In this look at Group C and D (which Phil West wrote for CultureMap Austin), you’ll get explanations on tiki-taka, the best Google search terms to put next to Mario Balotelli’s name, which team has a super-fan who has spent half a million dollars (400,000 Euros) over his lifetime following that team, and which club team has the most players on an individual national team. (And a link to the Zidane headbutt meme.)
This just in from the folks at FIFA — there’s a new world ranking table out, and the U.S. Men’s National Team is 29th, which means that we’re right there between Slovenia and Japan, and barely World Cup-worthy when compared to other nations. (Though we are second in CONCACAF, predictably just below Mexico.)
What’s staggering is looking at how the Euro nations stack up behind world leaders Spain. In particular, check out Euro 2012′s Group of Death. Group B features Germany (#2), the Netherlands (#4), Portugal (#5), and Denmark (#9). Three of those four teams are ranked higher than (wait for it) #6 Brazil. In the UEFA rankings, the top 13 are all in Euro 2012, with 16th-in-Euro Czech Republic and the two host nations keeping out the more marginally deserving Switzerland and Norway, if you were just going by tables and taking the 16 best teams (which we’re not, of course).
Also, despite Diego Forlan’s and Luis Suarez’ club-side woes this year, Uruguay comes in at #3, leading all South American teams, and being the only non-Euros in the Top 5. England, to the horror of the English, have slipped from 5th to 7th.
From Irish site The Score comes a look at the 16 home and away kits for Euro 2012. The Dutch kits (especially the away kits) are sweet, and the Sweden away kit might be the sharpest looking one here, though I also like the German surprise green. Croatia goes with their typical cool-yet-horrifying checkered tablecloth home uni for most eye-assaulting, which Spain goes with a decidedly non-Spanish blue when they’re wearing typical home reds, and England dons a black (?) away with a slate blue collar (more ?). Puma’s arty African kits of late are cooler, but, overall, these are mostly sound takes on classic looks.