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Fifa World Cup 2014 Decoded

Brazilian+Maria+Eduarda+Sabba+sports+her+country%27s+colors.
Brazilian Maria Eduarda Sabba sports her country's colors.

Brazilian Maria Eduarda Sabba sports her country's colors.

Harry Kahn

Harry Kahn

Brazilian Maria Eduarda Sabba sports her country's colors.

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Get excited, soccer fans, the World Cup is just a few days away.  For AHS students who aren’t obsessed with FIFA 14 (easily the most exciting XBOX soccer game around), here’s a brief World Cup primer, which will explain why this international sporting event is bigger news than the Russian invasion of the Ukraine.

The World Cup is an international soccer tournament that takes place in a far-flung location every four years.   Four years ago, the World Cup was held in South Africa where Spain defeated The Netherlands to win the tournament. This year, Brazil is hosting and maniacal soccer fans from all over the world are convening there to cheer on their respective countries.  The different events will be held in soccer stadiums all over Brazil. These World Cup games are always an exhibition of national pride, and for those few, highly enthusiastic soccer fans at AHS, it’s no joke either.

 

Sophomore Noah Langhoff showing support of his favorite team.

Sophomore Noah Langhoff showing support of his favorite team.

Teams qualify for the World Cup by playing in regional tournaments in their confederations (AFC in Asia, CONMEBOL in South America, CAF in Africa, UEFA for Europe, OFC in Oceania, and CONCACAF for North America, South America, and the Caribbean).   Based on the number of countries in the region and past performances in the World Cup, each confederation receives a certain number of bids.

After 32 qualifying countries are determined, the teams are seeded and drawn into eight groups of four. Except for Europe (UEFA), which is permitted two teams, no group can have more than one member from each confederation in a group.  The teams in each group play a round-robin schedule against each other, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the round of 16, or the 2nd round.  After that, it becomes a single-elimination, knockout tournament until one champion is determined. From beginning to end, the tournament lasts for about one month.

In the USA, the World Cup hasn’t attained the same level of excitement as the Super Bowl, but everywhere else in the world it’s mandatory viewing. For AHS students who care deeply about soccer, the World Cup will be the perfect kick off for summer. Already the AHS soccer team is buzzing about their favorite teams and players.

“My favorite player would have to be the Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba,” said AHS varsity soccer goalie Charlie Van Allen,  “but I definitely believe that the Germans will be unstoppable this year.”  Most soccer aficionados however, were not quite so confident about their choices.

“In my opinion, the best player this world cup is the German left wing Marco Reus, “said Junior soccer standout Joel Brice. “But the World Cup is a tumultuous event, and I think that Germany, Belgium, Spain, and Brazil all have a fair shot winning the Cup.”

Every soccer fan has a favorite team and player, but the truly thrilling aspect of the Cup stems from the fact that any country or team, really, has a shot at glory.  So, when it is time to decompress after an incredibly strenuous exam week, flip on the television and catch a game or two of the 2014 FIFA World Cup to see what all the excitement is about.

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