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Triangle soccer fans from around the world 

click to enlarge 500px-flag_of_argentina.png

Name: Bruno Estigarribia

Country of origin: Argentina

Occupation: UNC psychology professor

Take: I think we will reach the quarterfinals if we have a little bit of luck. If we have a ton of luck, like in 1990, we might make the finals. The thing is, World Cups are very unpredictable. The best team does not always win. It's hard for a team to sustain its peak for a long period of time. For example, if you peak in the qualifiers and then lose [in the World Cup], you're out. In 2002, I think we won 11 out of 13 qualifiers, but then in the World Cup we didn't get out of the group. In qualifiers you have a lot of leeway to lose games. In the World Cup it's different.

Current odds: 7-1

click to enlarge Vanessa Woods
  • Vanessa Woods

Name: Vanessa Woods

Country of origin: Australia

Occupation: Durham-based author of Bonobo Handshake

Take: I think the World Cup is just an excellent sport for bonobos because in Australia we have this whole rugby thing, that's a chimpanzee sport, but soccer is a bonobo sport, it's very polite, there's no heavy contact, no concussions, no bloody noses. I would be especially pleased if Brazil won the World Cup because they're very hot and I'd get to watch them the whole time.

Current odds: 199-1

click to enlarge Pablo Valencia
  • Pablo Valencia

Name: Pablo Valencia

Country of origin: Chile

Take: My favorite time watching the World Cup was probably 1970 when Brazil won it in Mexico. It was a beautiful time; I remember gathering with family and friends and all watching together and feeling the same passion for the sport.

Current odds: 89-1

click to enlarge Matt Watson
  • Matt Watson

Name: Matt Watson

Country of origin: England

Occupation: midfielder, Carolina RailHawks

Take: Obviously I'd like to say they would win it all, but to be honest, if we can get to the semis that would be an achievement. In my heart I'd like them to win, but in my mind I think the quarterfinals or semis would be great.

Current odds: 15-2

click to enlarge Mathieu Therezien - PHOTO BY JEFFREY S. PIPPEN, DUKE UNIVERSITY
  • Photo by Jeffrey S. Pippen, Duke University
  • Mathieu Therezien

Name: Mathieu Therezien

Country of origin: France

Occupation: grad student, Durham

Take: I don't plan to watch specifically France. I'm still a little bit annoyed at how they qualified [on a handball-aided goal]. I don't have very fond feelings for the current team. My favorite player? Wayne Rooney [of England]. I like the way he plays, and he looks like a guy from a Guy Ritchie movie.

Current odds: 21-1

click to enlarge Elmar Bolowich - PHOTO COURTESY OF UNC SPORTS INFORMATION

Name: Elmar Bolowich

Country of origin: Germany

Occupation: head coach, UNC men's soccer team

Take: Germany winning means that they probably will overachieve on the team they have. They have some devastating injuries in the lineup. I think winning it without them will be a huge statement—the country will go bananas.

Current odds: 14-1

click to enlarge 450px-flag_of_ghana.svg.png

Name: Kofi

Country of origin: Ghana

Take: If they win, I'll go to Ghana, I'll just go for vacation. Everybody's gonna be on the street, taxi drivers will be blowing the horn, the older ladies will be coming out and waving their clothes; it will be more of a carnival than anything. When the team [returns], there will be like 20,000 people at the airport. When it comes to soccer, that's one thing we really know how to do.

Current odds: 209-1

click to enlarge 500px-flag_of_greece.svg.png

Name: Andreas Gondikas

Country of origin: Greece

Occupation: Duke graduate student

Take: [Our] chances are slim. I think it will be hard to pass the group stage (maybe 40 percent chance), but if we do we will play France or Mexico. If we are extremely lucky, we could pass France (I would give it a 50 percent chance), but not Mexico (maybe 10 percent chance).

Current odds: 349-1

click to enlarge 500px-flag_of_honduras.svg.png

Name: Gregorio Cruz

Country of origin: Honduras

Occupation: coordinator of HIV/ AIDS education for El Centro Hispano

Take: We understand that we probably can't win the Cup. But, oh my goodness, probably we will be the best country in the world [if we win]. Now, nobody watches Honduras, nobody knows about Honduras, but with this situation, I think many people will want to look, will say "where is Honduras?" and check it out on the map.

Current odds: 999-1

click to enlarge 500px-flag_of_italy.svg.png

Name: Marco Rosa

Country of origin: Italy

Occupation: director of communications, Carolina RailHawks

Take: I remember '82 down by the seaside [in Italy] watching the game on a small TV in a boat in a marina. After every goal there was someone throwing themselves in the marina, never mind that there was petrol and everything in there, they were just jumping in.

Current odds: 17-1

click to enlarge 500px-flag_of_cote_d_ivoire.svg.png

Name: Eyve

Country of origin: Ivory Coast

Take: It means a lot because it's a form of relief. People are really stressed out and they lead a difficult life and when we can go play a soccer game, we can leave these problems behind and find a sense of happiness. We've been trying to organize an election for 10 years now and I think winning would mean a lot.

Current odds: 69-1

click to enlarge 500px-flag_of_nigeria.svg.png

Name: Bola

Country of origin: Nigeria

Take: Nigeria is almost divided, but soccer kind of unites everybody no matter what part of the country you're from. In Nigeria, people watch in places that are like the sports bars here. Electricity is not guaranteed everywhere and they normally have a generator there to watch the games. That's part of the factor that unites the nation.

Current odds: 249-1

click to enlarge Ana Teresa Galizes
  • Ana Teresa Galizes

Name: Ana Teresa Galizes

Country of origin: Portugal

Occupation: Peace College senior

Take: It's the time of the year when there's a flag hanging on everybody's window in Portugal. I just came back from Portugal and the only thing on the news was our national soccer team and [the] World Cup. It sounds kind of shallow because it is just a sport, and I try to explain it to my boyfriend who's American and he doesn't get it. Forget that it's a team, it's literally your pride for your country against another country.

Current odds: 33-1

click to enlarge Sasha Lane
  • Sasha Lane

Name: Sasha Lane

Country of origin: Slovakia

Take: Coming from a small country and living abroad, you don't hear your country's name a lot, and once in a while when your country makes it to something as big as the World Cup, you get excited. But team competition at this level is no longer about alma maters, clubs, logos or revenues. It becomes about ancestry and national pride.

Current odds: 539-1

click to enlarge 500px-flag_of_south_korea.svg.png

Name: Chris Yu

Country of origin: South Korea

Occupation: N.C. State student

Take: [My favorite memory is] definitely 2002 when there was a World Cup in our country. It was a huge party, just like every day. We're looking really good this season. Park and Lee Chung-yong from Bolton, those are the main players I think. I think they'll give other players a lot of confidence and even if we don't win the WC, I think South Korean players will learn a lot from them just by playing on the same field.

Current odds: 419-1

click to enlarge Pere Gallego Rico
  • Pere Gallego Rico

Name: Pere Gallego Rico

Country of origin: Spain

Occupation: Duke lab worker

Take: I'm from Alicante, but I live in Barcelona (and I'm a Barcelona supporter). On weekdays, I will watch the games in my lab by Internet—if I have time, of course. Spain has a very good team, but they need to be lucky. If Spain wins, soccer will be the winner, because Spain plays a wonderful soccer—like Brazil. This would be different from the way the last World Cup was won by Italy.

Current odds: 4-1

click to enlarge Julien Brun
  • Julien Brun

Name: Julien Brun

Country of origin: Switzerland

Occupation: Duke graduate student

Take: [Enthusiasm for soccer in Switzerland] depends a lot where you live. For Zurich and Basel, it is important, but in the French part (where I am from), there is currently no big team, therefore the interest in the Swiss championship is not really high. The Swiss championship is not of high level. Only one team can play a little bit (FC Basel) in European Champions League. Therefore the ambiance in the stadium is familial and generally pretty quiet. Most of the players of the Swiss team are playing in other European countries. The Swiss team is in a tough group, with Spain and Chile, thus it will be already a great performance to be in the second round!

Current odds: 419-1

click to enlarge Mollie Pathman
  • Mollie Pathman

Name: Mollie Pathman

Country of origin: United States

Occupation: United States U-18 team member, Gatorade National Girl's Soccer Player of the Year, will play for Duke next year

Take: It just an amazing experience to be able to play for your country. Every time I put on the jersey, I kiss the crest. Our goal is to win, I don't know if it's going to happen, but I believe in them. Definitely a reasonable goal is getting out of the bracket.

Current odds: 94-1

Interviews conducted by Jessie Ammons, Joe Schwartz and David Fellerath.

  • International takes on the World Cup


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