With the World Cup set to take over the American TV and radio airwaves for the next four weeks, here are 17 reasons for first-time American viewers to be excited about this thing called the World Cup.
1. If England’s Roy Hodgson was an American football coach and had Randy Moss, Calvin Johnson, and Larry Fitzgerald as wide receivers, he would ignore them, use the Power-I formation and run up the gut every time. England will probably have a dull World Cup, but they actually have some really exciting young talent in Raheem Sterling, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Daniel Sturridge.
2. Guys like Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey will get buckets of air time on American television, but you may want to temper your expectations for the team overall. Spain or Brazil could see 20-30 injuries to different outfield players before either of those were even in the conversation to play if they were named Miguel Bradley and Dempsinho.
3. Cherish this time with ESPN and their classiness. You will care about the broadcasting in 4 years and FOX has the rights to the next two World Cups. Going by the early indications, it would not be a huge surprise to see Piers Morgan and John Madden in the booth for the 2018 opener.
4. There’s this guy for Italy named Andrea Pirlo. Cherish him. Admire his beard. Imagine his musk. He’s reached a rare stratosphere where he’s loved by everyone.
5. If Skip Bayless was a soccer fan (and he may be – I’ve been managing to avoid him for almost 3 years now), Lionel Messi would be all over his troll radar. Messi has individual honors and Champions League medals coming out of his ears, but there’s this push from some in the media that he needs national team success to cement his place in the Pantheon of all time greats.
6. Brazil is starting a striker named Fred. “Marcelo gets the ball on the left flank, lays it off to Paulinho, who slides the throughball into the path of Hulk, backheel to Fernandinho, and he fires in a cross and finds a mannnnnnnnnnnn and it’s put away by Fred.” Kind of a letdown in the cool Brazilian names department. Kind of a letdown as far as a striker too, but that’s a different story for another day.
7. This World Cup stuff is very exciting, but it’s just a fun little offseason sideshow if you fall in love with a club team. Your mileage may vary. Probably influenced drastically by the talent in your club team and national team. I also may be saying this because I am a Liverpool fan and I blast the Champions League theme song every day right when I wake up.