The Evster's top XI things to look forward to in the World Cup™

The Evster's top XI things to look forward to in the World Cup™

WARNING: THIS POST IS ABOUT SOCCER

1. Paul Pogba's Hair

With apologies to Arturo Vidal and the entire Japanese National Team, no one has better hair than Paul Pogba. I'm not even sure what Paul's got goin' on up there. It's like a half-Gumby, half-Prince, half-Peanut Buster Parfait-lookin' jawn and yes I realize that's too many halfs. Plus, he shaved some Nick Van Exel lines in his eyebrow and correct me if I'm wrong, is that dyed blonde chin hair? This dude is so cool looking, and also happens to be one of the best young midfielders in the world. Now that France has Paul Pogba (real name!) playing behind Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Yohan Cabaye (PSG) and the adorable Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille) / Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich) combo platter, Les Bleus might actually not suck beaucoup de butt this time around.

[nbcsports_video src=//www.youtube.com/embed/1yo6K1WItIA width=620 height=349]

2. Beautiful (and I mean beeeee-yooooooo-tiful) Colombian Women

Maybe it's the cocaine. Maybe it was my sheltered Jewish upbringing. But Colombia has BY FAR the most attractive fans. For those of you out there who are like, "AYO EVSTER, WHAT ABOUT PARAGUAY?" Please note that they failed to make this year's tourney. And Sofia Vergara is Colombian. And sex on cocaine seems INCREDIBLE.

3. Spain v. Netherlands on Match Day 2!

Forget about giving players time to find the cleanest hookers, FIFA has scheduled a 2010 Final rematch on the very first Friday. The defending champs (sorry, "cup holders"), Spain, return with an even more ridiculous midfield, consisting of Xavi (Barça), Iniesta (Barça), Sergio Busquets (Barça), Cesc Fabregas (OMG WE GET IT, BARCA), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Juan Mata (Man U), Rafael Nadal (Roland Garros), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Frank Dorblestam (FC Dorbsville), Koke (Atletico) and David Silva (Man City). Unfortunately, up front they'll still be starting Fernando Torres (fart noise).

The Dutch no longer have Mark Van Bommel to regulate the midfield (he retired), but they do still have the Nigerian (not Nigerian) Nightmare, Nigel de Jong.

[nbcsports_video src=//www.youtube.com/embed/J2NqS4IBLxw width=620 height=465]

Prediction: Spain 2, Arjen Robben NOPE.

4. Andrea Pirlo's Beard and Gigi Buffon's Barrettes

Gennaro Gattuso, Pirlo's ex-teammate at Milan, summed him up best, "When I see what Andrea can do with the ball, I have to ask myself whether I am a footballer." Granted, Gattuso was one of the least-skilled midfielders to ever play, but still, I'm not telling him that wasn't a good quote. That guy's crazy.

He sometimes wears an ascot, too!

5. The Return of Michael Essien, Alex Song, Didier Drogba, and other Gigantic African Dudes

The last few years in America, we've been denied the opportunity to see these African superstars because of injury (the Bison), Barcelona's depth at midfield (thanks, Sergio Busquets) and banishment to Turkey (is that where Galatasary is?). But now these three monsters are BACK, along with their adorable African mates.

It's amazing how easy it is for Africans to endear themselves to Americans. This is partly due to the unbridled joy they play with. As well as their passion. And the fact that their continent is literally riddled with dysentery. Or it could just be Samuel Eto'o's ears. Also, is that where you're supposed to put the apostrophe in "Eto'o's"? FASCINATING.

I have an amazing idea that revolves around African footballers that I've never shared with anyone... let me know what you think. Let's say you owned a mid-tier English Premier League team -- some team like Stoke or West Ham or Sunderland -- who was never in contention for a Champions League berth, but always fighting to stay up in the top flight. Every off-season you sell your best players off and scrounge for new talent. But why not sell EVERYBODY, and simply rebuild your team with ONLY Nigerian internationals? You could still be West Ham, but you'd be made up of strictly Nigerians. That would be your team. Nigeria. You wouldn't have to pay big-time salaries (John Obi-Mikel and Victor Moses would be your only bank-breakers), and the rest of the squad would just be African warriors who would PLAY THEIR AFRICAN HEARTS OUT. Every single match. They'd take it as a personal, no, NATIONAL challenge, to beat those English pig dogs every time out. Do you think Ogenyi Onazi would let his team get relegated?! OF COURSE HE WOULDN'T. I don't even know who he is, but he wouldn't let James Milner beat him. I obviously think this is a brilliant idea. There's no reason Fulham can't also be Ghana.

As a sidenote, Ghana plays Germany on June 21st.

AKA...

DA BATTLE OF DA BOATENG BROS!!!

6. Everything about Belgium

No longer just some cutesy European contender, the Belgians are HERE TO BELGE. They have potentially the best centre-back duo in the world with Vincent Kompany (Man City) and Daniel Van Buyton (Bayern Munich), plus loads of fire power up front: Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Kevin De Bruyne (Wolfsburg), Adnan Januzaj (Man U), Lurf Flervswan (Made Him Up), Kevin Mirallas (Everton) and Romelo LOO-KA-KU (Chelsea/Everton/$$$).

Also, if you haven't seen it, the move In Bruges is TOTALLY worth watching. Colin Farrell. Ralph Fiennes. Some other people. Awesome flick. I actually visited Bruges a few years ago and it was really, really nice.

Pic or it didn't happs, Ev!

BOOM BABY.

Why do we live in Philadelphia again?!

This church claims to have a vile of Jesus's blood!

HORSE!

7. Mesut Özil's Eyes (and yes, I also mean his field vision)

Sure, he might look like Marty Feldman, but Özil is the smoothest, silkiest, niftiest playmaker in the world. And his eyes are so bulbous! And he might have herpes on his lip there. But that's cool with me! Get 'em Ozie! I mean Özie! Adam Oatesy!

8. There's a Guy on Greece Named Sokratis Papastathopoulos

LOVIN DAT CHEST HAIR, STEPHANOPOULOS.

9. Argentina's Attack

You know when you order nachos and you can't decide to get 'em loaded or just regular and then you decide to get 'em regular 'cuz you don't wanna spend the extra $4? Then the waiter brings 'em out and you're like, "We shoulda got 'em loaded!" Well, Argentina got 'em loaded. They got 'em so, so loaded. There's sour cream and guacamole all over the place. Leo Messi (Barça), Sergio Aguero (Man City), Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli), Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid), Ezequiel Lavezzi (PSG) and Rodrigo Palacio (AND HIS TAIL). It's stupid how many forwards they have. It's honestly stupid. Please tell me you clicked on that "tail" link. PLEASE TELL ME YOU CLICKED ON IT.

10. The Samba Boys

Nothing else matters, folks. Nothing else matters. When push comes to shove, it's all about the Brazilians. I don't care who's partnering up front with Wayne Rooney. It doesn't matter how cute my wife thinks Clint Dempsey is. The Samba Boys are the illest. They have a guy named Fred for cryin' out loud. Fred! And Hulk. And Neymar. And Os-CAR. And their two attacking fullbacks -- Marcelo and Dani Alves -- are more skilled than any other team's wingers. I know, I know, style doesn't always beat substance, but these guys are by far the most fun team to watch, and I'm not even sure if "style doesn't beat substance" is an actual saying.

11. This Uncle Drew-inspired Football Video Will BLOW YO MIND

[nbcsports_video src=//www.youtube.com/embed/VGEfNcvntno width=620 height=349]

And now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to shit my pants.

Follow The Evster @TVMWW.

Best of MLB: Beltre's 2 home runs lift Rangers over A's

Best of MLB: Beltre's 2 home runs lift Rangers over A's

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Adrian Beltre hit his second home run of the game with two outs in the ninth inning, a two-run shot that rallied the Texas Rangers past the Oakland Athletics 7-6 on Monday night for their third straight win.

Beltre, who finished with four hits, had two singles in his first three at-bats before hitting a solo homer in the seventh. His game-winning drive came on the first pitch from Ryan Madson (3-4).

Until then, Texas had trailed since Danny Valencia hit a two-run homer for Oakland with two outs in the first. All 13 runs in the game were scored with two outs.

Texas turned three double plays behind starter Martin Perez, who has induced a major league-best 25 in 21 games.

Valencia also had the first of three run-scoring doubles in a three-run third that gave the A's a 5-1 lead (see full recap).

Blue Jays' Sanchez wins 10th straight decision
TORONTO  -- Aaron Sanchez pitched seven shutout innings to win his 10th consecutive decision, Kevin Pillar had three hits and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the San Diego Padres 4-2 on Monday night.

Sanchez (11-1) became the first Blue Jays pitcher to win 10 straight since Roy Halladay won 15 decisions in a row in 2003. Halladay and Roger Clemens (1998) hold the club record.

Making their first appearance in Toronto, the Padres were held scoreless until Alex Dickerson hit a two-run homer off Bo Schultz in the ninth.

Dickeerson's drive into the fifth deck extended San Diego's team-record streak of games with at least one home run to 23. The 2006 Atlanta Braves were the last National League team to homer in 23 straight games.

Roberto Osuna replaced Schultz and got two outs for his 21st save (see full recap).

Orioles top Rockies for 5th straight win
BALTIMORE -- Adam Jones scored the winning run in the 10th inning on a low throw to the plate by pitcher Jordan Lyles, and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Colorado Rockies 3-2 on Monday night for their fifth straight victory.

Jones reached on a one-out single off the third-base bag and took third on a single by Jonathan Schoop. Manny Machado followed with a comebacker to Lyles, who fumbled the ball before throwing home. Catcher Nick Hundley caught the ball near the ground and lost the handle while attempting to tag the sliding Jones.

Lyles (2-3) was charged with an error on the play.

Getting two RBIs from Jones, the Orioles climbed a season-high 18 games over .500 (58-40) and improved to 37-14 at home.

Chaz Roe (1-0) worked the 10th for the win (see full recap).

Trade candidates — especially Jeremy Hellickson — lead Phils to shutout of Marlins

Trade candidates — especially Jeremy Hellickson — lead Phils to shutout of Marlins

BOX SCORE

MIAMI — Jeremy Hellickson was standing in front of his locker speaking with reporters after his second strong outing in a week against the Miami Marlins when Cameron Rupp walked by an offered his take on all the trade talk surrounding the veteran pitcher.

“He’s not going anywhere,” Rupp said loud enough for everyone in the room to hear.

Hellickson laughed at his catcher’s commentary.

“I hope not,” he said.

If Hellickson really wants to stay with the Phillies and finish out this rebuilding season instead of moving to a contender for the final two months — and possibly beyond — he did himself a disservice Monday night.

He enhanced his attractiveness to potential buyers by pitching six shutout innings in the Phillies’ 4-0 win over the Miami Marlins (see Instant Replay).

Hellickson, who sports a 3.65 ERA in 21 starts, needed just 70 pitches to get through the six innings. He was lifted for a pinch-hitter with runners on second and third and two outs in a scoreless game in the top of the seventh. Ryan Howard struck out, following Cody Asche and Peter Bourjos, as the Phillies whiffed on a golden scoring chance.

“I hated taking Hellickson out of the game there, but we had an opportunity to score and I had to go for it,” manager Pete Mackanin said.

“After we didn’t score, I didn’t think we had a chance to win this game. I just thought that with their bullpen we were in trouble.”

The Phillies ended up winning with a rally against Miami’s bullpen. Tommy Joseph delivered a clutch, two-out double against Fernando Rodney in the eighth to score Maikel Franco from first. That was the only run the Phillies needed. They tacked on three against the sloppy Marlins in the ninth to finish it off.

Hellickson, David Hernandez, Hector Neris and Jeanmar Gomez then combined to allow just one base runner in three innings to finish off the Phillies’ 11th shutout of the season. That’s the most in the majors.

“Our bullpen did a great job,” Mackanin said.

Three of the four pitchers that the Phillies used in the game — Hellickson, Hernandez and Gomez — are very much available for trades. They all pitched well with a gaggle of scouts sitting behind the backstop. A number of contending clubs — the Cubs, Orioles, Giants, Rangers and Blue Jays — had scouts at the game. Pitching, starting and relief, is high on the needs list for most of those teams.

Of course, the Marlins are looking for pitching, too. They have interest in Hellickson, though it’s not clear whether he is a top target of theirs. Maybe he will become a top target after what he’s done to the Marlins in the last week. Hellickson has pitched 14 innings over two starts against the Marlins. He has given up just six hits and a run.

“Just executing,” said the pitcher, explaining his success. “In my last two games the ball has been down for the most part. I’ve just gotten a lot of easy outs. The ball's down and not missing too many spots right now.”

Hellickson will be a free agent this winter and does not appear to be in the club’s future plan. Nonetheless, he has steadfastly said he would like to remain with the club for the rest of this season. Phillies management is not opposed to keeping Hellickson. He provides veteran stability and innings to a young rotation. But management would move Hellickson for a player that has the potential to help in the future.

Trade rumors can be distracting for a player. But Hellickson, who has been dealt twice in his career, is locked in.

“It doesn't bother me,” he said. “Once I'm in this locker room — obviously you still see it on TV and stuff — my focus is on helping us win today. Now it's on to the next start. It's been like this for a few years now so it's pretty easy to go out there right now.”

Mackanin said he had no idea what will become of Hellickson’s fate. But if the pitcher stays, he won’t complain.

“At this point, I don’t want to lose him,” Mackanin said. “I wish he could stay here. He’s that solid for us. He’s been like that the whole year.”

The Phillies needed a good pitching effort to pull this one out. Their hitters struck out 13 times, left 11 men on base and went just 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.

“We don’t show plate discipline,” Mackanin lamented. “We’re taking fastballs early in the count that are hittable pitches. If you’re going to take fastballs early in the count that are hittable pitches, you cannot swing at breaking balls in the dirt. That’s all I can say about that. We have to have more plate discipline.”

On the positive side of that, Franco and Rupp both walked three times, and Franco’s two-out walk in the eighth became the biggest run of the game on a night when Jeremy Hellickson and his status with the Phillies was the biggest storyline.

Instant Replay: Phillies 4, Marlins 0

Instant Replay: Phillies 4, Marlins 0

BOX SCORE

MIAMI — Jeremy Hellickson continued to enhance his trade value and Tommy Joseph had the big hit in the Phillies’ 4-0 win over the Miami Marlins on Monday night.

Hellickson shut down the Marlins for the second time in a week. The next time he pitches, it could be for them. The Marlins are one of the teams interested in the veteran right-hander. Scouts from several other contending teams were in attendance for Hellickson’s strong outing.

Joseph’s two-out double in the top of the eighth broke a scoreless tie.

Phillies pitching held the Marlins to two hits. The Phils have 11 shutouts this season.

Starting pitching report
Hellickson pitched six scoreless innings and gave up just a hit and a walk while striking out one. He exited for a pinch-hitter after just 70 pitches. The right-hander has pitched 14 innings and allowed just one run in his last two starts, both against the Marlins. He has lowered his season ERA to 3.65.

Miami’s Jarred Cosart came up from Triple A and pitched five scoreless innings. However, he threw 92 pitches. He allowed three hits, a walk and struck out one.

Bullpen report 
Trade candidate David Hernandez pitched a strong seventh inning for the Phils, picking up the win. Hector Neris and Jeanmar Gomez closed it out.

Miami right-hander Kyle Barraclough came up big in the top of the seventh inning. He struck out Cody Asche, Peter Bourjos and pinch-hitter Ryan Howard with runners on second and third to preserve a 0-0 tie.

Marlins right-hander Fernando Rodney struck out the first two batters in the eighth then gave up a four-pitch walk to Maikel Franco before Joseph’s two-out double delivered the game’s first run.

Rodney took the loss.

A.J. Ramos was charged with three runs in the ninth, two unearned.

At the plate
The Phillies survived 13 strikeouts, a 1-for-9 performance with runners in scoring position and 11 men left on base to score the win.

The Phils had just six hits. Joseph had a pair of them and now has 25 RBIs in 54 games.

Cesar Hernandez gave the Phils some cushion with an RBI single in the top of the ninth. Miami’s defense fell apart after that and the Phils scored two more runs to put the game away.

Asche had a hit to break an 0-for-26 skid. Bourjos is 0 for his last 17.

Trade talk
Andres Blanco is out for six weeks so he’s no longer a trade candidate, but others are (see story).

Up next
Jerad Eickhoff (6-11, 3.98) pitches against Miami right-hander Tom Koehler (7-8, 4.42) on Tuesday night. Koehler pitched eight innings of two-run ball in beating the Phillies last week at Citizens Bank Park.