gregorys girl, dee hepburn, football, world cup, sports

A World Cup cheat sheet

You may not care whether football’s coming home, but that doesn’t mean you have to look like a fool. Just throw in a couple of these facts as off-hand statements and be accepted into the football fraternity.

Where and when?

It starts on the 14th June, finishes 100 years later on 15th July and is being hosted by Russia. You know Russia. They love us. We love them. Everything is fine with Russia right now. Good. Better than good (don’t touch that umbrella/door handle).

How many teams are competing?

32. You don’t have to know who they all are, you just have to know England qualified (unlike 1994 – casually drop that into conversation). Italy have not qualified though, which is a massive shame because usually they have all the players we can fancy.

Who can we fancy?

Gerard Pique – he plays for Spain. He also happens to be going out with Shakira and *her* hips don’t lie, so….

Who won the last World Cup in Brazil 2014?

Germany. They beat Argentina 1-0 in extra time.

Who are we playing?

We are in Group G playing Panama, Tunisia and Belgium. The two top teams from each group will then go through to the knockouts, where each losing team will be eliminated. You know, like Wimbledon, but with fewer strawberries.

Who are England’s best players?

Harry Kane: Striker and England Captain (plays for Tottenham Hotspur as a number 10 but will be playing number 9 for England this World Cup).

Dele Ali: Forward/attacking midfielder (also plays for Tottenham as number 20 – and looks like it’ll be the same for England this World Cup)

Is Gareth Southgate any good as a manager?

Like all managers, he will be judged by the team’s performance in this tournament – his first really high profile competitive test. STRESSFUL. Don’t mention that penalty shoot-out. MORE STRESSFUL.

Does he have any specific tactics that we’ve seen for the team yet?

Recent matches indicate he is favouring a 3-5-2 formation. You don’t need to understand that, just say it and watch people look impressed. If you understand what that means then chapeau.

We are playing Panama, Tunisia and Belgium in the qualifying rounds. Who should we be able to beat and who should we be afraid of?

We should be able to beat Tunisia and Panama – but we should be afraid of Belgium. They’ve got Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard among other top class players – in case you find yourself playing ‘Aside from Hercule Poirot and Jean Claude van Damme, can you name a famous Belgian?’

If we get to knock outs, could we play Germany?

Yes, but it wouldn’t be until the quarter-finals if results go a certain way. FINGERS CROSSED.

Who are the best teams in the World Cup?

Germany, France, Spain and Brazil. The usual suspects.

Who are the best players in the world?

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) – Forward. Plays number 7 for Real Madrid. He’s worth an estimated $400m *stumbles back and falls over*

Lionel Messi (Argentina) – Forward. His shirt number is 10 and he also plays for Barcelona. He is said to earn around $128,000 a day *fails to actually take that in*

Neymar Jr (Brazil) – Forward. Plays in the number 10 shirt, also plays for Paris Saint Germain.

Andres Iniesta (Spain) – Central Midfield. Plays number 6 for Spain but number 8 for Barcelona.

Who is likely to win the whole thing?

Brazil and Germany are the bookies’ favourites.

Do we have any chance of winning?

It is in our national identity to say YES OF COURSE WE DO although *said in a tiny voice* no we don’t.

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