I had a lot of fun writing about the World Cup last time around and I plan on doing it again this tournament. As with the last time, I don't expect to see all the games, but I'll write what I can when I can.
My commentary, as before, will be from the perspective of someone who doesn't really follow soccer (football) outside of major tournaments, but who, hopefully, has a good sense of what is actually happening during a game. I don't know what to expect from individuals, or even national teams, outside of what can be learned from in-game commentary. But a good game is a good game, a bad one, well, bad. So I'll say my piece, and I'll have some fun.
I expect I will be watching most games at home. Without going into too much detail, even as I sit here in Providence, RI, my computer has, um, "somehow", found its way to London, so I'll be watching ITV's coverage online.
My thoughts on soccer haven't changed much over the years. Here are my prejudices, virtually unchanged from four years ago:
1. Screw The USA. Given my country's global dominance in so many facets of human existence, from war to blockbuster films to badly-roasted coffee, why bother longing for more? It's not a purely "Left" response on my part; putting aside drone strikes, it just seems more fun to watch other countries, especially smaller ones, get their chance, albeit within the restricted context of a soccer tournament, to have an outsized impact.
2. Brazil. It's always nice to think of the host winning, but I've always had an (ir)rational prejudice against this country's typical style of play. (EDIT: I know this seems silly but I have years of memories of games where the Brazilian strategy was basically "pass to the guy with one name". I know they've moved on a bit since then…)
3. Netherlands. Dissapointing show during Euro 2012 if I remember correctly. I've always enjoyed this country's typical style of play, the Total Football ideal, but this attitude seemed less prominent the last time around. We'll see…
4. Germany. What had been a stodgy team for years seemed to get a well-needed injection of youthful daring during Euro 2012. I'm curious.
5. England. In the same way that this country's music scene always seems to find a way to amaze me with its creativity, this country's soccer team always finds a way to amaze me with the creative ways in which they break the hearts of their fans. I know better than to get too attached emotionally now.
EDIT: 6. Belgium. A team off my radar, but after an evening of doing a lot more reading, well, I'm probably going to make a special effort to check them out this year. They're probably not off the radar of more committed spectators, but I'm getting the impression that they might yet still be somewhat of an unknown favorite, if that makes any sense.
That's all for now. Off for a quick lunch and then!