World Cup Final

Leo Messi and 4 German Defenders World Cup 2014

“A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words”
photo from Leo Messi’s facebook page

Better late than never for this post ……….

I know you can’t believe everything you see on the internet but if these riots in Argentina are real ……….. what a disappointment!

I mean, I was really (really, really, really, really) hoping Argentina would win.  Go Messi!  But he is only one guy against 11 other players …….. it takes a whole team.  They played a great game, the (thankless) defense was on and maybe if Messi’s right hand guy, Di Maria had been healthy they would have got the goal they needed.

I have never really paid so much attention to a World Cup before.  I have, in the past, been far more concerned with playing a game or doing a sport than watching it on TV.  But somehow I really got sucked into it this year.  The group round was awesome!  I couldn’t watch ALL of the games, but not one single one that I did watch was boring.  The knock-out round was a little less exciting.  A game of strategy maybe ……. waiting for the other team to make the first move …… or mistake.  I really felt for Brazil in the semis.  It was like they lost Neymar Jr and their heart with him.  He was exciting to watch as all of the superstars are …….. there is a reason we know their names.

I can’t imagine the intense pressure the players must have felt.  Especially those who are built up by the media.  Is playing the game even fun for them under that kind of scrutiny ……….. I hope so.

It’s entertainment people!!!!! Cut them some slack!! And riots!! Seriously!!

I am disgusted by the whole thing.  As I was with the riots in Vancouver after their loss to Boston in the 2011 Stanley Cup Play-off.  Watching it on TV, living in the same city, what a surreal experience.

How to Choose a World Cup Soccer Team

I was fortunate to grow up in a small town of only a few thousand people with a significant group of enthusiastic Italian soccer fanatics.  Lucky for me they shared their passion for the sport through building an amazing youth soccer program.

Although I don’t play anymore, and don’t really keep up with the European premier leagues, it’s still an exciting time when the World Cup rolls around every 4 years.  Alas, I am Canadian, and as such, rarely get to cheer for my home country during the competition.  So how do I choose a team?

Ancestral roots would dictate that I cheer for Ireland or England but again Ireland didn’t make the cut.  So the only logical choice left is England.

I will cheer my heart out for them but I have little faith that England will last very long past the qualifiers.  I have doubts that they can handle the heat and the first game proved to be a cramping experience for a couple of players.  I know what you’re saying “I have no loyalty!”  But I would like to be yelling at the TV well into the knockout rounds so I need a number 2 team.  The choices get emotional from this point on.  Do I pick a team because of some coincidental ambiguous connection?  Or a single favorite player? Or their jersey color?  Or the underdog? Or their enthusiastic crazy fans?  ………..

I’m choosing a couple of 2nd teams for no particularly good reason.  Argentina will be one of my 2nd teams from a connection dating back to my youth.  My dad used to feed a 30ft cable through the rafters of the basement and out through a window into the backyard so he could watch the games outside in the summer sun while barbecuing.  I remember watching the start of an Argentina game with him when Maridona walked out on the field approached a ball and showed off his amazing juggling skills without missing a step.  I wished so badly that I had those skill.  A number of years later Argentina came back into the forefront of my consciousness in a significant way as I became obsessed with learning about Chez Guavera after a trip to Cuba.  It is on my bucket list to visit Argentina some day.

My other second choice is based solely on the crazy fans and the color of the jersey.  Go Netherlands!!  And have they delivered already!!  An amazing first goal by Robin Van Persie as he sacrificed himself as he flew through the air like Superman to head the ball into the back of Spain’s net.  Amazing!!!

These are my completely irrational team picks for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Thankfully I will have no problem choosing my team for the Women’s World Cup in Canada in 2015!  Go Canada!!!

How did you choose your team?