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World Cup “Golden Oldies” Fade As New Order Emerges

I organized a family World Cup pool which I assumed I could win. After all I played soccer in high school and college and know all the big names like Thomas Mueller age 33 (Germany and Bayern Munich), Cristiano Ronaldo age 37 (Portugal and free agent), Kevin DeBrunye, age 31 (Belgium and Manchester City), Lionel Messi age 35 (Argentina and PSG), Neymar age 30 (Brazil and PSG), Harry Kane age 29 (England and Tottenham), and Kylian MBpappe age 23 (France and PSG).

I was a little nervous about my east coast grandson and granddaughter both of whom play soccer at a high level and watch Premier League play all year as well as my midwest granddaughter who is a natural sports wagerer. The grandson also has a jersey for each of the teams listed above and can recite stats on all of these players and can recall where Neymar usually aims his PK’s (penalty kicks).

With a questionable venue in Qatar – no beer and still warm in November- my hopes for an Arab spring seemed dashed when Qatar lost the opening game to Netherlands, but the same day Saudi Arabia had the upset of the century by beating Argentina (Messi). This is like the Portland Sea Dogs beating The Boston Red Sox with Ted Williams.

My faith in the golden oldies was further shaken when Belgium, captained by the best mid fielder in the tournament ,did not emerge from the Group Round; Portugal’s captain, Cristiano Ronaldo, was benched in favor of Goncalo Ramos age 21, who then scored three goals and assisted on a fourth; and Germany captained by Thomas Mueller, the star of the successful German World Cup campaign in 2014, also failed to advance beyond Group play.

Betting on the “golden oldies” and the established World Cup order of Germany, Belgium, Brazil, Argentina and Portugal may be a losing strategy in this World Cup but Lionel Messi is still competing like a teenager..

The financial world order is undergoing a similar metamorphosis with eerie similarities to the World Cup:

  • Russia Suspended and Disinvited For invading Ukraine
  • China has only qualified once in the history of World Cup, North Korea twice-enough said
  • Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Croatia and Morocco are at the forefront of conversations
  • USA Men’s soccer, the 33rd best “football” team in America, barely survived the Group play
  • Germany and Belgium did not survive Group Play
  • England was in the Round of 8 and highly favored to beat France, but did a Brexit ’22 on a missed PK by star center forward, Harry Kane
  • France is now favored to win its second World Cup in a row based on the play of a 23-year-old immigrant and a 36-year-old center forward
  • Argentina and Brazil suffer the same one man show as their countries suffer leadership
  • Portugal has a petulant child wearing the captain’s arm band (Ronaldo) and a team saving adult (Ramos) doing all the scoring
  • Japan and Spain defended to scoreless ties but missed their penalty kicks in overtime

As the semi finals pit Argentina against Croatia, and France against Morocco two things are incontrovertible: the Croatia team has the worst uniforms – reminiscent of the Ralston Purina checkerboard pattern – and Morocco will not only be the first African nation in the semis, but also the first protectorate to meet its former ruler.

As a world order long shot, I am predicting Morocco. They have demonstrated an icy confidence in penalty kicks and that may be the deciding factor. Their win would be like the Everett AquaSox beating the Seattle Mariners with Julio Rodriquez and Luis Castillo starting every game for the Mariners.

Investing and betting with your heart, however, are not advisable. Argentina has an oldster called Messi who appears determined to put his country’s chances on his devastating left foot. This is likely to be his last World Cup and I think he will win it for Argentina but my thesis is better served by Morocco.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

The above commentary is for informational purposes only.  Not intended as legal or investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security or strategy. Information prepared from third-party sources is believed to be reliable though its accuracy is not guaranteed. Opinions expressed in this commentary reflect subjective judgments based on conditions at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice.


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Rob McCreary

Rob McCreary has more than 40 years of transactional experience as an attorney, investment banker and private equity fund manager, and has spent his career in building entrepreneurial organizations with successful track records. Founder and chairman of CW Industrial Partners (originally CapitalWorks, LLC), he is responsible for developing and maintaining senior relationships with investors and portfolio governance.

This blog represents the views of Rob McCreary and do not reflect those of CW Industrial Partners or its employees. This blog is not intended as investment advice. Any discussion of a specific security is for illustrative purposes only and should not be relied upon as indicative of such security’s current or future value. Readers should consult with their own financial advisors before making an investment decision.