In my quest to dig a little deeper and learn some things about the World Cup and the 32 teams involved, I googled “World Cup 2010 primer” and through clicking the first link, and reading the second sentence of this column, I unearthed something stunning: The first World Cup was in 1930 (no big deal) in URUGUAY!  Wow.  Uruguay? That seems so random that the first of what would grow to be the biggest sporting event in the WORLD was in Uruguay. This makes me want to go back into the list of this year’s contenders, see if Charrúas are playing and pick them as a favourite.  Oh good,yes they are.  Group A with France, Mexico, and someone else. I guess I’ll ditch France.  I’m a fan, sure, but they’ll have lots of fans without me.  Bring on another South American team!

Top ten things you need to know about Uruguay and other juicy bits.

That was the second sentence of my research. I am very easily influenced. This is going to be a very exciting journey of exploration and discovery.

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All Aboard the Bandwagon

April 28, 2010

It’s a sunny day in West Hollywood and seeing as I have been stricken by something evil in my belly and I’m stuck in my hotel room, I decided today will be Official Sara Jumps on the FIFA World Cup 2010 Bandwagon Day (OSJOTFWC2010BD). I jumped approximately 4 years ago and just fell in lust with the footy. Serious lust that lasted well into the Friday of Folk Festival. I bought books, wore colours (light blue and yellow, duzhe diakuiu), and cashed in several vacation days to watch at the local eyetalian bar with a couple friends and a bunch of guys with nice leather shoes.

I began OSJOTFWC2010BD by looking through the fixtures and seeing how I’ll fit the first round into my busy schedule. 9:30 am games, 1:30 pm games.  Excellent. Lots of meetings at Bar Italia mid-June, I see.  (note: I’ve already removed those suckers with 6:30am games from my list of favourite teams)

Next is tuning into my Gravol’d gut to see who I’m feeling 44 days out.

Group A: South Africa, Uruguay, Mexico, France.

Initial thoughts: I feel I should like South Africa since they’re still confident that they’re pulling off this tourney. But I don’t think I care.  Uruguay – I think they’re sweet for no reason whatsoever. Mexico – I like Mexico.  I vaguely remember them being underdogs for something in 2006 and they tugged on my heartstrings somehow.  I’m emotionally interested in Mexico.  France – I totally respected that head butt (but?).

Preliminary favourites: France and Mexico.

Group B: Argentina, Korea, Nigeria, Greece

Initial thoughts: Lots of light blue here.  If I pick Argentina and Greece, I can reuse some of the headbands and T-shirts from ’06.  Done.

Preliminary favourites: Argentina and Greece.  Oops, some 6:30am *ahem* fixtures. Nigeria is back on the table.

Group C: England, USA, Slovenia, Algeria.

Initial thoughts: I can’t help it, England is my secret special team. They are boring to watch, stuck-up, I hate that Rooney guy, but I can’t help it, those unis are the classiest and they (beckham) somehow resonate with me. And isn’t there a Calgarian on the team? England is in.  The “..ias” have 6:30 games, and US can blow itself.

Clear favourite: England.

Group D: Germany, Australia, Serbia, Ghana.

Initial thoughts:  I’m going to have to throw this 6:30 thing out the window.  Germany is amazing to watch.  They are a system, a machine, they have a mission and they achieve it.  Love it.  It’ll be early to bed on June 17 to catch their 6:30 against Serbia.  Ghana makes me smile and they have just no chance. Serbia doesn’t matter, and while I do generally like those goofy Aussies, rampant displays of their looganism when they win are enough for me to cast evil spells on them now.

My favourites: Ghana and das Germans

Group E: Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, Cameroon.

Initial thoughts: Wow, there are a lot of groups.  Wow, this is a strange group of countries.  Before I think about the other three, Netherlands have a huge advantage because they wear the brightest orange without any apparent reason.  I know there is one, I just don’t know what it is. Add that to the research list.  Denmark. He might have been trying to pick me up, but some Danish guy once said to me, after asking about where I was from, “Wow, a Ukrainian girl from the Prairies of Canada…how exotic.” While I don’t think he got any with that, he will never know that that line had me pick his countrymen as my favourites of Group E in 2010. I have written enough about group E, so those other teams lose out.

My faves: the Dutch and the Danish

Group F: Italy, Paraguay, New Zealand, Slovakia.

Initial thoughts: Aside from knowing I can’t support Italy (though I love their food, coffee, and shoes), I don’t have much on the other three.  Superficially (as opposed to how I selected groups A-E), I like the pronunciation of Paraguay (the G has a H sound!!) and a dear friend is Slovakian.

My faves: Paraguay and Slovakia

Group G: Cote d’Ivoire, Portugal, Brazil, Korea

Initial thoughts: Remember in 2006 when that strip-mall like structure on Corydon at Stafford as being built? The one with that gelati place in it now?  Well, someone put a Portuguese flag on the top of one of the construction cranes.  That was cool.  And they aren’t Italian.  And, as much as I like to deny favourites, I bow down to Brazil.  Korea: kinda cool, but they look mean when they play. Cote d’Ivoire: I’d be fine if they move forward.  I like the pronunciation of their name too. d’Ivoire. D’Ivoirrrrre.

My favourites: Brazil and Porto

And Group H:  Honduras, Chile, Spain, Switzerland

Initial thoughts: Ooooh, tough group!  I like them all.  All 4.  I’m going to have to dig a little deeper on these guys to find out stuff about their past – the evil and the good that lurks in the halls of their stadia, the stories of triumph, how their wins stimulate the economy.  Stuff like that.

My favourites: TBA, should this “blogging” idea of mine have any legs.

Well, there we go.  This is good.  I’ve gone out there, made some tough decisions, and I now have some faves based on nothing. It is clear I know very little about the beautiful game.  Pele. Maradona. Ronaldino. David Beckham. those awesome adidas commercials. Cleats. Chants. Head buts (butts?). It’s going to be a busy 44 days preparing myself to be able to say more than “his ankles must hurt” “oooh, look how fast he runs”  “diving! Totally faking it, jackass!” I am committing myself to giving FIFA World Cup 2010 the respect it deserves by schooling myself in some detail so I can heckle from a place of information and understanding. Wavin’ flag.