World Cup Team Rankings

The World Cup is being drawn right now.  There has been much fuss about rankings and groups, so I decided to make my own rankings.  Admittedly, I am just a casual fan, and I know a good deal more about the top ten and those teams that play here in the Americas than the bottom 22 so feel free to let me know where I am way off or full of crap.

My ranking for teams in the world cup:

1)    Brazil
2)    Germany
3)    Italy
4)    Spain
5)    Portugal
6)    Argentina
7)    England
8)    France
9)    Netherlands
10)  Greece
11)  USA
12)  Mexico
13)  Algeria
14)  Serbia
15)  Cote d’ivoire
16)  Switzerland
17)  Denmark
18)  Slovakia
19)  Slovenia
20)  Chile
21)  Australia
22)  Cameroon
23)  Paraguay
24)  Nigeria
25)  Ghana
26)  Japan
27)  Uruguay
28)  South Africa
29)  New Zealand
30)  Honduras
31)  Korea Republic
32)  Korea DPR

Update

Groups have been selected.  It looks like the USA has been reasonably fortunate with in group C with:

  • USA
  • England
  • Algeria
  • Slovenia

Meanwhile the Group of Death looks to be Group G with:

  • Brazil
  • North Korea
  • Portugal
  • Cote d’Ivoire

For full ranks you can follow yahoo’s coverage here

Is It Moral To Be a Football Fan?

A few years ago my cousin Alex decided to quit his high school football team and I was relieved.  I wanted him to pursue athletics, he is one of the few in the Brazeal family who had any talent for it, and I was proud of his success, but from the minute I knew he was putting on pads, I was always afraid of some terrible injury.

But, I love football.  I watch college and pro games every weekend during the season.  I could spend hours talking about minutia, analyzing the strategies, watching and re-watching slow motion highlight reels or big hits.

If I support football, but wouldn’t participate or want my loved ones involved in it, does that make me a hypocrite?  What about boxing, MMA or Nascar? Does being a fan make you a de facto supporter of dangerous sports?

I never played football.  I never went to a school with a team.  I don’t know that I would have played if I could of.  But, I always played on the playground.  One Thanksgiving I broke my jaw playing with the guys in the park.  It made for a tough winter but it certainly wasn’t life changing.

Dangerous sports never seriously affected the lives of people I love and I’d like to keep it that way.

This idea began to trouble my thoughts after my interview with Elias about the rules of MMA fighting.  When he said “we can’t suddenly pretend to be concerned with the safety of athletes.”  I felt the sting of that comment.  I am a fan of Football, Boxing and MMA.  I probably have a couple hundred discussions and arguments about each of them every year.  Few, if any, of those conversations are about the health and safety of the players.

If my money is supporting these sports, how responsible should I feel for the people involved?  Its often said that these men and women understand the risks involved in their sports when they undertake them.  I think this is more or less true.  Still, if there were not fans supporting these boxing there would not be a profession for young women to aspire to, if people didn’t pay attention to football young men couldn’t hope for the fame of being a football star.

What is the fan’s responsibility to the athletes she watches?

We regularly hear athletes thank fans for supporting them.  We are expected to support in good times and maybe in bad.  But should that be enough?  This is an idea that fascinates me and I would love to hear from you.  So please leave your thoughts in the comments, and if you feel passionately about this write me an email at Northandclark@gmail.com I might feature your guest post here.

Kicks to the Head of a Downed Opponent, Mixed Martial Arts and Rules for Pro-Fighters

In this interview Elias Cepeda argues that Mixed Martial Arts is unique in sport, because it more accurately simulates combat than any other form of fight sport.  For years, he argues, students of fighting styles like kickboxing, boxing, and jujitsu have competed only against other students in their own disciplines.  What is exciting about Mixed Martial Arts (from here on referred to as MMA) is seeing all of these styles tested in an environment where all are welcome to compete.  By taking out a lot of the rules MMA has made a more real, and Elias would argue better, fighting scenario.

But, even mixed martial arts has rules.  What rules are good rules? Elias argues that fighters should be allowed to strike each other with elbows anywhere, kick downed opponents and strikes to the groin among other things.

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This may sound like a fantastic series of claims, but Elias has well-considered arguments in support of each of them. I have my own opinion on this but, I’d ask you to listen to his interview and draw your own conclusions.

Elias Cepeda is a journalist for Inside Fighting and a friend of mine.  Elias has covered boxing and Mixed Martial arts for UFC.com, Fox Sports on MSN, and numerous other publications.

photo credit: MartialUniversity.org