6/10/10 World Cup 2010 Team Rundowns (In which I run down the teams.)
A soccer curmudgeon's view. With apologies to everyone, everywhere. Which is what FIFA should also do as they rule this misbegotten excuse for a sport.
You don't have to read between the lines to see I'm not enamored of soccer or the World Cup. I played soccer and enjoyed it. Though I found it more fun to play than to watch. To confess, I found it more fun to practice than to play. Maybe I just don't get it. Then again, maybe I do, the rest of the world doesn't get it that soccer is over-rated.
Be that as it may, here at the Casual Sportsman we feel it is incumbent to comment on the major sporting ados of the day, however casually.
The usual suspects (These four have won most of the World Cups and been in most of the finals. Don't be surprised if history repeats.)
Brazil: Poetry in motion, the embodiment of "the beautiful game." At least they try to make soccer entertaining. Which unfortunately is like putting lipstick on a pig. No surprise if they win yet another Cup.
Germany: Their game is Teutonic power soccer where they run at you, over you or through you. Would you expect anything less from Germans? Have lost more finals than anyone else, a lot like their war record actually. Could be the same this year.
Argentina: Imagine short Spanish-speaking Germans trying to play like Brazilians and you get Argentine soccer. Never as good as they think they are, but better than everyone else would like them to be. Will "the hand of God" help them this tournament or will they just get the Finger? I say the latter.
Italy: The anti-Brazil, win with defense. Motto: "winning ugly is beautiful." The world Cup will likely be ugly as usual, but it doesn't mean Italy will win it. That's just soccer.
The woulda-couldas (Won a few between them. Be surprised if one of them takes home the gold.)
Uruguay: Won two cups. 80 years ago. Their future is all behind them. The elusive third cup will elude them again.
England: The Brits seem to celebrate their glorious failures. Think Dunkirk and the charge of the light brigade. They will have more to celebrate this year. Last world cup 40 years and counting. Keep on counting.
France: Some call team France "the Brazil of Europe" for their style of play. A style which might produce more cups if they fielded Brazilian players instead of Frenchmen. Don't look for the cup in France this time around.
The also-rans (Be very surprised.)
Spain: Latin passion. Latin flair. Latin under-achievement. At least they're consistent. No mas this time around? Si, mas. No Cup.
Netherlands: They've been called the Clockwork Orange. But the mainspring has come unsprung and their time is over. No Cup for the Dutch.
Sweden: Organized, disciplined, strong, tall, blond. Look better than they play. Usually do better than expected which still hasn't won them a Cup. The Swedes won't again.
USA: All the best American athletes play real football, not futbol. What will they do in the big show on the big stage? Does America care? The answer to both questions, not much.
China: More good acrobats and divers come out of China than soccer players. If soccer were more about acrobatics and diving... wait a minute, it is. China just might win the World Cup!
Everybody else: I don't know and I don't much care. To be honest, I don't even know who qualified.
That's it, whatever it is. Hope it helps your brackets and betting pool. Though I wouldn't bet on it.