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CRACKED FAQ: The World Cup

Every four years, sports fans in parts of the world that you probably haven't heard of, and undoubtedly don't care about even if you have, get swept up in a little something known as World Cup mania. In spite of its global popularity, we as Americans are often nonplussed by the soccer tournament — or, as it' more commonly known stateside, "that bullshit that pre-empts real sports."

Why is soccer so popular everywhere in the world but here? Is it because athletes in other countries are too poor to afford equipment for actual sports? Too drunk or stupid to know how to use said equipment? A combination of both? Never one to leave an investigative stone unturned, Cracked delves deeply into the matter, casting our investigative gaze on the phenomenon that is soccer.


WHAT IS SOCCER?

Soccer — also known as "the boring football" — consists of large groups of players kicking a ball, then chasing said ball back and forth on a field for extended periods of time.



The use of hands in the game is strictly forbidden, apart from the goalie. The goalie also spends much less time chasing the ball around the field than the other players, opting instead to stand around his net and await one of the four shots certain to come his way in this interminable â€" er, interminably thrilling — game. For a more North American parallel, imagine a cross between American football and ice hockey, but remove all the scoring, body contact, brisk pacing and everything else that makes watching sports enjoyable.

The game' origins are unknown, though some suggest that it started in ancient Rome, where most children were born armless or with flippers or hands lacking opposable thumbs, making kicking things a necessity of life.


WHAT IS THE WORLD CUP?

For residents of such soccer powerhouses as Suriname, Trinidad, Tobago and Chad, the World Cup is the single most thrilling event in their atrocious lives. For residents of the United States, it' an educational tool whereby they can learn that countries such as Suriname, Trinidad, Tobago and Chad actually exist.



For an added educational kick, residents of the U.S. can learn that such countries can be considered "powerhouses" at something and lament the fact that even shitty countries can beat us at something.



HOW IS SOCCER PLAYED?

Mostly through kicking and chasing, but there are other valuable skills, such as faking injuries and diving. Expert divers have the uncanny ability to drop like a black-hatted extra in a spaghetti Western whenever anyone comes within three or four feet of them. When someone falls, the other team gets a penalty, which means that they are often left with fewer people to kick and chase the ball.



Matches last for two 45-minute halves, into which the two teams pack enough excitement to fill THREE 45-second thirds. After the full 90 endless minutes, the teams partake in an undisclosed amount of "injury time," which apparently lasts until the referees become too bored to continue and figure they've earned enough overtime pay.


WHY IS SOCCER SO POPULAR OVERSEAS?

Because they like watching kicking and chasing and grown men falling and crying? Because the fans there are drunk or retarded?

The best reason I could find to watch was the players' names. The really good ones have only one name, such as "Ronaldinho," or really funny names like "Kaka." Seriously, what are the odds that a sport with a guy named Kaka could possibly be dull? (Hint: the odds are pretty good.)



I HAVE SOME MILD BRAIN DAMAGE, SO I'VE DECIDED TO WATCH SOCCER ANYWAY. WHAT DO I DO?

First, pack into a crowded stadium with 100,000 other hooligans. Then start chanting the soccer song which is as follows:

Oleeee ole ole ole
Ohhhh-layyyyy
Ohhhh-layyyyy


Now repeat that forever.

Once the match ends, check to see if your team scored. As a simple rule, if they did, they won 1-0. If not, they lost 1-0. If your team loses, you can choose between setting the stadium on fire, starting a riot that will lead to dozens of trampling deaths or shooting one of the players on your team. If your team wins, it is generally frowned upon to shoot someone on your team but the other two are totally kosher.



SO WHO'S GOING TO WIN THE WORLD CUP?

I don't know. Siam? Togo? Belize? Honestly, why are you still reading this? Are you actually a soccer fan? Shouldn't you be off pounding back a lager and screaming at your kids or something? Jesus Christ.
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