Wednesday, June 07, 2006

My starting 11

gurufrisbee invited me into a Yahoo! World Cup Fantasy Football league and I drafted my 23 players tonight (while avoiding doing the dishes). You can see my starting eleven. Even Roman Abramovich can't buy a team like this (though I'd love for him to try!!!). Imagine how glorious this team's football would be. As you can see, I'm putting my eggs in a few team's baskets. Brazil, Netherlands and England all have to go far for me to have any chance to win gurufrisbee's league.

I probably won't do much blogging about the World Cup here. Dignan's place has already set a very high standard of World Cup discussion and reporting. Look for me and gurufrisbee to be talking up our favorite teams and players in his comments.

One additional World Cup note - The US embassy in London did a podcast about this very subject. Partha Mazumdar, Economic Officer at the U.S. Embassy in London, talks about the past and present of football and America with passion and knowledge. Here is the transcript, but for a more entertaining option, here is the MP3 download (8 min). The most interesting "I didn't know that" came from this quote (quick memorize to impress all your friends at work),
Something noteworthy about our group is how similar it is to the group we were in sixteen years ago. The 1990 World Cup was the first time the US had qualified for the World Cup finals for forty years. The US were placed in a group with Italy and Czechoslovakia. This year, we're in a group with Italy and the Czech Republic. The progress the United States has made in the past 16 years is incredible. Then, the US was not competitive in the games against Italy, Czechoslovakia or Austria. Now, the US will be, and, should be more than just competitive.

He also has some good overall comments about America's Group E:
They are in a tough group. If you believe in the FIFA World Rankings, it is the toughest group at the World Cup. I don't put much stock in the FIFA rankings, but there is no doubt that it is a strong group, possibly tough enough to earn the "Group of Death" moniker. The first game is Monday the 12th against Pavel Nedved and the Czech Republic. Then the three time champion Azzuri of Italy the following Saturday. The United States finish with Ghana.

Finally, Mr. Mazumdar has an excellent response for the snobby European fan I run into every now and again. The whole discussion of football vs. soccer. He has this wonderful riposte,
Americans are brushed off with incisive statements like, how can we take you seriously? You don't even call it ‘football’ as the rest of the world does. This of course ignores that Hungarians and Italians do not call the sport football, and everybody takes the Italians seriously and everyone once took Hungarian soccer very seriously, especially England. Much of the non-British English-speaking world does not call the sport football. It is not called football in South Africa, and the Australian national team is not nicknamed the football-roos, they are the soccer-roos.
and he even goes into the etymology of soccer to prove that it isn't an Americanism. Well done Mr. Mazumdar!

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