All of your World Cup Questions Answered


Michelle Batres

Senior Julien Payen, our go-to World Cup person for all soccer inquiries, answers questions submitted on the Q&A google form.

Welcome back everyone, the World Cup is almost over (go Argentina) and I’m still available to answer any and all of your World Cup questions.

Why are the goalies always dressed in such colors that make my eyes hurt?
Please just be grateful that we’ve moved on from the 1994 World Cup jerseys. Anything besides that is so much better for everyone involved. For realsies though, it’s so they don’t get confused with the other players that can’t use their hands.
Why is Julien Payen sooooo obsessed with the World Cup?
Ummm, what’s there not to be obsessed about? Once every four years we get a whole month of soccer games. That’s reason enough, but the history and grandeur of the cup creates lifelong memories.
Why is soccer called soccer?
Way back when in ye old times, British people would shorten words because they were young and hip. Soccer, which was called Association Football, got shortened to Assoc. So every time a British person makes fun of you for saying soccer, remind them that it’s actually their fault.
Who do you think is going to win?
My mom was born and raised in Buenos Aires, if I don’t say Argentina I WILL be disowned. Also Messi needs to finally get the one award he’s missing.
Why is Neymar’s hair blond?
Getty Images
Again, it used to be worse. Or you can ask him on his website and maybe he’ll answer you.
What is offsides?
This is a great question for first-time soccer watchers. Being in an offside position means that as an attacker, there’s only one defender (including the goalie) between the ball and the goal line. However, you don’t get punished for just being in an offside position, only when the attacker becomes involved in play does the referee blow the whistle for offside.
This is a great example of the red player being offiside.
How do refs become qualified to be in the World Cup? Who judges how “good” a ref is? Can you ref soccer even if you don’t play soccer but play another sport–say… tennis?
In 2019 the US Soccer Federation (USSF) changed their referee grading system from a system of numbers to a system of words. (I know, exciting.) Now there are five levels, or grades, of referees that are part of the USSF system. Only the top level of referees can referee international tournaments, and even within that level it’s very difficult to be selected to referee at the World Cup.
As one of the most highly respected referees in the world, I’m the sole judge of the quality of referees and I personally handpick the referees for the World Cup.
To answer the final part of your question, it’s actually impossible to referee say, U-10 games while also being one of, if not the, best tennis players in the entire world. (I’ve also heard that he writes very funny and informative articles and is tall and handsome and–.)
Dear Julien, what are your personal thoughts on Ghana?
Dear Reader, I have nothing against the Ghanian team. In fact, I was rooting for them to beat Uruguay. However, I have decided to place 100% of the blame on the loss to Mr. Lanham for coming into our third period class and spoiling the penalty kick against Uruguay. That was an unforgivable act and I hope he has reflected appropriately.
Do I get unlimited free refills of the World Cup?
You know what? Sure, every four years go ahead and get a refill on me.
Why did the guy who scored for Cameroon receive a red card?
Well, one of the ways players can get a yellow card is by taking their shirts off during a celebration. (I guess because the referee is insanely jealous of their abs.) So because Vincent Aboubakar already had a yellow before he scored, he got a second yellow for taking his shirt off.
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