– It’s that time again. Every four years, the world’s thirty-two best soccer teams meet in a predetermined county – this year it will be Brazil – to compete for The World Cup. The opening match is Thursday, and the World Cup final will be held on July 13, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro.
This is the world’s sport, which captivates citizens across the globe. Over a billion people – yes, billion with a “b” – viewed the final match of both the 2006 and 2010 World Cup finals. So, for the next few weeks, I will certainly be musing about the beautiful game’s largest tournament.
Americans aren’t drawn to this massive world event. According to a recent poll, 86% of Americans know nothing or little about the World Cup, two-thirds won’t be following it, but 7% will be following it closely.
I’m not going to hypothesize why that is. I’m sure there are several reasons. I’m one of the 7% who will be following it closely. And I’ll likely be musing about it.
If you’re one of the 86%, let me start you out with how this works. I’ll do this slowly as the tournament proceeds.
The first step is the Group Stage. The 32 teams that have spent the last couple years qualifying in their regions for a place in the World Cup, are randomly drawn (with some rules to evenly distribute teams by national regions) into eight groups of four teams. Each team plays every team in their group once. The winning team gets 3 points, and if the match ends in a draw, both teams get 1 point. The top two teams in each group advance to the next round. If there is a tie in the number of points, goal differential (goals for minus goals against) is the first tie-breaker, and if goal differential is tied, then whichever team has the most goals breaks the tie.
The groups for the 2014 World Cup are as follows:
Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon.
Group B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia.
Group C: Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan.
Group D: Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy.
Group E: Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras.
Group F: Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria.
Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA.
Group H: Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea.
The United States is in Group G, which you’ll hear referred to as “The Group of Death.” This is because most groups have one or two dominant teams which should advance, however Group G has four quality teams which means two quality teams will be eliminated after this round.
Thursday the tournament begins with Brazil vs Croatia. ESPN and ESPN2 will be televising the matches, so check your local listings for times.
– I seem to have a lot of premiere’s on my calendar this week.
On Wednesday evening in Troy, Grey Wolfe Publishing is holding a Summer Launch Party for a number of books in their line. I will be there to sign copies of my novel, The Y in Life. For details, go to Grey Wolfe Publishing’s website.
On Thursday evening in Detroit, Lolita Hernandez will be releasing her new collection of short stories, Making Callaloo in Detroit. Details HERE.
On Friday evening, the Cass Cafe in Detroit will be opening the art exhibit, Marie Mason: Prison Work, which runs through June 21st. For now I’ll say that Marie Mason graduated from Plymouth Salem High School in 1980 with me, and is currently serving time in Carswell Federal Prison in Fort Worth, Texas. I’ll write more about her story on Friday. For now, here’s the info on the opening, and a song by the fabulous folk singer, David Rovics about Marie.
4620 Cass Avenue
July 13, 2014