If you’re an Italian-American, the 2018 World Cup is going to be pretty much the worst World Cup you’ve ever been subjected to, and I need not remind you why (but I will): Neither your home country NOR the country of your ancestors will be playing in the tournament.
So, what is an Italian-American to do about the 2018 World Cup?
1.) Pick another team.
Wrong. What is this, kindergarten? Yeah sure, go out and buy a Spain jersey because you spent a semester abroad there in college. Pretend like you have a dog in that fight, okay. Maybe you have some legitimate connection to another country who has even a slight chance of winning the whole thing (and let’s face it, there are about four), you’re just fooling yourself, like pretending that you love steamed broccoli. You can put on that shoe as many times as you like, it’ll never quite fit.
2.) Boycott the 2018 World Cup for political reasons.
It’s taking place in Russia, after all. This one shouldn’t be too difficult. However, if you’re a real soccer nerd, this one is pretty unlikely, let’s face it. You’ll turn up your nose for a round or two of the group phase while your friends are out at the sports bar, but you’ll be checking your phone for updates all the while. And by the time it gets to the knockout round you’ll be glued to your TV and will have lost any amount of credibility you have with your friends and neighbors (assuming — unlike me — you had any credibility to begin with). Not the best option.
3.) Watch the World Cup, but continually act like it’s the worst spectacle you’ve ever seen in sports.
Now you’re thinking like an Italian. Italians are experts on everything. So criticize to your heart’s content! The officiating is atrocious, the fields are badly maintained, VAR is destroying the purity of the game, whatever! If you can’t enjoy the tournament, why should anyone else?
4.) Wear your U.S.A. (but preferably your Italy jersey) for the entire four weeks of the tournament and (assuming you’re wearing your Italy jersey) talk-up your team’s past accomplishments at every turn.
Okay, so this one ONLY works if you’re wearing the Italy jersey. Remind anyone and everyone that Italy has four (4) World Cup Championships to its credit, more than any other country except Brazil, and as many as Germany. So you see, there are only two other countries who can lay any claim to being “better” at soccer than Italy. And even that is debatable. Remember, you’re ITALIAN. The necessity to take pride in gargantuan past achievements while enduring present-tense shame is woven into your DNA. We’re talking about a people and a civilization whose heyday was 2,000 years ago, after all.
If you decide to wear your U.S.A. jersey, just make sure to go into as many bars as possible (preferably those filled with foreigners, during a big match), get riotously drunk, and start chanting U-S-A / U-S-A / U-S-A until you’re either ejected from the bar or crowd-surfing it.
5.) Just Shut up and Wait Until World Cup 2022…
…when the World Cup will be taking place in December, in Qatar, and the games will be taking place live at 3:00 AM EST.