Billions of people around the world have been getting turnt up over the past week:
Prince George took his first steps and Kelly Clarkson had a baby!
Additionally, the World Cup is back.
I’ll admit it: I don’t follow soccer. I don’t know all the rules, I don’t understand all the different professional leagues, and I don’t get why people laugh when I say Beckham is the greatest
human player ever.
However, I do watch soccer every four years. Yes, I’m one of those people. I know a lot of soccer fans look down on folks like me. I’m sorry. It is what it is. However, after spending many weeks in dingy hostels overseas with European hipsters over the years, I’ve learned to fake my soccer knowledge enough to avoid too much scorn.
So if you’re like me, and you feel a bit lost with this whole soccer thing, here are a few tips to help you pretend that you know what’s going on when watching the World Cup with your friends and family who are devoted soccer fans:
- Complain about the corruption of FIFA, the governing institution for international soccer. Reference the alleged bribes that encouraged FIFA to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. Your fellow World Cup viewers will think you are in the know. However, make sure to say “Qatar” really quickly so no one can accuse you of pronouncing it incorrectly.
- On that note, while watching soccer, call it “football” a few times. Soccer/Football fans get really excited about that and you’ll look cultured and distinguished.
- Reference a soccer “game” as a soccer “match.” I don’t know why. Fancy soccer fans also refer to the “field” as a “pitch.” That one will win impress your friends.
- Soccer fans reference the sport as “the beautiful game.” Although the rest of us know that Apples to Apples is the only game worthy of such a description, if you bust that phrase out at a World Cup party, you’ll score major points. The host may even let you take home the leftover Gouda.
- If someone asks you who you think will win the World Cup, just go with Brazil. If Brazil is eliminated, you’re on your own. If someone asks you who will win a particular “match,” just use some geography to answer that question in a somewhat reasonable manner:
South America > Europe > Africa > North America > Middle East
- I’m still not sure about the difference between Holland and the Netherlands, but that small country is apparently really good at soccer. So don’t laugh when someone says they think the Netherlands will win the World Cup.
- Please don’t complain about all the flopping in soccer. Soccer fans hate it when you say that kind of stuff and will promptly bring up the NBA, Lebron James, and Duke basketball. So just silently sip your Moscato when you see some guy flailing about on the pitch like he’s the worst actor in the world (other than Shia LeBeouf).
- To appear to be well versed in the game of soccer, and international politics generally, ask your couch neighbor during a World Cup viewing party why he or she thinks China or India can’t field respectable teams. It seems bizarre that the two most populous countries on Earth can’t each find eleven good players to form a team that can qualify for the World Cup.
- Landon Donovan is the only U.S. soccer play I can name and recognize. I think this is probably true for many other once-every-four-years American soccer fans. Do not ask where Landon is during a U.S. World Cup match in 2014. He did not make the team. This makes me sad.
So if you follow those basic rules, no one will make fun of you when you’re at a World Cup party (and secretly following baseball scores on your iPhone).