Nearly every day for the past ten I’ve sat down on a couch for countless hours with a rum and coke in hand to watch the largest sporting event of all time — the FIFA World Cup.
Now, Americans like to argue about the Cup being the most popular, largest, and most important sporting event. I stand my ground, though, because more people attend the World Cup every four years than people who attend the Olympics. And the Olympics are the only other sporting event that happens on the same platform as the World Cup. Also, almost every country in the world has an international futbol team. In fact, 209 countries have national teams to be exact. Whereas, only 88 countries were competing in the recent Sochi Olympics. To be fair, in the London Olympics all 204 countries registered to compete in the Olympics were represented by at least one athlete. Even so, less countries are registered with the NOC than with FIFA.
So though the futbol fever may not catch in the USA, every other nation on earth hails soccer as the national sport. In Iran, kids play with goat heads instead of balls; people will do anything, use anything, to play. I mean, even North Korea has a team. Doesn’t that tell you something?
Anyways, I love watching the World Cup because it is the only time that the entire world sits down and watches something together. The passion of fans is unparalleled. It makes you feel like you’re participating in the greatest moments of humanity. It’s comparable to when the US landed on the moon in 1969 or when the planes hit the World Trade Center in 2001. Everyone remembers where they were, what they were doing, and how it fundamentally changed our perception of the world. That is how soccer nations feel during the World Cup, like something unforgettable is happening.
Each time the World Cup rolls around, my friends and I each bet on two teams. This year, I picked Costa Rica and Switzerland. Both teams are doing extremely well. Costa Rica has won their first two games versus Uruguay and Italy. So, they’re advancing to the next round. Their last game will be played against England, who has already been eliminated from the competition. Things are looking bright for Costa Rica, especially since they were an underdog. Switzerland won their first game versus Ecuador, and are set to begin their second match in 20 minutes versus France. They were ranked 8th in the FIFA rankings this season. France was ranked 17th. France also won their first game against Honduras by a landslide. So, it should be a tantalizing game.
Who are you rooting for this World Cup?