Despite America being a melting pot of identities, the citizens who bleed red, white and blue still aspired to see USMNT qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Of course, we know America isn’t the best team and it wasn’t really expected that we would win, but that’s beside the point.
For America, it wasn’t about winning or losing, but rather feeding the soccer franchise and igniting the spark of nationality. It was a matter of pride and representation. If you’re feeling confused about who to root for now that your go-to team is out, here are a few suggestions.
Brazil: Naturally, Brazil is the favorite to win the tournament. As always the team is expected to be a thrill to watch. They ooze talent with the likes of Neymar, Paulinho, and Fernandinho (to name but a few). So if you’re one of those people who want to be on the winning side, or is just in the mood to watch exceptional soccer, then these are your guys.
This team doesn’t mess around. Their style of play is elegant, captivating and intimidating which is why they have won four previous World Cup titles. For this tournament, Germany has a rather young team; however this new talent is just as good, if not better, than the vets. You can watch arguably one of the best goalies on this planet, Manuel Neuer and additionally look forward to striker Thomas Müller possibly breaking the record for most World Cup goals.
Two words- Lionel Messi. He’s one of the top players the world has ever seen, and yet he’s never secured a World Cup title. Argentina came extremely close in 2014, but in the end, walked away empty- handed. The team almost didn’t even qualify for this year’s tournament. If it wasn’t for Messi’s hat trick against Ecuador, Argentina would have been welcomed aboard the same boat as the U.S. team.
Another two words- Cristiano Ronaldo, otherwise known as Messi’s arch nemesis. Did you see Ronaldo’s goal against Juventus? It was a breathtaking bicycle shot that left you feeling like a dog peeing on the floor out of excitement after their owner finally comes home after a long day. So if you’re looking for some exhilaration in your life, follow Portugal.
It’s our neighboring country, and if nothing else, their proximity to us should give you a reason to support them. Quite frankly anyway, the facts speak for themselves. El Tri already has twice as many viewers in America than that of the USMNT. Not to mention, if Mexico wins the cup, the CONCACAF could pride themselves on having its own World Cup victor. Break out the vuvuzelas.
The biggest underdog of them all, Iceland is weirdly included in this year’s World Cup. Props to the team though because they’re the smallest country to ever qualify for the tournament. The team has a lot of pride for their country, and play with heart. Yeah, maybe they won’t win, but at the same time Iceland is just happy to get an invitation to the party, and so what if they leave the party early? At least they made an appearance. Also, if you root for them, you can viking clap.
Just like Iceland, Panama is also a first-time qualifier. The country was so stoked about making it to the World Cup, that the day after the news was officially announced, the president declared the day a national holiday. Even if the nation doesn’t win, they definitely secured the title for most spirited.
If you watch the Premier League, I’m sure you’re acquainted with many of the players on the England team. In terms of winning, they’re as likely to do it as the U.S. was, but this team is a classic in the cup, and maybe they’ll surprise us all and take the title. Maybe. Besides, they speak the same language as Americans. Definitely a reason to support them… right?
There is a lot of anticipation surrounding this team after Mohamed Salah’s incredible season. People are curious about how he’s going to perform in the tournament. The team overall has some serious skills and are sure to impress. Also, to tie in the American connection, Egypt’s coach is former U.S. coach Bob Bradley.
Their talent includes Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, but most likely, Belgium isn’t going to win the tournament; however, the team is expected to showcase some really entertaining soccer. Remember the 2014 World Cup match between them and the U.S. team? If not, go back and watch some highlights, and then you’ll understand what I’m saying.