Here it is, soccer fans. The Daily Caller’s Ultimate Master Guide To Everything You Ever Need To Know About The 2014 FIFA World Cup In Brazil.
Brace yourself for over a month’s worth of whining from the MLB/NFL/NBA purist who doesn’t understand the offside rule and insists the game “still sucks.” Prepare for some thoroughly embarrassing “expert” opinions from that guy in the bar who thinks the game was invented in 1992. And yes, there will more than likely be some tedious BuzzFeed listicles about the best player simulations, eccentric jerseys and players that look like cats.
All that aside, there should be some great entertainment on the field.
For the entirety of the tournament, Ewan Watt will be providing grizzled, foul-tempered Scottish punditry for The Daily Caller on everything you need to know about the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. This will range from a comprehensive background on each team, short posts on the games, and some history, ranging from failed drug tests to a team’s struggle to understand the rules to why an Arab prince halted the game and got a referee’s decision overturned.
In the build up, we’ll be releasing guides to the different groups, so buckle in, study up and become the master you’ve always said you were anyway.
Overview: Moving from the Oceanic qualifiers to the Asian group hasn’t proved any real impediment to Australia’s progress to the World Cup finals. They topped their initial group ahead of Oman, Saudi Arabia and Thailand, before progressing to the finals by virtue of a second-place finish behind Japan in the second stage of qualifiers.
Recent results don’t make for especially encouraging reading. In the last year, Australia have been beaten 6-0 by both Brazil and France, which cost Holger Osieck his job. The Socceroos also lost 4-3 to China and Ecuador, the latter of which they at one point led 3-0. The only recent victories have come over Canada, Costa Rica, Iraq and Jordan.
Brazil will be an experiment for Ange Postecoglou’s side, as he looks to inject youth and call time on seasoned veterans like former captain Lucas Neill. This side does lack some of the quality and depth Australians witnessed at their last two World Cups. It’s just as well they got a nice easy group then. Oh…
Best World Cup Performance: Second round (2006)
FIFA Ranking: 61st
Most famous World Cup moment: After a brief flirtation with the World Cup in 1974, Australia had to wait a further 32 years for their next opportunity. The highlight of their tournaments so far is undoubtedly a 3-1 victory over Japan in the opening match of their 2006 campaign. The Japanese were heavily favored, and had taken the lead in the first-half thanks to Shunsuke Nakamura. Australia managed to find three goals in the final eight minutes to claim their first ever victory at the World Cup. All of which led to…
… Most infamous: Having seen off Japan and held Croatia to a draw in the 2006 tournament, Australia was paired with the heavily fancied Italians in the second round. Italy had packed their squad with some of the finest players in the world. Somehow, Australia repelled them for the first half. Early in the second half, Italian defender Marco Materazzi was shown a red card, and suddenly the Australians had a chance. They came into the game more, looked more confident, and looked set to take the match to extra time. How would the Italians fare in another 30 minutes with a numerical disadvantage? We’ll never know, because Fabio Grosso took a dive in the Australian box, referee Luis Medina Cantalejo awarded a penalty, and Francisco Totti scored a 94th minute winner. Australia went out. Italy went on and won the tournament.
Sound like an expert: “The Australians are improving each tournament, but they just don’t have the quality to get out of a group like this one.”