Hello, dearest reader. My name is Keith Hickey, and for the coming months leading up the the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, I’ll be getting you ready with previews, profiles, and retrospectives about the World Cup. Without further ado, let the magic begin…
Every World Cup brings new experiences to the table. Each tournament has its own legendary games, new heroes, and lasting images. But as the French novelist Alphonse Karr once noted, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” With that in mind, here are my 25 sure-fire, 100 percent correct predictions for the World Cup.
1. Pundits will categorize every team based on perceived national characteristics. Some will be fairly true, others will be lazy journalism. But expect to hear references to how sexy the Brazilians are, how organized the Germans are, and how plucky the English are.
2. Even though he’s not in this tournament, Brian McBride will bleed from the face at some point.
3. The image of Nelson Mandela will be everywhere.
4. England will lose on penalties.
5. The Netherlands will lose on penalties.
6. Love ’em or hate ’em, there’ll be lots of vuvuzelas.
7. Any upset victory or hard won draw will instantly receive the name “Miracle of ______”
8. England will play a former colony or war enemy. The Sun will run a terrible, possibly racist pun in its headline.
9. A slightly above average player from a slightly above average team will score several goals and be hailed as world class for three weeks.
10. Diego Maradona will say or do something terribly stupid.
11. The advertising teams at Nike and Adidas will take hyperbole to the next level.
12. Bono will be involved. Somehow.
13. An Italian player will end up as a trivia question.
14. Bruce Arena will be condescending to someone.
15. Even if the United States wins the World Cup, Bob Bradley will not smile.
16. Any fans trying to purchase a Whopper and a Pepsi with a MasterCard will be deported. And possibly waterboarded.
17. Someone English will break a metatarsal, facing several weeks of agonizing media coverage.
18. Spain will absolutely dismantle a mid-major team.
19. Expect gratuitous shots of a shirtless David Beckham.
20. Germany or Argentina will be involved in the best game of the tournament.
21. In all likelihood, Brazil will win.
22. Sepp Blatter will be subtly corrupt. Jack Warner will be blatantly corrupt.
23. Someone from a former Soviet nation will ruin his reputation.
24. Michael Bradley will pick up a red card at some point.
25. A Brazilian with one name will do something we’ll still be talking about fifty years from now.
So there it is, sports fans. My top 25, sure-fire, bet-the-farm-on-them World Cup predictions for South Africa 2010. Check back next week for another round of insight-filled World Cup preparation. If you want to tell me how great I am in the meantime, you can find me on twitter as @usarsnl.
Keith Hickey is a contributing writer for The Yanks Are Coming. He can be reached at USArsnl@gmail.com.