Thursday, June 12, 2014

37-second World Cup preview (and why it'd be silly not to pick Brazil)

The World Cup begins today.  It's a soccer tournament featuring 32 different countries played every four years.  This year it's in Brazil.  The host nation is a bit torn because Brazil loves soccer, but also because its government spent $11 billion on the event amidst widespread poverty.  Despite all the local protesting going on, Brazil is going to win the 2014 World Cup (and even with the support of Rajon Rondo, the USA will not).  Here's why:

  • Brazil has won 5 of the last 14 World Cups.
  • The event has been held 19 times, with the home team winning an astounding 6 of them.
  • Only teams from Europe or South America have ever won the Cup.
  • 6 times it's taken place in South/Central America, with a South American country winning all of them.
  • 10 times it's been held in Europe, with European teams winning 9 of 10.  The lone exception was Brazil emerging victorious in Sweden in 1958.
  • 3 times it's been held in other places (USA, South Korea/Japan and South Africa) and Brazil even won 2 of those.
If you're determined to pick somebody else, go with Argentina, who's won it twice before, opens in an easy group (click on the photo), and also fits some of the above criteria.

And as much as I usually don't enjoy watching soccer, I am pumped for the World Cup.  Think of it like the Olympics; nobody cares about gymnastics, swimming or figure skating at any other time either.  And similar to playoff hockey, it's hard to match the intensity of a big soccer game.  One goal means everything, and you never know when it might happen.

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