World Cup: Who to Cheer For (or who I cheer for anyway)

For me to be really interested in a football match, I have to decided who I am going to be cheering for.  It’s not enough for love of the game, you have to be emotionally involved with the outcome.  I came up with a little spreadsheet that accurately reflected how I make choices on who to cheer for.  This is a little different than my attitude in the Women’s World Cup where I cheer solely based on what is best for the US.  I ranked them based on the things I care about.

  1. If your are related to the US Women’s National Team (which is to say the USMNT) then I award you five points.  It’s nearly a trump card.
  2. If you are in the same region (CONCACAF) as the US, you get one point.
  3. If you’re on Continental Europe, you lose one point.
  4. If you speak an Iberian Language (functionally Spanish or Portuguese), you get one point.
  5. If you’re uniforms are a pretty shade of sky blue, you get one point (Uruguay and Argentina).
  6. You get a point for every player I know and like.
  7. You lose a point if you were an Axis power in World War II.
  8. Any ties are broken by Five Thirty Eight’s Soccer Power Index — I will always cheer for the underdog, all other things being equal.

So I fed all that information into a spreadsheet and very happily got a list that put the teams that I knew I liked or hated in the right place, and gave me some insight on how to apply my preferences to teams I didn’t ever think much about.  If you’d asked me before I made this whether I’d cheer for Netherlands or Japan, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you.  But now I’ve got numbers telling me what to do.  As you can see, if it wasn’t for the association with the US Women’s team, the US would only be 6th on my list, and France, Germany, and Italy, who I only cheer against, are all at the bottom.  They really should be tied, because I can’t imagine cheering for any of them.  On principle.  (Thank you England for these wholly irrational prejudices).  That said, I love to watch Germany play, they make beautiful soccer.

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For those who can’t read the chart:

  1. United States
  2. Uruguay
  3. England
  4. Spain
  5. Mexico
  6. Argentina
  7. Honduras
  8. Costa Rica
  9. Brazil
  10. Ecuador
  11. Colombia
  12. Chile
  13. Algeria
  14. Australia
  15. Iran
  16. Cameroon
  17. South Korea
  18. Nigeria
  19. Ghana
  20. Ivory Coast
  21. Portugal
  22. Netherlands
  23. Japan
  24. Croatia
  25. Greece
  26. Switzerland
  27. Russia
  28. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  29. Belgium
  30. France
  31. Italy
  32. Germany

Oh, you want to know who to cheer for in all the matches?  Many of the first matches have already passed, but I am going to put the whole list here.  Will update when we have knowledge on the next rounds.  A reminder that this isn’t meant to be a prediction of who will win, just who your heart should belong to for ~2hrs. Bold is who I cheered/will cheer for and gray is games that had passed at the time of posting this.

Brazil v Croatia
Mexico v Cameroon
Spain v Netherlands
Chile v Australia
Colombia v Greece
Ivory Coast v Japan
Uruguay v Costa Rica
England v Italy
Switzerland v Ecuador
France v Honduras
Argentina v Bosnia-Herzegovina
Germany v Portugal
Iran v Nigeria
Ghana v USA
Belgium v Algeria
Brazil v Mexico
Russia v South Korea
Australia v Netherlands
Cameroon v Croatia
Spain v Chile
Colombia v Ivory Coast
Uruguay v England
Japan v Greece
Italy v Costa Rica
Switzerland v France
Honduras v Ecuador
Argentina v Iran
Germany v Ghana
Nigeria v Bosnia-Herzegovina
South Korea v Algeria
USA v Portugal
Belgium v Russia
Australia v Spain
Netherlands v Chile
Cameroon v Brazil
Croatia v Mexico
Italy v Uruguay
Costa Rica v England
Japan v Colombia
Nigeria v Argentina
Bosnia Herzegovina v Iran
Honduras v Switzerland
Ecuador v France
USA v Germany
Portugal v Ghana
South Korea v Belgium
Algeria v Russia

World Cup: Who to Cheer For (or who I cheer for anyway)

24 thoughts on “World Cup: Who to Cheer For (or who I cheer for anyway)

  1. 1

    One minor quibble. During World War II Belgium, the Netherlands, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina were occupied by Germany and were effectively part of the Axis.

  2. 3

    Nice! I’ve always thought that I was the only one who made overly elaborate spreadsheets to help me rank and/or decide things. It’s nice to know that others have the same obsession.

  3. 4

    I have to question your axis points:
    US is ranked higher than England?? nuh-uh
    Russia gets a -1? Well at the start there was the Molotov-von Ribbentrop Treaty, but more Russians were killed than in any other country. Give them a[ -1+9]
    Croatia was far more pro-Axis than Bosnia.
    Japan gets a -1, just the same as France, Bosnia, Greece & Switzerland????!!!??
    Netherlands 0 while Belgium -1???
    Uruguay was neutral until ’45 [except for maybe kicking out the Graf Spee]
    Argentina did the same as Uruguay.
    Spain was mostly neutral, just like Portugal. Not 4 v 0

  4. 6

    A Hermit — I can respect that.

    naturalcynic — I think you missed the whole idea of what I was doing — there were a whole bunch of other factors in the points rankings. The only people who got or lost from WWII were Axis powers (aka Germany, Italy, and Japan), and they each lost just 1 point for it. All the overall points that you’re referring to don’t have anything to do with their behavior in WWII.

    US is ranked higher than England because of their relationship with my favorite team, the USWNT.
    Russia is -1 for being in Continental Europe.
    Uruguay has my favorite players and favorite soccer uniform.

  5. 8

    I think you missed out the “how would the result of this match affect my other priority teams” factor. For example, the current standings in group G (USA, Portugal, Ghana & Germany) mean that USA’s chances of progressing to the next round may be affected by the Ghana vs. Portugal game, and the US will have a better chance of progressing if Portugal win rather than Ghana.

    On the other hand, I’m not sure I could ‘guide’ my feelings like this – how I feel about a team is how I feel about a team, it’s not an exercise in rationality. I’m not that bothered about the England team, but I am English and the team I am bothered about has more players in the England squad than any other. So I should have been supporting Italy in their match against Costa Rica the other night…and yet I jumped off the couch cheering when Costa Rica scored.

    There’s the underdog factor, and the passion and collective spirit the Costa Ricans showed, both of which are appealing to me, but I can’t really explain why I was so emotionally invested in their cause.

  6. 9

    Just to add: England play Costa Rica tomorrow and I’ll be hoping for good individual performances from my players in the England side…and a Costa Rica win. That simply doesn’t make any sense even to me!

  7. 10

    AsqJames, that makes perfect sense to me. I am a cricket fan, and a Kumar Sangakkara fan (*hearts in eyes*), and even though I want England to win the current series, I was thrilled to see my beloved Sanga get a century at Lords in the first Test.

  8. 11

    In all sporting events, I have simple formula.

    If there is a team I really love I cheer for them. If there is a team I really hate I cheer against them.

    Otherwise I cheer for the underdog. In international competition, I cheer for smaller, poorer countries – Costa Rica, Ghana, Cameroon. Also, being perverse, I tend to cheer for countries the US Government is pissed off at. Cuba isn’t in the world cup, otherwise I’d cheer the Cubans. I mean, 50 years of blockade? Besides, they have free birth control.

  9. 12

    It’s far easier for me. My sisters have lived in Rome and Barcelona for over a decade. USA is definitely my #1, but I also cheer for Italy and Spain. AS Roma (Lazio is for fascists) and Barcelona are the teams I cheer for in league play.

  10. 13

    Nice! I would also take a point or two from countries with anti-gay laws, like Russia.
    By the way, typos on numbers 1 (USWNT*) and 5 (If your* uniforms…).

  11. 15

    Gosh, after seeing “high”lights from today’s Uruguay vs. Italy match, I hope Luis “Mike Tyson” Suarez isn’t one of the players you like! 🙂 (“Mike Tyson” because he’s a biter…or maybe we could just call him Luis “The Biter” Suarez?)

  12. 16

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  13. 18

    (My choices being purely personal and subjective ones. I’m an Aussie hence Socceroos who’s spent time in Japan and love dit and Brazil I’ve kinda explained.)

    My least fave team that I really want to see defeated is Italy after they robbed us in the last (or was it one before) Soccer World Cup by cheating by diving. Usually go for the underdog too except when they play one of my fave sides.

  14. 19

    Croatia should actually lose a point for being an Axis ally (some of their fans are still living in that era)

    And I think you need to add a -1 category for players who bite…

  15. 20

    -5 for the spammer currently at #16.

    I think others have already mentioned these but:
    Croatia was absolutely an Axis ally in WWII. So, to all intents and purposes was Finland but they’re not in the WC. I’d give half an Axis demerit to several other countries, including Switzerland and Argentina. Oh, and then there’s Spain under Franco. He didn’t join the axis only because his country was totally ruined by the civil war.
    You need demerits for human rights abuses. Iran and Russia come to mind immediately.
    And how about environmental abuse? Japanese whaling, anyone? Brazilian deforestation? American coal-burning?
    We’ve actually just made a trip so we can watch USA-Germany on HD!

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