Australia’s 3-2 defeat of Syria in their final group game in the AFC Cup had resonance beyond the scoreline and the official booking of the Socceroos into the next round.
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You’ve probably read a lot of World Cup ‘guides’ written by ‘experts’ and ended up shaking your head in exasperation, crying, “Goodness gracious these people are fools”.
Thank god I found time in my busy schedule to write a proper guide to every country at the World Cup, providing you with all the information you need to enjoy the tournament in peace and prosperity. Here is part one of that guide.
Argentina is famously the home of Eva Peron, and generations of Argentine children have been raised to play football in the dashing style of the former first lady.
With superstars such as Lionel Messi and probably some others, Argentina is considered one of the favourites for the tournament, but it should be remembered that during the ‘Dirty War’ of the 1970s and 1980s, CIA-backed security forces embarked on a campaign of violent terror against political dissidents in Argentina.
Should the CIA again get involved, it could seriously destabilise the team’s tilt for the cup.
This is a country vaguely familiar to many of us, which goes into the 2018 tournament with the advantage of having played the most games to qualify, or to put it another way, the disadvantage of having played the most games to qualify.
Australia is likely to depend on its famous ‘Anzac spirit’ to see it through the tournament, meaning it will play for months on end at a cost of many lives before returning home utterly defeated. We can only hope.
Belgium, a country that appears once every one hundred years, comes about when France mates with Germany. Historically, Belgium is one of the Low Countries, which is an advantage in football because a low centre of gravity makes it difficult for people to push you over.
Belgians speak three languages at once, which will make things confusing for their opponents, and they’ll be relying heavily on that confusion to see them through the early rounds. Some Belgians are called ‘Walloons’, which is irrelevant but quite funny.
Brazil is very good at football, but there’s more to life than games and it’s time they realised that.
When most people think of Colombia, they think of one thing: domestic appliance firm Industrias Haceb S.A. This local manufacturing behemoth has ensured that every member of the Colombian World Cup squad has enjoyed state-of-the-art refrigeration, heating and microwave solutions, providing peace of mind and putting them in excellent shape for the coming clashes.
Everyone remembers Costa Rica as the home of Jurassic Park, but the tiny Central American nation is more than a dinosaur zoo: experts estimate there are currently up to thirty Costa Ricans with a good working knowledge of the rules of soccer. This is a big plus as they head to the World Cup, and you’d be surprised by how many people have tipped them to win the whole thing, although not all that surprised if we’re honest.
Everyone loves Croatia, the fun-loving, free-wheeling party destination on the Adriatic. Ever since the days of Ferdinand I, Croatian football has followed one simple principle: attack at all costs. The Croatian squad’s innovative 10-1 formation will turn some heads.
Denmark owns Greenland and is pretty cocky about it. Mocking Greenland’s economy is a good way to get inside a Dane’s head, and oppositions are likely to exploit this weakness. Denmark will win no games and probably cry about it.
Egypt is most famous for the Pyramid Building Society, an amazing ancient financial institution located in the country’s capital, Geelong. Egypt is pinning its hopes for the World Cup on its rock-solid defence, which is based around the principle that opponents cannot score if their feet have been smashed with hammers.
England last won the World Cup in 1966, the same year Australia changed over to decimal currency. Many people consider both of these events to be profound mistakes. This year England has high hopes for the World Cup, although nobody knows which sport they are referring to. It’s definitely not soccer, which they are terrible at.
France invented champagne, berets, the guillotine and sexual intercourse, all of which will be proudly on show during the French team’s procession through the tournament. Their game is based around a creative midfield capable of baffling even the most disciplined of defences with its discourses on free will and the nature of existence.
Will be a good chance to win the cup if they can remember not to surrender during the first five minutes.
Also known as ‘Friendly Valley’ and ‘The Land of Smiles’, Germany has lit up many a World Cup with its breezy, life-affirming style of play. More than two-thirds of Germany’s gross domestic product derives from the service sector, and you can expect them to press this fact home hard during the knockout rounds.
Expect to see a team crushing opponents with precise passing, ruthless finishing, and asymmetrical trade pacts. Germany will win the World Cup unless something drastic is done. Now is no time for appeasement.
Iceland’s team is 90 per cent Viking and 10 per cent grey seals. The volcanic geography of their nation is mirrored in the volcanic nature of their footballers, who are known for their bloodcurdling battle cries and tactic of setting fire to opposition goalkeepers.
Iceland has never won a World Cup and is only at this one due to a mistyping of the word ‘Ireland’.
Iran, from the Flock of Seagulls song of the same name, is perhaps the only country in the 2018 World Cup where football is illegal. This may or may not be an advantage to them in the group stage.
Japan is made up of 6,852 islands, all of which are required to supply one player to the World Cup squad. This has resulted in an accommodation crisis for the team in Russia, and many Japanese players have been forced to sleep in abandoned cars.
Other teams will be wary of the Japanese game style, which revolves around the mastery of electronics. Could be a surprise packet in the tournament if their thousands of players can mesh together.
Buoyed by the news that North Korea is good now, the brave footballers of South Korea can concentrate purely on the game at hand. This will likely prove very depressing for them, as they are not very good at it and will lose.
Tune in again for Part Two!