Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Comparing World Cup Sides to NFL Teams

A few days ago, Jesse Spector over at The Sporting News published this hilarious piece comparing World Cup teams to MLB teams. The only problem is there are only 30 MLB teams so he was forced to exclude two World Cup teams from his comparison. He chose to exclude the US and Brazil. Fortunately, there are 32 NFL teams so I'll be able to cover all 32 World Cup entrants.

Have won the World Cup more than any other nation and their fans will never let you forget it. There is only one rational comparison here. 

There is something to be said for consistency. Advancing to the knockout stage in multiple consecutive tournaments is something. Not being able to get past the first round of the knockout stage in any of them is also something.

Have the playmakers to be explosive and a threat to anyone. Have some of the wildest uniforms in the competition. Unfortunately, they are maddeningly inconsistent and can't get out of their own way.

Play undisciplined and take ridiculous penalties that cost them any chance of winning. They've been around quite a while but have not been good at this level for a long time.

They wear Orange. They lost in the last Championship Game. They have a ridiculous offense but didn't play up to their potential and in their normal style in the last Championship Game. I think you know where this is going.

All offense, no defense. Can run with almost anyone in the world on the offensive end but are a defensive liability.

The defending champions that flamed out before even getting to the knockout stage. In the end, their players and style of play were drastically over-hyped and they just didn't show up.

They came. They saw. They went home. Had the potential to give a few teams a run, but ultimately lived up to their expectations of coming in last in the group. Made a few games exciting with offensive outbursts.

Up-and-coming young team that had a knee injury to one of their key offensive players before the tournament started. Have played incredibly stingy defense and gotten contributions from some young exciting  talent on offense and still managed to top their group. A serious threat to make a deep run and a team that a lot of people are jumping on their bandwagon.

Have one offensive star that has pretty much carried the team along with a strong defensive line. Their weakness is in the middle and in being able to turn defense into offense. Have never had a ton of success and it would be a huge accomplishment to just make it to the knockout stage. They wear blue and are from an economically disparaged area that has received a huge government bailout.

"Golden Generation" of players raised them out of anonymity and made them relevant on the biggest stage. However, they never fulfilled their expectations and now have to regroup with a new set of players.

Have one extremely good world-class player and 10 other guys on the field with him. Their top player is capable of single-handedly taking over games, but the supporting cast really isn't good enough to get anything significant done.

The biggest surprise of the tournament so far. Have a lot of people shaking their heads and asking how they topped what is arguably the hardest group in the tournament. A team without much history or tradition that is riding a wave of emotion but will probably flame out early in the knockout stage.

They have had some success in the past and have young, gifted offensive playmakers. Have been a polarizing team in previous tournaments thanks to the attitude of their star player.

Their nickname is in reference to their Blue jerseys. They have had great success in the past and have won multiple Championships. Most of their championship game wins were considered upsets but they have a rich tradition (even if it does involve whining).

 Without a doubt the most over-hyped team with the most over-hyped players that never live up to their expectations. Supposedly the "standard" of the sport but have been gigantic disappointments lately. Their star player is a gigantic choke artist.

One of the most difficult teams to predict year-to-year. At their best, have ridden a shut-down defense to a Championship. At their worst, are hounded by in-fighting and team discord. Capable of playing with the best but also capable of choking at key moments.

The team you have no idea what to make of. Are they actually any good? They are like world-beaters at home and have scored some huge victories there recently. However, outside of their friendly confines they are absolutely awful. It's still impossibly to predict how this team will perform.

They wear red. They are boring offensively. They play defense and feature just enough offense to get it done.

Have never done anything of significance at this level. Perennial losers. You know where this is going.

A potentially explosive offense with one of the best players in the world at his position. There are questions on the defensive end and with the cast around their star player, but he is capable of carrying this team on a deep run.

Who says you need to score to win? Ride your defense and hold on to any lead you get to somehow sneak forward in the tournament. They wear green. Have had success in the past and pulled one of the biggest upsets in soccer championship game history, albeit in slightly different arena.

Looked like a very good outfit on paper, but laid an egg and was one of the first teams eliminated. A lot of people thought they could advance deep into the knockout rounds but ultimately there was more hype than substance. Uniforms routinely listed as some of the worst in the competition.

Not very offensively gifted. Have had some success in the past but never much past the group stage. Play decent defense but don't have the scoring capacity on offense to compete at this level.

Perennial powerhouse that is always in contention. They are loaded with offensive talent but don't always play the prettiest game. They are not afraid to do whatever it takes to win, but at their best are absolutely lethal.

Incredibly hyped team with loads of young talent that is growing in popularity but hasn't actually won anything yet. Went through a stage of "this will be the year" but seemed to have finally turned the corner after they put a guy with a German name in charge. Coach is fiery and feisty. Not afraid to jettison some of their aging players in favor of young, unproven talent.

Nemesis to the United States. Have some talented players but haven't quite been able to put everything together. Have been successful recently thanks to one World-Class player and a mediocre supporting cast. Would have done better if the other teams in their group weren't as good.

Have arguably the best player in the world who also happens to be a gigantic douchebag. Best player makes a big deal out of his haircut. Everyone hates them because of one or two players, who are good enough to carry them on deep runs into the tournament.

Trendy pick to make a deep run. On paper are loaded with offensive talent but it hasn't been on display yet. May be too young and the stage may be too big for them to live up to their expectations.

One of the biggest surprises of the tournament has been their offensive explosion so far. In a relatively weak group, they are making waves. Have been a feisty, challenging team in the past but look poised to enter the knockout stage this year. They wear green jerseys.

An easy team to hate given their tradition. Organization is under flak right now for a variety of reasons. Growing unpopularity across America. You probably can't name more than 2 people on their team anyways.

There are no real superstars on the team but they play a good team game with strong fundamentals. They will hang around but aren't going to blow anyone out of the water.

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