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Michael Lewis

June 11, 2014
32 things that are bound to happen at a World Cup

By Michael Lewis Editor

There have been more than enough World Cups -- Brazil 2014 will be No. 19 -- to notice a number of trends and stuff repeating again and again -- the good, the bad and the ugly.

So, after a while you get a gut feeling of what just might happen.

Here are 32 things that are bound to happen at a World Cup:

* A Third World soccer country will upset a soccer power with a victory or a tie.

* A player will blow up at his coach and will be sent home.

* A team will go undefeated in the group stage, but will not reach the second round.

* A gaffe by a referee or his assistant will decide a close game at a crucial time (ok, that is a given).

* A star player will miss a penalty kick at a crucial juncture of a match or during a shootout.

* One country will offer its team a horde of riches if it advances or does well.

* A coach will be dismissed from a game.

* A local newspaper will severely criticize the performance of the host country.

* Brazil's fans will samba for 31 days.

* Brazilian fans will die while celebrating a victory or mourning a loss.

* When the host team wins a game, its fans will party all night.

* The broadcast signal for a particular country will be sent to the wrong nation -- at least once.

* A player will be suspended for taking drugs.

* After his team loses, someone will propose some ridiculous rule changes.

* A relatively unknown player -- at least to the rest of the world -- will be given international acclaim for scoring a game-winning goal.

* A coach will be fired a day after his team is eliminated.

* A coach will be axed during the competition.

* A player will score an own goal to decide a close game.

* A superpower will "somehow" finish second in its group, but it will get an easier route through the second round and beyond.

* A superstar will experience a miserable World Cup.

* Another superstar will be severely injured after a brutal foul.

* An eliminated team will return home amidst a hostile crowd and get vegetables thrown at them.

* A teenager will make a dynamic debut for his country.

* A veteran will play in his final international match in an emotional farewell.

* There will be reports of an incident in which a friend kills a friend over an argument about a match or a husband killing his wife over the use of the TV or vice versa.

* A star player will be benched for no particular reason at all.

* There will be at least one incident in the airport concerning the media and arriving teams.

* At least one country will accuse another of spying on its training session.

* A team will threaten to go on strike unless it receives more bonus money.

* A star will miss a game because his stomach has not adapted to the environment.

* A team that has done poorly during World Cup warm-ups will surprise the experts.

* A team will win or tie while playing with only 10 men after a player is red carded.

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