I only follow soccer every four years or so – I can’t get into US soccer (apologies to DC United) and keeping up with the European leagues and competitions from here is a bit too much. I’m a casual fan who becomes a more avid fan for one month every four years. In my mind, my fan status makes it perfectly acceptable for me to embrace a series of team: US, until we get eliminated, then Italy, then Argentina. In reality, I cheered for Spain after “my” teams were eliminated because I like their game (and David Villa!). Alas, I will miss the World Cup for many reasons …
Turns out, it’s not a uniquely American thing to adopt a new World Cup team to cheer once your team is out. We overheard two English couples who were eating lunch on the waterfront in Cape Town before the Germany-Argentina game, debating who they were going to cheer for. Germany, because your team lost to them and it’s European team or Argentina, because you can’t stand the Jerrys (especially losing to them) and Messi is the best player in the world.
On the one hand, it’s great that fans love the sport and can pull for another team. I usually pick one team in the final to support – although not always.
On the other hand, it’s a bit strange for a sport where fans are known for their passion – and passionate displays. If you’re crying tears at the elimination of your team, how do you turn around to give a new team your heart and soul? Gives new meaning to the idea of moving on.
But I can embrace it.
Congrats to La Furia Roja!