Thursday, July 1, 2010

"World" Cup

I think one of the biggest reasons I'll never be all that into the World Cup is wrapped up in the very title of the event itself. So many people have tried to convert me to World Cup fandom by touting the sports international appeal. It's the "world's game".

Ok, maybe. I mean, it's gaining popularity in the US, but it's been gaining popularity for decades now. It's hard to go anywhere but up from rock bottom. Does Canada even field a team? (They do, but they've only made one World Cup appearance, World Cup Mexico in 1986.) People certainly play it all over the world, whether or not it's popular all over the world is debatable. I think people in this country only embrace the World Cup as an excuse to get drunk at odd hours of the day.

Sure, it's a "World" Cup for the same reason the World Series is the "World" Series: the organizers call it that and the rest of us buy it. The World Series might only feature teams from North America, but there's little doubt the winner is the best baseball team in the world at that moment. As for the World Cup Champions, I don't know enough about soccer to know how they would be expected to fare in a match against one the best club teams.

True, it does decide what nation can field the best team. In that sense it is a "World" Cup. And yet... since 1851 the whole world has been invited to compete for the Royal Yacht Squadron Cup, but it's still called the America's Cup because in 160 years we've only lost it 5 times. (Yes I know it's really called America's Cup because the first yacht to win it was named America, but you don't think that name would have stuck without us winning it every year do you?)

No team outside of Europe or South America has ever even played in a World Cup final. So really it's Europe & South America's Cup and the rest of the world just tags along and parties. In my opinion, if it were really a "World" Cup, other nations would have a chance. As it is, Ghana's the only remaining hope for a new continent to break through this year.

What's more, only 7 nations have ever won it. Of the 8 teams remaining, 4 are previous winners. So the odds of another repeat winner are still pretty good. It's not really Europe & South America's Cup, it's Brazil, Italy, Germany and a few other random countries' Cup. To be exact.

And that's where I lose interest. It's just boring if only a handful of countries have any real hope of winning.

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