Country: República Portuguesa
US Sports team equivalent: New York Mets (For those of you keeping score at home, this is the second time we’ve taken a shot at the Mess in this series of posts.)
Player to Watch: Ladies’ favorite, Christiano Ronaldo
Artist to Watch: The only Portuguese artist I know is Amalia who has been dead for over 10 years so I’m going to with Nelly Furtado since she, like me, is a first generation import but with all of the fame and talent that I’m still looking for. But seriously, check out fado if you’ve never heard it before. I grew up listening to it, so it’s somewhat ruined for me, but might not be for you Americans.
I don’t religiously follow team Portugal and really didn’t know much about them prior to the World Cup. But hey I’m Portuguese. I eat lingua, polvo, and bacalhau. I can rattle off of a few notable players and Super Liga teams (or Liga Sagres or whatever the hell they are calling it these days) so what the hell…
The 2010 Portuguese team looks like most Portuguese teams of the past decade. On paper, they look great and appear to be a real threat to be a dominating force. They also give you the feeling that they could very well not win a game in the first 11 days. Therein lies the comparison to the NY Mets. No matter how many suave stars they have, they just don’t give you that warm feeling.
Experts say that this team will go as far as Christiano Ronaldo will carry them, so I’ll agree. As a country, we seem to put all of our effort into the one superstar player (see Luis Figo in 2006) only to be let down. At least Figo had a unique name. When Ronaldo hit the screen, it was tough to know if the original Brazilian Ronaldo defected and claimed Portuguese citizenship or this new Ronaldo was some type of homegrown clone. Which is actually kind of perfect of this team, which always wants to look and sound like a winner before ever proving it.
With a tough defense (Alves, Carvalho, etc.) and solid keeper in Eduardo, this team is reminiscent of the Boston Bruins of a few minutes ago. If they could just score a goal or two a game, they’d be unbeatable. Reviewing qualifying games showed me that this isn’t always the case. They couldn’t even net one on Cape Verde in a 0-0 draw. Come on. Didn’t we just give them their independence like a few years ago? And we cant even score one goal?
But on to the most important topic of Team Portugal: they refuse to grow mustaches! A recent fan-based campaign is pushing for this show of Selleck-esque team unity, but they refuse. Fullback, Paolo Ferreria states that, “It would only make us figures of fun.” Figures of fun? How about figures of awesomeness?! Yahoo sports made an attempt at what this look like using high-tech digitization. The result? Almost every player looks like my uncle Rui.
So, in an attempt to, as always, make this about me. I’m putting my own nose-neighbor on the line. If Team Portugal can make at least the semi-finals, I’ll be shaving my beard and leaving just the man-stache and posting to MerrySwankster.com.
Now you have a reason to root for Team Portugal!
Yes, there was a guest writer for this piece. Thanks for the clutch performance, Allen Chaves of West Wareham, Massachusetts.