World Cup 2006

Today begins the biggest event in sports.  No, I am not talking about the NBA finals (although the Dallas Mavericks did win game one); I am speaking of the World Cup 2006 and it begins at 9am today in Germany.  The schedule gives us 29 consecutive days of futbol.  If you think that soccer is just a game, consider this: warring factions in The Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire) recently declared a ceasefire because their national team had qualified for the World Cup for the first time. 

Number-one ranked Brazil is the favorite, but I believe that it will be Argentina who becomes the first non-European team to win a World Cup held on European soil.  The Americans are currently ranked number 5 in the world, but are playing in el grupo de la muerte (group of death) along with Italy, the Czech Republic and Ghana.  In 2002, the United States surprised the world with a quarterfinal finish and hope to duplicate their success in Germany.  Spain fields a talent-laden squad but has a history of disappointing finishes in the World Cup.

At 9am (Pacific Time), the tournament will begin with host Germany facing off against Costa Rica.  The US plays on at 9am on June 12th, noon on June 17th, and 7am on June 21st.