Yesterday saw the 2022 FIFA World Cup kick off, but we also kicked off a little series to honor the tournament. In a effort to put the World Cup in Yankees’ terms, I’m giving each team their Yankee player equivalent. After going the first half yesterday, here’s part two of these very accurate comparisons.
(Note: Like I said yesterday, I’m counting 2022 Yankees for this exercise, hence why people who are currently not on the roster are in this.)
In 2014, Costa Rica got out of a tough group and made an unexpected run to the quarterfinals, and very nearly made it even further. Now eight years later, you look at the roster, and it’s a lot of the same players, some of whom I haven’t thought about in years. Zack Britton’s 2022 with the Yankees felt a bit similar.
Had a peak in the mid-2010s, but was disastrous last time we same them on this stage. For Germany, that was getting knocked out of the group stage in 2018. For Josh Donaldson, it was ... whatever the hell his 2022 was. The major difference is that I think Germany will bounce back and be pretty solid in this World Cup, and it seems like Donaldson might be cooked.
Not expecting them to be world beaters, but mostly solid. Clarke Schmidt.
Much like Luis Severino, Spain has the potential for very, very big things. In both cases, there’s been some things that’ve held them back in recent years. For Severino, it’s injures. For Spain, it’s games like their 2018 Round of 16 loss to Russia, where they scored just one goal (an own goal) despite having 74 percent of the possession, because they can’t stop playing an occasionally very frustrating style.
Starting around the mid 2010s a generation of great Belgian players all came through right around the same time catapulting them into contention for tournament titles. However through circumstances partially their fault, partially not, it hasn’t come together. Now, a lot like Gleyber Torres, they’ve reached a point where if they’re going to do it, they need to show it like now.
Making just their second ever World Cup appearance and first since 1986, Canada are fresh and exciting, kinda like Oswald Peraza.
Generally competent at a lot of different things, and has shown potential to be a real contender. However, they might be past their peak, at least in their current role. DJ LeMahieu.
Maybe I’ll be wrong about this, but I’m guessing Morocco’s World Cup stint will muster as many memories as Ronald Guzmán’s 2022 Yankees season.
Lou Trivino had some good years earlier in his career, and the Yankees will be hoping to tap into that, much like Cameroon will hope to tap back into their famous run to the quarterfinals of the 1990 World Cup.
Serbia have some pretty good attacking talent, and they’re going to try and deploy it in a big way at the tournament. They come into Qatar, having scored 18 goals in their previous six games. Tim Locastro’s general job as a Yankee has been as a pinch runner and trying to facilitate scoring via the basepaths.
Pretty much a fixture at recent World Cups, and mostly solid, but it’s hard to see them doing anything incredibly remarkable. Kyle Higashioka.
The Ghana team was a pain for US fans for two World Cup in a row, as they knocked the States out of both the 2006 and 2010 tournaments. Because of that, I’m just gonna give them Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Sorry.
So, Portugal’s all-time best player is Cristiano Ronaldo, who you may have heard of and is still around and in the squad for this World Cup. Lately, he’s been involved in a very public blowup with his club, Manchester United, where he gave a televised interview bashing the club and his manager there. That’s caused some awkwardness in the Portugal camp, especially since there are a couple Manchester United teammates who also play for Portugal. It’s giving Aroldis Chapman.
At the 2018 World Cup, South Korea went out in the group stage, but had a notable moment along the way. They knocked off Germany along the way, dooming the 2014 champions to also miss out on the knockout rounds. A lot like Jameson Taillon and his near perfect game from earlier this year, South Korea generally proves to be mostly solid, with an occasional flair for something dramatic.
In recent World Cups, Uruguay has had a decent amount of success, but have also had a lot of notable blowups, sometimes both in the same tournament. Much like Clay Holmes’ 2022, Uruguay will probably be watchable for some reason.