A director’s take on the 2010 World Cup.
If you want to have a successful World Cup you have to have one team that you absolutely want to win. Three is even better. Five is fantastic. More than seven and you’ll start to have trouble keeping them straight.
Herewith, a few guidelines/ground rules:
- Everyone is required to support Brazil, it is absolutely the done thing.
- It is never ever OK to root for the oppressor over the oppressed—really, how terrible a person are you to want Portugal to beat Angola or France to dispatch Senegal? Hasn’t enough harm been done already? (And so, despite the global love affair with Obama, everyone, all the billions watching around the world, wants the US to lose.)
- You can simply follow the team of the country that issued your passport. This puts you in the category of fan, which means you must be willing to enter into arguments with people who don’t like your country about the relative merits of both soccer and national style. I would caution against going too far down this road. It leads to something that feels a lot like politics, which is much less fun than soccer and has, historically, led to many more bouts of hooliganism.
- Or you can support both your country of passport and your country of familial origin. Let’s say you’re Italian-American: Italy is much more likely to win than the US so the odds on your happiness have just improved. (Plus if the Italians win, as they did last time, you have something to crow about over all your friends.) This strategy merits consideration even if the country before the hyphen doesn’t have a prayer but does have a reputation for likeability and a certain grooviness among the fan base. There is nothing better to be at the World Cup than Cameroon—nobody knows anything about the place, but the word itself rolls nicely off the tongue and whenever the camera cuts to the crowd, they seem to be having a good time. Everyone likes Cameroon.