Thursday, June 10, 2010

World Cup Fever

Usually the fanfare of the World Cup is met with yawns here in the US, but after our strong showing in the Confederation’s Cup last year and our matchup in the first game, there is more attention this time around.

On Saturday the United States takes on England in one of the most anticipated games in the history of American Soccer. The Three Lions are the heavy favorites, but we’ve heard that one before, see: 1776. ESPN has been rolling out the commercials for a while, and even the two ambassadors have been eloquently talking trash to each other. Luckily the other two teams in the group are not as tough (Algeria and Slovenia), so we should advance to the knockout round, unlike last time.

This is also the first time I’ve been in an office pool for the World Cup so I have even more invested in it. After a little research, I noticed some interesting trends. Only twice has a team defended their title, and that was almost 50 years ago, so Italy’s out. No Confederations Cup winner has won the World Cup the following year, so Brazil is out, except that they have won every other WC since ’94, which is an easy trend. Only one time in 12 has the Euro winner gone on to win the World Cup two years later, so Spain is out, despite more than half my pool picking them. Only Brazil in ’94 won as the top ranked FIFA team, which is more of a reactionary ranking to the winner’s of the WC, so more reason to doubt the Green and Yellow this year. This hilarious post helps relate American sports teams to the World Cup teams, which helped me pick some of the smaller teams.

Can you name all the teams in this year’s Cup in 5 min? (Only missed 3). How about all the winners? (Was kind of easy since there aren’t many options). And finally all the host countries? (Missed two).

If USA doesn’t pull off the huge upset and wins the whole thing, then hopefully Spain does because I will be here and watching this from a balcony during the final. Viva la Furia Roja!

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