Italy thanks Zidane for their trophy.
Even pundits at renowned British publications like The Guardian have to throw their hands up occasionally when questioned about some of the more obscure teams and player in the World Cup. For a lot of Americans, the whole event seems cool, but getting up to speed can be daunting.
Behold, the Easiest Way to Get Up to Speed on the World Cup!
1) The Unlikely Fan
The site only has 3 posts, but man are they epic posts. If you follow American sports at all, your top priority is to read their comparison of each World Cup squad to an American sports team.
This will be more helpful once we get to the elimination rounds, but any time you’re sitting down to watch a match, it’s worth a scan to see if there are any dudes in particular to keep an eye on. Like any list of top 50 blabbity-blahs, there’s plenty to argue with here, but this is a well-thought-out stab (even if Steven Gerrard’s ranking is based solely on rep).
3) The Guardian World Cup Guide
This thing is jam packed. But my favorite part is the Fans’ Network. Normally, sports sites fall on their face when recruiting fans to discuss any sporting event — they typically select for people as vapid and cliche-driven as their hacks. But the Guardian, as always, seems to be the exception.
Before each game, I recommend reading the fan previews for the teams involved — they are frank, concise, and sometimes amusing. Just scroll down that homepage to “fan previews” for each group.
Ta-dah! Those three simple steps will give you a leg up on your officemates, family, friends, and weird-guy-sitting-next-to-you-at-the-pub. Enjoy the footy and come back here to chat about it!