World Cup 2010: your rooting guide
With the U.S. out of the World Cup now, we can all go back to not caring about soccer. But, the World Cup is pretty fun. It's a big event and with America out, why not just find another country to root for? Here's a breakdown of the remaining teams and my own personal "who to root for" rankings.
For: Team manager Diego Maradona led Argentina to glory in the 1986 World Cup. Now he's kind of an embarrassing paunchy loon. Basically, he's the Argentinian William Shatner. We all love Shatner, right? Argentina has also been noted for playing a more fun, attacking style of soccer (i.e. they score).
Against: Well, they won in 1986 because of the whole Hand of God goal and you may not want to root for one of the favorites.
American sports equivalent: Dennis Green-era Arizona Cardinals
For: Brazil has beautiful people, a cool flag, Samba baby and relatively exciting soccer players like the brilliantly named Kaka.
Against: Again, you may not want to root for the favorites and/or you may still be upset that Rio was awarded the 2016 Olympics, screwing Chicago.
Personal Note: If Brazil goes far, I'll be able to bust out my super cool green, Brazilian flag Havaiana flip flops. Brazil also reminds me of the incredible movie City of God, which is about 20 times more exciting than any soccer match.
American sports equivalent: Los Angeles Lakers.
For: Chile is playing with a tattered flag found in the wreckage of this year's earthquake and tsunami as inspiration. You gotta like that. You also probably enjoy some lovely Chilean wines, right?
Against: Perhaps you're troubled by the fact that a country named Chile doesn't make Chili? Or maybe you're a snob who only likes old world wines?
American sports equivalent: New Orleans Saints.
For: We share a language, laws and history with the English people. The further the English go, the more insane their tabloids will get and that's always fun.
Against: That Wayne Rooney character just has one of those faces you want to punch. Also, you almost have to root for an eventual English flameout because a horrifying loss will make for far more sensational tabloid coverage. In many ways, the English seem like Cubs or Red Sox fans - they're just waiting for something awful to happen so they can revel in their own misery.
American sports equivalent: Chicago Cubs.
For: Germany has given us Oktoberfest, fast cars and the tennis genius of Steffi Graf. Their black uniforms are by far the coolest left in the tourney. If you have German heritage they're probably an easy pick for you.
Against: Well there's Hitler and WWI and WWII, we probably don't need much more, right?
American sports equivalent: Indianapolis Colts.
For: They're the only African team left. Plus, they beat the U.S. and you always kind of want the team that beat you to do well. Their success reflects back on you.
Against: The player who faked an injury against the U.S. to waste time was just absolutely ridiculous.
Personal Note: My Mom's church had a priest from Ghana for awhile. I went to his Christmas Eve mass and it was just wonderful and delightful - everything that I'd think church should be. He made me like Ghana by extension.
American sports equivalent: Ohio State Buckeyes.
For: They have a cool team name (Blue Samurai) and their best player is named Keisuke Honda, so if you love your Honda, this team is probably for you.
Against: If you have a Toyota, maybe you're still a little ticked though. Also, you're allowed to still root against them just because of WWII.
American sports equivalent: Boise State Broncos.
For: It's the neighborly thing to do. Again, if you have Mexican heritage, it's an easy choice.
Against: Besides being ticked off over the whole border situation, Mexican fans are huge asshats to Americans - they've thrown bottles of urine on American fans and have been known to chant "Osama" at games against the U.S. Stay classy, Mexico.
American sports equivalent: Oakland Raiders.
For: The whole orange thing is pretty cool. Per "Band of Brothers, U.S. troops absolutely loved the Dutch above all people in Europe and god knows Americans still love Amsterdam.
Against: Netherlands is pretty much an underachiever in the World Cup. They're supposed to be really good, but their best finish is a 4th place in 1998. They're not a flashy favorite or a shocking upset - they're just kinda there in the middle. Ho hum.
Personal Note: Besides the English, the Dutch are my personal last ethnic connection in the Cup.
American sports equivalent: Cleveland Cavaliers.
For: Paraguay is one of only two entirely landlocked countries in the Western Hemisphere, which is an interesting geographical fact.
Against: Chalk it up to typical American ignorance, but Paraguay just seems like it's there rather than that it's something special.
American sports equivalent: Jacksonville Jaguars.
For: Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point in continental Europe, is stunningly beautiful. I also fondly recall that Portugal was the scene of the classic diesel incident on season three of the Amazing Race.
Against: I'm not at all a fan of port wine. Also, doesn't Portugal just seem like the Jan to Spain's Marcia?
American sports equivalent: Chicago White Sox.
For: Slovakia is the biggest longshot on the board and they qualified with a victory over Poland in the snow. Snow! That's like real football. They're the only eastern and/or central European team left in the Cup, so they're a natural for all those of you of that descent.
Against: They knocked Italy out of the World Cup, which probably ticked off a lot of people. They really are a huge longshot, so if you decide to root for them, you'll probably have to quickly find a new team.
American sports equivalent: Milwaukee Brewers.
For: They're one of the favorites, but they've never done that well at the World Cup, so it wouldn't be the same old, same old like it might for Argentina, Germany or Brazil. Spanish wine is absolutely wonderful and how can you root against a country that gave the world sangria?
Against: They are one of the favorites, so if you're looking for a Cinderella team, they're not it.
Personal Note: My nephew is in Spain for the summer, so it'd probably be really fun for him if they won it all.
American sports equivalent: Miami Dolphins.
For: Uruguay was the first true international soccer power, so they're the hip, retro pick. Also, let's not forget that the kids from Alive were Uruguayan rugby players who would probably greatly enjoy a Uruguay victory. And since they had to eat their friends wouldn't you agree that deserve some happiness later in life?
Against: They have won two World Cups, so maybe you'd prefer to root for a team that has never won instead.
American sports equivalent: Chicago Blackhawks.
So, with all of that in mind, here's my personal rooting order:
(note - rankings changed to reflect the surprising hotness & panache of the Germans)
(note - rankings changed again as I can't possibly be expected to root against Germany. Seriously, the U.S. was lucky to have played Ghana. How badly would we have lost to the Germans? 8-0?)
Posted by kris at June 27, 2010 08:45 AM
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|# June 27th, 2010 10:16 AM kris|
|So I wrote this before I got a look at Germany's goaltender Manuel Neuer, who is not only adorable but has the whole thighs-like-tree trunks thing going for him. I mean, yeah, he's still German, but what a German!
Also - seriously, could the English be more like the Cubs? If they lose they're NEVER going to stop bitching about this. Heh.
|# June 27th, 2010 10:20 AM KVBigSis|
|Ha! I think you mean the fate of the CHICKEN in "City of God" is 20 times more exciting than any soccer match.
|# June 28th, 2010 9:08 AM BVBigBro|
|Germany has a number of Polish players and relies heavily on them, Klose and Podoloski, both of whom scored yesterday come immdeiately to mind. |
|# June 28th, 2010 9:10 AM kris|
|I know. I can't believe I'm writing this, but I think I'm actually going to have a hard time rooting against the Germans, they were really just a lot of fun to watch. Reading a couple of other forums that seems to be the consensus opinion too - people are falling in love with them. |