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Styles Q. and A.: A Clueless Fan’s Guide to the World Cup

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Is this the year that the ever-talented England squad finally avoids humiliation?

Ah, England. Every four years, they arrive at the World Cup hoping for “Land of Hope and Glory,” only to limp away, painfully aware of the fall of their Empire. This time round, they have tried to mix things up. They are taking a squad to whose average age is bar mitzvah, and they are approaching the World Cup with radical ideas like going to Russia and having fun. The problem is, the one thing our nation remains world-class at is tabloid media, who live to vent and scapegoat. As a result, English players are guaranteed to play with fear. Uruguayan or Egyptian players run through walls when they pull on their national team jerseys. The English shrink, as if those jerseys are made of chain mail.

Who is this year’s most exciting squad?

Belgium, that flat land of wonder, home to such avant-garde minds as Adolphe Sax, inventor of the saxophone. Somehow that nation of 11 million people has produced a golden generation of elite, attacking footballers. It is a murderers’ row of Premier League talent, and if they can take advantage of their many guns, they might be the most victorious Belgians since Jean-Claude Van Damme won a Golden Raspberry for his role in “Double Team.”

Which country has the most boring team?

Germany. The defending champions are boring only because they rob football of its beauty, which is its unpredictability. When Germany take the field, they are ruthless, consistent, and always glorious — like Meryl Streep at the Oscars.

In years past, Victoria Beckham seemed to get as much attention as her husband. Should we be on the lookout for any celebrity wives or girlfriends in the stands this year?

The England team will arrive with a crew of reality TV stars and lingerie models, but in terms of star power, they are dust in comparison to Spanish defender Gerard Piqué’s partner, Shakira. The World Cup actually bought the couple together. Pique made a cameo appearance in the video for Shakira’s video for the official 2010 World Cup anthem, “Waka Waka.” Who said romance is dead?


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