Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bigger than Big

If you don't know what begins this weekend, I'm going to guess you're living in the US.  Way to go hometown news channel!  No doubt the rest of you realize that Friday is the beginning of the 2010 World Cup.  Whether you're a fan or not, you have no choice but to know this fact.  It is everywhere.

I'm willing to give a pass to those of you in Chicago only until the Blackhawks wrap things up later tonight in Philly. 

Combine all the excitement, hype and excessive commercialization of the Super Bowl and March Madness.  Add to that the patriotism that seems to surface every four years with the Olympics (I'm thinking US Men's hockey).  Mix that all together and apply it to the rest of the world and you've got a pretty good idea of what the World Cup is like.   Don't believe me?  Heck, they even know about this in galaxies far, far away.

Star Wars™ Cantina 2010 / adidas Originals from Dominic Prevost on Vimeo.

I've been living here for almost a full year.  During this time I've only seen German flags flying at official state or city buildings.  Very rarely do you see them privately displayed, public holidays or not.  Now they are everywhere.  Hanging from windows, flying by on passing cars and, of course, flagrantly used in every other advertisement.  Of course I've also seen plenty of other nationalities represented.  Our neighbors across the way are flying les couleurs alongside the die Bundesflagge

It makes me wish we bought a larger US flag before we left.  I don't think the dinky little 18" flag we bought will suffice here.  Nevertheless, I will do my best to represent.  When we were in the States, one of my goals was to find a US team t-shirt.  I guess I got caught up in the moment.  Not only did I buy a t-shirt, I also bought the scarf, a pair of socks, and yes, a glittery Uncle Sam hat.  (The later in tribute to Apollo Creed.)  Ridiculous? You bet.  But if there's one thing we Americans excel in, it's over the top displays of patriotism.

Rest assured I'll do my best not to let any of you down.  Now if only I had James Brown to lead me in to each pub...

After the previous World Cup, I have huge reservations about this year's team.   I think their offense is very underrated.  The defense, however, is more than a bit shakey outside of goalie.  The soon-to-be brother-in-law has questioned my purchases.  "They're only going to be worn three times," he said, in reference to the minimum three games played by each team.  I'm hoping at least five if not six times.  The fifth time would most likely mean the game following a US victory over Germany.  (I'm assuming the US finishes second in their group to England and Germany finishes first in their group. That would mean the two teams will face each other in the first game of the knockout round.)

But that's looking a little too far ahead.  First up on Saturday is England.  Outside of Brazil or Spain, I don't think you could ask for a harder opening matchup.  I know the US is no longer flying under the radar after beating Spain last year.  But I still think there are a lot of lowered expectations for this team that may catch some of the big boys by surprise.  I'm also hoping Rooney will pop off once again and get kicked out, leading to total disarray for the Three Lions.  If not, I fear the US might be in for a bit of a schooling.  Here's a preview of the Yanks as well as an overall preview of Group C.  And here's a clip from a previous time, when the two sides actually worked together.  (I can't believe I just made my second Sylvester Stallone reference in one post.)

Looking for actual news and scores from the tournament?  I've added a World Cup score and a US Team news widget on the right side below the news.  Unfortunately, the game times listed are EST I believe. 

I'm also looking for tips from you.  Where the hell do I watch the game on Saturday?  I only know of one "American" sports bar in town, but I'm hoping some of you might have better recommendations.  This town certainly has no shortage of "Irish" pubs, but I wouldn't be surprised to find those transformed into English pubs this weekend.  Surely I'm not the only American going out to watch this first game.

Where are you from?  Which team are you supporting?  Have any recommendations about a place to see the games at?  Do us all a favor and leave a comment below. And don't worry, it's all anonymous.

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