8 teams to root for in the World Cup if your favorite country went bust in qualifying

Chicarito

The 2018 World Cup is almost upon us, and unfortunately for fans of the world’s most popular sport in the United States, Italy, the Netherlands, Chile, Ireland, and others, their nations won’t be represented.

While it’s certainly a disappointment for those teams, especially on the American side after their 2014 run to the knockout stage, their absences offer fans a unique opportunity to adopt another nation as their own for the next month.

Below are our eight best picks for fans to cheer for at the 2018 World Cup.

Brazil

Why they’re fun:

Brazil has long been the juggernaut of international soccer, having won six World Cups over the years — more than any other country on the planet.

But while that might make you think that they’re something of a New England Patriots/Golden State Warriors/Evil Empire of the sport, this team is undeniably likable. Neymar is the centerpiece of what should be a dazzling attack, supported by Paulinho and Philippe Coutinho, all of whom are marvelous to watch and could find themselves with the goal of the tournament.

Also, Brazil is playing for redemption. After cruising to the semifinal of the 2014 World Cup, they were embarrassed on their home soil by Germany, falling 7-1 after the German side scored four goals in six minutes in the first half. With how the draw worked out, Germany and Brazil could potentially meet for a rematch, either in the first match of the knockout round, or the final.

Can they win?

Undoubtedly. They’ve done it six times before and return with a more loaded team this year than four years ago. If you love reveling in the World Cup and want to adopt a team with a real chance to take home the trophy, Brazil is your squad for the next month.

You should root for them if….

You like rooting for the 2018 Yankees — even if you’re usually against their stacked roster, you have to admit that they’re fun.

Argentina

Why they’re fun:

Lionel Messi. He’s been the most entertaining player to watch on the pitch for virtually a decade, serving as both a creator and finisher with the ability to seemingly control the ball with his mind more than his feet. Messi is the rare athlete where any time the ball is at his foot, something amazing can happen — his moves past defenders cause audible gasps from the crowd no matter how far from the goal he makes them.

A World Cup win is all that is missing from his resume.

Can they win?

Yes. They were runners-up in 2014, losing a gut-wrenching final to Germany in extra time. If Sergio Aguero can find good form and contribute offensively by finally netting his first World Cup goal, there’s no reason to think they couldn’t make another run.

You should root for them if….

You like watching the best be the best on the biggest of stages.

Mexico

Why they’re fun:

Fans of the United States Men’s National Team may never want to admit it, but our greatest rivals are also a delightful team to watch, and there’s no reason to rob yourself of the thrill of watching them out of bitterness.

Entering the 2018 World Cup, Mexico is a live underdog — a team with enough talent to make noise in the tournament but certainly outmatched on paper. For fans of the USMNT, this is the rare opportunity to cheer for Chicarito, seen above, who is the happiest athlete on the planet after scoring.

Can they win?

They’re a long shot, but sure, why not. If they can figure out a way to steal a point from Germany and win their group, their path to the semifinal looks plausible. That said, the most likely outcome is a second place group finish that leaves them facing Brazil to open the knockout stage, which would be a tall order.

You should root for them if….

If you’re the type of fan to root for a team from your division to win the title once your team has been eliminated from playoff contention.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Source: businessinsider
8 teams to root for in the World Cup if your favorite country went bust in qualifying