World Cup Spirit! (Part Two)
The festival of world football draws ever closer. Here at Classic Wine Direct, we keep to our promises – so here is part two of the World Cup Spirit post suggesting vintages for the remainder of the qualifying nations that has a tradition of wine. If you have a personal favourite then let us know…
PS. For the record once again, the full list of qualifiers is: South Africa, Argentina , Algeria, Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Cameroon, Chile, Cote d’Ivoire, England, France, North Korea, Germany, Greece, Ghana, Honduras, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Paraguay, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, USA, Serbia and Uruguay.
New Zealand: Qualified for the World Cup only once previously in 1982 where they got bullied by Brazil 4-0, spanked by the Soviets 3-0, and beaten handily by Scotland 5-2. New Zealand has won the Oceania Football Cup four times, but this number will rise now that Australia has moved to the Asian Conference. The Kiwis will lord it over the other Pacific Island teams all on their own, but South Africa 2010 may be a challenge too far. FIFA ranked New Zealand 83rd before the 2010 World Cup, but they played well in qualifying, demolishing their Pacific Island rivals (apart from Fiji, who stung them) and beating Bahrain to make it to the World Cup.
New Zealand Wine: The Frost Pocket Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Portugal: Portugal made its World Cup debut in 1966, achieving third place. Since then they’ve been a bit lacklustre and this will be their 5th World Cup appearance. Twinkle-toed Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United and Real Madrid captains the Portuguese side, but he’s got a way to go to match the legendary Luís Figo who has the most caps for Portugal with 127. Though Figo couldn’t get any silverware with the Portuguese team he did lead them to a 4th place finish at the 2006 World Cup. Portugal did not lose any games in the qualifying rounds for the 2010 World Cup under their new coach, so we might be seeing the birth of a new “golden generation”.
Portugese Wine: Quinta de Roriz Prazo de Roriz 2007
Mexico: Won the Confederations Cup in 1999, so they’ve got the mettle to win a truly international competition. Of course, it was hosted in Mexico, and worryingly they seem to only do well in Mexico. El Tri will be making their 14th World Cup appearance. Seven members of the Mexican squad play with European clubs. FIFA ranked Mexico 15th prior to the World Cup, which is down from their high of 4th position back in 2006. But with their new coach, they seem to be making progress. These Mexicans are loco for football and their best results have been quarter finals (again in Mexico) in 1970 and 1986.
Wine: L A Cetto Petite Sirah
USA: Making their 9th appearance at the World Cup, hard on the heels of an impressive runners-up spot in the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa, narrowly losing to Brazil. The USA has won four continental tournaments lead by Carlos Bocanegra, a centre-back from Los Angeles. Top scorer Landon Donovan has booted in a national record 42 goals. FIFA ranked the United States 14th prior to the 2010 World Cup, though they were once ranked 4th in 2006. But the Americans have been doing well. They topped their World Cup qualifying group, besting Mexico by a point. The USA went to the inaugural World Cup in 1930 and got its best result yet – third place.
American Wine: J.Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Brazil: The only team to have won a record five World Cups: 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, and 2002. Many think they can add a sixth in South Africa. Brazil has also won the South American Championships (the Copa America) eight times. People often describe Brazil’s play as “Jogo Bonito” (beautiful game) and claim that “the English invented football, but the Brazilians perfected it.”Brazil has qualified for the World Cup 19 consecutive times, which means they have qualified for every World Cup since the inaugural competition in 1930. FIFA ranked Brazil 2nd before the 2010 World Cup. Surprisingly, the Brazilians last held the top spot in 1993 in their run-up to the 1994 World Cup. We’ll see if this changes after 2010.
Wine: Miolo Quinta Do Seival Pinot Grigio 2007
Chile: La Roja (The Red One) played in the inaugural World Cup in 1930. They beat Mexico and France, but then lost to Argentina. Chile has never won a continental cup, though they’ve been runners-up four times at the Copa America. Chile’s making its 8th appearance at the World Cup. Their best result was third place back in 1962. FIFA ranked Chile 17th before the 2010 World Cup, just behind Cote d’Ivoire. They’ve been ranked as high as 6th back in 1998, but with “Madman Bielsa” at the helm, things may be looking up.
Chilean Wine: Ignacio Recabarren Ventolera Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Argentina: Has lifted the World Cup trophy twice in 1978 and 1986. Considering that it’s been over 20 years since they’ve held the Cup, they might be due for some glory. Argentina has qualified for 14 World Cups and has won the Copa America championships 14 times. Every player in Argentina’s squad plays with European clubs and the national team is coached by the legendary Diego Maradona. Considered one of the greatest players of all time, Maradona has had the job since 2008. FIFA ranked Argentina 8th before the 2010 World Cup. This is a major fall from the top spot they held just as late as 2008. Along with France, Argentina is also the only team to win the World Cup, Confederations Cup and Olympics.
Argentinian Wine: Andeluna Cabernet Sauvignon 2007