Group B is definitely the pop culture Group, and it is also very circular and interrelated.
England has a new King. The United States gave the world The King of Rock ’n’ Roll. Wales gave the world Tom Jones, and Tom Jones single-handedly motivated Elvis to mount the greatest rock and roll comeback of all time.
Iran gave us The Iron Sheik, and The Iron Sheik gave the dictionary the word jabroni, along with a little help from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
UNITED STATES One of the things my dad taught me when I was a little jabroni is to always root for the underdog. Always. And where else is the US an underdog, other than on the soccer field?1 That being said, they’ll probably get Tom Brady involved somehow. Maybe the GOAT can teach the American side how to deflate soccer balls or throw those substitution indicators on the ground like spoiled brats.
GDP: 23 trillion USD (2021)*
ENGLAND won the whole shebang in 1966. Even the Toronto Maple Leafs hoisted a championship trophy more recently, albeit just barely. Aside from music, how relevant is England to anybody anywhere these days, including England? And how long has it been since we’ve heard a good song from across the pond? It definitely feels like Elvis has left the UK.
There’s a revitalization going on in Detroit right now that is nothing short of a miracle. If you want an idea of how dreadful my image of England is these days, imagine Detroit pre-miracle as an island, without soul, without Motown, and without cars.
I think England going 0-3 (“three and out” in American terms) would be a wonderful wakeup call for my M8s across the pond.
GDP: 3.2 trillion USD (2021) (UK, and stagnant for about 15 years)
IRAN was scheduled to play Canada in a warmup for World Cup 2022™ this summer in Vancouver,but it was cancelled, in no small part due to words from Canadian PM Justin Trudeau.Trudeau called it “a bad idea”.
The whole point of events like the World Cup is to bring us together and promote healing. And with Canada ranked #41 and Iran ranked #20, it would have been a good learning experience for the Cannucks. On the other hand, if there is one person who knows a bad idea when he sees it, it is Justin Trudeau.
Anything that can upset PM Selfie is quite fine by me, and there used to be a place down the road from me that sold Persian rugs. Iran has my full support.
GDP: 231.55 billion USD (2020)
WALES I got nothing. Is Greenpeace still trying to save ‘em? They’re apparently ranked the 19th-best team in the world, and the US is 15th.
In NCAAF terms, they’re Kansas State and Washington, or maybe even Notre Dame.
On the flipside, the excellent article LONG READ: From a Welsh Economy to an Economy for Wales: Thinking about an independent Wales makes an excellent case for Wales buggering off from England, so the Welsh haven’t flatlined yet.
GDP: in 2019, the per capita GDP for all of Wales was 92% of the EU average, lagging behind the UK at 115%2 .
1) England has a new Prime Minister for every game.
2) The Iron Sheik, now an American citizen, finally has a nervous breakdown trying to decide if Iran or USA is #1.
1Often referred to as a “football pitch”, jabroni.
* All GDP information from https://www.worldbank.org/en/home except where indicated.