to the win.

Netherlands vs. Slovakia: The Dutch come out of the gate strong with a winning line up of Beers the Slovaks cannot match.

Brazil vs. Chile: A very tightly contested match. Chile scores early with great Wines at value prices, but the Brazilians come back with major Beer brands and rounds of Caipirinhas.

Argentina vs. Mexico: An interesting match, but just when Argentina thinks it has an answer for Tequila, the Mexicans (coached by the Most Interesting Man in the World) start doing shots of single village Mezcal.

Germany vs. England: One of the best matches of the tournament. Lager vs. Ale. Gin vs. Schnapps. This one is close until Riesling is awarded a penalty kick in extra time. The Germans move on.

Italy vs. Japan: Never in doubt as Italy gets to rest some of its stars and Lemoncello even gets in on the scoring.

Spain vs. Portugal: The battle of the Iberian Peninsula. Spain’s Wine production and quality are just too much for Portugal, even with a strong performance from Port.

Quarter Finals

France vs. USA: Just like the Judgment at Paris turned the French wine world on its ear, French supporters find the U.S. drinks team is too much to handle. Bourbon, Tennessee, Rye, Wheat and Corn Whiskies are just too much.

Netherlands vs. Brazil: In an upset, the Dutch show they originated Gin and cause the Brazilians to go on defense for much of the match trying to prove Cachaca is not just an off shoot of rum.

Mexico vs. Germany: In a low scoring match, the Germans push home the winning goal by showing unexpected beer diversity at mid-field with Rauchbier, Gose, Kolsch and Hefeweizen.

Italy vs. Spain: A very tough quarter final that finds Prosecco and Cava getting early scores. Chianti proves to be the difference in this match.

Semi Finals

USA vs. Netherlands: The U.S. unleashes Wines from the west coast, with Napa, Sonoma, Oregon and Washington giving the Netherlands early troubles. In the end, oak aged Beers from microbrewers produce a surprise shutout of the Dutch.

Germany vs. Italy: The Italians lead with their strength: Wine. The Germans answer with Beer. The match is decided in added time by a header. Since German Lagers have heads and Italian Barolos do not, the Germans reach the finals.

Third Place Game

Netherlands vs. Italy: Italy gets some help from Grappa in slowing the Dutch down. DOCG wines are just too much to handle and Italy takes third place.


USA vs. Germany: In this match between titanic drinks nations you have to look at history to find separation. The Germans have lived by the Reinheitsgebot beer purity law for centuries. They far out consume the U.S. on a per capita basis. America actually had prohibition from 1920-1933.

The Germans win the Lyke2Drink World Cup.


Matt Hames said...

This is awesome Rick. But England win their group, and take one of the (on paper) easiest routes to the final.

Anonymous said...

Thoroughly entertaining, Rick. Cheers!

- Danae