The world cup is almost upon us. Lots of soccer where we get to see the great players of the world working hard for their countries smashed into 4 weeks. The first game is on June 12th. Let’s get started with our World Cup primer for newbies and get you up to speed on the upcoming tournament
This year’s event is hosted in Brazil. The tournament features 32 national teams competing over a month in the host nation(s). There are two stages: the group stage followed by the knockout stage. For more details… visit the internet.
The tournament pulls teams from the 6 FIFA continental zones (Africa, Asia, North & Central America, South America, Oceania, and Europe). The teams are ranked and “randomly” drawn into 8 groups. Here is a short list of the best teams in the world:
There have only ever been 8 distinct winners in the tournament’s 84 year history, despite the entry of 32 teams. The top level is so exclusive that between 1982 and 1994, every final was played between 2 of these teams: Italy, Germany, Argentina, and Brazil. In fact, between 1930 (tournament inception) and 2006, only one of those teams played in the tournament’s final match. It is an exclusive club. Very exclusive. This exclusivity is the reason that passions boil over for winning the tournament.
There is going to be lots of talent on the field across all the teams, but here is a quick list of players to watch:
Player: Andres Iniesta (Spain)
Nickname: The Illusionist
One of the best midfielders of all time. He directs the game like few can. Subtle passing and clutch play are what to look for.
Player: Philip Lahm (Germany)
Nickname: The Magic Dwarf
The best full back in the world. Roams all over the pitch and will supply attacking support with stellar defense.
Player: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
There is no one better. CR7 can beat any player on any field. If he gets hot… watch out.
Player: Neymar Jr. (Brazil)
Speed and dribbling are his talents, and with the cast around him, he could have a wonderful tournament in front of the home crowd.
Player: Luis Suarez (Uruguay)
Nickname: El Pistolero
Coming off of a spectacular season with Liverpool. If he can stay fit, he will provide lots of highlights on the counter attack.
Player: Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Nickname: The Atomic Flea
This was an off year for Messi due to injury. He is an absolute master with the soccer ball and it could be his year to push Argentina back to the finals.
Player: Andrea Pirlo (Italy)
Nickname: The Architect
Free kick specialist. However, the aging pass master will have to find a way to stay strong for the length of the tournament if Italy wants to make a deep run.
Player: Raheem Sterling (England)
Quick and explosive. Coming off of a break-through season, he could be a spark for the England team that has lots of talent.
Player: Eden Hazard (Belgium)
Nickname: The Snake
Creative with scary skills. Hazard came into his own this year with Chelsea and will be a force for Belgium this tournament.
Player: Michael Bradley (USA)
Nickname: The General
Without Landon Donovan, the US team will be reliant on his skills to direct the flow through the middle of the field.
Player: Arjen Robben (Netherlands)
Nickname: The Fyling Dutchman
Fast, tireless and with a deadly left foot. Robben will be constantly running at the opponent’s defense and looking for a shot.
Player: Franck Ribery (France)
Ribery is strong and fast. He has the skills to score and set up his teammates. Exciting to watch, but not much to look at.