Group D in the World Cup of Beers-- the final group of the tournament-- drew as follows:
Czech Rep. (Pilsner Urquell)
Group D Results:
Once again, sampling these beers side-by-side in blind taste test, with the beers slightly less than "ice cold" and in small plasic cups instead of cold glass bottles had an impact on the outcome.
There is no doubt that, when I am sitting in an Italian restaurant eating good Italian food, there's nothing in the world better than an ice-cold bottle of Peroni. I love it. And yet, in this competition, with the circumstances so different surrounding the drinking of it.... we get totally different results. As with the way the Italian national side usually struggles in the early games of any World Cup, Peroni struggled to a draw with Beck's in the opening game, and then lost handily to Heineken (a result I found shocking once the beers were revealed to me). Only in the final game, against hapless Pilsner Urquell, did the Italian beer manage a clear victory-- just enough to pull them completely level with the German beer, Beck's. More on that in a moment.
Once again, one beer waltzed easily through all three matches of the Group competition, making it four-for-four on a beer receiving the full 9 of 9 possible points. This time it was Heineken, which makes the overall favorites for reaching the semifinals quite obvious: four groups with one beer in each sweeping to nine points. And yet, I have a feeling that something unexpected could still happen. We shall see, later today in fact.
Back to the group results: Germany's Beck's managed a draw with Peroni and then dispatched the Czech beer with ease, and looked to be cruising toward advancement. But Heineken took the Germans down in the final game, giving us a dead-heat between Peroni and Beck's. We would have to look at "goal differential."
In the case of a World Cup of Beers, "goal differential" consisted of a drink-off between the two drawn teams in second. Still completely blind as to the identities of the beers (and with the Peroni tasting oddly flat, I have to admit-- I did not recognize its usually peppery taste at all, as I normally would have), I sampled both again and declared one the extremely marginal winner-- which turned out to be Beck's.
And so, the Germans managed to forge their way into the next round, while the Italians have been shown the door. Not what I expected by any means.
Meanwhile, the Czechs were bounced and their beer joined China's TsingTao as the only two to be defeated in every match and go home with zero points.
So here are the final Group results, before we move on to the Quarterfinals today!
GROUP D RESULTS: (Top two advance to the Quarterfinals)
Netherlands (Heineken) 3 3 3 __ 9
Germany (Beck's) 0 3 1 __ 4
Italy (Peroni) 1 0 1 __ 2
Czech Rep. (Pilsner Urquell) 1 0 0 __ 1
Quarterfinal results coming later today!