Am I excited for this event or what ! ‘The Greatest Sporting Event in the World’ :-).. I remember fondly the days when I used to get up at odd hours to watch football matches at the World Cup. So many countries come together to play football at the world stage. Euro is a great event too, but you don’t get to see the underdog teams from Africa, Asia & you definitely miss the 2 big teams of South America. I can’t think of any World Cup without Brazil & Argentina. Best thing about the world cup is we get to see small countries qualifying for it and creating an upset that shocks the world. Those moments are simply amazing.
I’ll never forget Cameroon’s amazing run in 1990 or Senegal kicking out France in 2002. Italy getting upset by Korea, South Korea making the semifinal at their home world cup. I don’t like it only for the upsets but also for the tactical insight of the football game, where we can compare European Style to South American style. In this world cup we get to see the flair of the African teams, Ivory Coast & home country South Africa coached by Brazilian Carlos Parreira. Sadly I don’t recollect much of the 1998 World Cup other than the final & the performance of Zinedine Zidane.
Germany at 2006 was one of the best hosts and we got to see some outstanding football from the young Argentinian team. But sadly that team has lost their way and it’s Lionel Messi who holds all the aces for a face saving campaign this World Cup. Italy, Germany & France are shadows of what they were in the previous edition and it’ll be nothing but a miracle if they make it to the semi-finals. England, the perennial underperformers have a top notch team, but they can definitely blame the English Premier League if they don’t go to the Semi-finals. Already Rio Ferdinand & Gareth Barry are injured, though Barry will play in the knockout rounds atleast. Rooney will be the person who will take England to the finals, he is their mighty talisman who can make it or break it.
Portugal is a team which have done extremely well last year, but it looks very unlikely that they can better or equal the performance this year. Mexico, United States & Uruguay have done good in the qualifying matches, but will they perform at the big stage is the question. Netherlands is another big team which has never won it, but who can forget the Total Football concept they have introduced to the world. Australia, Japan, Chile, Nigeria, Switzerland and others will like to show their might and make people notice, they definitely have nothing to lose.
It’ll be a great world cup, and South Africa will be a great host, I have no doubts. This might not eclipse the world cups held in U.S, France, Germany or even England. But I can assure you this one will be remembered for the coming of the African party onto the world scene.