It’s been a long wait.. I’m not going to come out and say it was easy ‘cause throughout the past 4 years, a lot has happened.. Bahrain for the first time in its history flirted with making it to the big show, late nights of qualifiers, screaming at the television, even got my mother onboard for the qualifying campaign.. I’d also be a liar if I said that the last world cup was a lot of fun.. there were some great games, yes, but there were too many issues embedded in having the world cup in Asia that just rubbed me the wrong way. I’m sure Fifa will be more prepared the next time they decide to have the world cup in Asia..
Remember the 2002 world cup? The fact that the actual timing of the world cup was brought forward to avoid the monsoon season in Japan or Korea, probably not giving the players enough time to rest. The English and Spanish leagues did not finish in time as everyone else and it was obvious that the players in those two leagues were not fully rested (Fifa this year put in a new rule that all leagues needed to end on some specific day in May – the 19th if my memory serves me right, but it has been known to evade me). Holland didn’t make it to the world cup.. the teams that we all expected to progress were all knocked out – Everyone predicted Argentina France for the final, and they both went home after the group stages.. The timing of the games were totally fucked (I was in Boston at the time, the latest game started at 10 AM) do you know what it’s like to watch the world cup final before you normally fix yourself a cup of coffee in the morning?? Having a pint and watching the game that early in the morning really did make you wonder about your personal struggle with alcoholism. The horrible refereeing – Byron Moreno: I still hate you.. No disrespect to the South Korean football team (cause they played some great football, and look even deadlier this tournament) but a lot of calls went their way, making you feel like since this was the first time Asia was hosting the World Cup, Fifa wanted to give an unnecessary nudge to one of the teams there (ie: the hosts).. the horrible sportsmanship, Rivaldo getting the ball in the knee and then him dropping to the floor clutching his face against Turkey,, What was that all about? Ronaldo with that stupid half moon haircut – a horrible attempt at something anime.. I was just left a little deflated… I waited 4 years for the 2002 world cup, only to be disappointed.. so for all intensive purposes I’ve been waiting since France 98 for a good world cup..
It’s taken me 8 years, and now I’m only 1 day away.. I’m 24 hours away from cheering and jeering.. giving up my life for one full month to focus on football. I’m no silly purist that supports one team and only one team.. My support this world cup goes as follows: Italy, Holland, Ivory Coast, & England… Although I will be paying attention to all the teams (Spain, France, Japan, Brazil [how can you not?], etc.. ) I am going to stick to my four.. why? Well there are 32 teams, why focus on one, four is a better number.. pick 4 teams and improve the odds of one of your teams making it to the final.. I’m going to side with history and statistics that a South American team has never won a world cup in Europe, hence three of my times being European. I’m also going with the fact that the world has continually bounced between a European and South American team (except for two instances where italy won it twice in ’34 and ’38, and Brazil did in ’58 and ’62), since Brazil won it last, I’ve got some coin on a European team doing it. Plus if anyone has a psychological advantage at winning the world cup in Germany, it’s the English – and to bring it all round, I am my father’s son and the ol’man does have a soft spot for England. Italy, well cause since the world cup in 1990, I’ve been a die hard fan, disappointment at the world cup 94, euro 2000 final, this is Totti’s last chance to shine, and shine he will.. luca toni’s the dark goal scoring horse, and I have a feeling Daniel Bonera will stamp his foot on the international scene as the next pillar in the Italian back line.. Holland, well come on, I’ve always loved the Dutch – Bergkamp is a personal hero, I attribute him as one of the main catalysts to the popularity of English football right now.. Bergie’s goal in 98 against Argentina brought me and the rest of the world to our knees. watch van persie : BRILLIANT ORANJE!! Ivory Coast because you need to have an African team to support, and they look so good this year: Aruna Dindane, Kolo and Yaya Toure, Drog’s yer uncle, Eboue, etc,, yeah baby.. allez les Elephants!!
So here’s to: getting together with friends, getting re-addicted to sunflower seeds, eating bbqed food, being boisterous, enjoying a freshly tapped keg, saying insulting things to the opposing team fans (yeah you heard me TRINIDAD & TOBAGO.. ok sorry, you did win it fair and square.. but then again shut the hell up, you’re at the world cup with that silly twat Dwight Yorke, I should be allowed to harbour a little animosity), raising your hands and going apeshit, discussing tactics, drinking, conspiracy theories, snack runs, promising talent, sublime passing and beautiful goals..
Have a great world cup people, and may your bet carry you through, unless you’re the Chef, who’s actually plonking down cash on Brazil Poland for the final… tisk tisk tisk