This Friday, host South Africa will take the pitch against Mexico, and the 2010 World Cup will have officially kicked off. On Saturday, England and the US square off, and the Netherlands will try to penetrate Denmark's defense in their first game on Monday. This year, unfortunately, I will most likely be stuck watching many games on tape or hearing the results from others - although the games are at easily-viewed times, I don't really do anything other than close at work.
Anyway, my football affections will be directed towards England - land of my forefathers (and my mum) - and the Netherlands - ancestral land of many good friends. This may be the year the English side puts to rest (temporarily, at least) the old "What's the difference between England and a tea bag?"1 joke, and the Netherlands also finds themselves in a very winnable group.
Often, though, I find it easier to decide who to cheer against in a match, rather than who to cheer for. I wouldn't be able to stomach Cristiano Ronaldo's smirk should Portugal win, and I fear that, should Argentina win, pictures of Diego Maradona's Buenos Aires birthday suit romp will somehow invade my computer. The Italians and the Brazilians are always popular choices2, but they've won plenty, so they can bugger off. And, of course, the US and France can't ever really be cheered for (although I chose France as the lesser of two evils in 2006).
The countdown is on, and the next few weeks should be extremely entertaining. And possibly lonely, unless I can convince Meaghan to put up with me.
1 - The tea bag stays in the Cup longer
2 - Those two teams actually provided me my first World Cup experience when, in 1994, Italian fans cheered, waved flags and honked their horns through the streets of Ottawa (where we happened to be), despite the fact that Brazil won