Wednesday, October 11, 2017

With No USMNT, Who Should You Root for in the 2018 World Cup?

Great guys, now what excuse do we have to drink at 7 am this summer?
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

I'm 30, and I know that's not actually old in the grand scheme of things, but once you start typing that "3" instead of a "2" every time you enter your age, you start to feel a little bit old.

Then something happens for the first time in your lifetime, and you feel like a young whippersnapper again.

For me, that happened last night, when the US Men's National Soccer Team didn't qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986.

Now, let's put all the misery behind us. We already know that the US only needed a draw against lowly Trinidad & Tobago (the worst team in the damn group, who was playing for nothing) to punch a ticket to Russia, and that the USA is wasting a valuable summer of world-class competition for wunderkind Christian Pulisic.

And, of course, the US is one of the largest and richest countries on Earth, yet we still suck at this footy ball game, blah, blah blah. I don't want to talk about any of that because, frankly, it's depressing.

What I do want to talk about is who I, and you, should be cheering for in this summer's World Cup, because if you think I'm going to spend an entire summer not waking up at 7 am to day-drink while watching a game I barely understand, you are sadly mistaken.

Luckily, America is a great nation of immigrants (remember that, guys?), so most of us have baked in rooting interests from our ancestors. For me, that means cheering on Italy (who still has yet to technically qualify out of UEFA's Group G, but surely another one of my team's can screw this up…) and hoping for a repeat of 2006.

I'm sure many of you have similar secondary rooting interests, but let's put those aside as well right now, and just look at which teams deserve your support based on pure awesomeness.


As the 2018 host nation, Russia gets an automatic bid, and I'm a little mad we're not going to get to see Trump fly to Moscow to watch the US play from Putin's private suite.

Now, if you post #MAGA memes on Twitter, have 47K mostly fake followers, and are an attractive female who hates the "deep state" and "mainstream media," you're probably a Russian bot, so this is the squad for you.

For everybody else, not much to like.


The only things I know about Brazil are Carnival, that giant Jesus statue, and soccer. This is one of those three things, so cheer for Brazil, if you're a front-running douche.


Oh my God, Iran made this tournament and we didn't?


Much like America, Japan's women's soccer team is waaaaaayyy better than it's men's team, so wait a few years before you cheer for them. Actually, that would be dumb. In the Women's World Cup, you could just cheer for a competent American team comprised of the best players in the world. What a concept.


The US and Mexico have a legitimately great rivalry in soccer, but I can't say I'm one to hold a grudge. Mexico has gotten a lot of shit lately, so I'll be rooting for em.


Easily the best waffles in the tournament, and a dark horse contender for the best beer. If you're a fan of carbohydrates, this is the team for you.

South Korea

As an American, I'm pretty sure this is the good Korea. Still, with the way things are going, it would be better not to get TOO attached to a team from the Korean Peninsula...

Saudi Arabia

Come on, I mean, which teams do Saudi Arabia and Iran play to get into this thing?


Probably too good to root for without looking like a front runner… Yeah, you can't root for the defending champs. Brazil would be a better choice.


Oh look, it's the only primary English speaking team to qualify for the tournament. Good thing Fox paid $200 million for the English language broadcast rights to this bad boy…


Sure, Spain is a world power, and perennially douchey to root for, unless you have some ties to the country, but with Catalonia trying to split from the nation, this is suddenly a team I'd be willing to support. Political drama always makes a team more interesting. Oh yeah, and they're still really good.


Nigeria has made a few runs to the round of 16 in my lifetime, but that seems like their ceiling. For that, I'll call them the Purdue of this tournament, and support them irrationally and unconditionally. Boiler Up!!

Costa Rica

Jurassic Park took place in Costa Rica, and if it's good enough for John Hammond, it's good enough for me.


I'm just gonna leave poor Poland alone.


Led by Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah's five goals in qualifying, Egypt has displayed the timely scoring that could make it a dark horse, given the proper group placement and draw.

Ha, you thought I was going to make a pyramid joke or something like that, didn't you? Well, their team name is the Pharaohs, so there's that.


Look, I've already discussed Iceland's tactical advantages that more than make up for it's tiny population size: The fact that opponents certainly arrive expecting ice, yet get green cannot be overstated. That said, one has to wonder why Greenland has underachieved, given an equal but opposite advantage.


Did you know that Serbia has twice finished fourth in the World Cup? I mean, it was back in 1962 and 1930, but during those years, we had to say that Serbia was one of the four best countries in the world at something. Crazy.


Don't do it. I know his abs, perfect hair and plastic cheeks make you want to to root for him, but you must resist the Cristiano Ronaldo urge. Yes, he's beautiful. Yes, he's brilliant, but he's basically the Justin Bieber of soccer.

So, you know, just watch all his highlights while you're alone and make fun of him when you're around friends.


I still can't get over the fact that France probably would have won the 2006 World Cup if Zinedine Zidane didn't head butt that dude from Italy. I mean, you're on the biggest stage in world sports, and you let an Italian guy insulting your mother cost you the biggest prize in your profession. Basically, Zidane wouldn't last 20 minutes in New Jersey, and we should all laugh at France.


I mean, they're not Paraguay, but these are some pretty good guays.


Lionel Messi is amazing to watch, and I say that knowing nothing about soccer. You don't need to be a boxing expert to know that Tyson was must-see in the early 90s, and you don't need to be a Wimbledon junkie to enjoy Federer playing on grass.

Messi is the same way, so you should obviously watch him and enjoy his greatness any time you can.


Columbia is good at soccer again? Guess that drug money has to go somewhere.


Even a country that couldn't build a canal on its own is in this thing. America, we are really looking bad on the world stage right now, unlike the rest of the year, where we've been winning bigly.

Now, there are several teams that may still qualify, including roughly 93 percent of Europe, both New Zealand and Australia, and Honduras and Peru, but do we really need to know if you're rooting for them? Obviously, we're all wondering why we live in a world where both Australia and New Zealand can make the World Cup. Does Oceania really need two teams in the field?

Anyways, now that the USMNT has broken all our hearts, it's up to you to pick a rooting interest. I know I'll have one by the time the summer comes round…

1 comment :

Unknown said...

its really bad time for USA national soccer team, but i feel happy as a Argentinian supporter finally they being quality for World cup 2018. :)
Whatever beside of soccer i love basketball too much. also maintain a blog, i'm pleased if you guyz gave a review of mine blog.