Who To Root For When Your Nation Does Not Qualify

Hey guys, have you heard about this tournament that is starting soon? I guess it’s some sort of football competition where nations play against each other or something…

I haven’t heard much about it because I live in the greatest country of them all, and we play the real football. The United States of America, ever heard of it?

(This is where the editor will insert a stereotypical dumb American image or GIF because stereotypes are true and Americans are just that!) [Ed – would I? >>]

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let me introduce myself. My name is Andy. I’m an American, I just started following football two and a half years ago, and in that time I have fallen madly in love with Palace.

More to the point, my national team inexplicitly did not qualify for the greatest sporting event that our world provides. We lost to a country that has a smaller population than 75% of the states in America. So excuse me if I come off as a tad salty.

Since my team is losing to Ireland in a friendly as opposed to losing to Ireland at the World Cup, I wanted to take a look at the storylines and the teams that I can get behind and follow.

As a side note, the English media’s strange obsession of tearing down Raheem Sterling for no apparent reason is really quite something. I would say that it’s surprising to see a nations media act in that way but I live in a country where they now require football players to stand for the national anthem or else be penalised!

There are two things, and two things only that I want from this World Cup. Four big teams in the final four (some combination of Brazil, Germany, France, England, Spain, and Argentina) or total chaos. Who will you place a bet on?

Can you imagine a final of Nigeria versus Sweden? I sure can. Look, I have no idea who is going to win this tournament and if I had to pick one team to win it would be Belgium but only quote me on that if they actually win. Instead, lets look at some other teams that you could choose to root for if you are a poor sap like me and do not have a horse in the race.

SERBIA – Oh Captain, my Captain. Luka Milivojevic will be manning the Serbian midfield with United midfielder and wondergoal scorer Nemanja Matic at his side. Serbia will have a tough time advancing to the knockout stage with Brazil and Switzerland in their group. Luka will be solid and workman like throughout as always. It wouldn’t surprise me if they pulled an upset in some form.

SWEDEN: In year one AZ (After Zlatan), the Swedes qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 2006 and look to make some noise. Germany will be the only team that can guarantee a spot through to the quarter finals. I’m looking for Sweden to get past Mexico and join the Germans.

EGYPT: Mo Salah. That’s all.

ICELAND: Because the Viking War chant is cool and as a native Minnesotan, I thank them for letting the Vikings steal it!

Some quick hitters on other teams. Belgium has my favorite player outside of Palace in Kevin De Bruyne. Denmark has my second favorite player outside of Palace in Christian Eriksen. They still call Australia’s team the ‘Socceroos’. Lastly, Argentina still have Lionel Messi so it should be fun when they ultimately disappoint in dramatic fashion.

I think that basically covers everyone. Good luck to whichever nation you are from and cheer for and maybe in 2022 I can join you in the excitement as my team takes to the pitch in London. We all know that there is no way that this is happening in Qatar!

If that doesn’t work out, see everyone in 2026!




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