Yesterday I was instructed to root for Germany in Group B. Again, correct answer. Sure, Germany may have won more than their fair sure of international tournaments, but everyone knows you can never have too much Mannschaft (What are you giggling at you reprobates?). More importantly, thanks to the influence of new USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann and our post-World War II international military basing strategy, the German team has become a sort of farm team for the US, as players who've decided they're too talented and strong to play for Germany graduate to playing for America (or something like that).
Oh, and thanks for making me root for the Czech Republic. That was harrowing.
Now we consider Group C. Italy and Spain have as compelling a pedigree as you'll find in European soccer. Croatia has had declining fortunes since finishing 3rd in their first ever World Cup in 1998, and Ireland have just been abject. Despite a proud footballing tradition, they'd only qualified for one UEFA championship before this one (in 1998) and didn't make it out of the group stage. So, which direction are we going to go here? If you can't decide, here's the SBNation group preview.
Spain (100 votes)
Italy (21 votes)
Republic of Ireland (108 votes)
Croatia (42 votes)
271 total votes