Picking which football team to support

Like many football fans, I have an incredibly complex system of national prejustices to work out what football team to support. Take Iran v Argentina for example. Which team am I supposed to support in this match? Iran has a terrible human rights record. However, Argentina was the last country to invade British soil, and worse cheated their way to a World Cup win in 1986.

How is one supposed to decide?

Ideally, someone would come up with a formula for working it all out. Geographic proximity, ancestry in a certain country, what you think of their politics, and how cool you think their flags and shirts are are all potentially important factors in deciding.

Once England are out, Germany are usually my B team (it is an unfortunate reality that being English you have to have a B team for when England get knocked out, but that is also true of all but a handful of countries) as having a Germanic name, it is the closest thing I can trace my ancestry to.

After that it is a question of geographic proximity. I hope France do well for example. Of course, I am supposed to hate the French, but it is very difficult to maintain such levels of casual racism against them in the 21st century. This then expands out in a circle in a “kilometres from me” fashion working out who to support.

It’s not quite that simple however. There are exclusions. I would not support Saudi Arabia for example, at least until they de-classify atheism as terrorism. Nor will I be supporting Qatar until they stop executing gay people.

Then you have to factor in the underdog level as well. We have been conditioned by decades of Hollywood films to support the underdog. In many ways it just glory supporting as if these films have taught me anything, it is that the underdogs always win. Plus it is just nicer when they do. Of course this runs in direct contradiction to the geographic rules as most of the best football teams are in Europe whereas the underdogs are on the “edge of the world” – Australia, Japan, South Korea, USA, Costa Rica, etc.

How do you balance it all? These first world problems just seem to go on and on…



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This entry was posted on Sunday, July 6th, 2014 at 11:21 am and is filed under Sport, Thoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.