World Cup Draw Features Political Intrigue Aplenty

>> Sunday

While parts of the world have been moving towards FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 for some time now, the draws for North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia were completed today. As always, the interesting part is seeing

A) Where there's the most chance for soccer to bring out the worst in people by becoming a metaphor for their national existence, and
B) Who Team USA is playing, "cuz this is Am-ay-ree-ka"

The answer to the latter is the winner of the Dominica-Barbados first round home-and-home-total-goals series. The Stars and Stripes received a bye to the second round series. Should Dominica advance, it could even mean two home games for the Americans. Dominica's facilities were somewhat lacking during qualification for the 2006 World Cup, and had to play their "home" game for their series against Mexico in San Antonio in front of a pro-Mexico crowd.

Should USA advance (Which is a damn near certainty), then they will enter a group stage semifinal round. Their opponents for this group will likely be Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, and Guatemala. Of the three group stage semifinals, this one is shaping up as the most interesting. For starters, it is the only semifinal stage to have two teams who qualified for the 2006 World Cup (USA, T&T). It also features a politically-charged match in Havana as the US travels to Cuba. Guatemala is also always a tough trip. The top two in the group advance to the Regional Finals in 2009. The US should advance, but it could get dicey along the way.

Elsewhere, the Asian draw features a spicy North Korea-South Korea matchup in Group 3.

Likewise, the European draw seems to be little short on drama.

  • Group 5 features regional heavyweights Turkey against minnows Armenia. Turkey perpetrated a genocide against Armenians many years ago and a lot of people haven't let it go. Could get prickly.
  • Group 6 not only features England against Croatia (the team that knocked them out of the 2008 European Championships), but also three different former Soviet Republics playing against each other (Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan). Ethnic hatred galore.
  • Group 4 features Russia going against former Dubya-Dubya-Two enemies Finland and Germany
  • Group 3 features the Czechoslovakia reunion as Czech Rep. and Slovakia meet. Also, fun with tongue-tied announcers as Slovakia faces off against Slovenia.
  • Group 8 sees Ireland return to the site of their humiliating defeat to Cyprus. It also sees tiny Montenegro, in their first official competition as a footballing nation, taking on World Champions Italy. Welcome to the party, boys.
  • Group 2 is WIDE OPEN. There really is no clear favorite among Israel, Greece, Switzerland, Latvia, Luxembourg, and Moldova. Frankly there shouldn't be.
Top Political Drama matches
USA-Cuba, Russia-Germany, Czech Rep.-Slovakia, Turkey-Armenia, Korea Republic-Korea DPR

Top GAMES to look forward to
England-Croatia, Possibly Canada-Mexico, Scotland-Netherlands, Italy-Ireland, England-Ukraine, Russia-Germany.


Vinnie 12:54 PM  

"Turkey perpetrated a genocide against Armenians many years ago and a lot of people haven't let it go."

Hahaha... I love the way you phrase that. It's like, "Those petty Amenians... Just move on, already!"

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