Hey! The World Cup is starting!
One reason that this is an enjoyable event is because you (assuming you are an Average American, and as someone who is just about as average as anyone, I speak with authority) can pick a team to root for, and not feel too badly when it they lose. Well, I was rooting for Gondwanaland, but they lost, so now I'll pick Atlantis......". NO BIG DEAL. This is not ANYTHING like rooting for, say, the Boston Red Sox because you like their logo. That type of behaviour is the mark of a total douchebag. With American sports, you HAVE to root for either 1) the team where you live, 2) the team where you grew up, and/or 3) a team that you have some connection to (like, you're from Arvada, Colorado and so is Roy Halladay).
The vast majority of Americans don't give a fuck all about soccer, but many other people from other parts of the world do. It is their local and favorite baseball and college and pro football teams combined. They live and die with the fortunes of their team. I have always been deeply suspicious of the USA! USA! sycophants, although I can stomach them when I think there is actually some connection - like an Olympic swimmer's parents. And I would root for the USA in, say, the world baseball cup if the players representing my country exhibited some interest in the contest themselves. But root for the USA in soccer??? If someone really gives a fuck, it is news to me.
So, in the world cup, you can pick a team by any method you like. I have a lot of friends from other countries or with backgrounds from other countries, including a Japanese wife, and I have not problem switching my allegiance depending on the momentary situation. So here, in no particular order, is a list of methods by which you can choose a side in any particular game:
1) A country in which you have some ancestry. MOC, for example, can root to his heart's content for the Irish Feckbhoys (or whatever the team is called).
2) The Underdog. They pull an upset, you can be elated and talk trash on whomever they beat, they lose, and so what? They were expected to.
3) A team that represents a country that attracts a lively crowd to a fun bar. Have you ever seen a bunch of Brazilians during world cup? You think Giants/doggers games are rowdy, you ain't seen nuttin'.
4) Your friend/wife's team. Obviously, and best of luck if there's a conflict. I have an Irish friend married to a German. Still.
5) A team from a country that features really good food. Now, I don't know of any good French restaurants that have tv's in the dining room, but I bet they have some back in the kitchen. Could I root for Mexico on this basis? Damn straight I could.
6) Uniforms/Players. I kind of dig Ghana's color scheme, and who couldn't root for Cameroon's Rigobert Sing? Oh, fuck, Cameroon plays Japan first, someone has to go down, which brings us to a final idea.
7) Who you want to lose. Just pick a country that you want to lose in every match, based on some real or imagined perception. Think the French are snooty? Fuck them! Think the English are snooty? Well fuck them, too!
That's it! Have fun, and remember, it really doesn't matter at all!