World Cup 2010

Finally there is a lot of activity on the world cup front. I am all excited – I get to watch football (or soccer to you Americans) without having to jump a couple of hoops or pay exorbitant amounts of money. Football happens to be my second favorite sport (cricket, you are still my favorite but after two scandals in a the last 10 years, I am seriously considering this status) and one of my gripes about living in the US is the dearth of football coverage. When I was still in school/college, we used to get so much soccer that I was pretty spoiled. I could rattle names of half the players in the English premier league. I could even name players in the Brazilian division 2 if needed. Alas, those days are just memories.

Anyway, except for the cricket world cup (not the 20/20 version), the football world cup is the one that gets me all fired up. Unfortunately with a baby at home, I will be forced to ration the games I watch, at least in the group stages. That made me look at the teams and decide what teams I want to watch most. My order:

Brazil – my adopted soccer country. I have not missed any of their world cup games since the 90 world cup (when the Careca led team went down to the hated Argentines in the pre-quarters). I think this team is going to be a boring one like the 94 version without the genius of Romario. I still will watch.

Argentina – Yes, I am a huge fan of their hated rivals but they definitely play exciting soccer. Any team with Messi deserves my time. Of course with Maradona leading the team, I am sure they will self destruct and probably lose to Nigeria and Greece and go out of the world cup. You wonder when he is going to do something completely crazy :). For all his genius as a player, he usually has a constipated look when his team is doing badly. Maybe he will teach them the hand of god trick.

Spain – Definitely the most gifted team – brilliant midfield and attack. I think they are the favorites and hopefully they go all the way to the finals. I still want Brazil to win but a Spanish victory will not be too bad. With a 20+% unemployment, they probably need this more than any other team. Here is hoping Torres is in full flight.

USA – As my adopted country (as opposed to adopted soccer country), I definitely will be rooting for them. Having watched most of their qualifiers, my guess is they should make it to at least the pre-quarters.

I will also probably watch some England and Holland games – they should be exciting. Germany without Ballack doesn’t sound appealing.

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