December 12, 2005

Drawn and Quartered

AS PART OF MY continuing fascination with the world outside North America, I've started developing an interest in soccer. Thus far, this has generated both amusement and scorn among those who know me.

Admittedly, I knew and still know very little about European soccer. For instance, I fully admit that I declared my allegiance to the Glasgow Celtic football club solely because Hearts of Midlothian fans booed the late Pope during a remembrance ceremony. However, I'm trying to learn a bit about the sport, and have signed up for the Fox Soccer Channel and GOL TV to watch more matches from overseas. I even watched the Final Draw for the 2006 World Cup in Germany this past weekend, in which the group matchups were drawn.

My feelings on that last item can be summed up as follows: what the hell?

I mean, come on. Unless I missed something, one of the cool things about soccer, and particularly the World Cup, is that it's all about rivalries between teams, nations and regions. What kind of rivalry matchups does the USA have in Group E? None, that's what.

I mean, I can't root against Italy, for God's sake. I like Italy, and they're one of our best allies. And I can't root against the Czechs either, because they're also an ally and they threw out the Soviets and they've been doing well ever since. As for Ghana, it'd be just wrong to root against them, especially since it's their first time in the World Cup. So for the USA's first three matches, I'm kinda stuck. Even worse, we've got to win our group or else we'll probably face Brazil and God help us if that happens.

So, faced with this horrible draw, I fear I'm going to have to live vicariously through my other favorite teams in the World Cup. My strong second favorite is Mexico, and I've decided that I'll root for Korea Republic third (that's the South half) and Poland fourth. There will be some great matchups in their groups, and ones where I'll feel good about rooting both for the teams I like and, in some cases, against their opponents.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at December 12, 2005 07:21 PM | TrackBack