As World Cup fever sets in for soccer fans like me, the contrast between China and Slovenia suggested itself. As the Washington Post reports today, China is the world's most populous country, but it doesn't have a national team at the 32-team World Cup tournament, which starts next Friday, June 11, in South Africa. Meanwhile, as ESPN reports, Slovenia (pop. 2 million) beat Russia (pop. 141 million), to qualify for the Cup. Clearly, population size is not destiny.
Which means that the U.S. (pop. 300 million) had better not overlook Slovenia when they play on June 18. The smallest country teams are often called minnows or giant-killers, and the U.S. whale/Goliath needs to play well -- or else it'll join China and Russia on the sidelines.