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: What can you say? The English national team’s “Golden Generation” (2002-2006) came and went with nothing but silly haircuts, WAGS and sleeve tattoos to show for it. After a testing qualifying round, many England fans are simply glad to be on the plane. Naturally, some English fans have gone into the World Cup thinking of themselves as among the favorites, but after a draw that saw even the head of the nation’s soccer association making a cut throat gesture, the goals are far more modest.
A sense of realism (especially in the media) might not be a bad thing for England. This is the first tournament in decades that England doesn’t necessarily expect, perhaps alleviating some pressure on the players. Roy Hodgson, who enjoyed some success at the helm of Switzerland at the 1994 World Cup, was expected to take a blend of youth and experience to Brazil. Ultimately, he went heavily for the former, sacrificing mainstays such as Chelsea’s Ashley Cole.
By his own admission, this is probably Wayne Rooney’s last opportunity to impress at a World Cup, after some disappointing campaigns in 2006 and 2010. Captain Steven Gerrard is also said to be contemplating his international future. With talents such as Everton’s Ross Barkley and Southampton’s Luke Shaw, the future of the English game appears to be heading in the right direction. It’s a tough group, but qualification is more than feasible. England could build from there.
Best World Cup Performance: Winners (1966)
FIFA Ranking: 10th
Most famous World Cup moment: “They think it’s all over…” You know the rest.
… Most infamous: Everyone remembers Gazza’s tears in 1990, but most English fans will acknowledge this symbolizes more disappointment than shame. Although things have markedly improved, at World Cups “England” and “hooliganism” was as synonymous as “Italy” and “play acting.” France ’98 stands out in particular, with the “Battle of Marseille” bringing shame on an English side that actually promised a great deal on the field.
Sound like an expert: “At previous World Cups, England has always had great players, but not a great 11. I’m not convinced they have either this time around.”