The World Cup has begun and I finally find myself with the time to do a bit of World Cup previewing. To be honest, the World Cup is probably the worst place to start watching soccer. It’s a knockout tournament, with few teams wanting to concede goals, which leads to a highly defensive form of soccer. In addition, a single penalty or red card can change a team’s fortune in this tournament, so you will see more diving and analysis of the ref’s calls than any other tournament or soccer.
Which teams to support? The answer is of course the United States. But most fans have a second or third team they are cheering on in the World Cup. It could be a team from your ancestry, or a team that plays soccer you like to watch.
What types of tactics are the teams going to use? I’ve talked a bit about the United States tactics, but if you want to read about the formations the other teams are using, check out Zonal Marking or Outside of the Boot. both have great write-ups about the 32 teams at the World Cup.
Which Games To Watch? Once the knockout rounds begin, every game becomes one to watch, but during the the group stage, there are some games that are more interesting than others. Soccer By Ives has some recommendations on what to watch. For me, I’ll be watching games with teams I don’t get to watch very often, like South American and Asian teams.
I’m looking forward to watching these games and I’ll be posting on twitter @bill_mk all World Cup long.