Happy Saturday, everyone! 😀
For some of you who made it to the end reading my previous post on smartass prediction and random facts of the countries on Group A & B, thank you so much. I know it’s a long post, and this one will be pretty much the same although you could actually skip it to the specific section that you want. That’s why I’m using the table of contents above.
So this time, we’ll talk about some random trivia about the countries who would be the participants of FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. And this time, it’s those countries who will be playing on Group C and D.
And yes, one of them would be my favorite national football team. 😉
FIFA World Cup 2018 – Group C & D
You can easily find who will be in these groups through the internet, but here’s the guide for you in case you want to know which countries we’re gonna talk about today.
Okay, as you can see, since yall probably know the fact that I’m a big fan of Croatian national football team, there may be some statement that is clearly biased every now and then, but well…
You can always check out the part where I talk about some interesting facts about each country to get to know more. 😉
Group C – Smartass Prediction & 11 Random Facts of the Countries
As Indonesian myself, it’s so hard not to be salty seeing Australia on the list. Why? Because I remember the good ol’ day when it was hard for Socceroos to get through the big 32 because they were still a part of OFC. 😛
But anyway… Since my knowledge is not really updated when it comes to football, I can’t really talk much about it. However, when I checked the information about the current Socceroos, I am amused by the fact that Bert van Marwijk is actually the current head coach. If anything that I know about this guy, it’s the fact that he won UEFA Cup with Feyenoord back in the days.
Also, I’m even more surprised that Tim Cahill actually still plays.
As for Denmark, well… Denmark is always interesting to watch. Excuse myself since I was a fan of Jon Dahl Tomasson back in the days, okay?
And this time, I suppose Denmark can always count on Kasper Schmeichel with his experience and not solely because he’s the son of their legendary goalkeeper as well. In the forward, despite being average, we still have Lord Bendtner over there with some fresh air like Jorgensen or Cornelius.
France?! I’ve never been a big fan of the way they play despite being an Arsenal fan. Hahaha. But this time of the day, I’m particularly interested in what Antoine Griezmann could do in this tournament after being the top scorer in the last Euro, not to mention he has played fairly well in the club with Atletico Madrid. And yes, I’m saying this even as an Arsenal fan. 😐
For the last country in the group, there’s nothing much I could say since like I mentioned before, I could only care about Brazil when it comes to any national football teams under the CONMEBOL. Plus, it’s been decades since the last time Peru played in the World Cup. However, their track records to get to the final round is actually impressive.
Not only they’re unbeaten, but also they played very well in the friendly matches. One of them was against Croatia, and they won 2-0. Not so bad, eh? Plus, did you know that Claudio Pizarro is still playing
and looking so DILFish nowadays?!
Now, let’s go to the down under… The land that gave us the late Steve Irwin. Btw, have you watched The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon with Robert Irwin as the guest star?!
I wasn’t even a big fan of the late Steve Irwin, but I’m not sure whether it was my hormone acting up or I was actually touched, but I was actually crying when I watched how enthusiastic Robert is to the animals. Like, it actually reminds me of his father and I feel like he would have been proud if he was around.
- Did you know that Tasmanian Devil, the Looney Tunes cartoon, was created based on the animal with the same name but he looks nothing like it? And speaking of Tasmania, it’s also one of the states in the downunder with Hobart as its capital city. FYI, contrary to popular belief, there are actually so many fun things to do in Hobart.
- The first people in Australia are the Aborigines, and they make up 2% of Australia’s population today.
- The first time I heard about Vegemite, I really thought it was the same as Marmite only for a different brand. As it turned out, Vegemite actually started as a wartime substitute for Marmite.
- The largest Greek population in the world beside Athens in Greece can be found in Melbourne Victoria. Growing up reading Melina Marchetta’s Looking for Alibrandi, I got familiar with the word wog. It is the term used as a racial slur mostly for people from Southern Europe and the Mediterranean as well as Eastern Europe.
- If you like the variety of Kit Kat in Japan, then I suppose you’ll love Australia for its Tim Tam.
- While Australia is an English-speaking country, sometimes other English speakers can find Aussies hard to understand due to a lot of everyday words that are considered unique in the down under. For example, did you know that chuck a sickie is the situation when you have to play pretend to get sick to take a day off from work?
- The first police force in Australia was made up entirely of criminals when Governor Arthur Phillip created the Night Watch in 1788. He decided to populate the Night Watch with 12 of the best behaved convicts.
- In case you haven’t seen the tourism campaign for the Northern Territory “CU in the NT” with the focus on the capital “CUNT” by now, it’s actually real. But it turns out, we Indonesia used to have such a bad campaign as well when it comes to tourism.
- You’ve probably heard by now how James Cook was the first to land on Australia’s east coast in 1770.
- There’s no volcano in Australia.
- Melbourne was almost named Batmania.
So, just a couple of months ago I had to deal with Danish embassy in Jakarta. No, unfortunately, I didn’t do it because I’ve got a plan to visit the Kingdom of Denmark… I actually did it because I was helping my friends to legalize their certificate of marriage and they’re currently residing in Copenhagen.
- Hans Christian Andersen is a Dane, so needless to say that Denmark is the home of fairy tales like The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid, and Thumbelina.
- Denmark is the world’s happiest country according to the survey of the 4th World Happiness Report in 2016. You know what’s more exciting? You can stroll around the capital city Copenhagen in 3 days.
- Hygge is a Danish term used to acknowledge a feeling or moment, whether alone or with a company, at home or out, ordinary or extraordinary as cozy, charming and special. The meaning can vary from reading your favorite book in a quality time on your own to even spending good time with your beloved ones. Probably it has something to do with the second point eh? 😉
- Since Lego is a Danish company, it’s fun to find out that the name itself is actually an abbreviation of two Danish words leg godt, which means “play well”. Of course Lego, avoid your brick to step off your feet and everything is awesome! 😐
- Denmark has the oldest and the second oldest amusement park in the world, they are called Bakken and Tivoli Gardens. As for the latter, the late Walt Disney traveled there four years before Disneyland opened in California in 1955. Yup, Disney was inspired to create Disneyland, thanks to Tivoli Gardens!
- Healthcare and education are free and it’s not really surprising that Danes are the happiest, now that you think about it.
- Since 1967, pornography text has been legalized in Denmark and two years later, pornographic images were also legalized in the country. Needless to say, sexting has been established there ever since my Mom was born. And yes, they’re the first one to legalize pornography. Another reason to get the happiest title, Great Dane?!
- The Danish monarchy is over 1000 years old, making it the oldest monarchy in Europe that still exists until this very day.
- The best achievement in football for Denmark is to be the champion of Euro 1992. It was back in the era of Peter Schmeichel, the father of the current Danish main goalkeeper. Apart from Peter, I suppose no one in Denmark will ever forget about the Laudrup brothers, Brian and Michael.
- Bluetooth is named after the 10th century Viking king, King Harald Blaatand. Bluetooth is an anglicized version of Blaatand, and he was the one promoted communication between Denmark and Norway back in the day. The Danish monarchy is over 1000 years old
- Greenland is actually a part of Kingdom of Denmark and I just found out when I wrote this.
This is probably the kind of country whereby so many of you are experts. Maybe you love history so much that you actually are so familiar with the French Revolution, and you might as well a foodie who wants to find some good restaurants in Versailles.
Maybe you’re just into fashion mode that Paris is like a Mecca for you. Or maybe you’re planning to spend your Winter Wonderland in Paris?!
Either way, please appreciate my effort to do some research to write something that you may find interesting. 😛
- Despite being associated with France, croissant is actually invented in Austria. What’s with Austria? Seems like this country always comes second. First, Hitler and Germany. Now, this?!
- France is the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food. Since February 2016, shops must donate the unsold food to food banks or charities.
- In terms of surface area, France is the largest country compared to other countries in European Union.
- We use the metric system (not you, ‘Murican! *lol*) because thanks to the Frech who invented it in 1793.
- The mosque of Paris became the shelter for the Jews to escape the Nazis during the World War 2 by giving them Muslim IDs. There is a movie that happened to an Algerian-born Jewish singer Salim Halali during that period.
- There is actually a town in France called Condom.
- While we are familiar with the term “Frech Kiss”, the official French word for it was never even official until the one-word verb “galocher“, meaning to kiss tongues was added to the Petit Robert 2014 French dictionary.
- France is one of the few countries that serve beer in McDonald’s.
- The current president of France, Emmanuel Macron, became the youngest president in French history when elected last year.
- And in case you didn’t know, the current first lady, Brigitte Macron, used to be his literature teacher in high school.
- Although Marie Curie is known as a French scientist, she was actually born in Poland. And her maiden name is Marya Sklodowska. Yes, Marya. Like mine.
I honestly have almost zero knowledge about this country. Honestly, the only thing I know about it is just Macchu Picchu. Pretty much a noob in terms of the country. But the good thing about this feature is that at least I read more about what happens about the countries that I am not familiar with. Like this one.
- Peru’s capital city is Lima. Lima in my mother tongue means ‘five’. The first time I found out about Peru and Lima, my first question to my Mom was, “Why does Peru have Lima capital city when we only have one and it’s Jakarta?” See. I’m not boring at all when it comes to trivia. 😛
- One of the cities in Peru, Cusco, was planned in the shape of a puma and it has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1983. And there are so many things to do in Cusco.
- Proud Peruvians use the phrase “soy mas Peruano que la papa”, which literally means I am more Peruvian than the potato because there are over 3000 varieties of potato in Peru.
- Peru was officially declared the world’s biggest producer of cocaine in 2013 by the United Nations.
- Roasted guinea pig, cuy, is the national dish of Peru. It is served as a whole and I know this because one of my friends
with benefithas been to Peru and actually uploaded the picture of this dish.
- Despite my lack of knowledge about Peruvian football, they actually used to have Teofilo Cubillas, who played from 1966 to 1989. He is considered as Peru’s greatest athlete and known as Peruvian Pele back in the day. He had scored five goals in the World Cup and remains one of the only three players in World Cup history to have scored five or more in two different World Cups, alongside the German Miroslav Klose and Thomas Muller.
- In case you didn’t know, llamas and alpacas are Peruvian. You are very much welcome.
- Some of you probably are quite familiar with La Tomatina festival that is held somewhere in Spain, where participants throw tomatoes and get involved in this tomato fight for fun. But did you know that wild tomato is, in fact, indigenous to the area now called Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador? The Aztecs further up the continent were the first to cultivate them and they were introduced to Europe by the Spanish in the 1500s. Needless to say, we shall thank Peru for the beauty of ketchup! 😀
- One of the worst tragedy in the stadium happened in Lima, the capital city of Peru in 1964, where their national football team played against Argentina for South America’s Olympic qualifying tournament. What led the tragedy was the referee’s decision who said Kilo Lobaton’s goal was a foul.
- Founded in 1551, it makes the National University of San Marcos in Peru not only the oldest university in Peru, but also in the Americas.
- Peru is the leading gold producer in Latin America, and the world’s sixth largest in 2017.
Group D – Smartass Prediction & 11 Random Facts of the Countries
Bias opinion detected. Hahaha.
As you all probably know, I’m a big fan of Croatia national football team so as a fan, of course, I am expecting them to lead this group in whichever way possible. But I have to admit that the other teams in the group have what it takes to surprise the world.
No one could argue the difference Messi could make in Argentina. After the second place in the last World Cup, they kind of struggled to make it to Russia this time. I suppose Messi coming back from his temporary retirement tells you all, no?! But then again, always remember that football is not a one-man show, so anything could happen.
The Icelandic counterpart, however, qualified the first time after securing the first place in the qualifying group. That, after they surprised the world with their amazing performance in France two years ago. I mean, sure I was even more surprised seeing Eidur Gudjohnsen was still playing but anyway…
The Icelandic is also the reason why my favorite team Croatia had to get through the playoff to get a ticket to Russia, so of course, it’d be nice as well as challenging to see them again in the qualifying round.
As for Nigeria, despite the fact that I’m not really familiar with African football, but Nigeria has always had a special place in my heart since I’m an Arsenal fan. I mean, of course… Growing up with Nwankwo Kanu in the front, and now we’ve got our own Alex Iwobi. So yeah, this is bias and I secretly hope they could surprise the world for the sake of their mental encouragement the next season.
To be frank, despite growing up with telenovela, I really am not that familiar with South America or what’s in there exactly.
I think the first thing that I know about Argentina is the story about the Falklands War, and the reason why I find out about this is that they actually tried so hard to relate the war with the rivalry of Argentina and England on the pitch.
Apart from that, then it’s fair to say that of course, I’m familiar with the song “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”. 😐
- This is the most unnecessary trivia that I came up with when I started to draft the fact about Argentina since I know so little about the country. But this may come up as interesting for those people like me. Before Shakira ended up dating Gerard Pique in South Africa 2010, she used to date the son of an ex-president of Argentina. Shakira’s ex-boyfriend, Antonio de la Rua, is the son of Fernando de la Rua who was in the office from 1999 to 2001. They dated for more than 10 years and they split in August 2010. You’re right, not so long after Spain won the World Cup and Shakira met Pique in the tournament.
- And related to the ex-president Fernando de la Rua, in 2001 after he resigned, Argentina once had 5 presidents in 10 days following a string of crisis since the 1930s.
- Pope Francis, who is currently the sovereign of the Vatican City State, is from Argentina. He’s also the first pope from the Americas.
- Argentina is the first country in Latin America that legalizes the same-sex marriage in 2010.
- In the Latin language, the word inspired the name Argentina, argentum, means silver, as the first European landed in Argentina, believed that the country was full of silver, and established towns in the country in order to search for the precious metal. Unfortunately, no silver was ever found. However, no offence for the fan of Albiceleste… But nowadays it seems like the name speaks for itself. After being the runner-up in World Cup 2014, they also had to suck it up in the second place in Copa America in 2016. Should’ve named it after gold, I suppose?!
- The primary language of Argentina is Spanish, although the language has been heavily influenced by immigrants from Italy and French. Nowadays, English is quickly growing to become the second language, and there are around 5000 people in the Chubut province of Patagonia who also speak Welsh.
- The city of Ushuaia is believed to be the most southernmost city around the globe.
- Argentina is the only country that has a day designated for the celebration of friendship. It celebrates every year on 20th of July, which marks Friends Day.
- Carlos Saul Menem became Argentina’s first Muslim president in 1989. However, he had had to convert to Catholicism earlier as until 1994, the law stated all presidents of Argentina had to be Roman Catholic.
- However, Argentina has the second largest Jewish population in America continent after NYC. As a result, McDonald’s in Argentina is the only kosher McDonald’s established in the world outside Israel.
- The picture above is the Perito Moreno Glacier, the third-largest freshwater source in the world that is also the glacier that is growing, instead of shrinking.
Here comes the time for me to sing the song of my people. Okay, not really… But I gotta admit, I wouldn’t have been so Slavwashed if it wasn’t because of my love to their national football team.
The love of football that has grown led me to a lot of things. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree, thanks to my passionate effort to find out more about this particular country.
As a result, sometimes I surprise the native Croatian I’ve met along the way for the things I know about the country.
- Croatia is the home of modern neckties. The wearing of neckties started in Croatia back in the 16th century as a part of their traditional costumes. During the Napoleonic wars in the 17th century, King Louis XIII hired Croatian who wore this necktie as a part of his uniform. He was quite fond of it that he made it a mandatory accessory for Royal gatherings. In a lot of European languages, necktie will be translated as some derivative of ‘la cravate’ – the French word of necktie. E.g. die Krawatte in German or Kravat in Turkish. Those words were taken from the original name of Croatia: Hrvatska.
- And in case you never heard about this fun fact before, the dog breed Dalmatian can be traced back to Croatia, in Dalmatija region. Hence, the name.
- Yup, Nikola Tesla was born in a town that is a part of modern-day Croatia called Smiljan.
- Croatian is the 7th tallest country by the average height of country’s residents. And to be fair, I cannot argue with that. Balkan people in general are so tall that the tallest guy that I used to date is also from Balkan. He’s at least 190cms by height.
- Croatia was a part of Austro-Hungarian Empire until the end of World War I in 1918. After that, they joined Serbia and Slovenia to form the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
- Despite the fact they share the similarity of being South Slavs, many still believe that the difference between Croatia and Serbia that led to the independence of Croatia from Yugoslavia in 1991 is the culture where they belong, in which Croatia was a part of Western Culture for being a part of Austro-Hungarian Empire once and Serbia is more related to the Ottoman.
- The first time Croatia qualified to the World Cup after their independence, it was in France 1998 where they got into the third place with the final game against the Netherlands with Davor Suker being the top scorer of the tournament. That was the biggest achievement in the tournament, and pretty much the reason why I’m a fan of Croatia until this very day.
- And yeah, despite the fact that I never watch Game of Thrones, I suppose almost everyone knows by now that Dubrovnik is the main filming location for King’s Landing, a fictional city in the series.
- Bog in Croatian is pretty much like ciao in Italian, you can use it either to say hi or goodbye.
- Croatia has the largest population of Lipizzaner horses in the world, and the country is also a member of the Lipizzan International Federation.
- The Sea Organ is an architectural object located in Zadar, Croatia. It is an experimental musical instrument, played by the sea waves and tubes located underneath a seat of large marble steps and I want to go there one day!
Despite the fact that I’ve never been there, but I’m quite familiar with the country and its people due to my experience to work for an Icelandic company in the past.
I’ve got a lot of native Icelandic as colleagues, besides the fact that so many friends of mine got married to Icelandic as well.
Long before then, I’ve had a crush on Eidur Gudjohnsen when he played for Chelsea alongside Zola, so yeah… I’m not an expert in terms of the country, but I know some stuff about it.
- Long before everyone has a desire to get to Iceland because they want to see the Northern Light, we probably know Iceland only because that’s where Björk comes from.
- The travelers outnumber locals five to one in the country.
- Some may find the naming in Icelandic peculiar, however if you meet any Icelandic people, I would guarantee that their last name will end with ‘son‘ if he’s a guy and ‘dottir‘ if she’s a woman. It’s because the last name of people in Icelandic refers to explain whether they are the son or daughter of someone. Let’s get back to Björk. Her last name is Guðmundsdóttir, that is to explain that Bjork is the daughter of Guðmund. Meanwhile, the captain of their national football team, Aron Gunnarsson, is the son of Gunnar.
- Iceland does not have any military. No army, navy, or air force.
- Iceland was the last land in Europe to be settled by human, and it is also the youngest country in the world in terms of landform.
- The first female Prime Minister in Iceland, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, is also the first openly lesbian head of government in the world. She was in the office from 2009 to 2013.
- She was also in the office as Prime Minister when Iceland legalized the same-sex marriage in 2010.
- All new first names that have never been used before in Iceland must be approved by the Icelandic Naming Committee. For exactly the same reason, you can find so many people with generic names like Eidur, Sigmund, Jon, etc. No Blue Ivy for Icelandic, I suppose? 😛
- The Icelandic government has banned prostitution in 2009 and later done it to strip clubs in 2010. However, it was reported that prostitution on the rise in the country since the increased influx of tourist in the past few years, as more women involved in prostitution now come from other countries than before.
- In Iceland, beer wasn’t legal until 1989. The big irony, since Icelandic is pretty much one of the strongest drinkers I know. 😛
- Jón Gnarr was elected the mayor of Reykjavik in 2010 and served 4 years. Before turning to politics, he was well known as an actor and comedian. One of his campaign promises was not to fulfil any of his campaign promises.
Being Indonesian myself, there’s one similarity being me and most people in Nigeria: we love Indomie wholeheartedly.
And pretty much like us in Indonesia, I heard that Nigerians literally say “Indomie” for noodles. Sisterhood in Indomie definitely will never fail.
- Being the second largest economy in Africa, Indomie has gained popularity in Nigeria due to the population boom in the past few decades, as well as the great marketing way to introduce the product as something between the light snack and a solid meal. However, Indomie commercials in Nigeria are so popular that most Nigerian think Indomie is a local product, when really… Indomie has always been under Salim Group here in Indonesia. 😉
- If India has Bollywood and the States have Hollywood, Nigeria has their own Nollywood. Nigerian film industry produces roughly 1,000 movies on average per year, which makes them come the second largest feature film producters worldwide. Second to Bollywood, and above Hollywood!
- Nigeria is a member of the Commonwealth, as well as the African Union.
- While Lagos is the most populous and probably the most popular city in Nigeria, their capital city is actually Abuja.
- Lagos is also the largest city in Africa.
- Nigeria has more Muslims than Saudi Arabia. In total, they are the 5th largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
- The nickname of their national football team is Super Eagles.
- 80% of the Blacks in the USA have a Nigerian Ancestor, as the first people of Nigerian ancestry in what is now the modern United States were imported as slaves from the 17th century. Nigeria became a major point of export of slaves from Africa to the Americas during the 17th and 18th century.
- In 2014, a Nigerian woman unseated Oprah Winfrey as the richest woman of African descent in the world. Her name is Folorunso Alakija. She’s a tycoon involved in the fashion, oil, and printing industries.
- 4 of the top 10 richest pastors in the world are from Nigeria. The one on the top is also Nigerian, his name is David Oyedepo.
- Nigeria was the first African national football team who won the gold medal in the Olympic for football. It happened in Atlanta 1996 and of course the legend Nwankwo Kanu was a part of the team.
I didn’t really expect this to be even longer than the previous post about Group A and B, but there you go… It’s totally understandable since I’m a bit more familiar with some countries here so I feel like there are so many things to share about it with some additional rants as well.
So, I hope it won’t bore you to find out what’s in the group E and F because I’ll publish about it next week. Thanks for reading, and cheerio! 😀