If you were not aware, today is the start of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. If you are aware and are as excited as I am, let’s be friends! If you are not aware, please see this overview from the Bleacher Report and come back to this article once you are done! You’re back now? Cool, are you excited? Let’s be friends! If you read that and/or already were aware and you do not care, please park your eyeballs on my blog over the next month and you will get super-excited for the World Cup! If not for the actual product on the field, then hopefully these six bits of hilarious drama will jump start your interest in some of the storylines for the beautiful game’s pinnacle of soccer glory.
Sacré bleu (and other French profanities no French person actually uses!)
French international Samir Nasri is one of my favorite players and a critical cog in my team, Manchester City. His goal against West Ham ultimately proved to be the Premier League Winner, and his goal against Sunderland in the League Cup Championship won that competition for the Sky Blues, as well. After a disappointing 2012-13, 2013-14 has been quite good for the French Midfielder.
However, he can, at times, have a bit of a personality problem. His poor season from 12-13 was rumored to result from disagreements with former Manchester City coach Roberto Mancini, and he has been called a bit of a diva and has had turbulent go rounds with his French National teammates. When Nasri was left off the roster for the World Cup, for a second time, by French National coach Didier Deschamps, the French coach admitted it was due to Nasri’s standoffish behavior and it was selection that took into account team chemistry. Ouch!
So how does the talented French left Mid respond? A stern letter? A press release? Crop circle? Airplane banner? Naw, let’s throw caution to the wind and have his girlfriend draft an expletive-laden rant against the French coach! C’est magnifique!
The only problem with said rant? Apparently it is a civil offense in France to commit a public insult (we’ll leave the “WHAT?” moment of that out of this story) and now Deschamps had his feelings hurt and is filing a civil suit against Nasri’s girlfriend, Anara Atanes. Oops.
Atanes response to the whole dustup? Atanes has since tweeted: “I apologize if i offended anyone from france, My tweets were not aimed at the nation as a whole.” Well duh and way to take back nothing…
LD is LOL’d
Probably the bit of news you were most likely to have heard was the exclusion of the iconic Landon Donovan from the USA’s final roster of 23 players that will be headed to Brazil. It was and still is a huge controversy and will be an overly belabored talking point in all US Team coverage.
Controversy on the decision aside, the more hilarious part of this story was the son of US National Coach Jurgen Klinsmann posting a tweet laughing about the fact that Donovan was left off the roster.
Every person knows that no matter how hard you try, you just can’t convince some people to not post things to social media. Jonathan Klinsmann, Jurgen’s son, quickly learned a valuable lesson. Not only did he receive major backlash from the Twitter-verse, but he suffered the stern admonition from his dear old dad. The US under-18 goalkeeper had his twitter account deleted and got a talking to. Jurgen said, ”He realized what he’s done, so he was devastated yesterday. And obviously as a father you put him in line and he owes him a huge, huge apology. That was highly disrespectful, and I think he got his biggest social media lesson that he could imagine.” A talking to from your dad? It happens. Having that talking to publicly broadcast across the entire world? Lesson learned.
If the last two points have taught us anything, fine readers, it is to make sure your brain moves faster than your thumbs/typing fingers. Also, if anyone connected to you is famous, especially your immediate family (are you listening Victoria Jennings?) you might want to just skip it all together and vent it all into the old fashioned diary.
Cameroonian Players Grounded due to Unpaid Bonuses
Apparently Cameroon’s players wanted their World Cup bonus a little early and more than originally promised. They dis-liked what they were getting so much they initially refused to board their plane for Brazil until the matter was settled. One way to rally your country for a dark horse run in the World Cup is to put up the equivalent of a teenage tantrum for not getting an advance on your allowance while 30% of the population of Cameroon don’t have jobs and 48% are below the poverty line. The whole saga comes off as a bit of privileged whining from a roster of players that are only made up of two players that play in Cameroon. But don’t worry folks, the matter was resolved and you won’t miss out on all your favorite stars from Cameroon!
You might be asking how all this was resolved so quickly before the World Cup? Well, when the Cameroon Football Federation was left in this pickle, it solved the problem by taking out a personal loan in order to pay the players their bonuses before leaving for Brazil. Heartening to know one of the 32 teams in Brazil are playing on an IOU. Comforting, surely.
No Boom-Boom Before Big Fight
For some reason, despite research the contrary, coaches continue to view amorous liaisons as having a detrimental effect on to the efforts during a game. Miguel Herrera, the Mexican National coach, outright banned his players from having sex during their time in Brazil for the World Cup. Herrera was quoted during a press conference, “If a player cannot endure a month or 20 days without having intercourse, then you are not prepared to be a professional.” Apparently Herrera is shooting for the whole repressed sexual aggression vibe to stoke the fires of winning amongst his players. Something that would not sit well with Charlie Sheen, the King of Winning.
Not to be outdone in weird, sexually repressive demands, Brazil Coach Luis Felipe Scolari said of the World Cup favorites, “The players can have normal sex during the World Cup. Usually normal sex is done in a balanced way but some like to perform acrobatics. We will put limits and survey the players.” I don’t think there have been any studies done on the injuries involved in “acrobatic sex”, but safe to say I am glad I am not the assistant of some assistant on the Brazil team, because the Brazilian team’s “acrobatic sex survey” is going straight to that guy and that is not something you can proudly tout on your resume.
Italian Jesus at the World Cup
Not to be outdone by the Italian National player, Andrea Pirlo, who actually looks like Jesus, Mario Balotelli, the controversial and always ridiculous Italian striker, decided to post this picture on Facebook of himself as the Christ the Redeemer statue:
Honestly, if you want a reason to watch Italy’s games, it is this guy. He is wonderfully talented, incredibly imposing when on his game, and exciting to watch. He is also constantly creating headlines for on the field and off the field antics. When he was a part of Manchester City, he allegedly set fire to his bathroom with fireworks and then was made Manchester’s “Ambassador of Fireworks Safety” a few days later. And that is merely the tip of the iceberg with this guy. Stay tuned, if Balotelli is on his game, Italy could win it all. If not, he could end up head-butting a guy in extra time.
Brazil is a Dystopian Warzone
Don’t be deceived by all the wonderful and colorful pictures of Brazil and Rio that you see during the World Cup. Brazil has been under-fire for years now due to economic and social instability, police-state tactics, and labor strikes leading right up to the days before the World Cup. Police invaded flavelas, inner-city slum areas, in order to clear out potential problems leading up to the World Cup, and have been known to just swoop in on suspected criminals and gun them down in public. Brazil resembles less of a progressing first-world country and more of the dystopian movie, Brazil.
The crazy thing is that the next World Cup is in Russia, who will have the same problems with human rights and political strife that it had in this year’s Winter Olympics. And then the next World Cup in 2022 is supposed to be in Qatar, a country full of political corruption, rumored slave labor building towns and stadiums for the World Cup, and requests to investigate fraud, corruption, and bribery in the selection of Qatar as the host country. But happy World Cup everybody! If you can’t get excited about the soccer and the players, at least get excited about the crazy crap that could happen while you tune in!