I’ve never had much interest in soccer. My ex-boyfriend tried to get me into it years ago, when “his team” was considered a contender for the World Cup. I genuinely couldn’t even say what year or what team.
This year is different. This year, my own motherland is a contender for the first time since 1998. Croatia had only recently gained independence from Yugoslavia. The nation wasn’t even admitted into FIFA until 1992. Yet six years later, they made it all the way to the World Cup semifinals.
As I was watching the Croatian match against Russia on Saturday with baited breath—the teams going into penalties, mine with an injured goalkeeper, I began thinking about the complications that face this classy, aptly-named sport, in conversation with our “football.” If we put 11 New York Giants players on a soccer pitch, who might they be?
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