***I DON’T HAVE FIFA’S PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT TO USE, TALK, THINK OR EVEN YELL AT RANDOS IN MY STREET ABOUT ANY NAMES, COUNTRIES OR EVENTS MENTIONED IN MY FIFA WORLD CUP QATAR 2022 COVERAGE, SO FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS FROM HERE ON IN, THE EVENT WILL BE REFERRED TO AS QLAMQTAR 2022.***
With the Qlamqtar 2022 world cup only about 14 moons away (depending on your own set of lunar circumstances), I’m going to be answering all the burning questions leading up to the tournament. Today, I take a look at Cuba, aiming to qualify for their second World Cup, and first since 1938.
Nickname: Leones del Caribe
FIFA Ranking: 179 (Sep 2021)
At their solitary World Cup appearance in 1938, the Cubans made it all the way to the Quarter Finals. While they were pumped by Sweden 8-0, the encouraging performance should have meant future qualifications were a lock.
Cuba has not been back to the World Cup since, which is disappointing for the team who would love nothing more than to play on soccer’s biggest stage, but it’s actually just a total bummer for them because they would mostly love the opportunity to show the world how well they defect, and seek asylum in the host nation (whichever one it is). The Leones del Caribe have historically performed well off the field in the category in defections when participating in Gold Cups and Under-23 tournaments abroad, and fans can only how well the team would defect at a World Cup. And it’s not only the players who would benefit from a desperate attempt to escape their lives in Cuba, but also the fans. The team’s supporters would relish the chance to cheer their team on in the tournament, but what they would love even more would be to leave the country and never return. And what better chance for Cubans to show their national pride and trigger a mass exodus and possible humanitarian crisis than following their beloved national team to a FIFA World Cup?
One to watch: If you’re a customs official, the entire team
Just watch them. Keep a close eye on them. And have they left room in their luggage for souvenirs? Do they seem particularly relieved to have left their home country? Are they currently on their knees and weeping in front of a sign that says “Welcome to USA/Canada/UK/pretty much any country other than Cuba”?. ‘Fraid you got yourself a defector there, buddy! Swarm! Swarm!