If one good thing came from the United States losing in the World Cup, it's been the freedom Americans have to cheer for any nation with no regard for imaginary lines on a map. So before tomorrow's final between Germany and Argentina, ask yourself: Do you prefer schnitzel or empanadas? Hasselhoff or Lorenzo Lamas? An obelisk or a gate?
Whether it's Germany or Argentina for you, you're going to want to bone up on a few key phrases to make yourself seem like an informed fan, even if it's only for a couple hours. So read this, go buy a big dumb hat (see above), and then read it again. You'll be ready come kick off.
For Germany fans:
Schland — Shorthand for "Deutschland" and an easy way of referring to the national team.
Das runde muss ins eckige — "The round thing must go into the square thing," courtesy of Germany's Yogi Berra, Sepp Herberger (via the blog Fluent). Deliver this quote with raised eyebrows if it's 0-0 at halftime.
Deutschland vor, noch ein tor — "Let's go Germany, score another," a classic chant that real Germans know is only deployed after a goal has been scored (note the "another").
Gotzinho — The Brazilian-style nickname given to the German midfielder with a Brazilian's skill, Mario Götze.
Oh wie ist das schön — "Oh how beautiful this is." Sing it if Germany wins or try it as a pickup line if they lose.
Raumdeuter — "Space interpreter," midfielder Thomas Müller's self-anointed nickname referring to his uncanny ability to see and run into pockets of space that seem invisible to his opponents.
Teufelskerl — "Daredevil," used to refer to a goalkeeper who is, as we Americans say, "standing on his head." Germany's Manuel Neuer pretty much lives on his head.
Freudentaumel — Is there a German word for the ecstatic pandemonium that will sweep Germany should they win the World Cup? Yes, and this is it.
For Argentina fans:
La selección — "The selection," a simple way to refer to the team and sound like a native.
La albiceleste — "White and sky blue," a slightly less simple way to refer to the team and sound even more like a native.
Fernet y Coke — The drink that fans of la albiceleste are probably holding when they're yelling ...
Vamos los pibes — "Let's go boys," to be shouted in moments of high intensity.
Vamos, vamos Argentina – "Go, go Argentina," the name and opening lyric of the most popular chant in Argentine soccer.
La pulga — "The flea," the nickname given to Argentina's wily superstar, Lionel Messi.
El pipita — "The child of big nose," the nickname given to Argentina's striker Gonzalo Higuaín, whose father, a former la albiceleste player himself, was know as "la pipa" because of his big nose.
El apache — "The apache," the nickname given to Argentina's beloved forward Carlos Tevez, who grew up in the neighborhood Fuerte Apache. At 33, Tevez was left off this year's squad, much to the dismay of many fans.
Es lo que pasa cuando el Apache no juegue con la selección — "That's what happens when Tevez doesn't play for the team," something to mutter at the screen if Argentina loses.