Listen, I’m not here to pretend like soccer is a sport that a majority of us, in the United States, care much about. That would be a lie. I watch here and there, I play FIFA on PS4, and I keep an eye on the world of soccer, like I do with any sport. I’m not saying it’s my favorite sport, it’s not even close, but I do like and appreciate good soccer when I see it. Tomorrow will be one of those days that you’ll be able to see good, high intensity, soccer. I’ve watched a few games so far since the World Cup started and I can’t lie to you, I’ve dozed off multiple times while watching a couple of them. One game that I didn’t, however, was Portugal Vs. Uruguay. The refs stayed out of the game, which is always a blessing, and didn’t call much as far as fouls go. Also, they entirely ignored Luis Suarez as he flopped every time there was even a thought of contact. The reason for telling you this is because I know how boring it can be at times with so few goals being scored. By now you may be saying, “no way I’m watching that garbage. I’d rather go to the dentist, have them jab at my gums for 15 minutes, and then listen to a lecture about how the reason my gums are bleeding is because I don’t brush well enough.” And if that’s the case, you really, really hate soccer and there is no need for you to continue reading. If you CAN tolerate it, though, hear me out. International soccer is inherently compelling in the fact that this is the worlds most popular sport. That alone makes it a very entertaining event to watch. While it may not be America’s favorite, it’s widely regarded as the most important sporting event, by far, for most countries. The importance of the World Cup was proven by Nigeria’s captain, John Obi Mikel. This man found out just hours before his teams match vs. Argentina, that his dad had been kidnapped and was being held for ransom. “EXCUSE ME? WHAT?” Yes, you heard me, kidnapped. His response to finding out that information was: “I knew that I could not let 180 million Nigerians down.” So he played in that match, knowing that his father’s life was in the hands of insane criminals. THAT’S just how important this the World Cup is.
Friday’s matches feature 4 of the 8 teams left in this tournament, and one could argue that they are the 4 BEST. The teams (France, Uruguay, Belgium, and Brazil) have the most individual talent and star-power among the teams left, especially on the attacking side of things. Below is a list of the two players on each team playing tomorrow, that I find to be the most fun. Keep an eye on them if you decide to watch.
France: Griezmann and Giroud
Uruguay: Cavani and Suarez
Belgium: Lukaku and Hazard
Brazil: Neymar and Willian
Each team is stacked with talent and Friday will be the best day of competition so far. There should be plenty of goals scored and spotty defense. Hopefully the refs don’t ruin anything by blowing the whistle every time someone flops as if they just tore every cruciate ligament in their leg. So, if you’re bored tomorrow, instead of scrolling through Instagram and getting upset when you see how much more fun people are having than you this summer… watch one of these games for a while, maybe you won’t hate it. Maybe you even decide which team you like the most, and hopefully they don’t disappoint (absolutely no grantees).