World Cup Fever: Catch it?
Ivory Coast's Wilfried Bony, (12), scores his side's first goal during the group C World Cup soccer match between Ivory Coast and Japan at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama) ORG XMIT: WCTH383 Photo: Image by Shuji Kajiyama
The World Cup - one of the largest sporting events on the planet - started last week in Brazil. If you chose to dive into live TV coverage, you perhaps saw Mexico top Cameroon 1-0, or the Ivory Coast nip Japan 2-1. Meh.
If you're like me, you tuned in for a few minutes in between Brewers baseball, the US Open, and Shark Tank. For me, the World Cup really begins Monday evening when the United States plays Ghana.
While crazed soccer fans are growing in numbers, the interest from casual sports fans in the United States has yet to peak. For many, World Cup soccer is like Olympic soccer: It comes and goes every four years with interest, and is forgotten about in between.
Quick: can you name the teams in the United States group? Do you know what group the United States is in? Do you know how many groups there are? Don't be ashamed if you can't answer many or any of those questions. Consider yourself normal.
As a refresher, there are eight groups of four teams. The United States is in group G with Ghana, Portugal and Germany. No need to overwhelm yourself with what the other groups are doing just yet. If you're new to this, and trying to get into it, focus your attention on how the teams in the United States group are performing.
If you really want to impress others, be quick to spot an upset! THIS LINK of the latest FIFA rankings will assist.
Like any tournament, the number of teams participating will be whittled down over time. Group play will continue through June 26. A seeded tournament begins June 28, and come 4th of July...when the temps are hot, and the corn is knee-high...things really get interesting as the field narrows even further.
If all of the above is a yawner, and you just want to tune in for the full meal, the World Cup final will be played July 13.
See you at the Nomad...er...maybe...unless there's something better on.