The World Cup is ominously close! So that you aren't caught offside (they have that in soccer, right?), we're previewing all the participants, bringing you Four Things You Don't Know About Them. If you have a tidbit, send it along to tips@Deadspin.com. Today: Angola! And for World Cup previews that are even better than ours, check out That's On Point, who helped us with these as well.
• 1. Know Your (Absent) Angolan Soccer Stars. Striker Pedro Mantorras (Benefica, Portugal) and Akwa are ready to go. But we're pretty sure that missing the World Cup will be Angola's Gilberto (Achilles tendon), Pedro Emanuel, Maurito (ligament injury) and Chainho, the latter because of eligibility questions. (He played for Portugal as youth).
• 2. Don't Forget, Their Flag Features A Knife. The country is a former Portuguese colony. Well, that's putting it nicely; Portugal colonized Angola in 1575, and for the next three hundred years or so used Angola as a source for slaves to send to Brazil. The Angolian FA crest features an Oryx, or some other African long horned deer. The flag of the nation, seen above, is pretty audacious. Red Star, machete, part of a tractor gear... who concieved this? Benito Trotsky? — (thanks to Mike Cardillo).
• 3. Billy Packer Doesn't Think They Belong In the Tournament. Not to disrespect the accomplishments of the Angolans, but there are about 20 teams more worthy of a spot than them. But much like the mid-major college hoops team that gets into the NCAA Tournament (to play Duke in the first round), Angola earned it, while the Nigerian Super Eagles sit home and practice their fadeaway jumpers with Akeem the Dream. Angola is currently running at about 20:1 odds to get out of their group; around 400:1 to win it all. — (thanks to Mike Cardillo).
• 4. This Time, It's Personal. Which team is Angola's first Group D Finals opponent? Portugal, of course. No rivalry there (see item No. 2). In two previous meetings, Portgual has beaten Angola, 5-1 and 6-0, both in Portgual. But if you're looking for an upset special in the WC, this could be your matchup.