Soccer! Football! The Beautiful Game! OL' NETTY! Yes, it's time again for 31 contending nations (plus England) to gather together for the World Cup. Now, soccer people (very much to be confused with pod people) will remind you that the World Cup is the most popular sporting event in the world. Of course, that's just another indication of how awful the world's taste is. The world loves soccer, Avatar, McDonald's, and Psy. If the world were a friend of yours, you'd make a wanking motion any time he tried to push a movie on you.
Now I am like most insufferable Americans in that I am only occasionally interested in soccer and am annoyed by soccer fans constantly expressing passion for their sport. Watching soccer is like watching 11 Justin Biebers play 11 Justin Biebers. That said, I will forever respect the sport's ability to generate HATE. The fact is that many soccer fans go to games specifically to hurt one another. I don't even think they know a game is being staged. They just want to find someone to shoot with a flare gun. And that's a fine sport by me.
So, in the spirit of worldwide xenophobia and terrifying displays of violent nationalism, let's go ahead and say HORRIBLE things about every single country participating in the tournament this year. As always, I did no research for this Hater's Guide. These observations are made strictly out of ignorance and blind anger. I think that's what soccer would have wanted. If you have any quarrel with the facts presented herein, that means I've done my job expertly. There will not be any corrections.
Let's take a look at the groups! Groups? Really? Oh, so this is a round-robin format? That is lamest name for a sports format ever. It's a busy bluebird format! I have a better name for the format: ANAL RINGWORM GAUNTLET. Much better.
Brazil: The home team. Land of thongs and garbage heaps! It's amazing that we're about to waste a month of everyone's time on this tournament when it's just gonna end with Brazil hoisting up the trophy and grinning like the entitled dicks that they are. What a letdown. Why even bother? To get to the average World Cup game, you will have to slalom through a harbor strewn with bloated corpses and fight off sentient armies of giant flying cockroaches that have evolved to feel real emotion. It's not worth it.
And yes, Brazil has its charms. People are naked there ALL THE TIME, and you can get hot meat carved for you in many different locations. But that meat will give you the wet beriberi. We're talking serious war diarrhea. And that gorgeous lady grinding against you at the local street fair? Turns out she's a diehard Catholic and won't let you feel her boob until you've met all 90 of her family members. Also, spiders. Brazil is a beautiful lie.
Croatia: Guys, Dubrovnik is the hottest new beach destination in Europe, and you can take a vacation there for NOTHING.
/watches you book overpriced airline ticket
/watches you fly for 15 hours
/watches you land in Croatia and spend another 16 hours in customs while being accused of war crimes
/watches as you realize everyone decided to vacation in the same spot as you
MWAHAHAHAHAHA. Everything I know about Croatia I learned from an issue of Travel & Leisure I read in a dentist's waiting room eight years ago. Apparently, you can go to Croatia now without getting your head chopped off. Which is nice! Unfortunately, the same can't be said of …
Mexico: ALL HAIL THE NEW COLOMBIA. I spent 10 weeks in Mexico as a teenager and I loved every second of it. The food is amazing. The people couldn't be nicer. Any country that caters to a tourist's whims the way Mexico did mine deserves better than to spiral into drug-war chaos and civic fecklessness. All that said, they're our natural continental rivals, so FUCK MEXICO.
By the way, shouldn't you people be better at World Cupping? FACT: Mexico has never advanced farther than the quarterfinals of this tournament. How is that possible? SOCCER IS THE ONLY THING YOU PLAY. We Americans came in third at the World Cup once and we SUCK at soccer. We don't even like it! Soccer is what all our white kids play when they get cut from the football and basketball teams. How are you so bad at this? You are like a nation-sized Rucker Park for young soccer talent. You should be CRUSHING us at every conceivable turn. You are nothing but wasted potential, Mexico.
Cameroon: Cameroon is one of those countries where you end up dying if your boat crashes into it. Anyway, always nice to have an African team on hand to capture the world's hearts before bowing out meekly to a traditional power well before the quarterfinals. FUN FACT: The World Cup has been won by a grand total of 3.5 countries throughout history. If your team isn't from South America or Europe, you are fucked. That's you, Cameroon. You're pre-fucked. NOW BRING BACK OUR GIRLS.
Spain: Defending champs and the people responsible for $300 prix fixe restaurants where you sniff a burning twig of rosemary before biting into a gummi bear that turns out to be a cube of beef broth. There are many good reasons to hate Spain. They speak Spanish with a terrible lisp. They will torture you using a testicle press if you do not proclaim undying fealty to the Catholic Church (I think this is still true there). They hate any portion of food that actually satisfies your appetite. And, worst of all, they live well. They eat lots of cured ham and drink lots of wine and take naps every day. And you wonder why half that nation is out of work. YOUR WORK ETHIC REPULSES ME, SPAIN.
Netherlands: Ah yes, Amsterdam. The city where you think you're gonna have a great time, only you get stoned at the hash bar at 10 a.m. and become incapacitated for the rest of the trip. You end up staring at all the hookers in the red light district but are too cheap/cowardly to actually buy one, and then you get hit by a bike, and then you want something to eat except you realize that the Dutch—despite living within a stone's throw of France—eat like Scandinavians and smell twice as bad.
Chile: This is one of those countries where rich asshole frat bros go on vacation and then come back as CULTURED rich asshole frat bros, and those people are the worst people alive. Those are the people who end up running Vice. "Bro, I went to Chile and got fucking wasted and SLAMMED tons of hot chicks. But I also saw some stuff there that really made me think."
Australia: I was born in Australia and I have dual citizenship and I have always kept that dual citizenship in my back pocket in case the insurgency begins and America's Hot Take Racial Holy War finally begins. But I'm gonna tell you something. Even if the president is assassinated and the NSA starts imprisoning everyone and there is a mass shooting on every block, I'm still probably NEVER gonna move to Australia. And with good reason. Everything is on fire. There are bugs there the size of dump trucks. And the beaches are essentially giant box jellyfish traps. You know how Las Vegas is a giant middle finger to Mother Nature? Australia is an entire continent of that. People aren't supposed to live there. Australia will try to kill you any chance it gets. Babies get eaten by fucking dogs there, man. No. Forget it. I'm staying here.
Colombia: Oh hey, how'd you guys get in? DRUGS. You're not fooling anyone here, Colombia. When a rich guy moves in next door and I never see him commute or he runs a shop that appears to have no customers but he lives like a rich man anyway, I suspect drugs. And that is how you got here. We all know that FIFA chooses its host countries and tourney entrants by demanding briefcases full of bearer bonds and bondage hookers and DRUGS. So many drugs. Enough drugs to make your eyes bleed. That's how you bought your way in.
Oh sure, Colombia. You say you've cleaned up your act. "We're safe now! We're clean! We won't kidnap Dennis Quaid this time!" You put on a good show when company is around. But one hit of la cocaína, and you will be back to stealing from piggy banks and using your brother's driver's license to mule heroin across the border. NATIONS DON'T CHANGE, COLOMBIA.
Greece: Here we have Europe: so cultured and elegant. Amazing food. Beautiful women. Tasteful old architecture. And over here we have Greece, the farting stepbrother of the continent, constantly relying on old glories (Hail to the Oliveskins!) to prop itself up, unwilling to acknowledge the ruinous, hairy civilization it has become. The national anthem of Greece is sucking a booger into the back of your throat. Greek food is the same food as the food in FIVE THOUSAND other Middle Eastern countries, and yet they pretend it's somehow unique to the region. The entire country is a shabby restaurant that should have been shut down by the health inspector five decades ago. I can get fried calamari at Applebee's now.
Japan: Everything I know about Japan I learned from watching the original Iron Chef, and what I learned is that Japan is racist as shit. Just the most homogeneous, racist country on the face of the Earth. You people in Alabama are amateurs compared to the Japanese. If the rest of the world died tomorrow and only Japan was left standing, the Japanese would hold a celebratory tea ceremony. They'd be ELATED not to have to put up with inferior cultures ever again. They would high five one another and go back to openly reading demon rape porn on the bullet train.
I'd also like to give a hearty FUCK YOU to Japan for inspiring today's American comic-book fanboy subculture. Your country is part of the reason our comic-book nerds are so utterly insufferable. It's the reason Kill Bill Volume 1 has that whole shitty anime sequence that makes me want to kill myself. Anime BLOWS.
Côte d'Ivoire: What's with the carrot above the "o"? I was told there would be no exponents to do for this World Cup. I had to go to the INSERT SYMBOL menu in Word for that. Took a whole eight extra seconds. Go fuck yourself, Ivory Coast. Spencer Hall says your team plays no defense. Sounds like a GLORY COAST to me. FUN FACT: Ivory Coast players have trouble playing defense because they have to pass through 16 military checkpoints set up by their government on the way back toward the goal.
Uruguay: Is this where all those hippies committed suicide? Anyway, Uruguay won a fluke World Cup ages ago, and they've been trying to recapture the moment ever since, thus making them the Clemson of South America. Why does Uruguay even exist? Look at the map. It's Brazil's toenail.
Also, Uruguay's most famous soccer player is Luis Suarez, who bites people. That's actually the most interesting thing that could ever happen during a soccer match, but still. Who goes around biting people? Lemme just get position here in front of the net OH HEY AN ARM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM. That's not normal behavior. Are Urugayans that hard up for food? Is there nothing to eat in that country except orange rice and human flesh?
England: AHAHAHAHAHA YOU HAVE NO SHOT. None. Zero. You are the Knicks of soccer. If only your national team could make like your EPL teams and import legitimately talented players from nations that aren't populated exclusively with ginger albinos who have a moping complex. Instead, you get the corpse of Wayne Rooney. Is David Beckham still on this team? David Beckham was fucking terrible. "Oh, but he was so good at corner kicks!" Well, that's brilliant. A player who excels only when the opposing team is dumb enough to accidentally boot the ball behind its own net. WHAT AN ASSET.
Let's talk briefly about England as a whole, because England is Ireland without the fun. English people like mayonnaise, lawn bowling, maintaining an antiquated class system, and ABBA, in that order. It's a relative's home that you dread visiting.
Costa Rica: This is where you go on vacation because you were too cheap to pay to fly to an actual, functional country, then you come back home with eighty scorpions that snuck into your luggage. I KNOW YOU BETTER THAN YOU KNOW YOURSELF, COSTA RICA. Your country exists mainly to block the way for old explorers looking for a passage to India.
But wait! I have actual soccer reasons for why the Costa Rican team blows, and that is that they are SNOW PUSSIES. Wahhhhhh wahhhhhh, it was cold and we couldn't see the ball! Oh my God, you guys are soft. I mean, you're not even pretending to be tough, the way we Americans do. You're just outright whiny and weak. This is not a beach vacation. THIS IS SOCCER AND SOCCER IS FUCKING WAR. You better be ready for snow, rain, thunder, spider floods, everything.
Italy: The worst. THE WORST. The Dwyane Wade of soccer teams. If it snowed during an Italy game, Italian players would treat every snowflake like an oncoming bullet. MAMMA MIA! THE-A SNOW BULLETS ARE-A LANDING ONNA MY MEATBALLS!
(flops a million times)
It's saying a lot that in a tournament LOADED with dislikable teams and players, Italy stands alone as the most despicable of the lot. I'm surprised they don't call lawyers onto the field every time that one dude with a Mohawk gets grazed by an oncoming shinpad. I would like any other team to win this tournament. Is North Korea playing this year? No? Well, I'd root for them over Italy anyway.
Italy is a gorgeous country with fantastic food that is run like the Five Points district of 19th century Manhattan. Two hundred years from now, when the rest of the world is toodling around in flying cars, you will still be walking through an Italian train station with your hands tightly clutching your wallet and phone, trying to catch a train that will be three hours late.
Switzerland. The most boring country in Europe and it's not close. Even Belgium is a goddamn adventure compared with Switzerland. Telling people you're from Switzerland is like deflating a balloon in front of them. Pearl Jam's "Nothingman" starts playing in their heads. Even the San Antonio Spurs are like, "Holy shit, that country is unexciting." I have been to Switzerland. I got drunk, took a gondola up a mountain, looked out from the top of the mountain, thought about jumping to my death, and then came back down and hopped on a train for the south of France as quickly as I could. Switzerland is useless to anyone who isn't a Nazi war profiteer.
Honduras: One of four countries with a soccer power index of ZERO, which seems low! You poor bastards. Honduras is also the country that we use as a testing ground for engineering government coups. Whenever we need to stage a coup in an important country, we do a dry run in Honduras to make sure it'll go as planned. So, Hondurans, you're welcome for the world's highest murder rate! If someone isn't killing you in Honduras, don't fear. A volcano will explode in your face 12 seconds later. Either way, your goal of instant death will be achieved.
France: You already know that the French are insufferable, but what makes them uniquely horrible is the way they export their insufferability. They are a country that manufactures literally nothing else except their own disdain for other countries, and that disdain acts as a communicable disease for any foreigner stopping by for a visit. This is especially true of Americans visiting France for the first time. Look at this shit. LOOK AT IT:
I think Americans would also be surprised by the irreverence of French weddings; they defy cultural stereotypes.
This is but one in an OCEAN of examples of Americans heading to Paris and coming back Paltrowified. There are books by American authors about how to cook like a French person, how to parent like a French person, and how to think like a French person. Meanwhile, France is a giant construction dump of a country where nothing works and everyone is unhappy. Oh, but they're better because they know how to drink wine outside after a hard day of being unemployed. If you go to France and are seduced with how they do business over there, do me a favor and STAY. Remain there. I don't need you coming back to lecture me during our great downfall.
Ecuador: Greetings, cloud people! Can you people hear me from up there?
(throws rock 20,000 feet into the air)
Ecuador is, from what I understand, an uninhabitable frosted plateau of a nation where only hardy llamas and very small "stone figs" can survive. The only reason Ecuador isn't notorious for political upheaval is because people living there are too busy not being able to breathe. But at least your soccer team has the advantage of having 75 percent more lung capacity than any other country. Not that it'll do you much good.
Argentina: Congratulations, Argentina! You have the best player in the world. Now it's time for you crap out of the tournament and find a way to blame that one player for it. "See, the reason we choked isn't because of the 10 awful players surrounding Lionel Messi, but because Lionel Messi didn't score 50 goals per game single-handedly! HE DOES NOT LOVE US." Meanwhile, Argentines still worship at the feet of Diego Maradona, a fat, mobbed-up drug addict who helped Argentina cheat their way to a title back in 1986. Jesus. Remind me to make you people honorary fans of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Soccer aside, do you like torture? Oh, have I got the country for you! Here in America, we only do GENTLE torturing. Argentina doesn't go for that shit. They go the full Mister Joshua on you over there. The good news is that the World Cup is a chance for all disappeared Argentine political prisoners to have a touching moment of bonding with their prison guards. Really unites the country like that.
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Well, which one is it? This is a country, not a joint email account.
Iran: How did Iran get in here? Isn't there some rule prohibiting countries with a long track record of human rights abuses? AHAHAHAHA JUST KIDDING IT'S FIFA. Under FIFA guidelines, you're actually not allowed to participate in the World Cup UNLESS you have a solid track record of killing and torturing your own citizens. That way, FIFA knows you're willing to accept all of the awful things FIFA will do in order to stage the games. So welcome to the party, Iran! You'll fit in nicely here. If you could simply stretch your arms out and allow us to frisk you for any and all nuclear materials, that would be great. Would you mind if we also implant this beta version of a computer virus that could potentially run out of control and destroy the world directly into your anus? Thanks a lot!
Nigeria: If my experience in international relations is any indication, the Nigerian Football Federation probably took their World Cup budget, bought some plane tickets, bought 11 stuffed beanbags to act as "players," and will use the remaining cash to construct a ridiculously opulent "soccer embassy" in Brazil, where officials can eat and drink in comfort while everyone back home asks what the fuck happened to all the money. That's quality soccer diplomacy.
Germany: HITLER! Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler! Hitler baby one more time! HITLER. I know people here say that Obama is like Hitler, but Germany had the real thing! Just imagine being a citizen of the country that set the eternal benchmark for evildoing. That's quite something.
My wife is half-German and my mother-in-law is German and my wife has many relatives living in Germany who are wonderful people. However, I regret to inform you that all the OTHER Germans are just as pushy and arrogant as they were a century ago. Only the specter of history is keeping them from loudly voicing their real opinions about Germany's rightful place in the world (SPOILER: It is not at No. 2). You can float across that country on top of the repressed nationalism lingering in the air.
Portugal: Or as I like to call it: BORING SPAIN. I'd also like to call out the Portuguese language for tricking me into thinking that it's Spanish but being jussst different enough to be utterly unintelligible. Listen, PortuGuys and PortuGals: Here in America, we speak SPANISH. OK? You either learn to talk Spanish or you get the fuck out. Your Portuguese is not welcome here. When I am arguing with another person here in America, I would like to rest assured that the mangled Spanish I'm yelling is at least 15 percent accurate. Your gobbledygook asshole language has no place in modern society.
USA: You realize we're a lost cause, right? Not just our soccer team. They're gonna lie down like Obi Wan this month. I'm talking about the whole country. I'm talking about the IDEA of America. It's hopeless. That whole thing about being a shining beacon of freedom to the rest of the world? GONE. Never coming back. You don't live in a free country. You live in a paranoid surveillance state oligarchy where people gun each other down in broad daylight completely at random.
And you know something? It's never going to get better. Ever. The violence will escalate. Income inequality will widen. Twenty years from now, there will be one trillionaire (Donald Sterling) and 350 million people working as his personal wage slaves. Local infrastructure will deteriorate. People will forsake work and the duties of citizenship in favor of fighting unwinnable flame wars—digital arguments that increasingly have NOTHING TO DO with how people actually deal with one another in real life. Good ideas will be discarded because they're too expensive or because some dipshit company already has a vague patent on it and will do nothing with it but sue forever. Your house will be swept away in a Category 12 Nor'Eastercane.
It's OK to admit that it's over. Go ahead. Say it to yourself: America is no longer worth the effort. Feels good, doesn't it? Feels freeing. Finally, we can stop HOPING. We can be adults about this and accept the fact that AMERICA WILL DIE. And the worst part is that your cable bill will, like, double when it happens.
Ghana: Hey, they knocked us out of the last two Cups! THAT IS BULLSHIT AND THEY WILL PAY. Don't you warthog-eaters know we're the greatest country on Earth? USA! USA! USA! USA!
Belgium. "If I grew up on a farm, and was retarded, Bruges might impress me …"
The only notable thing about Belgium is that they serve you fries in a paper cone. NEAT. This is also the country responsible for your local hipster opening up a corner bistro where you can get a bowl of five-cent mussels for $28 a pop. What a deal! LOOK AT ME SOP UP THE BROTH WITH THIS BREAD! We're really having fun now! I know I love any restaurant with very small tables that must accommodate eight different mussel-related serving plates. Here is your mussel pan. Here is the lid. Here is your shell bowl. Here is your main eating plate. OH! And your fry cone. Gotta have the fry cone.
I will give Belgium their crazy monk beer and nothing else. That's some damn fine trappist ale. I can drink it out of a snifter and feel like a fancypants. But the rest of Belgium serves no purpose. Belgian waffles exist mainly to make college students feel fat on a Sunday morning. I'm fine with this box of Eggos. I don't need a 50-pound waffle. And I don't need anything on it other than syrup and butter. It's not a magical delivery device for eight thousand different toppings, like Gruyere cheese and a whole leg of lamb. You're reaching.
Algeria: Also a ZERO score in the World Cup rankings. And as a privileged white male living in a supposed first-world country, I feel bad making fun of all these smaller struggling countries, and those smaller struggling countries should feel bad for making me feel bad. Why don't you countries get your act together so I can mock your political strife and civil warring without any sense of shame, like Clay Travis would?
South Korea: The good Korea. The one we created when a couple of dumbfuck Americans got out their rulers and their National Geographic map and a drew a line. Also the people responsible for the mayonization of Asian-American cuisine. "Here, would you like a Korean hot dog? It's loaded with kimchi and gochujang sauce and ***RUINS HOT DOG BY SQUIRTING 90 POUNDS OF MAYO ON IT*** Enjoy!" Goddammit, Korea. Not such a heavy hand next time.
I have been told that the South Korean national team is a very hard-working team that lacks any semblance of actual physical talent. Great. The Asian Ecksteins. Just what this stupid tourney needed.
Russia: We end this Hater's Guide with the country that just staged the LAST overpriced sporting event to be used as a cheap cover for graft and social injustice. I bet they'll feel right at home with FIFA. Such a shame they won't be able to blame Alex Ovechkin when they fuck this one up.