THE QUIZ! Different countries are good at different stuff


One of your Sportress correspondents has been lucky enough to spend Christmas in New York – which would be sportress TV viewing heaven if either of said correspondent’s generous host’s apartment’s had TV channels other than Netflix.

However, given the dire start to the season of modern sports most wealth defying bad team, daily viewing has not been required to stay up to date on local sports team banter.

In an attempt to spread the gospel of Smith (Steve not John)[1] your correspondent has enthusiastically informed locals that despite playing with 10 men and one centaur imposter, Australia continues to best India in their fierce rivalry.

This leads to perplexed looks for all the obvious reasons that are too obvious to write jokes about.

On reflection though, the list of Australia’s cricket rivals is understandably strange to any American. Look at the list below of the current ICC test rankings and think about America’s sporting relationship with each of these countries.

  1. South Africa
  2. Australia
  3. England
  4. Pakistan
  5. Sri Lanka
  6. India
  7. New Zealnd
  8. West Indies
  9. Bangladesh
  10. Zimbabwe

It’s non-existent. Well outside of the America’s Cup (in which I’m pretty sure a New Zealander skippers every single country’s boat, which aren’t even boats any more but Star Wars looking hover crafts), intermittently once each year when rich white folks watch the British Open and Wimbledon, perplexed amusement at the terrifying haka of the tall-blacks, and of course 5’3” Matt Damon playing breakaway for the Springboks, it’s non-existent.

Epically scary

I dare say that for most American’s the list above reads like a list of places in which Carrie has had sex with inappropriately young informants in Homeland.[2] To be fair, they could be forgiven for being confused on the West Indies given its not actually a single country and only exists in the quaint 19th Century world of cricket.

On deeper reflection though it occurred to me that the list of the dominant countries in any given sport is actually quite unique. Even in our own commonwealth originating sports, each one of them has a few wild cards that for what ever twist of history and colonialism play and kick arse at one sport but not others (talk to me about India’s rugby team and Argentina’s cricket team).

The Sportress hypothosises that given a list of the top 10 ranked countries in any given sport (without being told the sport), the casually learned sports fan should be able to identify the sport.

This gave rise to a brand new game.


Guess what sport this is based on the top 10 ranked countries in said mystery sport quiz game!

Ok we’re working on the name. But the rules are and simple.

Read the lists below of countries ranked one to 10 in a variety of unnamed sports and try and guess what sport it is.


  1. New Zealand
  2. South Africa
  3. Ireland
  4. England
  5. Australia
  6. Wales
  7. France
  8. Scotland
  9. Argentina
  10. Samoa

Answer: Rugby Union

That was obvious. Try and complete the sentence: “New Zealand is clearly way better at …… than everyone else” and about anything else apart from Rugby (whist keeping a straight face). One of the rare sports that England sacks up and plays by itself, making the list read in part like a list of Bondi flatmates.


  1. USA
  2. Spain
  3. Argentina
  4. Lituania
  5. France
  6. Russia
  7. Serbia
  8. Turkey
  9. Brazil
  10. Greece

Answer: Basketball.

An obvious one to anyone with a cursory knowledge of Basketball. For any one without, it may read like a contiki tour itinerary.


  1. USA
  2. Japan
  3. Cuba
  4. Chinese Taipei
  5. Netherlands
  6. Canada
  7. Dominican Republic
  8. Puerto Rico
  9. Venezula
  10. South Korea

Answer: Baseball.

Obvious. Does read like a list of American Army bases and foreign policy interests from the 1950s. Come to think of it….


  1. Germany
  2. Argentina
  3. Colombia
  4. Belgium
  5. Netherlands
  6. Brazil
  7. Portugal
  8. France
  9. Spain
  10. Uruguay

Answer: Soccer

Super obvious for anyone who watched the world cup.

“I’m looking for a handsome Javier Bardem looking man to star in a mochana coffee add, where could I find one?”


  1. Sweden
  2. Finland
  3. Russia
  4. Canada
  5. Czech Republic
  6. USA
  7. Switzerland
  8. Slovakia
  9. Latvia
  10. Norway

Answer: Ice Hockey

Pretty obvious. We invite all to delve into the incredible facts about how few American players are actually in the NHL.

I’ll give you this though. You could tell me that was the top 10 for bobsled (Ed: Mate, where Jamaica then?), skijumping or cross-country skiing and I’d believe you.


  1. Australia
  2. New Zealand
  3. England
  4. Samoa
  5. France
  6. Fiji
  7. Ireland
  8. Scotland
  9. Wales
  10. USA

Answer: Rugby League

Easy, like Union but no Springboks. Plus Australia is good.


  1. Czech Republic
  2. Switzerland
  3. France
  4. Serbia
  5. Argentina
  6. Spain
  7. Italy
  8. USA
  9. Canada
  10. Kazakhstan

Answer: Tennis (Men’s Davis Cup rankings)

This is the toughest one yet. Makes sense though. Notice that Argentina is sneakily good at everything. Also name a Kazakhi tennis player. Go on. We’ll wait while you google.


  1. USA
  2. Great Britain & Northern Ireland
  3. Russia
  4. Germany
  5. Poland
  6. France
  7. Kenya
  8. Jamaica
  9. Japan
  10. Brazil

Answer: Athletics (Combined Men – some point scoring type system)

You would have to put two-and-two together with Kenya and Jamaica to pick this one. What the hell is Poland good at?


  1. Australia
  2. Netherlands
  3. Germany
  4. Belgium
  5. England
  6. New Zealand
  7. Argentina
  8. Korea
  9. India
  10. Spain

Answer: Hockey (Mens)

Getting a little more esoteric here but still highly getable. PS Belgium have come from nowhere in the last few years.


  1. Australia
  2. Great Britain
  3. New Zealand
  4. Denmark
  5. Switzerland
  6. Germany
  7. Russia
  8. Spain
  9. China
  10. Colombia

Answer: Track Cycling (Men’s Team Pursuit)

Tough one. Without having a strong US College basis, gold medals are open to any country prepared to stump up for velodromes and $20,000 bikes. Making it pretty much a list of countries who don’t mind buying Olympic medals. Plus Colombia, where everyone lives in mountains riding bicycles.


  1. Brazil
  2. Russia
  3. Poland
  4. Italy
  5. USA
  6. Argentina
  7. Germany
  8. Serbia
  9. Bulgaria
  10. Iran

Answer: Men’s Volleyball (Indoors)

Ok that’s pretty hard. Impressive Eastern/Western Europe and North/South America coverage. PS. Argentina again with the credible place.


  1. Australia
  2. Canada
  3. USA
  4. Japan
  5. Great Britain
  6. Denmark
  7. Sweden
  8. New Zealand
  9. France
  10. Finland

Answer: Wheel Chair Rugby

Extra points for the wild card. Kinda reads like an OECD list of something or other. PS. Rylie Batt should make any list of Australia’s best sportsmen. The guy is the Lebron of Wheel Chair Rugby, tats included.


  1. Spain
  2. Brazil
  3. Italy
  4. Russia
  5. Argentina
  6. Portugal
  7. Iran
  8. Ukrain
  9. Colombia
  10. Japan

Answer: Futsol

I suppose if you’re too short for the Iranian Volleyball team…


  1. Australia
  2. New Zealand
  3. England
  4. Jamaica
  5. Malawi
  6. South Africa
  7. Fiji
  8. Wales
  9. Trinidad & Tobago
  10. Barbados

Answer: Netball

Ahhh I see what you did there. PS. Surely there if the West Indies grouped together there would be a Netball powerhouse in the making!


So because if you’re reading this you’re either as boring or as competitive as us. We’ve developed a handy scoring guide to so you can either feel superior, or the abject shame that comes with knowing nothing about sport.

0-3      Monty Burns – “How’s that local sports team?”

4- 8     Bill Lawry – Plenty of enthusiasm. Maybe you actually need to watch some sport though.

9-12    Bruce McAvaney – Broadcasting career ahead?

12+     Sportress blogger – You know about Colombian cycling? Cochise or Lucho? I’m actually a massive fan of Pajon. You should really read these articles I found….

[1] And that ladies and Gentleman is the first Mormon word play cricket joke ever made.

[2] No link here. This whole storyline was weird.


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