World Cup fever! Taza del Mundo! Tassa du monde! De Kop van de wereld!
The World Cup begins today. The US team is tied for sixth in the world with Spain and Mexico, but I doubt that we will advance to the second round since our group includes the Czech Republic (#2) and Italy (#12). My fellow community columnist Diane Hardy likes to root for teams from Spain and the Americas, but I am a died-in-the wool Europhile. If the US can't win, I want some other other member of the coaliton of the willing or a country that has recently stuck its thumb in the eye of the Left. Poland (#26) would be great. But that's not going to happen. The Czechs or England (#9) would be nice. I have a certain soft spot for the Germans (#19) and the decidedly non-socialist Swiss (#37 - vergessen Sie über es!). I wish we could root for the Danes (#14), but they didn't qualify. Israel (#44) would have been sweet, but they didn't qualify either.
I also like to root for the African teams. They have been great underdogs. Cameroon (#16) and Senegal (#29) have been fun in past years. This year, Tunisia (#23) could make noise, but the countries from the heart of Africa, Côte d'Ivoire (#32), Ghana (#48) and Angola(#60) are probably not going too far.