Since U.S. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann said that the Americans can't win this World Cup, welcome to the greatest 2014 World Cup preview you will read that has zero analysis of any games or teams. I've included random facts and interesting tidbits about players, and stay tuned for a never-before-seen picture of the best soccer team to ever play and me!
- The youngest player at the World Cup is Fabrice Olinga of Cameroon born on May 12, 1996. (Thanks to Grantland for this nugget.)
- The oldest player at the World Cup is Pele born on October 23, 1940. He might not actually play for Brazil during the World Cup, but I guarantee that you'll see him everywhere.
- Landon Donovan will not be on the US team. Instead, you might see him at a local bar near you assuming that you live in Los Angeles. Personally, I'd love to see him serve as a studio analyst for ABC/ESPN. What amazing awkwardness there would be after the US loses a game ("Well, Alexi, if I was playing...") or wins a game ("I'm happy for all of my teammates though the coach is a dick."). UPDATE: ESPN listened to me.
- Jose Cholevas of Greece is the only member of the team with a first name that doesn't end with a s.
- Meanwhile, Gabriel Paletta is the only member of the Italian team with a first name that doesn't end with a vowel.
We interrupt this preview for a picture of Ziggy with a soccer ball.
- I hope that Eden Hazard, midfielder for Belgium and Chelsea, becomes a duke.
- Korea has five players named Kim, four players named Lee and three players named Park. Does that make it easier or harder for the announcers?
- While Fosters is Australian for beer, Ben Foster is English for back-up goalie.
- I challenge you to accurately pronounce the name of Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka.
- The Washington Post created an article of the 10 most-eye catching wives and girlfriends at Brazil's World Cup. This makes me proud to be a Sunday-subscriber. What a list!
- Congrats to Italy's Mario Balotelli on his engagement! Just to show you how strong the Washington Post list is, Fanny Neguesha didn't make it. There may need to be a recount.
Mario Balotelli has struck first in Brazil, popping the question to girlfriend Fanny Neguesha and getting engaged! pic.twitter.com/VJz8lWyDZx— Nikolas Postinger (@nikpostinger) June 10, 2014
- Shakira is #1 on the Post's list and she and her husband, Gerard Pique, recently visited the National Zoo here in DC. [DC Sports Bog]
- Koke is a midfielder for Spain. K is for Koke, that's good enough for me.
- Sammir and Eduardo don't sound like traditional Croatian names.
- Although Memphis Depay is a forward for the Netherlands, this could be the name of a blues artist or BBQ restaurant.
Time for this incredible video by John Oliver about FIFA's corruption. There's a few bad words here, so it could be NSFW.
- It's nice to see that Dante has a new hobby being a defender for Brazil after writing his Inferno.
- Australian midfielder Tommy Oar is such a big fan of the group O.A.R. that he changed his last name. Of course, his previous last name was Minogue.
- I'd like to congratulate defender Francisco Rodriguez and midfielder Carlos Pena for making the Mexican team. They also both have had successful baseball careers.
- Shlomo Cohen barely missed making the Iranian World Cup team.
- Landry Nguemo & Edgar Salli are both midfielders for Cameroon. I cannot confirm or deny that they are named for Pittsburgh Steelers QB Landry Jones or Pittsburgh Attorney Edgar Snyder.
- Gotoku Sakai made Japan's 23-man roster. I'm trying to put this delicately, but Sakai doesn't quite look Japanese. He looks more American which makes some sense since he was born in New York. I need to learn more about his journey.
- I saw Honduras midfielder Andy Najar play on DC United. Um, that's all I've got.
Time for another picture of Ziggy with a soccer ball!
- Fresh off his 9th French Open title, Rafa is playing forward for Portugal. I can't see Spain being okay with this.
- Former University of Pittsburgh basketball player and current member of the Oklahoma City Thunder Steven Adams plays goalie for Ghana. To make everyone believe that he is not playing soccer during the basketball off-season, he changed the spelling of his name for soccer to Stephen.
- I hope every American player and fan constantly says "Good night, John Boye" to Ghana's defender before and during the game. I think John Boye would be really confused.
Finally, thank you very much for making it this far. As a reward, here is a picture of me with the Pittsburgh Spirit. I can't identify the players but I really hope that Paul Child and Stan Terlecki are in here.