The Sideline Observer

Sports and Culture Commentary

World Cup Preview

Just two days from now the largest sporting spectacle on the planet is going to kickoff in remarkable fashion. The World Cup is coming back after its usual 4-year break.

However, for most football loving, beer shotgunning Americans the World Cup is just another excuse to get drunk and watch sports (Cough Cough Stanley Cup). The United States and its laughable attempt at a “soccer” team failed to qualify for the world cup in the most depressing and classic American way possible.

All we had to do was tie a game with Trinidad and Tobago, a country with a population of 1.4 million people that has only ever been to the world cup one time. ONE TIME.

This seemed like an easy task. All America had to do was put out the best soccer players from a country with over 300 million people and stomp the life out of a country that has been in poverty for the past century while playing soccer on dirt patches.

But no. We lost 2-1, and became the laughing stock of the soccer world once more.

Countries like Morocco and Panama were able to qualify, yet the ever-apparent incompetence of our soccer program led the country into more heartbreak (because Morgan Freeman getting Me-Too’d wasn’t enough).

However, for those of you still interested in an America-less world cup, June 14th is the start date and the field is a very competitive. The favorites of the competition are the reigning champions: Germany with 7-2 odds followed by Brazil with 4-1 odds and France with 6-1 odds.

This year’s group of death (the hardest group to progress out of) is Group E, which appears to be more of a group of pain, with Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, and Serbia.

I am predicting France to make a big run in the tournament, and can even see them winning it. They have boatloads of young talent and a handful of stars including Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, and Hugo Lloris.

There are plenty of potential dark horses in this field. My Cinderella story has got to be Egypt. With Premier League goal scoring leader Mohamed Salah being declared healthy to play the country could make a deep run despite being in the competition for the first time since 1990. There is virtually no talent on the team besides Salah but I believe he can bear the weight of his entire country.

As far as the location of the tournament, Russia is going to be a very interesting host city.

Will Putin try to fix the matches? Will there be a bomb threat during a game? How many cheap vodka-smashed Russians will try to jump on the field? Is there enough prison space in Russia for all the drunk arrests? All of these questions add to the intrigue of the 2018 World Cup.

-Baker

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