Soccer

World Cup preview part 1: who not to root for

With the world cup coming up, I'm here to help America pick a team...

It’s that time of (every four) years again. The American world rallies around 25 overperforming soccer players and pretends to understand what’s happening as their team squeaks into the knockout stage of the World Cup. Tim Howard is the man between the sticks. Clint Dempsey is playing like he’s 22 and somehow Gyasi Zardes has figured out his first touch… except he hasn’t. And it’s not that time again. Thirty two teams qualified for the World Cup this year, and for the first time since 1986, the United States was not one of them. (too soon still?)

So, America, how does that feel? Let’s be honest, as a nation, you don’t care about the sport until the World Cup. But here you are, teamless. Luckily, you have a smug Brit to help you pick a team this year!

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But first off, here’s who you shouldn’t root for.

Teams not to root for because they’re too good

Let’s establish something early: no bandwagoning. Therefore, the following teams are off limits: Brazil, Germany, Spain, France, Argentina, Italy (oops) and Belgium. They’re all too good, and I know you likely all play with them on FIFA, but selecting any of those teams would be like rooting for the Warriors, Patriots or some team that’s probably good at hockey or something.

Teams not to root for because they’re just annoying

Portugal. I hate Ronaldo. That is all. He can take his beautifully chiseled body home early, please.

Teams not to root for because they might be good but ultimately won’t be

England, Mexico and Croatia. These three are on the fringe of being competitive without having the depth to be a threat. England does this thing where they break my heart every four years. The Croats have a fierce midfield but nothing else. As for the Mexicans… when your hopes rest on the shoulders of Chicharito, you may have issues. These teams will no doubt have their moments. England may actually play some good football! However rooting for them is dangerous, as they will break your heart.

This was me, two years ago:

“Just happy to be here”

Saudi Arabia, Iran, Morocco, Australia, Peru, Serbia, Switzerland, Sweden, South Korea, Panama (still better than the U.S.), Tunisia and Japan are all lovely teams, and I’m sure they’re great guys. However, they’re not winning anything in Russia. An upset or two may be in order, but don’t expect them to advance past the group stage. None of them have any cool kits to make up for it either. Maybe next time, lads.

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So, I’ve eliminated 21 teams for you. That’s a start. Now say it with me: “I believe that we will”… maybe next time.

Part two coming next week or whatever…

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