Friday, January 1, 2010

New Zealand Taking Advantage of Opportunity

So, your national team makes the World Cup every 28 years, like clockwork.

That is to say, you're not very good in soccer.

So, how should you approach the tournament? What level of comfort should your players expect?

In New Zealand's case, as this story outlines, the answer is "the highest level" of comfort.

Interesting way to approach things.

Realistically, if you're going home after two weeks, why not live it up? Spend some money. Put the lads in a "seven-star" hotel. (And what makes a seven-star hotel? Does someone comb your hair for you?)

Anyway, New Zealand is a 1000-to-1 shot to win the World Cup. Most people will be surprised if they score a goal in three group matches (against Italy, Slovakia and Paraguay). A victory would be an enormous shock.

But while the All Whites are there, they should be happy with their accommodations and grateful that their federation has set up things as nicely as possible.

I remember the 1990 World Cup in Italy, when the United States was appearing for the first time in 30 years ... and the U.S. was based in Florence -- only the city that invented tourism. But the U.S. camp was in a little seaside town more than an hour away. They players were stuck inside a camp, and couldn't get out, and had zero fun. And then there was the 1998 U.S. team that was in France, but you'd hardly know it from the old mansion they stayed at way out in the countryside north of Lyon.

And those two U.S. teams each lost three straight.

May as well enjoy yourself. If you go three-and-out, at least you can go home and talk about the great resort you stayed at, and the way the federation took care of you. Makes for some fond memories until New Zealand makes another World Cup. Along about 2036.

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