======= ======= ====== ====== ====== ===== ==== ====== ====== ===== ==== ======= ======= ====== ====== ====== ===== ==== ====== ====== ===== ====
In a few days, soccer fans from across the globe will tune in to watch their country compete on the biggest stage: The FIFA World Cup. Disregard the corruption, the US team’s inability to beat Trinidad & Tobago, and whatever annoying noisemaker the Russians will introduce, and you have the perfect sporting event for occupying the dead space that occurs every summer thanks to the recent conclusions of the NBA and NHL, the blandness of summer baseball, and the continued wait for NFL Training Camp.
Sure, soccer can be boring but the World Cup is an absolute blast to watch. One underrated aspect to this year’s version is the time zone in which the games will be played in. Russia is 8 hours ahead of Central Standard Time, which means that folks in the US will watch the games with coffee first, beer second. Having grown fond of watching the Premier League hungover on Saturday mornings over the past few years, I’m even more excited to watch the World Cup while nursing my 3-IPA stomach back to health. Here’s a breakdown of the best games that will be on your TV during your hungover mornings the next two weekends.
#4: Argentina vs Iceland
Time: Saturday 6/16, 8:00 a.m.
Watching Messi tear through an opposing defense can be better than a shot of espresso. Pair his mastery with the crazy success of Iceland at the 2016 EUROs and their Viking chant, and you have an appealing matchup on your hands. Watching the contrasting soccer styles of South America and…Iceland, will be entertaining at best, tweetable at least. Take a sip of water every time an Argentinian dives during this game and you should be fully refreshed by halftime.
#3: Brazil vs Switzerland
Time: Sunday 6/17, 1:00 p.m.
I’m making this post-noon start time an exception mostly because Brazil plays some of the most entertaining football in the world and this match should be a goal fest. I’ll admit, watching Chelsea struggle to a 0-0 draw against West Ham half-awake is never ideal, so the prospect of multiple goals is definitely enticing, especially knowing Switzerland’s Xherdan Shaqiri can pull off some crazy wonder strikes of his own. Added bonus: the camera shots in this one should be equally exciting given how passionate the Brazilians are about their sport.
#2: England vs Panama
Time: Sunday 6/24, 7:00 a.m.
As an American, I always enjoy watching England crash and burn out of a major soccer tournament, mostly out of spite. This year, England is enjoying a curious amount of hype going into the tournament thanks to a young nucleus of goal scorers like Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling. Pair in the party legend of Jamie Vardy and the 3 Lions have an appealing squad. But I still hope they self-destruct just like they seem to do in every tournament. Their match vs Panama is classified as a “must-win” by many soccer pundits, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they totally choke and blow it – as you watch gleefully from underneath the blanket on your L-couch.
#1: Germany vs Mexico
Time: Sunday 6/17, 10:00 a.m.
This game is probably the best of the bunch from Matchday 1 and should determine who gets the top spot in Group F. Winners in 2014, Germany is again a favorite to reign supreme this World Cup season, thanks to their typically stout defense, Thomas Muller’s knack for goal, and ruthless German efficiency. Mexico brings some optimism into the tournament thanks to their free-wheeling play style led by the likes of Carlos Vela and ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez. Their play against the typical rigid German side should make for an interesting contrast in styles and a fun watch as you debate what carryout place you want to order-in from. I’m 50% German, so I’ll be rooting a bit harder for them to take home the trophy this year given Team USA’s absence. Plus, they sure know how to celebrate a win.
While a lot of the meaty group match games might take place post-noon, the morning slate of World Cup qualifying games for the next two Saturday and Sundays should be more than enough to aid in your full recovery from whatever inebriated state you got into the night before. Much like you’ll see on the field, I suggest you mix in a water break every once in a while as well. Cheers! .