Sunday, May 30, 2010

"My" countries in the World Cup

As the World Cup is less than two weeks away, it is time for a personal review of the state of "my" countries participating in the World Cup:

Argentina: I lived in Argentina as a child, and my football heart is unapologetically Argentinean, no matter who they play against. With their extraordinary players, first and foremost Messi, I have huge hopes, but at the same time, I share the nagging doubt about some of the selected players, some of the absent players (notably one of my own favourites, Javier Zanetti, as well as Gabriel Milito), and their style. Still, I will be celebrating each of their victories!

Chile: I was born in Chile, and although never really followed them in footballing terms, I hope the team does well under coach Marcelo Bielsa. They will surely be exciting to watch, as they are the South American team participating that will be playing the most attacking football. But history is against them.

Denmark: I am Danish by passport and father, and will be cheering on the Danish Dynamite. The team is not as exciting nor talented as previous years, but it is solid, and will not be easy to play against. That said, they will probably be fighting for the second spot in the group with Cameroon, as Netherlands seems like an awfully big mouthful, although Denmark has defeated the Dutch before when grossly underestimated!

Ghana: Ghana was the first African country I lived in, and will never forget the wonderful people and atmosphere. I was living there during the last World Cup, where Ghana was a sensation, and was caught in the wonderful atmosphere. Although I am surely biased, I do believe that Ghana is the best footballing nation in Africa, and should have a great chance of getting far. However, the absence of the injured Michael Essien will be very difficult, and their continuous lack of a quality striker will also affect them. In any case, I will be wearing my Ghana shirt and cheering for the Black Stars!

Spain: I have lived in different parts of Spain, have some Spanish family, and feel closely connected to the country. In footballing terms, I have never been a huge fan of the national team (as many Spaniards, I much prefer to support a club, in my case Valencia), but was happy for their deserved victory at the Euro 2008, and recognise their wonderful players. Still, expectations will be enormous, and Spain has before crashed their heads against the walls of big expectations.

USA: I lived there for a year when young, but it was a bit like living in football wasteland, and I don't exactly support them... Still, their progress since 1994 has been spectacular, and it will be interesting to see if the excellent national team can take it further. In any case, be sure that I will be cheering for Team USA against England, hoping they can repeat the legendary 1950 match!

Well, I will obviously have plenty to cheer for! I will miss some other of "my" countries: Colombia, Mozambique, Belgium,and surely, Venezuela!

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