I am not in general a sports fan. I used to follow sports quite avidly but over time have got very disenchanted with professional sports in particular because they have long become just a big business with greedy owners and corrupt officials exploiting fans. I have disengaged from each sport I used to follow one by one and now I really don’t care what happens with them. In the case of American football, I have moved even beyond indifference to outright hostility because of the brain injury issue.
The one sport I still follow somewhat is cricket, perhaps because it was my first love. But even there, I mostly follow the scores and rarely spend a lot of time watching the games themselves. The thing that tells me that I have ceased to be a sports fan is that even with cricket, I no longer feel euphoria when my favored team wins or feel dejected when it loses. I just note the result and move on.
This brings me to soccer, a sport that I never follow. But during the World Cup I pay some attention to it and since it helps to have a particular team to cheer for to build some interest, I feel obliged to pick some team and follow its fortunes. In doing so, I tend to use the following rules of thumb in deciding which team I like in the tournament or any given match:
Poorer countries are preferred over richer ones
Smaller countries are preferred over larger ones
Countries that have never won the World Cup are preferred over those that have
Countries that have progressive social polices are preferred over those that do not
Underdogs are preferred over the favorites
Note that soccer-playing abilities play no role since I have no idea how to judge that.
It is this that led me to choose Costa Rica as my team for the tournament since they came out on top in almost every category but after putting up a plucky performance, they had a heartbreaking quarter-final loss on penalty kicks to the Netherlands.
So today is the final game between Germany and Argentina at 3:00 pm (Eastern time) and my choice is Argentina. If Brazil had beaten Germany and played Argentina, the choice would have been more difficult.