Whether you call it soccer, _calcio_, football, or _futbol_, rooting for your team in the World Cup is exhilarating! Follow these steps to show pride that can't be denied.
Step 1: Check out the draw Examine your team's draw, which divides the tournament's 32 qualifiers into 8 groups of 4 that play each other in a round-robin format. Don't despair if your team loses a match in this group stage -- the top 2 teams from each group advance according to a point system based on wins, ties, losses, and number of goals scored.
Step 2: Get the goods Amp up your intensity if your team makes it to the next round, when the tournament becomes single-elimination. Loudly contest any red cards or offside calls against your team, groan dramatically if your country's shots sail over the crossbar, and hug everyone in sight if your team scores.
TIP: If you're up for it, tear off your shirt after goals, too.
Step 3: Show your spirit Display national pride. Show off your team's colors; enjoy the national food and drink; learn a traditional folk dance -- however you want to communicate loud and clear that your country is the best, on and off the field.
Step 4: Know the enemy Figure out your nation's rivals, and root against them vigorously. Learn a few benign insults in opposing fans' languages and take part in some verbal sparring, a soccer-spectating staple.
TIP: Tease rival fans at your own risk -- soccer enthusiasts can get rowdy when pushed too far.
Step 5: Head out Find a local enclave of fellow fans to watch the game with, or get a ticket to the tournament and root from the stands. Wherever you are, let your passion show as much as possible -- if you lose your voice, you have 4 years before the next World Cup to get it back.
FACT: In 2006, approximately 260 million people watched the World Cup final.