GDP’s Guide to The World Cup

We’re not going to sit here and pretend to be ESPN. We’ll admit that we don’t know nearly enough about “The Beautiful Game” to give you an in depth preview on what will happen on the pitch. However, we realize that A) We’re in America, so a lot of people don’t really care about the actual game and B) A lot of our readers don’t really care about the actual game.

You know how the girl that knows absolutely nothing about college basketball wins the NCAA tourney pool with picks based on how cute the teams’ mascots are? Now, our goal is not to predict winners like in a pool, we only want to provide useless information that may help someone pick a team to pull for. This info is plenty available for all leading up to March Madness, but for the World Cup, we felt there was a void in arbitrary facts that could help determine which teams people should root for, besides the U.S. of course. For the Cup, it’s always good to have another team or two to cheer for in case the U.S. doesn’t pull through.

So, we decided to rank all of the teams (we didn’t rank the U.S. because if you’re not rooting for them then get the hell off of our web site) on categories having absolutely nothing to do with actual soccer. We ranked them on a scale of 0 to 5 in the following categories: uniforms (kits, as they call them in soccer), team nickname, funniest name on the team, funniest looking player on the team, national dish, most famous person from that country, and a miscellaneous bonus fact about the country. Also, we multiplied this sum by the GDP per capita factor of each country. The lower the GDP rank, the higher the factor. In other words, the poorer the country, the more likely we will want to pull for them. (GDP per capita statistics from the CIA web site). Plus, we had to work GDP in there somehow!

Withour further ado, as the greatest tournament in the world kicks off this morning, below is a ranking, from 31 to 1 of which teams we recommend rooting for in this year’s edition.

(Note: we lifted all of the links to uniform pics from ESPN’s uniform ranking article. We’re not lazy, just didn’t have time to track them all down by ourselves. Also, Dada ranked the kits, so the ESPN ratings had no influence whatsoever on ours.)

Part II: Teams 20-11 | Part III: Teams 10-1

31) North Korea

Ok now this one was pretty obvious. Not only are they the most oppressive government in the world, not only do they have the biggest d-bag of a leader in the world, but they didn’t even release what their uniforms were going to look like for the Cup. The humanity! Thus, they pretty much scored zero’s across the board:

  • Kits: Home | Away (it’s unknown what they will actually look like)
  • Team Nickname: Cholima (Korean name for a mythical horse)
  • Funniest Name: Mun in Guk (one of the only categories they performed well in)
  • Funniest Looking Player: Honestly, they all pretty much look the same
  • Most Famous Person: Lil’ Kim
  • National Dish: Kimchi
  • GDP Rank: 188
  • Misc. Bonus Fact: If you root for North Korea you are an asshole

30) Slovenia

Seriously a terrible performance by Slovenia. No nickname, no famous person? For all we know, they’re a country full of wonderful, intelligent people. But they BARELY beat out North Korea, the worst country in the world, in our rankings. So for our purposes, they are completely unappealing.

  • Kits: Home | Away
  • Team Nickname: None
  • Funniest Name: Nejc Pecnik
  • Funniest Looking Player: Marko Suler
  • Most Famous Person: No one – seriously, there is not one person from this country we have ever heard of.
  • National Dish: Žganci – a dish similar to polenta although prepared with finer grains
  • GDP Rank: 50
  • Misc. Bonus Fact: Slovenia has the lowest rate of marriages of all the countries in the EU. Couples live together – in a partnership or “na koruzi” as that’s called in Slovenian and they never wed. It’s no big deal then, to find a couple who’s been together for 26 years and has 9 children. (source)

29) Australia

Here is one of those countries that we didn’t expect to be this low. In a subjective world, we could have seen ourselves rooting for Australia. Who doesn’t like Australians? (besides New Zealanders – and we’ll get to them) But other than their solid nickname and tremendous fun fact, they came up way short in every category.

  • Kits: Home | Away
  • Team Nickname: Socceroos (appropriately silly for this country)
  • Funniest Name: Scott Chipperfield
  • Funniest Looking Player: Scott Chipperfield (not very ugly, but bonus for winning both categories)
  • Most Famous Person: Mel Gibson (GDP is half jewish, soooo)
  • National Dish: Meat Pie
  • GDP Rank: 23
  • Misc. Bonus Fact: Apparently the first European settlers in Australia drank more alcohol per person than any other community in the history of mankind. (source)

28) Algeria

Through the first three categories it looked like Algeria was poised to make an upset bid for the top 10. Dada really loved their unis, and like most African teams, they have a great nickname. But after that, things took a turn for the worse.

  • Kits: Home | Away
  • Team Nickname: The Desert Foxes
  • Funniest Name: Lounés Gaouaoui, (HIS NAME HAS 7 VOWELS IN A ROW!!!!)
  • Funniest Looking Player: Nadir Belhadj (For some reason we thought Algeria would have tons of funny-looking dudes, turns out even calling this guy ugly is a bit of a stretch)
  • Most Famous Person: Cheb Mami is a famous Algerian singer, probably best known in the Western world for his collaboration with Sting in the song “Desert Rose.”  (we hate that song)
  • National Dish: Couscous (their national dish is a side dish in every other country? weak)
  • GDP Rank: 125
  • Misc. Bonus Fact: In the 1800’s Algeria was notorious as a base for slave traders and pirates. (source)

27) Slovakia

We weren’t surprised to see the Slovaks this low. Slovakia is like the ugly step-brother to the more awesome Czech Republic in the Czechoslovakia combo. They’re lucky to be even this high; their highest score came from Paul Newman, who really isn’t Slovakian (his mother is). We know this is a stretch, but it also shows how pathetic Slovenia is. They don’t even have a parent of a famous person!

  • Kits: Home | Away
  • Team Nickname: Repre (we have no idea what it means)
  • Funniest Name: Kornel Salata
  • Funniest Looking Player: Marek Kamsik
  • Most Famous Person: Paul Newman (not even born there)
  • National Dish: Bryndzové halušky (potato dumplings with sheep’s-milk cheese, ew)
  • GDP Rank: 59
  • Misc. Bonus Fact: Štefan Baniè, a Slovak, invented the first actively used parachute, patenting it in 1913. (source)

"Damn yanks! We should be higher!"

26) England

Frankly, we’re glad England fell this low since they’re America’s biggest rival in this year’s cup. Despite a solid nickname and a pretty-damn-funny-looking star player, the Brits were pretty lackluster. They can’t even come up with a national dish that they invented? Let’s hope they flame out on the pitch like they did in our rankings!

  • Kits: Home | Away
  • Team Nickname: The Three Lions
  • Funniest Name: Emile Heskey
  • Funniest Looking Player: Wayne Rooney
  • Most Famous Person: The Queen
  • National Dish: Chicken Tikka Masala (seriously, look it up – apparently there’s a lot of brown people in England)
  • GDP Rank: 34
  • Misc. Bonus Fact: Over 12,000 accidents happen per year when English people put on socks, pantyhose or other types of stockings. (source)

25) New Zealand

We hope no Aussies read our site, because they’d probably be outraged that we ranked the Kiwis ahead of them. But the Aussies only have themselves to blame for losing out in this rivalry. Well, they should actually blame Mel Gibson.

  • Kits: Home | Away
  • Team Nickname: All Whites, Kiwis
  • Funniest Name: Jeremy Bannatyne (no good choices here)
  • Funniest Looking Player: Simon Elliot
  • Most Famous Person: Tie: Flight of the Conchords, Peter Jackson
  • National Dish: Pavlova – a meringue-based dessert
  • GDP Rank: 51
  • Misc. Bonus Fact: Bungee jumping was invented in New Zealand. (source)

24) Serbia

They birthed an important scientist and they grow a lot of raspberries. Otherwise, meh.

  • Kits: Home | Away
  • Team Nickname: Beli Orlovi (White Eagles)
  • Funniest Name: Andjelko Djuricic
  • Funniest Looking Player: Milos Krasic
  • Most Famous Person: Nikola Tesla
  • National Dish: Cevapcici – a Balkan dish of grilled minced meat
  • GDP Rank: 104
  • Misc. Bonus Fact: Serbia is the largest raspberry exporter, accounting for one third of all the raspberries in the world. Close to 95 percent of the world’s top quality raspberries come from Serbia. (source)

23) Honduras

Not much to see here. Dada thought their kits were horrific, and they are. Their somewhat ugly player and amazing-sounding national dish were the only things that kept them from being at the bottom.

  • Kits: Home | Away
  • Team Nickname: Los Catrachos (It basically means “The Hondurans”. I mean, come on!)
  • Funniest Name: George Welcome (no, thank you!)
  • Funniest Looking Player: Carlos Pavon
  • Most Famous Person: Carlos Mencia
  • National Dish: Plato típico – typically contains the following: Beef, marinated, diced, and barbecued on a skewer, Pork sausage, Pork crackling, Refried red kidney beans, White cheese (similar to Greek Feta cheese), Fried plantain slices, Rice, Salad, Sour cream, Cheese
  • GDP Rank: 151
  • Misc. Bonus Fact: Its nickname is the Banana Republic because it grows and exports a lot of bananas. (source)

22) Switzerland

Not surprisingly, the Swiss turned out to be quite neutral. Nothing great, but not turrible.

  • Kits: Home | Away
  • Team Nickname: Schweitzer Nati (National Team) – it sounds cool when it’s not said in English
  • Funniest Name: Mario Eggimann
  • Funniest Looking Player: Ludovic Magnin
  • Most Famous Person: Roger Federer
  • National Dish: Pasteti – Meat Pie
  • GDP Rank: 19
  • Misc. Bonus Fact: James Bond’s mother is Swiss. (source)

21) Argentina

We were quite disappointed to see Argentina this low, because they are a very fun team to watch and root for, and they have the world’s best player. But remember, this list has nothing to do with soccer. Despite an outstanding performance in the ugly player category, Argentina was let down by their completely uncreative nickname and mediocre scores everywhere else.

  • Kits: Home | Away
  • Team Nickname: La Albiceleste (White and Sky Blue)
  • Funniest Name: Angel di Maria (not really that funny, but he does have two girl’s names)
  • Funniest Looking Player: Carlos Tevez
  • Most Famous Person: Che Guevara (this score could be either really high or really low depending on who you are, so we went in the middle)
  • National Dish: Beef (asado, parrilla)
  • GDP Rank: 82
  • Misc. Bonus Fact: “There used to be a duck in Argentina that was called ‘The Argentinean Vampire Duck’! It is believed that this duck has the tendency of taking off lice from other ducks and Christian missionaries according to the grapevine thought that was an act of vampirism!” (source)

For teams 20-11, go here.

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