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From the sidelines: Whose side are you on?
Jun 11, 2014 | 1221 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Shane Gillet
Shane Gillet

Whether you know about it or not, the 2014 FIFA World Cup starts today with a match against host country Brazil and Croatia.

As a fan of soccer I’m excited for this World Cup to get underway, as I have more than one country I’ll be rooting for as the matches continue through the weekend and for the next several weeks.

Being born in Alabama I’m naturally going to cheer for the U.S. team. They have no doubt heard some criticisms for the team that was put together, and even its own coach is reluctant to say this team can win it all.

But anything can happen in soccer at any time. Although the U.S. team will be pitted against some tough teams such as Germany, Ghana and Portugal in Group G, a surprise win could be just what the U.S. needs to get out of the group alive and into the next round.

My attention will not only be going towards Group G and our home players, but also Group F and the Argentinian squad. 

Argentina, where my mother was born, is grouped with Iran, Nigeria and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and from what I’ve read on the World Cup website, there is a trio of Argentinian scorers that could cause a lot of problems for all three countries.

It’s highly likely that Argentina will have a better chance at winning the group than the U.S. has at simply making it out of Group G.

Having a family that spans half the globe, as well as being introduced to soccer at an early age, helped to grab my attention to the sport as a kid. 

Before I even saw my first NFL game on TV I was watching soccer matches on foreign channels and loving it, even though I had no earthly clue what the announcers were saying.

The 1990 World Cup is one I remember as a kid. Our family had gone to Italy at the same time as the country was hosting the tournament. 

The night before we left, defending champion Argentina took on the Italian team, which resulted in some interesting back-and-forth conversations between my mother and the people that were present in a local eatery.

Argentina won that match and proceeded to make it to the finals, eventually falling to then-West Germany in a rough final.

Those kinds of memories still stick out in my mind for whatever reason, and are the main reason I’ve followed soccer. 

It’s an international sport unlike any other sport in the world, and is the only sport that truly crowns a World Champion team.

Baseball and its attempt to imitate the World Cup is admirable, but is nowhere near the population nor the following that soccer has.

I’m so interested in watching the first game Thursday that I may take a few hours off just to go home and see the game.

It won’t involve either team I’m cheering for, but just like Opening Day in baseball, it’s like a holiday event that you won’t want to miss.

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