Nicaragua was not represented in the World Cup this year, nor have they ever been one of the 32 teams to make the field. Currently, we are ranked 176 in the FIFA world rankings with seemingly little hope in sight for making the tournament in four years. But that does not mean that the people of Nicaragua are not crazy about soccer.
Things have literally been shutting down here. I left the seminary during Brazil’s game versus Columbia last week. As I walked the seven blocks to the bus stop it seemed as though I were walking through a stadium as every house blared the game from a television or radio. At the bus stop there was no one there. It was peak traffic time and there was no one at the bus stop, there was no one on the bus, and I got home in record time. Of course, the game was on the radio on the bus, and as I walked up the road to our house I placed myself in the stadium with the opportunity to score the equalizer for Columbia.
Because the Nicaraguan nation is not represented in the World Cup the people here feel free to jump on and off bandwagons. Before the Cup began everyone was rooting for Spain (which bowed out in the group stage) soon our neighbors became life long fans of Colombian and Costa Rican soccer (which have never been prominent on the world stage) and now everyone is putting their support behind the Argentinians.
Being 100% Dutch myself, I am cheering for the orange eleven, the flying Dutchmen, the low land countries as they are referred to here in Nicaragua. Hopefully the dikes will hold, the little boys' finger will not grow tired and the Dutch will pull off their first World Cup victory and join the ranks of the elite soccer nations!