I have a confession to make; my very favourite time of year is not Opening Day of the baseball season, the Stanley Cup finals or the World Series. It is every four years when the World Cup rolls around. I watch a lot of football. Premiership, Champions League, Europa (UEFA) Cup if my team is in it. The best summer of my life was spent in a European capital watching Euro in the old square on a giant screen with all my friends, quite a bit of beer and thousands of complete strangers. I love the atmosphere of it. So when the World Cup rolls around, my focus is on little else. So you’ll have to forgive the barrage of football related posts that will likely occur between now and 11 July.
I’m watching the Italy/Paraguay match and I’ve just been informed that Paraguay have never performed well during the World Cup. They went ahead of Italy in the first half on a surprise spot kick and the announcers went wild and decided to provide me with some stats that don’t mean anything — as announcers are wont to do, much to my dismay* — so I thought I’d actually look it up. The results:
In seven World Cup appearances dating back to 1930, Paraguay have won six matches of 22; they have never progressed past the round of 16. The last international tournament the Guaranies won was the 1979 Copa America (though they did win a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens).**
*In fairness, they did tell me that the last time the Italians lost a match in the opening round was during the 1994 World Cup, though if they told me against whom, I didn’t hear it.
**That information here.