Hello, non sports fan. It's me again, your loyal tour guide to the World Cup. First I walked you through the broad strokes of the tournament, then we cracked open our school books, and now I want to let you in on a little secret: today is a very big day.
The US Men's National Team will face Portugal in a match that will determine a few things, most notably for you, non sports fan, your reignited commitment to hitting the gym. An abundance of chiseled pectorals and shellacked hair qualify today's match as the Gym-Tan-Laundry of sports. Are you ready?
What time is this showdown? Bang bang.
It starts at 6 p.m. EST, but if you're feeling particularly randy, show up to your local watering hole early. That's when you get to see our players sing the national anthem and I cry every time.
My second and final question is: are we going to win?
Now, now, don't be hasty. And that question is a tricky one. If you trust the opinions of algae-laden bivalves, then yes. If you believe the subdued optimism of German realist and normcore model Jürgen Klinsmann, then most likely, yes. If you are a fan of Philadelphia area sports, there is no chance in hell. If you like reading the forums of single-father babysitter share website Deadspin, then maybe. If you remember that Cristiano Ronaldo is the best soccer player in the world, then absolutely not.
Hey, but you said that Lionel Messi is the best soccer player in the world.
For your purposes, let's consider them the same person.
So who is Cristiano Ronaldo?
This is him.
That isn't Justin Bieber?
Great question, non sports fan, and no. Cristiano Ronaldo, aka Young Tanning Booth aka MC Eyebrow Threading aka My Son Is An American Citizen, is a forward for Real Madrid. He is the highest paid footballer in the world.
Did you say Ronaldo's son is American?
Yes. And his name is also Cristiano. I recommend reading this incredible Daily Mail article entitled "Ronaldo struggles to hold back the tears as his son joins him to collect prestigious football award."
Seems like this guy cries a lot.
He does. And though many would like you to believe it, he isn't the only player on the Portuguese National Team. But unfortunately for Portugal, Pepe played dirty and he's out, and a few other key Portuguese players whose names you won't remember suffered injuries so their team isn't looking as stacked as usual.
That seems positive. How are we looking?
Clint Dempsey broke his nose and wow he looks terrible. He may even play with a mask—spooky scary. Jozy Altidore is out with a sprained hamstring. Defender Matt Besler was also injured in our last game, but he is expected to play today. But overall, very good.
Do we cry too?
Well, okay. I think I've learned everything. Thanks a lot.
No, there's more. If we win today's match, we will advance to the World Cup's knockout stage automatically. Simply put. Clean. Easy.
If we lose or draw against Portugal, all four teams in the group (refresher: Portugal, Ghana, Germany, US) can advance on the final day when the US plays Germany (June 26 at 12pm) and Portugal goes at it with Ghana (same time). So pray for the former option.
So we really want to win today, for my own sake.
Yes. Come on. If you want a more detailed assessment of what seeding means, where we'll end up in the event of a draw, how the Ghana-Portugal match will change our chances, there's a good one here. I have a feeling you don't care about seeding, though.
I grow tomatoes and parsley in my garden.
Lovely. If you keep chanting this over and over in your head, everything will be all right and the game will end in a win for America.
Oh, I just thought of one more thing. Who is "The Iceman"?
Lol. He is a twenty-three-year-old Icelandic forward named Aron Jóhannsson who made his World Cup debut during our match against Ghana last week. God bless American sports nicknaming ingenuity.
[Images via AP]