Plan B–Anybody But Brazil

africa_worldcup_germany_2006.gifA few folks have expressed an interest in learning who I will pull for should the U.S. National Team fail to advance in this year’s World Cup.

Well, I’m glad you asked. I’ve been giving that some thought since, I regret to announce, I believe the U.S. will not defeat Ghana today and that the Italians will most likely draw vs. the Czechs (I do hope I’m proven wrong, though). After due consideration, the following list represents the top five teams I will support should the Stars and Stripes fold and go home:

  1. England. This is one of those blood is thicker than water, Anglo-Saxon things. I’m figuring that most of my ancestors came from there and that the Brits have been staunch allies, at least from World War I on. I’m willing to put that taxation without representation business in the past if Rooney, Beckham and the rest of The Three Lions can charge on toward the final. But don’t go betting the country manor on that.
  2. Netherlands. This one is honor of Coach Paul Lassau, a Dutchman who lived in Huntsville for several years working for the Royal Dutch Air Force. He was an assistant coach for Number Three Son for three years and brought a large dose of Dutch precision and passion to the Kicks ’93 Red. He has since moved back to the Netherlands, and I know he and his son Wouter are decked out in de Oranje gear from head to toe. This one’s for you, Coach Paul.
  3. Korea. Are there any fans at this year’s World Cup with more passion and fire than the “Red Devils?” The Taeguk Warriors were surprise semifinalists in 2002 and have several exciting footballers who always seem to find a way to score when they need to. I also understand they make pretty good cars, although I haven’t tried one yet.
  4. Switzerland. The Swiss have played well, and I really hope France either loses to (not gonna happen) or ties (could happen without Zidane, but not likely) Togo so that both the Nati and Korea can play through. I must confess that I would be overflowing with schadenfreude should the French fail, once again, to advance. I never payed that much attention to the Swiss before, but my new blogging friend Brady is a huge fan and that’s reason enough to pull for them. Besides, what have the Swiss ever done to me?
  5. Argentina. I’m telling you, this team is red hot and has an excellent chance of going the distance. My colleague at work, Dr. Marco Ortega, is originally from that South American country and roots passionately for the Albicelestes. I must admit, though, as a Duke Blue Devil fan it feels almost sacreligious pulling for a team that wears white and sky blue.

When you get right down to it, my Plan B is pretty simple–anybody but Brazil. That whole “I’m so good you only have to call me by my first name and everybody knows who I am” act is getting old and they’re getting entirely too cocky. The world needs to unite and take them down a notch or two.


Update: Alas, it is finished, 2-1 Ghana. I have many thoughts swirling around in my head as to the how and why that I will try to post soon. Here’s a sneak preview: Bruce, you’re toast.

  1. Mike the Eyeguy

    Bruce is not quite as fit and fast as he used to be. There’s certainly no fooling the camera, is there?

  2. Mike the Eyeguy


    That is very bad (but I’m much obliged).

    It might be the perfect time for the N. Koreans to try something, ya think?

  3. JRB

    Ghana deserved that win. We were out-hustled, out-fought and out-loved. I’m sad, but I indeed loved the Ghanan glory-giving after the game. I bet half their players dropped to their knees to pray when they won, and Mensah sported a tee under his jersey emblazoned with “WONDERFUL JESUS.”

    My “other” teams:





  4. Mike the Eyeguy


    I agree, thanks to Ed’s timely link on the feed, I saw that too and was very impressed. I guarantee you I will be giving Ghana their due in my post-game post (as well as dishing the dirt on Bruce and a few other whipping boys).

    Is there any other situation in which a poor, tiny African nation can bring a world superpower to its knees?

  5. Mike the Eyeguy

    Oh, BTW, I’ll have a few things to say about the PK as well. I came home at lunch and watched it over and over in slo-mo. I’ll break it down piece by piece in tomorrow’s post, but bottom line, it was a horrendous call and Mark Merkus deserves to be sent home, although he won’t be because he’s German and he’s already there.

  6. JRB

    If we had played ball with heart, hustle and skill, creating chances and showing up for the tournament, I might be a little upset over the PK.

    As it stands, a bad call in the first half is only small part of this self-inflicted collapse. We didn’t have to play so poorly, and we did.

    The greatest shame, I think. is that we, the Americans, were out worked, and that doesn’t happen very often.

  7. Mike the Eyeguy


    Point well taken, one PK in the scheme of things doesn’t matter much if a team is outhustled throughout the tournament as was clearly the case here (with the notable exception of the effort v. Italy). I always told the players I coached that they “have to play well enough that the refs don’t matter.” The USA didn’t.

    However, this one was a momentum killer, and I’m always fascinated when refs make this call in a big match, as they are not wont to do. In fact, I have noticed an increasing trend over the past 2-3 years in soccer at all levels for refs to hesitate calling a PK at any point in any match. It seems that a player must be nearly decapitated or have his leg snapped in half for a PK to be awarded these days.

    So, why in the 47th minute of the first half of a critical World Cup match did Merkus make the call? The short answer is that it was a brilliant dive by the Ghanan striker that he never should have even had the opportunity to execute in the first place.

    More on that tomorrow.

  8. Mike the Eyeguy


    Not sure why your comment got hung up like that. That’s the first time I recall that happening. Anyway, yes, with those colors, what am I thinking? Obviously, that’s a last ditch option.

    Bracketology in June? Let’s hope the pundits get it right this time.

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