Thursday, June 10, 2010

Copa de Monde (The World Cup)

Every four years all eyes in the world are glued to the TV for a jawdropping month. This summer's World Cup hopes to be one of the greatest tournaments ever played.  The massive amount of coverage that ESPN is providing is staggering considering soccer is always viewed as the "other" sport in the United States. Four years ago I got hooked on the World Cup. I got hooked on the games on TV, the underdogs like Ghana and Trinidad & Tobago, but most of all I got hooked on 2006 FIFA World Cup for the Xbox 360. The endless tournaments with friends were the highlight of my summer that year. But now its 2010 and I suck at FIFA. So now I'm in it for the real life games. The buzz for Team USA this year is off the charts. Just about everybody I ask would feel legitimately pissed off if Team USA didn't do well. Coming off a disappointing 2006 World Cup campaign in Germany, Team USA looks to show the world that it can compete on the largest stage. The super bowl of American soccer comes on the initial weekend. USA vs. England. Yankees vs. Redcoats. George Washington vs. King George III. It is on. Will the world be shocked if the game ends in (gasp) a tie!? Probably not since one-third of soccer games end in draws. Will the world be shocked if England defeats the United States? Probably not since England is a contender to win every World Cup while the United States often have felt lucky to qualify. But the most unlikely of outcomes is what will happen... An American victory. Sorry England, we already saved your ass in World War 2, you owe us. An American victory over England will no doubt cause a riot in the streets of London, and may cause a comparatively mild celebration in the United States. But remember kids, this game means nothing to the United States if they can't defeat Albania and Slovenia in their ensuing matches. Unlike the actual Super Bowl, the US has a chance to redeem itself within a week if they fall to the once mighty English.

Some thoughts:
So I'm not going to pick an official winner just yet. I want to look at a few teams and assign a feeling associated with them. Basically, it's my fairly uneducated soccer mind trying to grasp each team.


Brazil: The number one team in the world is playing in this tournament's group of death. If they can squeeze past Portugal and Ivory Coast, they will undoubtedly make it to the next round. The fourth team in this 'group of death' is North Korea. Now I know that the World Cup is supposed to promote good sportsmanship with the players and fans, but I am animately cheering against North Korea. They don't deserve it.


Honduras: Have you seen this? 



Uruguay: There's always a country playing in the World Cup where you have to legitimately ask yourself, "Wait, they're a country?" Uruguay is that team. Yes, I know they have won two championships before, but I guarantee that the average American has no idea where Uruguay is (apologies to my South American reader).


Netherlands: Once Robin van Persie gets hurt, their tournament is over. And it will happen.



Chile: My darkhorse pick. There's a thing that goes: no northern hemisphere team has won a tournament played in the southern hemisphere (something to do with the type of grass they play on... so I've heard). I see no reason for this pick, just a hunch. 


Italy: First round choke... PLEASE? How about we see Slovakia and New Zealand advance from Group F? Who needs a soccer-dominated society to win???


Spain: The front runner not named Brazil. They'll be a difficult team to beat; that is, until the US gets a hold of them.


United States of America: Sam's Army baby! The US is the leading nation in terms of ticket sales for the World Cup. This has to say something about sports in the US. If you're good, we'll support you 100%. 


Nigeria: They could get a good draw for the round of 16 if they advance from group B. Hey, one African team needs to do well, right? It's their home continent.


That is all for today. Let the world see that the US can win the biggest tournament ever with a few MLS stars, a few English Premier League starters and a dude named Jozy.