The draw for the World Cup tournament was held last Friday, and my first thought looking at it was, “Wow, that could have been so much worse!” Many neutral experts are picking USA as one of the two teams to advance out of Group C, along with England. We can’t take the other teams too lightly, but consider that we could have landed Australia’s spot in Group D or worse, North Korea’s spot in Group G. If we’d been in a group with Brazil, Portugal, and Ivory Coast, my first thought would have been “We’re toast!” Our good luck is something to savor for the next six months.

Each tournament, including the annual Champions League and domestic cup competitions, has a draw ceremony. If you think football fans who watch the NFL draft are weird, you should know that soccer fans routinely watch the draws, which offer even less entertainment value. The World Cup draw, on the other hand, tends to have a bit of pageantry. With South Africa hosting the tournament this year, Charlize Theron took part in the draw. In 2006, with the World Cup held in Germany, Heidi Klum was involved. The 2014 World Cup will take place in Brazil, so I guess we can look forward to Gisele Bundchen.

Stay tuned; in the next few days I’m going to I’d run down all 32 teams group by group in the order they were chosen. I selected a “main man” for each team. This isn’t necessarily the best player (and not a player at all in at least two cases), but someone I see as particularly important to each team’s success. Keep in mind that injuries and coaching changes can happen between now and next summer.