So for any of you that know me, you'd probably realize that it would be an understatement to say I don't like soccer. I can write for hours on what is wrong with the sport, it is just simply inferior. I'll give a just 2 reasons without getting into the actual game (which is just simply too boring to ever catch on here).
. I know that North American sports have diving problems too, but it isn't anywhere near the level of soccer. In hockey, for instance, when someone does an obvious dive, the ref is encouraged to call a penalty so that the team has to play without 20% of their manpower for 2 minutes. As well whenever you see a basketball player fall with barely being touched, the announcers will be all over the guy for a minute and keep showing replays and explaining to the fans why the player is a little bitch. In soccer, the diving seems to be celebrated as just part of the sport. The announcers will treat the diving as acceptable method of gaining the ref's attention to get a call. The culture of the sport is just wrong, and it is not appealing in the least.
2) Imprecise Timekeeping.
In soccer time is just approximate. I get that the game was invented before we had the advanced technology of a stop watch, but I cannot be the only one that finds it silly that the ref semi-arbitrarily assigns stoppage time rounded to the nearest minute, and even then the game only stops when he blows the whistle. Again like diving, it is a different culture for sports, but I (and I think most North American sports fans) cannot accept sports not being exact. Time is not something that should be judged, if the play is stopped, just stop the freaking clock! Some of the best drama in football, hockey and basketball is the last second play, a play that never exists in soccer since a player has no idea what the last second is!
Ok, well now that I said that, I am actively trying to watch the World Cup. You may ask, why the hell would you do that? Well, just because it is on in the morning and early afternoon and it is not conflicting with any other sport at the time. Plus, I enjoy watching big tournaments just for the competition, they really could put 32 teams in a hotdog eating competition and I may watch.
So now that I decided to watch, I've been having trouble deciding who to cheer for. I don't buy into the crap that because some direct lineage of my family tree goes back to other countries somehow connects me to them. My dad's family came from France to Canada in the 1600's, my great-grandparents on my mom's side were born in Sweden and Norway. I am not French, Swedish or Norwegian, I haven't even been to any of these countries. To be proud of something I had no control of seems borderline insane to me. I am Canadian. If you try to tell my grandfather that he is French-Canadian, instead of just Canadian, (even though he didn't learn English until his teens) I'd give it a 50/50 shot that you'd be punched in the face.
Anyways, so since Canada is not in the World Cup, I have no ties to any country in the competition. So in the opening round I started to haphazardly pick countries I just liked better, not knowing anything about any soccer team. I came up with some good reasons to cheer for a country, such as I cheered for Tunisia for being a Muslim country that can respect democracy and try to move towards freedom of their people. I also came up with reasons to cheer against teams, such as Italy for having too many men wearing ponytails on their team. I was also told by a friend that you have to cheer against Brazil unless you are from Brazil or having sex with a girl from Brazil (I guess they are soccer equivalent of the New York Yankees or Toronto Maple Leafs).
So based on how I cheered for teams in the first round, I developed a foolproof algorithm to decide who to cheer for. Take a country's Economic Freedom
ranking, add on the number of people on the team that have ponytails, then rank them from lowest to highest. Brazil automatically goes to the bottom. So here is the rankings of who I am cheering for:
1. England (#5 Economic Freedom)
2. Australia (#9 EF)
3. Switzerland (#15 EF, if I find out about a ponytail or 2, they move down)
4. Netherlands (#16 EF)
5. Sweden (#19 EF)
6. Germany (tied #19 EF, need to inspect ponytails to see if they move up)
7. Portugal (#30 EF)
8. Spain (#33 EF)
9. France (#44 EF)
10. Italy (#42 EF, their ponytails move them below France)
11. Mexico (#60 EF)
Ukraine (#99 EF)
13. Ghana (#105 EF, definitely no ponytails here, won't move down)14. Argentina (#107 EF)
Ecuador (tied #107 EF, again need to check on ponytails)16. Brazil (Yankees of soccer)
So there we have it, GO ENGLAND! (England also has a Canadian on the team, so I can get behind this, my algorithm works!)