World of excitement

There is another event that comes every four years taking place this year besides the Olympics. To some countries, this is even more important than the Olympics. This event is the World Cup and will take place in a new venue: South Africa.

It begins on June 11 with South Africa vs. Mexico and the first round play continues through June 25. After the first round concludes, 16 teams advance from eight groups to the next round of play, which is a single-elimination bracket. The champion of the World Cup will be crowned July 11.

The last World Cup was four years ago and came with plenty of excitement. The championship featured Italy and France, two teams with soccer-crazed fans. The game was tied when extra time was added and France’s star player, Zinedine Zadane, began to get frustrated.

Zadane let his emotions get the best of him in this tight game and head butted Italian midfielder Marco Materazzi. Zidane was given a red card and gave the Italians a one man advantage. The game went to penalty kicks where Italy easily disposed of France with the newfound confidence given by Zidane getting ejected. The 2010 championship game will have a hard time living up to this instant classic.

The US team was very successful last summer when they had to qualify for the World Cup. USA was in the 2009 Confederations Cup, where it took on world powers Brazil and Spain. The US showed that it could hang with the best teams in the world as they defeated Spain and lost to Brazil in the championship in a hard fought game.

The USA squad is ready to make a run in the World Cup and they begin in Group C along with England, Slovenia, and Algeria. The US will have their hands full with the English national team, but most are predicting them to finish second and advance to the round of 16. Many analysts believe that if the US doesn’t get out of its group, the World Cup will be considered a failure.

There are many teams that are capable of winning the World Cup. The obvious favorites are Spain, Brazil, and Argentina. Argentina has arguably the best player in the world in forward Lionel Messi, who is picked by many to win the Golden Ball, which is awarded to the best player in the tournament. Other contenders are England and Germany. England has another player who is among the world’s best: Wayne Rooney.

The US is a dark-horse in the tournament if they play like they did last summer. If they can do this, the US has a chance to surprise world powers again.

Though soccer is not as popular in the US, it is the most popular sport around the world without any doubt. People from all counties will flock to South Africa to take part in this grand event. Every game will contain crazy fans who care about their country so much. People in the US should recognize this great event and just watch a few games to see how important and crazy the World Cup really is.