With this Sunday’s World Cup final fast approaching, I realized I have to pick a favorite team among two countries about which I care not at all. I’ve never been to Spain or the Netherlands, I don’t have any acquaintances from Spain or the Netherlands, and I don’t even care that much for paella or whatever it is they eat in the Netherlands that isn’t Heineken. (Actually I’m pretty curious on that one, so feel free to fill me in.)
But in my quadrennial soccer-fan career, I have really enjoyed this 2010 World Cup, so I feel I should go ahead and find a side to support. My man Tony argues for the benefits of historical symbolism in World Cup matches, so I’m taking a page from that.
Because Ireland deserved to be in this Cup and was unfairly cheated out of it, and because I’m of Irish descent, I’m going to base my decision on Irish history and go with Spain. Spain and Ireland had the Catholic thing in common, they had the Spanish Armada thing and the subsequent Black Irish myth, and today they’re both known as PIIGS. Meanwhile, the Netherlands was the home of William of Orange, the infamous usurper of James II and winner of the still-a-sore-spot-in-Ireland Battle of the Boyne. (Coincidentally, that battle ended on July 12, and the game is July 11.) Maybe Spain and William were on the same side in that fight, but I’m not about to let facts get in the way of this nerdy argument. The Dutch dudes even wear orange uniforms — this one is a no-brainer.
So ¡Vamos España! — let’s all eat tapas and fight some bulls this Sunday. I look forward to my last day as a soccer fan until 2014.