Football is described as the ‘Beautiful Game’. I may be biased in a way towards Football, but with the 2010 World Cup fervor at maniacal levels throughout the world I can safely say I have billions agreeing with me. No other global spectacle can match the World Cup’s magic to unite people in such a scale transcending all sorts of differences, united by the passion for the game. With 32 nations are plying their football skills in this tournament, it is truly a World Cup.
This year’s World Cup is the 19th to be held and will mesmerize football lovers and other sports enthusiasts alike for a whole month. This is the first WC to be held on African soil, so it is also historic in many terms. This years tournament is sure to boast of a WC that is entertaining, more competitive and adrenaline-pumping, with more teams emerging as serious contenders. Drama, excitement, emotions and more fill the competition, with players hoping to do their country proud and lift one of history’s most prized laurels; to lift the World Cup for their country.
The 32 nations that qualified for the prestigious event are
Europe: Holland, England, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Serbia, Italy, Switzerland, Slovakia , Greece, Slovenia, Portugal , France.
Asia: Japan, Australia, South Korea, North Korea.
Africa: South Africa (as hosts), Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Cameroon, Algeria .
South America: Brazil, Paraguay, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay.
North/Central America: Mexico, United States, Honduras.
Oceania: New Zealand.
The top four favorites to win the World Cup this year are, Spain, Brazil, England and Argentina.
Although of which the clear favorites are the 2008 Euro Winners, Spain just seems to swat their opponents away like flies. With a nearly unblemished record with Spain sharing a record undefeated run of 35 consecutive matches with Brazil, this might be Spain’s year to lift the cup.
Boasting of some of the best players like Iker Casillas, David Villa,Fernando Torres, Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta and many more they are a force to reckon. Precise flicks and passes adorn their play-field, goals are but a fancy for them, but Spanish’s fans have their fingers crossed on hoping that their team’s steam does not fizzle out like before on the World Cup stage.
Brazil is where Football is truly played with magic. The flicks, the step-overs, the fakes, no one does it better than the Brazilians in such numbers. Technical skill is something that is something that comes naturally to them. Five time winners and a true dominating force. With players like Luís Fabiano, Júlio César and Kaká brazil is sure to deliver thrilling and highly entertaining football. If they play their cards right, 2010 can be the year where they add a 6th to their kitty.
England the under-achievers where the game ironically has its modern roots from, with the first ever written evidence of a football match held as early as 1170. With only one World Cup to testify their prowess, England has ever failed since 1966 to win any further WC’s. Under Fabio Capello though England has put behind their miserable Euro 08 failures and marched solidly en-route to South Africa.
With their enigmatic powerhouse of a striker, one of the best in the world, Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, has a whole nation’s hopes lie upon his shoulders.England has always had problems at the national level even having some of the best talents, largely due to the animosity through the ranks because of club differences.England can boast of one of the best Midfield pair in Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard. This can be their year.
Argentina is one of the most successful football teams in the world. Winning two World Cups in its history and having Diego Maradona one of World’s most legendary players who had lead them to their second successful WC as their current coach. Maradona is now managing the national team hoping to lead them to victory.It should be no mean feat considering the man’s track record and the resources he has at his disposal. Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has won all that can be won at a club, being the 2009 FIFA World Player of the Year, a mean scoring machine, the ball may seem glued to his feet. Sadly the only complaints against him is that he hasn’t been able to emulate his club form in the international stage. If he can find his bearings this year, along with the work-horse of player, Manchester City’s Carlos Tévez and Real Madrid’s hot striker Gonzalo Higuaín Argentina might be able to edge through.
Other hopeful contenders are Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Ivory Coast, France and Portugal.
India being a cricket nation may not share the same celebratory mood as the rest of the footballing nations, but several pockets of football fanatics exist across the nation, mostly around the east and south. Kerala is major football loving nation with north Kerala districts being major fanatics.
Our Kochi has a mad passion for the game, where each area within the city and its edges having its own football ‘club’ and lovers dedicated to a sect of international football. Fort Kochi is one of the places that Kochiites consider a major haven for footballers. But sadly this year’s World Cup is not met with the similar enthusiasm it used to get in the past. Although Football posters and cutouts adorn parts of the city and several public screening halls have been set up by local communities, the city largely does not share the same indulgence. It would have been wonderful to see the City Officials set up public screening forums as we have many open and large spaces for such activities (which otherwise acts hosts to religious meeting and political rallies).
A sport such as football which brings people together setting aside all social differences should actually be promoted in such times of low social harmony of want of social interaction with your fellow man. And unlike any other events, this is the World Cup, the pinnacle highest of all sporting and global events.
Don’t let that dampen your moods though, get some friends together, a couple of munchies and a few bottles of beer and viola!-World Cup ambiance and if anyone of you have a wide-screen LCD screens even better!
1)There are several hotels in the city offering live screening of the matches, with drinks and snacks at special World Cup rates. Try the Ava Lounge at Dream, the Le Meridian, the Gokulam Park Inn or the Renaissance Hotel. Your local community is bound to set up a public viewing area as it is common to see such initiatives from local neighborhoods.
2)If not why take up the initiative on your own, get along a few friends, set up a viewing area,spread the fever. Rivalry is fun, bashing each others team, cheering and shouting for yours, highlighting your team’s strengths and your rival’s team’s weakness’s, the fun never ends, but always remember to stick to the fun part and let it not edge over a particular ‘boiling’ point.
3)Add color to the festivities by getting flags and replica jersey’s of your favored nation, go search online for chants and songs (remember to do that in a crowd with people to sing along with, you don’t want to make a fool out of yourself either), wear clothes that resembles your national colors and so forth.
The more livid and whacky the ideas can get the more the fun it is, don’t let your environs hamper your ability to have fun, go ahead let the World Cup Fever get hold of you!
Get your match schedule and fixtures at the FIFA website.