I did some purging of the DVR recordings tonight.
Why, you ask? Because the World Cup is starting.
I think it's safe to say that I enjoy watching the World Cup more than the Olympics. Bold claim? Maybe- but I stand by it.
No matter where in the world you live, the chances are that one of the many televisions you will pass in the next month will be broadcasting one of many World Cup games. Though not every game is an elimination game, each one, each goal even, is still critical.
The World Cup only comes around once every four years. This time four years ago I was taking finance in College Station. In preparing for the second half of my summer, to be spent in Europe, I decided to embrace a huge part of their culture: soccer. Or football, depending on which side of the Atlantic you grew up on. Fast forward a month and a half to mid-July 2006 and I watched in the most crowded bar of all time in Caen, France with one large screen showing the game, as France lost to Italy in the finals. It was one of the most heated sports-viewing environments I had ever experienced, and I knew I would forever be hooked.
Daily Candy sent out a great little snippet of a video the other day with a skimming overview of things to know and players to watch. It would be wise to heed their advice and not ask if one team or another is off-sides.
Personally, my loyalty is to the U.S., but I'll have a close eye on Christiano Ronaldo (see below- shirtless...) and basically all of the players from Argentina and Brazil (see above.)
This is the first World Cup that does not include any teams that are qualifying for the first time (all of these teams have competed in the World Cup before.)
Teams from 32 nations will be competing.
This will be the first time that the tournament has been hosted by an African nation. (South Africa)
The team of the country hosting the World Cup automatically qualifies for the tournament.
Until 2006, the defending champion from the previous tournament also received automatic qualification, but the rules were changed and that team has to qualify as well.
The defending champion from 2006 is Italy.
Brazil has won more World Cup titles than any other country.
The much-anticipated first-round match-up of the U.S. vs. England is this Saturday!
Feel free to read more on Wikipedia about how the actual tournament works- they explain the round-robin and the single-elimination better that I can (and I must credit them for some of these facts, but some of them I also knew on my own, thankyouverymuch.)
If you are first you are first. If you are second, you are nothing.