And so it begins. Several weeks of (what seems like) non-stop football. Or “soccer”, if you’d prefer. There *are* other kinds of football, after all… I’m talking about The World Cup.
It can feel overwhelming to those of us who aren’t full-time fans.
I watched about 15 minutes of Brazil’s opener against Croatia and got thoroughly bored. It wasn’t exactly inspiring. I was expecting magical football skills and flashy flourishes of deft ball-handling.
Instead I got a clumsy own-goal.
But last night’s Netherlands v Spain clash was a corker – it had me on the edge of my seat for virtually the entire match. After a slowish start, the Netherlands quite literally hammered the existing world champions into a 5-1 defeat that left the Spaniards looking like broken men.
It wasn’t just that the Dutch were on form, the Spanish looked distinctly amateurish. And then panicky, as full-time approached faster than they’d like. The few minutes of extra time must have dragged for them though – hoping beyond hope that the Dutch wouldn’t belt a sixth – and quite insulting – goal into the back of the net.
Robin Van Persie’s ‘dolphin’ goal was particularly impressive. I had no idea he could fly.
I have *little* skin in the game this year. Ireland didn’t make it into the competition (ahem – we were beaten 6-1 by Germany in the qualifiers), so I tend to support the underdog in every match. Except when some random fact or relationship leads me to support another team. For example, I’m a big fan of Tom Jobim, so obviously I was up for Brazil.
Like I said, I’m not a major football fan. I feel that, in missing the opening ceremony, I may have missed the most appealing (to me) aspect of this competition: music, dancing, flags and ceremony. Just like the Eurovision.
*Such* a stereotype…
While I’ve downloaded the World Cup app to my iPad, I won’t be watching anything approaching a majority of the games. I’ll use it to keep tabs on how my favourite teams (“I like that flag”, “their national dish is tasty” etc etc) are doing.
Yes, I’ll watch the final. And if it’s anything like last night’s Holland vs Spain goal-fest, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.
In the interim, I’ll try to avoid the banal commentary from former footballers, the gratuitous advertising from brands I dislike and the butchering of excellent Brazilian music by every TV producer who wants to make Brazil ‘easy’ for their viewers.
In particular, I’m really not enjoying how ITV is turning one of my favourite tunes ever into an annoying earworm. “Brazil” is a corker, but not like that, ITV.
Not like that.