Are you ready for some football?! No, not that football. The other football. The one that’s played with, you know, feet. Once every four years, the best national teams around the globe converge on a Third World country to determine who is truly the greatest team on the planet. But that’s not all the FIFA World Cup does. It also presents a great time for everyone around the United States to pretend they are emotionally vested in a game of which they probably don’t know most of the rules.
This year, the World Cup is being held in Brazil; a country that has won the World Cup a record 5 times, most recently in 2002. You might also know Brazil as being the South American country with a 26% poverty rate, but hey, who’s counting! The Brazilians enter the tournament ranked #3 in FIFA’s World Rankings, behind only Spain and Germany; but you already knew that, didn’t you? You’re pretty much soccer’s biggest fan.
While a few of you reading this might actually know a thing or two about soccer, I’m betting that most of you can only name one or two players on the United States squad. What’s that? Landon Donovan didn’t make it this year? Okay, nevermind. Most of you probably can’t name a player on the US World Cup team.
But have no fear! I’m here to bring you the crucial information you need to really show up your friends and those clowns at work (suck it, Diane). Just remember these simple facts and wow the people around you with your incredible football knowledge!
- Don’t call it soccer. That’s what assholes call it. Call it football. Or, if you’re feeling really superior, “fútbol.” The important difference here is that you need to make the other person feel like an idiot for not saying it the way you do. This also gives the impression that you may have at one point been to Europe. It doesn’t matter if that’s true or not, it just matters that they feel dumb.
- Pick one team and learn 3-4 players’ names. Nobody expects you to know every player on every team. Just pick one team and figure out how to pronounce a few names. In my opinion, it’s always good to find out who the superstar is, the second best player or so, the goalie; excuse me, the “keeper;” and one guy who probably isn’t as good. Just read some World Cup preview online and pick a guy they don’t talk about. Then you can say something like, “I don’t think the Netherlands has the firepower to match some of the better teams, but if Ron Vlaar can step up his game they might have a shot.” I don’t know who Ron Vlaar is. You don’t know who Ron Vlaar is. And unless the person you’re talking to is actually Ron Vlaar, they almost certainly don’t know who Ron Vlaar is. But guess what? You just sounded smart as shit.
- Say things like, “That could have been a better ball.” This is especially true if any play comes close to going in the net. Don’t worry, that won’t happen that often. But when it does, be the first to tell everyone how it could have been executed better; chances are it could’ve. Nobody’s perfect, after all. Except you, you soccer stud.
- Root for the U.S., but tell everyone they’re not going to win. This is just the truth. There’s nothing wrong with having a little national pride, but in all reality the United States is going to be hard pressed to make it out of the Group Stage (the first part). Mia Hamm isn’t what she used to be.
- When in trouble, divert attention to something else. There may come a time when somebody asks you your opinion on a World-Cup related issue that you know nothing about. Don’t panic. I’ve already written up a number of excuses for just such a scenario, which you can find here:
There you have it. You are now well-equipped to school all the fools you want with your impressive World Cup knowledge. Oh, and always remember: sports.