Viva la FIFA (Part 5)

The consolation of having multiple loyalties from living in several countries still does not take away the pain of watching your favourite teams “lose.”  A fellow tweeter reminded me that “it’s not about their final score but being proud of their performance.”  I must admit, however, I’m gutted that my top teams have all been ousted from a chance at the world cup title and all too early in the game!

Although not quite as bad as Team Le Sulk, I wish England had pulled it together to beat Germany.  Still, I should say well done England for making it to Stage 2. And let’s not forget the great performance Japan gave against Paraguay!  They’re a tough team to beat and I think Japan played well.

Having said all that, the games must go on and I’m sad that before we know it we’ll have to wait another 4 years for the world cup to come again.  Pigs may fly if Ghana emerge the champions, but I think I’ll still adopt them as my team to cheer for.  Realistically, I think Spain or Brazil will win the title.  Either way, the last few matches will be exciting to watch.

Viva la FIFA (Part 4)

Aside from having skill it takes real confidence and sometimes even a bit of arrogance (nod to Italy and Brazil) to be the best at any sport.  I would say this is especially true of football.  Footballers around the world are infamous for their flaring tempers and showboating and much less known for their gentlemanship.

I’m sure we all remember the ugly incident provoked by Italy’s Marco Materazzi in the 2006 FIFA World Cup that resulted in an awkward exit to France’s Zinedine Zidane’s international football career.  Of course, Zidane shouldn’t have lost his temper, but I still think that Materazzi (and a long list of others) could do with a lesson on good sportsmanship.

With only 4 days left until the start of Stage 2 matches, tensions are running high and trouble seems to be brewing amongst the English and French camps.  My original picks are now far off reality but I’m sure I’m not the only one in shock about France’s performance.  Now if only England can just pull it together, there might still be hope yet.

After coming across an article by ESPN’s Jemele Hill, I think I ought to give the U.S. team some credit here.  Whether or not the U.S. goes through, in a game where they have long been deemed the underdog, the team has so far done its part in showcasing good sportsmanship and representing their country with dignity and respect.

Viva la FIFA (Part 2)

Bloomerg Businessweek’s Roger Bennett gives an interesting take on how to pick a team to support during this year’s FIFA World Cup (June 11- July 11).  The article offers advice to the “typical American spectator” on who to support based on each participating team country’s GDP, fan base, on and off-field talent, and more.

I don’t think the tips should necessarily be limited to Americans, as anyone new to football would benefit from reading it.  The article has further piqued my interest in football and now I’m even more upset that I will have limited access to this year’s matches.

I never thought of picking a team based on its country’s credit risks or political turmoil, but it does give some food for thought.  All in all, the article is insightful and offers a different perspective on the World Cup that we don’t often hear about.  I will, however, admit that I do believe having a stylish team jersey has its advantages.

Below are my own picks underlined in bold for which teams I think will advance to the next round:

Group A: South Africa, Mexico, Uruguay, France

Group B: Argentina, Nigeria, South Korea, Greece

Group C: England, U.S., Algeria, Slovenia

Group D: Germany, Australia, Serbia, Ghana

Group E: Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Cameroon

Group F: Paraguay, Italy, New Zealand, Slovakia

Group G: Brazil, North Korea, Ivory Coast, Portugal

Group H: Spain, Switzerland, Honduras, Chile

Viva la FIFA

My dreams of becoming a star footie player were crushed at a young age.  Somehow I kept walking away from practice with mild concussions or accidentally kneeing the ball into people’s tummies.  Agility and coordination never found their way into my dictionary.

Hence, I was encouraged to try something less rigorous, like badminton.  As you can imagine, I was gutted.  No offense to badminton players but I was kind of embarrassed to have to take up a sport for…well, dorks.

Since then, I’ve had a secret love affair with footie and more specifically with the FIFA World Cup.  Hence, after years of anticipation I can’t wait to watch some of the world’s best players come head to head to claim the world cup title for their country. 32 teams, 1 winner.

Of course all the matches are worth watching, but England vs. USA (12 June) will be particularly exciting to see.  There is not a doubt in my mind that England will win this one unless a miracle happens.  Needless to say, I’m very sad that my plans to be in South Africa fell through, but you’ll see me sporting my England jersey quite a bit from June to July.  Viva la FIFA!