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Location: Toronto, now Ottawa, Ont, Canada

Friday, June 09, 2006

World cup fever


Ah, World Cup time: a time every four years when people who haven't the faintest idea what soccer is jump on the bandwagon and suddenly become experts on the subject, and people of Portugese descent remember that Brazil was once a colony of Portugal.

Being a votary of the sport in Canada, I stick out like a sore thumb: kind of like Samuel Johnson at a strip club (how pedantic is that allusion?). For better or worse, North America doesn't care a whit about this sporting event which draws something in the area of 1.3 billion viewers. At least Toronto, one of the most multicultural cities in the world, has that breath of excitement when nearly everyone on earth is watching the same games.

The 2002 tournament was an enormous travesty and a complete waste of time. I'm hoping (and predicting) that this year's tournament will make amends for the last time.

As to who will win, my guess is just one of many (though, to be fair, far better informed than most you will read since I actually follow the sport). The winner will be either Brazil or Italy: both have young, very impressive squads, and I really can't see anyone getting in their way. For some reason, many people who don't follow the sport back England, but, with all due respect, they won't win it for a long time. Granted, their team is the best it's been in some time, but you don't win a tournament with four decent players.
I think we will see a few surprise teams advance far. I can't say which ones, but I'm certain that we will see two unknowns reach the quarterfinals. There's always an upstart African team that surprises everyone: in 1990, it was Cameroon; in 1994, Nigeria; in 2002, Senegal. My guess is that this year it'll be Ivory Coast.

Although the world hates the U.S., they actually have a fairly decent team. They will not win it, but they will surprise you.

In all fairness to RK, I haven't followed Holland lately, but, after a sluggish few years, they appear to be back on their feet again. I'm amazed that Makaay, van Hooijdonk, Zenden and Seedorf weren't selected. They are in a tough group for sure.

The Czech republic is quite good, but they choke in important situations.

Players to watch out for:
Ronaldinho and Kaka(Brazil);
Luca Toni and/or Gilardino (Italy);
Ballack (Germany, and, incidentally, only one of two good players on that squad);
Lampard, Gerrard, Terry (England: by the way, Beckham stinks).

Anyone want to place some bets?

5 Comments:

Blogger Vixen said...

Trinidad and Tobago have 1001-1 odds of winning this year's world cup. So I'm putting money on them.

3:59 AM  
Blogger Pious Labours said...

I think it's great that we have quite a few first timers at the World cup (I'll bet you of all people are thrilled): T & T, Angola, Togo, Ivory Coast (I think).

Imagine putting down 20 bucks on T and T?

There can only be one winner, but I wish teams like Trinidad and Tobago the best!

10:48 AM  
Blogger Dr J said...

I'd bet twenty bucks on brigands and hooligans brawling in the first half-hour of play, but I doubt there'd be any takers.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Just wanted to say "Hi" and let you know I found your blog.


I know little about soccer.

2:44 AM  
Blogger Pious Labours said...

glad you could drop by

9:00 PM  

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