World Cup: Who to Cheer For (or who I cheer for anyway)

For me to be really interested in a football match, I have to decided who I am going to be cheering for.  It’s not enough for love of the game, you have to be emotionally involved with the outcome.  I came up with a little spreadsheet that accurately reflected how I make choices on who to cheer for.  This is a little different than my attitude in the Women’s World Cup where I cheer solely based on what is best for the US.  I ranked them based on the things I care about.

  1. If your are related to the US Women’s National Team (which is to say the USMNT) then I award you five points.  It’s nearly a trump card.
  2. If you are in the same region (CONCACAF) as the US, you get one point.
  3. If you’re on Continental Europe, you lose one point.
  4. If you speak an Iberian Language (functionally Spanish or Portuguese), you get one point.
  5. If you’re uniforms are a pretty shade of sky blue, you get one point (Uruguay and Argentina).
  6. You get a point for every player I know and like.
  7. You lose a point if you were an Axis power in World War II.
  8. Any ties are broken by Five Thirty Eight’s Soccer Power Index — I will always cheer for the underdog, all other things being equal.

So I fed all that information into a spreadsheet and very happily got a list that put the teams that I knew I liked or hated in the right place, and gave me some insight on how to apply my preferences to teams I didn’t ever think much about.  If you’d asked me before I made this whether I’d cheer for Netherlands or Japan, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you.  But now I’ve got numbers telling me what to do.  As you can see, if it wasn’t for the association with the US Women’s team, the US would only be 6th on my list, and France, Germany, and Italy, who I only cheer against, are all at the bottom.  They really should be tied, because I can’t imagine cheering for any of them.  On principle.  (Thank you England for these wholly irrational prejudices).  That said, I love to watch Germany play, they make beautiful soccer.

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 12.22.50 PM

 

For those who can’t read the chart:

  1. United States
  2. Uruguay
  3. England
  4. Spain
  5. Mexico
  6. Argentina
  7. Honduras
  8. Costa Rica
  9. Brazil
  10. Ecuador
  11. Colombia
  12. Chile
  13. Algeria
  14. Australia
  15. Iran
  16. Cameroon
  17. South Korea
  18. Nigeria
  19. Ghana
  20. Ivory Coast
  21. Portugal
  22. Netherlands
  23. Japan
  24. Croatia
  25. Greece
  26. Switzerland
  27. Russia
  28. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  29. Belgium
  30. France
  31. Italy
  32. Germany

Oh, you want to know who to cheer for in all the matches?  Many of the first matches have already passed, but I am going to put the whole list here.  Will update when we have knowledge on the next rounds.  A reminder that this isn’t meant to be a prediction of who will win, just who your heart should belong to for ~2hrs. Bold is who I cheered/will cheer for and gray is games that had passed at the time of posting this.

Brazil v Croatia
Mexico v Cameroon
Spain v Netherlands
Chile v Australia
Colombia v Greece
Ivory Coast v Japan
Uruguay v Costa Rica
England v Italy
Switzerland v Ecuador
France v Honduras
Argentina v Bosnia-Herzegovina
Germany v Portugal
Iran v Nigeria
Ghana v USA
Belgium v Algeria
Brazil v Mexico
Russia v South Korea
Australia v Netherlands
Cameroon v Croatia
Spain v Chile
Colombia v Ivory Coast
Uruguay v England
Japan v Greece
Italy v Costa Rica
Switzerland v France
Honduras v Ecuador
Argentina v Iran
Germany v Ghana
Nigeria v Bosnia-Herzegovina
South Korea v Algeria
USA v Portugal
Belgium v Russia
Australia v Spain
Netherlands v Chile
Cameroon v Brazil
Croatia v Mexico
Italy v Uruguay
Costa Rica v England
Japan v Colombia
Nigeria v Argentina
Bosnia Herzegovina v Iran
Honduras v Switzerland
Ecuador v France
USA v Germany
Portugal v Ghana
South Korea v Belgium
Algeria v Russia

Viva La Roja

So, not a lot to say about the end of the world cup, I just want to show this picture, which you should click to see a very awesome animated GIF, which I stole from someone else. I’m super happy for Spain!

Fatality

Fatality

Goodbye Uruguay

We will miss you. Diego Forlan just can’t be the only person on the team, you know.

Still, they did better than I thought they would against the Netherlands. Just not good enough. If Spain doesn’t win tomorrow, I don’t think I’ll have any interest in watching the finals.

World Cup Day 9, Day 10, Day 11

So, the most important things we’ve learned in the last three days are.

1. Portugal kicked North Korea’s ass hardcore, and probably could’ve gotten more goals if it’d been more on target.

2. Spain seems to have regained its footing, its next game against Chile is important, but if they continue to play solidly they may still be in this

3. Brazil is definitely in, Portugal is probably in — their game is going to be fun to watch

4. Italy is not quite as embarrassing as France, but close

5. Netherlands is definitely in, Cameroon is definitely out

So, the last round of games is upon us.  They’re going to be two at a time, so a two hour stretch of time is going to determine who moves on of the four of each group.  North Korea and Cameroon are the only teams that are for sure out, and Argentina, Brazil and Netherlands are the only ones definitely in, so it’s 27 teams fighting for 13 spots.

Nate Silver gives odds!

World Cup Day 5, Day 6

New Zealand v Slovakia

An amazing last minute (literally) goal from New Zealand gave them their first point in the World Cup and earned them a draw with Slovakia, who’d been up since just after the half.

Ivory Coast v Portugal

For a scoreless match, this one was sort of interesting, though I would have liked to see more and better play from Drogba and Ronaldo, two of the most famous and talented football stars.  Drogba is recovering from a broken arm and Ronaldo’s kind of an obnoxious prima donna, so maybe that explains it?

Brazil v North Korea

What should have been an incredibly easy win for Brazil was actually a bit tougher than anyone really expected.  North Korea got an extremely late goal to bring them up to one behind and were making a valiant attempt at a second goal.  I was impressed with the North Koreans and happy for them to have scored, still Brazil dominated the match.

Honduras v Chile

Well the news is bad for Spain, because Chile easily won this match versus Honduras.

Spain v Switzerland

Alright, I am pissed.  Dammit Spain, this is supposed to be your year and once again you choke like the chokers you are.  Here I am putting my neck out for you, saying that you deserve it for being great all these years and always fumbling at the world cup, and what do you do?  You lose to Switzerland despite the fact that you had possession of the ball for 75% of the game.  Seriously?  Do you not understand what you’re supposed to do with the ball? // End Rant

S. Africa v Uruguay

Have I mentioned how sexy the Uruguayans are, because my god I am in love with Diego Forlan and I don’t care who knows it.

Look at the sexy, I google image search so you don’t have to:

Oh, they won. You should care because Forlan scored two goals and the more they win the more I get to look at him.

THE CURRENT STANDINGS

Group A
1. Uruguay (4)
2. Mexico (1)
3. France (1)
4. S. Africa (1)

Group B

1. S. Korea (3)
2. Argentina (3)
3. Nigeria (0)
4. Greece (0)

Group C

1. Slovenia (3)
2. England (1)
2. USA (1)
4. Algeria (0)

Group D

1. Germany (3)
2. Ghana (3)
3. Serbia (0)
4. Australia (0)

Group E

1. Netherlands (3)
2. Japan (3)
3. Cameroon (0)
4. Denmark (0)

Group F

1. Italy (1)
1. Paraguay (1)
1. New Zealand (1)
1. Slovakia (1)

Group G

1. Brazil (3)
2. Ivory Coast (1)
2. Portugal (1)
4. N. Korea (0)

Group H
1. Chile (3)
1. Switzerland (3)
3. Honduras (0)
3. Spain (0)

World Cup Polls!

An important part of the World Cup is picking teams you will cheer for and, even more fun, who you will cheer against.  My own prejudices are revealed in the polls below.  The system is complicated, but basically it goes as follows.

1. Spain because they’ve never won and they’re really good this year, and they’ve been really good in the past too.  Plus I’ve been to Spain, loved Barcelona, and speak Spanish.  So I’m cheering for them.

2. England is why I like soccer as much as I do, and it’d be nice to see them win again, especially as underdogs. They’ve only won once (’66) and they invented the stupid game.

3. Argentina has the best player in the world, Messi, and I like their flag/uniform colors.  Plus, I really liked the movie Evita. And it’s always nice to have a good guy on this side of the Atlantic.

4. USA.  Well, I mean, I live here so…

5. Mexico – “Mexico is the biggest loser at the tournament, having had 22 losses. They also have the worst goal differential, allowing 36 more than they have scored overall.”

So if it is Spain vs England or Argentina, I might have to simply sit that one out, can’t say I’d be sad if any of those three won it all, and they’ve got good odds.

Brazil is the special case, I really like them, they’re very talented and have a tendency to dominate the scene.  So, I want to cheer for them because they’re great, but literally everyone else in the tournament is an underdog because of them. I would be sad to not see them play incredibly well, but I’d also be sad to see them win it.

I’m cheering against the following:

1. Italy plays dirty and I don’t like that.  Sick of people pretending to fall down, and they completely earned that headbutt.  Also, they are the reigning champions.

2. Germany – I don’t necessarily hate the German team or anything, it’s just that, behind Brazil and Italy, they are the most winningest team at the World Cup.

3. France – You can’t be for England and not against France. “I’m very positive on the French, my family way back was French, so I go with it, but they are kind of, well, fucking French at times.” Eddie Izzard

4. N. Korea – This is just for the lulz


World Cupdate

So, I’m not a sports person generally, and I’m not even a football/soccer fan regularly, but I really love the World Cup.  I mean, I like soccer, I’ll watch it, but something about the countries competing against each other is really cool, and it’s all in the same sport and not as lame as the Olympics.  It’s probably because I actually played soccer, and was still playing soccer when this happened:

So it’s the one sport that the ladies in the US are better at than the men.  We’ve won the Women’s World Cup twice, and never placed below third.  The boys haven’t done so well.  Right now we’re ranked 14th, which is to say we’ll probably get through the first round (weak bracket) but we’re probably not going to do well.

Anyway, the point of this post is that the schedule is up at ESPN and they’re going to air every game live.  Most of the games will also be on their website, which I have to figure out how to get to actually play on my computer.  It’s vaguely complicated.  They are, of course, not showing the finale online.

Schedule: http://www.worldcupblog.org/world-cup-2010/espns-world-cup-2010-tv-schedule.html

My favorite news: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/world_cup_2010/default.stm

Numbers for the Nate Silver in us all: http://www.worldcuppredictions.org/

I really like that last site.  It’s got the odds listed as follows:

Spain (4.75)
Brazil (6.00)
England (7.00)
Argentina (8.00)
Germany (13.00)
Italy (13.00)
Netherlands (13.00)
France (17.00)
Ivory Coast (26.00)
Portugal (29.00)
USA (51.00)

And if you’re worried, don’t be, Nate Silver will have us covered too.