32 reasons why the World Cup is magic
For any credible football fan, time stands still when the World Cup is on – forget any prior social engagements or those foolish enough to have a wedding or birthday party while the tournament is in full swing.
None-footballing friends may desert you and the wife may file for divorce or take the kids to Canada – no matter, the show must go on.
No gardening will be done, DIY ventures around the house are in lockdown, no errand will be too big to refuse – why? Because tricky Morocco are playing the mighty Iran or solid Serbia are in with a shout against the yodelling Swiss.
These are the kind of games that test your World Cup loyalty. You know it’s going to look good in Ultra High Definition, but it can be turgid stuff at times – unfamiliar names playing cautious unimaginative football.
And then watching England flatter to deceive different experience altogether.
Never mind, that’s part of the spectacle of a World Cup fiesta that comes around every four years to brighten up what is usually a football-barren summer.
I will be rooting for England, as usual, and looking out for the Chelsea players in other teams to do well, although with Belgium pitted against the Three Lions, I’m hoping Eden Hazard has a rare off day.
Doubtless to say there will be some great games, while others will be worse than the stale piece of pepperoni pizza you dropped behind the couch. It doesn’t take much to keep us happy for 90 minutes. As long as the action unfolds on wide-screen TV, accompanied by a bucket of cholesterol washed down with cold beers – or in the likelihood that England lose, make that
a a bucket of beers spiced with cold cholesterol.
The charisma and status of the World Cup ensure it attracts even the dourest non-believers who are lured by the fusion of emotion, patriotism, high drama and inexplicable bad luck or fortitude.
Certainly, Russia will have its own stories to tell and a legacy to pass on, despite the tournament tainted by politics and fears that violence and racism will rear its ugly head in and outside stadiums.
To counter racism, FIFA will deploy three antidiscrimination match observers for each of the 64 matches. Referees will also have the right to stop or abandon a game in case of racist incidents.
Critics will crow that Moscow should never have been awarded this prestigious event and the British Australian governments are boycotting Russia.
Arguably this is a rather churlish act, seeing as both the Socceroos and England are playing in the month-long tournament.
The opening match and final of each World Cup are usually richly attended by heads of state and government representatives, becoming informal negotiating events but anti-Russian sentiment in the West has cast its shadow over the event.
We shouldn’t begrudge Russia holding a successful World Cup as it’s costing them an eye-watering $12 billion and what are the odds of the hosts losing to Saudi Arabia in the opening game? Ouch.