SAO PAULO – The United States is playing Belgium in the World Cup next Tuesday and Belgium is the favorite.
Belgium. Not Brazil. Not Argentina. Not Germany.
Belgium should not be favored over the United States of America in anything but waffles and windmills.
Yes, it's a nation of superior life expectancy, literacy and general happiness … but who cares about those things? Listen, Belgium: You're going to have to step up your senseless homicide and childhood obesity rates before we take you seriously.
This is a complete disgrace to the United States. Sure, soccer hasn't traditionally been the primary sport in our country – even if it was, half our team is from Germany. There has to be a bare minimum standard, however, and having to cower in fear of the mighty Belgians is it.
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Belgium has just 11 million people, which is like, what, a Dakota and a half? (Not certain since I was too lazy and distracted to look it up. You want worker productivity? Go hire a Belgian.)
These guys are Canada-Lite, one of these perfect, nice, polite, pretty countries that take pride in the fact they all ride bikes and recycle and don't unilaterally invade other sovereign nations.
There is no place for someone like this on the global stage of the World Cup, where each match is life and death … literally in some places if you blow a critical assignment.
The U.S. has now reached the elimination stage in consecutive World Cups for the first time ever. It is time to start acting like we've been here before and that requires learning to hate our opponent, no matter how insensitive and xenophobic it makes us. This stuff isn't for the faint of heart.
Supporters of real soccer powers so revel in their desperate ignorance and self-loathing offensives it's a wonder Ann Coulter isn't actually a fan.
There are so many angry South American countries in the round of 16 that a soccer-inspired intra-continental war seems inevitable (wars among South American countries are fought exclusively by biting people on the shoulder).
Had the brackets broken differently – namely both teams being better – we could have had a USA-Russia matchup, aka "the Miracle on Brazilian dirt painted green so it looks good on TV." Now that would've excited everyone since the winner would've earned the right to determine the fate of the Ukraine and those stray dogs in Sochi. Plus Putin might have shown up shirtless with a pet mountain lion in tow.
Instead, we get Belgium and if the 2014 World Cup is going to stand for anything in the U.S. other than hipster millennials – and those who are too old but act like hipster millennials anyway – using street parties and crowded bars to hook up under the auspiciousness of patriotism and an appreciation of "set pieces," then this must be taken to the extreme … American style.
So Belgium, stop with this smug belief that we're content with a simple life surrounded by friends and families as we sit in well-maintained gardens sipping expertly-crafted beer perfected by monks over the past thousand years.
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There are many negatives to point to in your nation, and it's quite easy to do since the country is so flat you can stand on a couple of stale speculoos and gaze all the way to Luxembourg.
Let's start with the simple: The Dutch look down on you and the French make fun of you. You're the nerd of the chess club.
Jean-Claude Van Damme is your best actor. (This will not be said to Jean-Claude Van Damme's face. Also, no one recalls where Audrey Hepburn was from. I think it was Eau Claire, Wis.)
Your biggest city is named after a sprout.
You rank fourth globally in personal saving's accounts … well, that's riveting.
You're so nice that you don't have enough stereotypes for hack Internet columnists to write jokes about.
Dr. Evil, from the Austin Powers fame, was the son of "a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low-grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery … who would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark." This can't be overlooked. Dr. Evil plotted to detonate the world and cause all its volcanoes to erupt at once, after all.
Belgium has this guy, Eddy Merckx, who won the Tour de France five times and he did it all on his own, naturally and with honor, like by just training hard so he could ride his bicycle really fast up an Alp. He didn't even take daily transfusions of cheetah blood or anything. Is that even legal?
Oh, and hey, Axel Witsel, you're misspelling your name.
As for Marouane Fellani's hair … well, that's just badass, so touché. Very well done young man, we've got a two-bedroom condo waiting for you in Venice Beach for your efforts.
What about the mayonnaise-on-fries thing? It's disgusting and considering you supposedly take pride in clearly unimportant things such as low heart disease rates and high overall fitness, it is just a blatant attempt to be American, in this case the caloric equal of the blue plate special at a truck stop outside Baton Rouge.
Belgium has seven times fewer McDonald's per capita than the U.S., which means you discriminate against creepy, big-footed, big-haired clowns and the Filet of Fish … OK, good work there. Advantage Belgium.
Belgium is famous for three chief exports – waffles, chocolate and beer. This sounds good but is clearly a trap to endear itself to the world that smart Americans should not succumb.
Of course, based on our comparative aptitude scores in math and science the term "smart Americans" is relative.
In closing, Belgium can't be better than the United States at anything, even soccer. Something has to be done to maintain world order.
We're counting on you, Clint Dempsey.
And pancakes taste better.