May 13, 2006

Less Than One Month to Go ...

THE WORLD CUP, which combines the excitement of good soccer with the passionate fury one often associates with international incidents, starts in less than four weeks. Truly this is a fabulous thing, especially because the Detroit Red Wings got knocked out of the Stanley Cup playoffs in the first round, and the NBA finals will probably be rather boring. As such, the World Cup will help me survive what would otherwise be a typically tough summer sports drought.

I suspect I am like most World Cup fans in that I root for teams based solely on blind nationalism and, to a lesser extent, underdog status. While this World Cup doesn't contain many of the nations I would love to see lose horribly on the football pitch, there's still plenty of teams I'd enjoy watching lose. For instance, I'd love it if Germany were to lose badly this year. I'd also like it if Brazil, Argentina, and Saudi Arabia got blitzed. And if France loses too, that'd be like a bonus. As for the teams I'm actually rooting for, they include the USA -- because the Euros would be apoplectic if we won -- and Mexico, because Mexico and Canada are my traditional "strong second" teams.

In June and July, my blogging will undoubtedly reflect what's happening in the Cup, so to make things easier, I thought would present readers with an extended summary of my hopes for who wins the first 16 games of the 48-game first round. I'll advise regarding the remaining 32 games at a later date:

1. Germany v. Costa Rica: Costa Rica
2. Poland v. Ecuador: Poland
3. England v. Paraguay: Paraguay
4. Trinidad v. Sweden: T&T
5. Argentina v. Ivory Coast: Ivory Coast
6. Serbia v. Netherlands: Netherlands
7. Mexico v. Iran: Mexico
8. Angola v. Portugal: Angola
9. Australia v. Japan: Australia
10. USA v. Czech Republic: USA
11. Italy v. Ghana: Ghana
12. ROK v. Togo: Republic of Korea
13. France v. Switzerland: Switzerland
14. Brazil v. Croatia: Croatia
15. Spain v. Ukraine: Ukraine
16. Tunisia v. Saudi Arabia: Tunisia

I offer my sincere apologies to readers from countries whom I shall soon root against in the Cup. In most cases, I'm simply rooting for the underdog as opposed to rooting against your team. However, if your country's government has recently defaulted on its debts, nationalized industries, not supported America on the foreign stage or otherwise been generally irritating, then I hope your national team places 32nd and gets laughed at by neighboring countries. That said, may the best team win, as long as it's not Brazil.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at May 13, 2006 11:31 AM | TrackBack
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