Everyone has World Cup teams they like, including obviously their own country if they qualified. But what about if you’re a neutral since your team didn’t qualify? Or what about matches in which you don’t really know either team but still want to pull for one side?
I’m going to give you a little guide about which teams to support given their connection to Barcelona... no matter how obscure.
Australia: Ummm. Mitchell Langerak, one of their keepers, is a backup at Levante. So... who knows, really.
Iran: Their coach, Carlos Queiroz, was once the manager of Real Madrid. Oppose.
Japan: Barça’s current sponsor, Rakuten, is Japanese. Thanks for paying the bills.
Saudi Arabia: Their coach, Edgardo Bauza, nearly cost Lionel Messi the chance to be in the tournament by being unbelievably bad. Oppose unless they sack him, which they should.
South Korea: You know what, we’re on a high from that Tottenham Hotspur win over Real Madrid. Son Heung-min gets our weak support. I’m sure he’s thrilled.
Egypt: Their coach, Héctor Cúper, once managed Valencia. That’s all I can think of. General meh.
Morocco: Achraf Hakimi is a Real Madrid player. Oppose unless they call up Munir El-Haddadi.
Nigeria: Emmanuel Amunike and Samuel Okunowo played for Barça back in the day. Weak support.
Senegal: Diawandou Diagné played for Barcelona B, but he’s not getting call-ups... so meh.
Tunisia: Can't think of much, but hey - neither their coach or captain voted for Messi in the top 3 for the FIFA The Best Awards. So you know, oppose, or whatever.
Costa Rica: Keylor Navas. Oppose.
Mexico: Unfortunately the days of Rafael Márquez are done, but there’s still a chance for Giovani Dos Santos and his brother Jonathan to get in the team. Support.
Panama: It’s their first World Cup. They’ll probably get torn up but whatever, you have to root for such underdogs.
Argentina: Are you kidding? Messi. Javier Mascherano. Enough said. Strong support.
Brazil: Let’s have a look. Marcelo BOOOO Neymar BOOOO Casemiro BOOOO. Oppose... right? Hey what's this? PAULINHO?? Never mind, never mind. SUPPORT.
Colombia: Surprisingly no Colombian has ever played for Barcelona. James Rodríguez moving to Bayern Munich makes them more likable, but still. It’s James. No thanks... unless Yerry Mina signs.
Peru: They could have knocked Argentina out, probably, but they didn’t. Soooo, thanks.
Uruguay: Two words: Luis Suárez. Support.
Belgium: Thomas Vermaelen, but little else. Weak support.
Croatia: Ivan Rakitić, so support. Of course, Luka Modrić is there, but he’s one of Real Madrid’s most likable players.
Denmark: Come on, we all know culés love Christian Eriksen, plus there’s Michael Laudrup to think about.
England: This team is surprisingly light on Chelsea players, so they’re more bearable than the previous versions.
France: Ousmane Dembélé, Lucas Digne, Samuel Umtiti, and maybe soon, Antoine Griezmann. Not to mention historical players like Lillian Thuram, Éric Abidal, and Thierry Henry. We’ll ignore Raphaël Varane. Strong support.
Germany: Marc-André Ter Stegen won’t start, so we’re not going to get excited. Plus they have a Real Madrid player, Toni Kroos. They’re also favorites to take the title from the teams we’re strongly supporting. Going to say oppose.
Iceland: How can we forget Eiður Guðjohnsen? He was Iceland’s best player by a mile back in the day. Plus they’re a fun team.
Poland: We’ll always smile that Robert Lewandowski scored four against Real Madrid. Going to say weak support.
Portugal: Oh come on. Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe. Sorry André Gomes. Oppose.
Russia: Denis Cheryshev will always brighten our days by accidentally eliminating Real Madrid when he played for them.
Serbia: Predrag Mijatović led this team’s precursor, Yugoslavia, as a Real Madrid player. But he’s actually from Montenegro. Neutral.
Spain: Come on. You can’t oppose the team with Sergio Busquets, Andrés Iniesta, Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba, Marc Bartra, Gerard Deulofeu, and Pedro.
Sweden: We had two busts when we bought Zlatan Ibrahimović and Patrick Andersson, but on the other hand, Henrik Larsson was a signing that changed the course of history. Neutral.
Switzerland: Joan Gamper was Swiss. So were many of the other founders of the club. You have to support them.