Ladies, if you thought you knew nothing about soccer, or football as it is known around the world, here are a few lessons worth learning.

Lesson 1: Many women don’t know the rules, and don’t really care, but it’s always a good idea to impress the opposite sex with your knowledge of the off-side rule.

Lesson 2: You will not be taught the off-side rule here, but you must venture out and ask the cute soccer players in your neighborhood or at school. For those of you who are single, that is a tip for you.

Lesson 3: In this article you will get to know about some of the hottest soccer players in the world, including some Americanos.

Lesson 4: Why is this important you ask? Well only because in less than a week one of the greatest sporting events known to man and woman will have commenced in Africa – South Africa to be exact. It’s the first time the World Cup has been held on African soil and believe you me when I say if you don’t know what a vuvuzela is you are just not ayoba!

Lesson 5: Learn the offside rule – it’s important!

Lesson 6: It’s okay to watch the World Cup just for the hot guys. We’re with you all the way! We support this endeavor! Ayoba! Put your hands up and scream ‘ayoba’ every time you sight a contender on the screen. You pronounce it ‘ah yoh bah’ and when you like something it is total and complete ‘ayoberness!’

Tim Howard (pictured above) is an American goalkeeper. His father is African-American and his mother is a native of Hungary. In 2001 he was named MLS Humanitarian of the Year for his work with children with Tourette’s (he himself has Tourette Syndrome) He played for that most famous of English Premier League sides Manchester United, and is currently at Everton. (Don’t worry ladies, even I didn’t know that they call these big teams ‘sides’) (We’re mostly concerned with those amazing tattooed arms more than who he plays for, I think) I bought my USA scarf to keep me warm here in South Africa while I cheer Tim and the boys on. I have a friend who would love him to wrap his arms around her and keep her warm… The United States’ first match is against England on June 12th.

Here’s another tattooed wonder in the form of Ghana’s Kevin-Prince Boateng. The central midfielder, who has dual Ghanaian-German citizenship, plays for Portsmouth FC and will face his brother Jérôme when Ghana and Germany clash at Soccer City on June 23rd.

Oguchi “Gooch” Onyewu – He’s a 6 foot 4 Nigerian (very tall for a soccer player) and a Howard alumnus. He’s a defender and his playing position is center back. Yes even I don’t know what that means, but will ask the men at the various bars and restaurants as we watch – this is a tip, single ladies! He was named US Soccer Athlete of the Year in 2006 and plays for Milan of Italy’s Serie A (pronounced Serry Ah! Isn’t that special?) Oh goody, it’s ‘Oh Gucci’!

Fernando Torres is the Spaniard that gets our vote for football demi-god with his boyish good looks. The Liverpool striker has been nick-named El Niño and has scored numerous goals, including three at World Cup 2006 in Germany. We’ll be Wavin’ Flag for Fernando! The Spanish national team is currently ranked number one by FIFA.

It’s official – we’re moving to Spain! Those eyes, those lips and that ribbed bone structure. Iker Casillas is rated as one of the best goalkeepers in Europe, and plays for the Spanish La Liga club Real Madrid, and will certainly be a draw for many when he demonstrates his skills in South Africa.

Staying with the Europeans, here’s Thierry Henry, the delight of all Arsenal fans and admirers of beauty alike, on and off the pitch. With his Arsenal glory days behind him, Thierry Henry (pronounced ‘teary own-ree’ – perhaps his name means ‘giver of tears of joy’) is a French striker who now plays for Spanish La Liga club Barcelona. As a player, he is nothing short of phenomenal, and is widely thought of as one of the greatest in the game. After 8 years with Arsenal he was transferred to Barça in 2007 for $28 million and signed a four-year deal worth $8 million each season. This contract has a release clause of $150 million. If you’ve been doing the math, I’m sure your calculators have over-heated. If you’ve been thinking of becoming a WAG, well we’ve just given you the details. He was born in Paris and I am sure to hear many cries of “Thierry marry me! Oui oui oui!” when we watch him play in Cape Town in the second match of the FIFA World Cup.

Yes it is he of the chiseled features, honed, toned and de-boned bending football skills. He needs no introduction, we all envy his wife his body, his millions and her continuous skinniness and talent for wearing and designing clothing we might want ourselves. He’s had a hit movie named for him and is married to the most successful WAG in the (short) history of WAGs. What’s David without Victoria ‘Posh Spice’ Beckham? We even like that he’s married with kids! Go figure!

It doesn’t matter to us that at the ripe old football age of 33 Hidetoshi Nakata has already retired, and he won’t be in South Africa – but at least we know how hot he is! There’s absolutely nothing more to say about this Japanese footballer except “I’ll have some more of that sushi now please.”

Kaká (full name Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite) is a Brazilian midfielder who plays for Real Madrid. A family man and devout Christian, he is also a humanitarian and has served as an Ambassador Against Hunger for the United Nations’ World Food Programme. His is a highly anticipated presence and the Samba Boys have already received a raucous welcome in South Africa, where ‘the Brazilians’ are held with utmost awe and respect as quite possibly the greatest football nation that ever played.

Didier Drogba is African football royalty. The striker was named the 2009 African Footballer of the Year, on the back of an illustrious career with the English Premier League’s Chelsea football club. He’s also been named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people, following his efforts to bring peace to Ivory Coast, his home country. He recently shared a Vanity Fair cover with Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese winger.

And finally, last but certainly not least….

Fabio Cannavaro is the captain of the Italian squad, and has already seen World Cup glory, with Italy having scored 5-3 against France in 2006.

He’s gorgeous! Long hair, short hair. Tattoo, no tattoo. Shirtless? Shirtless, definitely. Looking at the camera, looking away from the camera. Any way you have it, Cannavaro is steaming hot.

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