Every four years an amazing transformation happens to this expatriated Englishman… for four weeks during the World Cup he becomes an obsessive football (soccer) fan.
Strangely enough this is a fairly new phenomenon as he was never really that fond of football as a kid growing up – he played it, of course, but never really watched it, had a favorite team, or followed the game much. Much to his father’s disgust, who was an avid player and watcher of the game. He even turned down the opportunity to see a Wembley Cup Final with his Dad one time! This is the first World Cup his late father will be missing…
The games so far have been enthralling. The referees seem to have undergone extensive retraining. They have goal line technology – finally – which was a big point of concern at the last World Cup. And the teams seem to have entered the tournament with a renewed patriotic passion that has been missing in previous years. Perhaps it’s merely the exotic location of Brazil, but thus far there has not been a dull game yet.
Some incredible matches in the first few opening days, namely that of Holland and Spain – a fantastic comeback and an (almost) embarrassing end result. In similar fashion the comeback of Costa Rica yesterday – the underdog of Group D – proving that we may well be in for the best display of football the World Cup has seen in many, many years.
Obviously, for those uninterested in football or sports, this is probably torture, but there are many other channels for you to watch, so don’t cry too much!
For this world traveler, though, it does pose a wee bit of a problem. English by birth, the England team is obviously the main focus for me, and I must say that I was impressed with their performance yesterday, although a win against the Italians would have made me feel better! Having spent almost all my adult life (and ALL my football watching life) abroad, I have a certain affinity to other countries and their teams. A long time in Germany, I look forward to their first game. The England – Italy game was tough, as I was educated in Florence. More recently I have been living in the US (although I will be watching their game with a certain amount of sympathy, much like a father watching their children play a school game!) My latest travels took me to Costa Rica, so I shared ENORMOUS joy in their win against Uruguay – Pura Vida!
I often wonder, as I travel around, how many of the world’s troubles could be diminished, if we switched the battlefield for the football field, but I guess that’s probably just wishful thinking. For this converted footie fan, I’m just hoping for these exciting games to continue with the same passion and pace. I leave you with an old video of a patriotic song I co-produced many years ago… May the best team win!