Choosing a new team to root for in the World Cup after your nation is eliminated.

How to Pick Your New Favorite World Cup Team

July 03, 2014 / by / 22 Comments

Now that the U.S. is out of the World Cup (cue ugly crying and incoherent racial slurs about Belgians), it’s time to figure out other ways to get excited about the tournament.

Oh, what’s that? You don’t give a shit anymore? Wait, really? Nobody at all gives a shit anymore? I see.

Regardless, if you decided after this World Cup that maybe soccer is an okay sport after all — even in light of Ann Coulter’s incredibly cogent and reasonable counterpoints — you are now in a tricky situation. You didn’t know much about soccer to begin with, and now you don’t even have a team to rally around. Fear not, for we have provided you with all the important information you need to continue pretending to care about the World Cup, and once you have another team to root for, you can continue being that drunk asshole who yells “WHERE’S THE FUCKIN FOUL?!” every time your team loses possession.

We will examine each team using five criteria, with each section worth a maximum of five points.

1. Quality of Team Nickname

Obviously, “The Coffee Growers” is the greatest nickname of the remaining teams. There’s really no question there. The only way it could be better is if the Colombians embraced the other common stereotype about their professions, but for some reason, “The Drug Mules” doesn’t have quite the same ring. Belgium provides a strong second as “The Red Devils,” which surprisingly isn’t the offensive mascot of an NFL franchise. Germany gets some extra points for having a team name that basically sounds like “ManShaft,” and Brazil gets a solid 4th place since their team name sounds like a ritual killing ceremony in a dystopic short story. The other ones are all pretty terrible.

2. Quality of Star Player

Although soccer is arguably the ultimate team sport, teams do have a tendency to be defined by their star players. Accordingly, it’s only fair that we ruthlessly judge each team according to their star player. Every player will automatically start with 3 points, and have points added or subtracted according to reasons we should or should not like them.

France: Karim Benzema
+1 for playing the World Cup while recognizing Ramadan
+1 for being defined by Wikipedia as “a potent finisher from inside the box,” but not being a pornstar
-1 for reportedly being nicknamed “Coco” as an eight-year-old, but not being a pornstar
-1 for playing on the same club team as Cristiano Ronaldo
Total: 3 points

Germany: Thomas Müller
+1 for winning the Golden Boot in the 2010 World Cup
+1 for getting headbutted by Pepe in the first match of the 2014 World Cup, causing Pepe’s suspension from Portugal’s U.S. game
-1 for scoring the goal that enabled Germany to beat the United States
Total: 4 points

Brazil: Neymar
+1 for only having one name
+1 for being ranked the 6th best player in the world in 2013
-1 for being ranked the 6th best player in the world in 2013 by The Guardian
-1 for looking like a member of a South American Blink-182 Tribute band
Total: 3 points

Colombia: James Rodriguez
+2 for scoring this fucking goal
+1 for doing this fucking celebration
-1 for pronouncing his name “Hom-ez” instead of “James”
Total: 5 points

Argentina: Lionel Messi
+1 for doing shit like this
+1 for effectively being Cristiano Ronaldo’s arch-nemesis
-1 for being nicknamed “The Flea”
Total: 4 points

Belgium: Kevin de Bruyne
+2 for giving Jermaine Jones a nice little back massage when he was hurt
+1 for looking like The Sherminator from American Pie
-1 for looking like a thirteen-year-old
-1 for scoring a goal on the United States, obviously
Total: 4 points

Netherlands: Robin van Persie
+1 for providing the first Internet meme of the 2014 World Cup
-1 for looking kind of like a younger Mitt Romney
Total: 3 points

Costa Rica: Bryan Ruiz
-1 for being a Costa Rican named Bryan
Total: 2 points

3. Teams They’ve Knocked Out of the Tournament Thus Far

France
–Beat out Ecuador and Honduras in Group stage
–Eliminated Nigeria in Round of 16
–1 point out of 5 for picking on countries with low GDPs

Germany
–Beat out Portugal and Ghana in Group stage
–Eliminated Algeria in Round of 16
–4 points out of 5 for defeating countries that have frustrated the US in past World Cups

Brazil
–Beat out Cameroon and Croatia in Group stage
–Eliminated Chile in Round of 16
–2 points out of 5 for only being able to defeat countries that start with the letter C

Colombia
–Beat out Ivory Coast and Japan in Group stage
–Eliminated Uruguay in Round of 16
–2 points out of 5 for eliminating the only player exciting enough to bite other people

Argentina
–Beat out Bosnia & Herzegovina and Iran in Group stage
–Eliminated Switzerland in Round of 16
–4 points out of 5 for beating countries that hate Croats, Gays, and Muslims, respectively

Belgium
–Beat out Russia and South Korea in Group stage
–Eliminated the United States in Round of 16
–2 points out of 5 for eliminating United States but also beating Russia

Netherlands
–Beat out Spain and Australia in Group stage
–Eliminated Mexico in Round of 16
–3 points out of 5 for beating the defending World Cup champions and a team with the audacity to call themselves the Socceroos

Costa Rica
–Beat out England and Italy in Group stage
–Eliminated Greece in Round of 16
–5 points out of 5 for defeating three of the most powerful empires in human history

4. Do we like this country?

It wouldn’t be the World Cup if we weren’t using our limited knowledge of complex historical affairs and cultural rifts to make snap judgments about which team we’d rather see suffer an emotionally devastating defeat, so naturally, we’ve got to factor what we feel about each country into our calculations.

France
Of course not. Nobody likes France. They wear stupid hats and chain-smoke while ruminating about how much they hate Americans. Most egregiously, they didn’t support America’s God-willed and completely justified foray into Iraq into 2003, rightfully and temporarily robbing them of their namesake French fries. That’s no way to treat the country that saved you from the Nazis seventy years ago.
2 points out of 5

Germany
I think we like Germany? Angela Merkel’s a pretty bad bitch. Besides that one time they exterminated 11 million innocent people, Germans seem like pretty rad dudes. They’re really just like us; they speak a Germanic language, they like meat and beer, and they’ve gotten great at avoiding their gruesome history.
4 points out of 5

Brazil
It’s hard not to root for the home team, even when the home team’s government spent billions of dollars on extravagant stadiums while its people suffered in abject poverty. Plus, Brazilian chicks, right?
4 points out of 5

Colombia
Assuming you’re not a NARC or Pablo Neruda, you probably have nothing against Colombia, I suppose.
3 points out of 5

Argentina
Argentina is supposed to be a pretty nice country. They had some beef with the British in the 1970s, but that doesn’t really concern Americans. But we’ll deduct a point to punish everyone who studied abroad there in college and won’t shut up about it.
3 points out of 5

Belgium
Who minds Belgium? They’ve brought some great waffles and chocolate into the world. That being said, we will take a point away from them for marketing Stella Artois as a premier import beer when it really tastes like carbonated mule piss. And we’ll also take away another point because we’re still bitter they knocked us out of the World Cup.
3 points out of 5

Netherlands
The Netherlands are hard not to like. In the last 600 years, they’ve never tried to cause any trouble to anyone who didn’t belong to an indigenous tribe in South Africa or the Indian Ocean. We mostly think of them as we think of Amsterdam: laid back, probably on some serious drugs, maybe a hooker. Pretty damn likable, if you ask me.
4 points out of 5

Costa Rica
COSTA RICA HAS BEAUTIFUL BEACHES AND AMAZING FORESTS AND JUNGLES AND INCREDIBLE WILDLIFE LIKE MONKEYS AND FUCKING SLOTHS. SLOTHS, PEOPLE. Yes, it also has some areas that are devastated by poverty and violence, but SLOTHS.
5 points out of 5

5. Deservingness (that’s totally a word)

While the above factors are important, we do also want to consider how much a team deserves to win. Are they all total pricks? Have they run the table on soccer for ages? Is their coach maybe the devil? Here’s what we came up with.

France
France has had some hilarious crushing defeats in recent years; in 2002, they failed to make it out of the Group rounds after winning the whole damn thing in 1998. In 2010, they again failed to make it out of the Group rounds after finishing as runner-up in 2006. So as much we hate France, it’s not like they haven’t already suffered their fair share of terrible losses in recent years. Do they deserve to win the whole tournament? Ehhhhhh.
3 points out of 5

Germany
Although Germany hasn’t won a World Cup title since it was called West Germany, they have placed 3rd in the last two World Cups, and 2nd in the one before that. It’s hard to say definitively that they deserve a World Cup victory, but I mean, if you crack the top 3 in three consecutive tournaments, it’s got to only be a matter of time.
3 points out of 5

Brazil
I don’t think Brazil, as a team, deserves the title any more than another team. That being said, if they were to win it, it would get the world closer to being able to justify the horrifying absence of ethics demonstrated by the Brazilian government in the process of preparation for the World Cup. The millions of impoverished Brazilians deserve the World Cup title, for sure.
4 points out of 5

Colombia
In Colombia, we have something of an exciting underdog story. They have never placed higher than 14th in the World Cup. Radamel Falcao, one of the best Colombian players of all-time, had to miss this World Cup due to an injury. Their team does dances when they score goals. It’s pretty hard not to root for Colombia.
5 points out of 5

Argentina
Argentina eked out narrow victories over Iran, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Nigeria, and Switzerland to get to the quarterfinals. Maybe Messi deserves to win the World Cup, but the rest of the team probably doesn’t.
1 point out of 5

Belgium
Belgium is not historically a soccer powerhouse. In fact, they didn’t even qualify for the last two World Cups. Sure, they deserve to at least advance to the semifinals.
3 points out of 5

Netherlands
With some of the most exciting players in the game, like Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie, and a tough loss to Spain in the last World Cup final, Netherlands definitely deserves a good run this time around.
5 points out of 5

Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s story in this World Cup seems straight out of a storybook. With only its fourth ever World Cup qualification, they miraculously won their group of Italy, England, and Uruguay — three teams in the top 10 of FIFA’s rankings. Costa Rica’s football team is living out a real Cinderella story.
5 points out of 5

Totals

So, there you have it. We recommend you drunkenly support Colombia, followed by Germany and Costa Rica. This can be amended, of course. If you have a best friend from Argentina, root for Argentina. If you once made a lovely trip to Belgium, root for Belgium. If you have a hairy scrote instead of a face, root for France. What’s more important, though, is that whatever the team, you get just as excited and obnoxious about the World Cup as you did when the United States was competing. Because if we’re not being boisterous alcoholics in public for no reason, then why are we even here?