Don't you just love this time of year? Things start to wind down, you get a moment to breathe, and then you gather round with those people you cherish and ... decide if it's time to burn your national soccer federation's existing structure to the ground.
Happy Inquest Season, everyone!
It happens every four years. By definition, only one country can leave the World Cup with the title. Perhaps a couple of others with minimized expectations can also consider their trophy-less runs to be successful, but the majority of the 32 teams will head home feeling like failures. After Saturday's 2-1 loss to France, some in the English media have already begun calling for "an inquest" into the federation's shortcoming. And you can bet other calls-to-inquest are being harmonized in front of fireplaces across Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.
I, however, am not a practicing Inquestador. I just like to watch with an ironic remove. Instead, I abide by the fact that soccer is incredibly random -- and that what makes the World Cup so compelling is how it plays up the randomness, with so few matches, and those matches occurring only once every four years. This tournament isn't designed to unearth the best national team in the world; no, it's designed to create what we've seen so far: utter and complete chaos.
So, with that in mind, let's take a look at all of the favorites (and the United States men's national team) who have been eliminated and see if there's anything they can do over the next four years to give themselves a slightly better chance at conquering the randomness.