Wow! It has been two months since my last post. Longest ever.
I wanted to get some World Cup thoughts down. I have several rooting interests and I wanted to explain my choices. Who do I root for at any given time? I will rank them.
Number One: USA - of course I am going to root for my country. They haven't given us a lot of international success recently (other than their showing at the Confederation Cup last year in South Africa where they beat Spain). They seem to have a few unlikeable guys on their team (but who doesn't?) Landon Donovan really stepped up his game during his loan to Everton this past year. Clint Dempsey has played well at a world class level. And Altidore seems to play much better for country than he does for any of his clubs. I see the US getting out of the group stage but probably losing in the round of 16 (to Germany?)
Number Two: Germany - I have a lot of German in my family line. They have been consistently good for decades. I've been a fan of Michael Ballack (although he is sidelined for this tournament). I love their colors and their kits.
Number Three: Argentina - I could almost put them Two B because I have been a fan of them since '86 and Maradona's run through the Cup. I watched all of their games that year and have followed them at a distance for years. Now, I've actually been to Argentina and I have some Argentine friends, so that adds to the rooting interest.
Number Four: Netherlands - this small nation plays a creative brand of soccer and is always fun to keep an eye on. They are always "punching above their weight". They won't win, but they have two players that were fun to watch in the Champion's League (Sneijder and Robben).
Players I will watch: I will follow my favorite Chelsea players, Lampard and Drogba (Eng and Ivory Coast respectively). He doesn't get the accolades of Messi, Ronaldo and Rooney, but I think Drogba is the most complete player in the world. Lamps had a fantastic year as he helped lead Chelsea to the Premier League Championship this year (and the FA Cup).
Landon Donovan, I like his game and he was great at Everton this past year.
KaKa - had a down year for him at Real Madrid, but has been considered one of the top three players in the world in the past few years and he is also an evangelical Christian (like me).
Arjen Robben - plays for Bayern Munchen and the Netherlands. Scored some wonderful goals for Bayern during the Champions League this year (especially his rocket that eliminated Man U).
And of course I will be following the consensus best player in the world who plays for one of my favorite teams: Lionel Messi for Argentina.
My pick for Champion this year: Brazil (who I believe will beat Spain in the final).