A guest post by someone who claims not to like all this football guff, but…
I love sport but I’m not really interested in football, and haven’t been since David Beckham’s unfortunate leg spasm in 1998. The World Cup is a horrifically corrupt FIFA behemoth, bleeding the host country dry. Half the pubs in London have become no-go zones. I cannot bear to hear about anything involving the England team, especially Ray Winstone’s Gamesmaster-style disembodied head telling me the exact odds of our failure, which will inevitably come as the result of a 0-0 zzzzfest.
HOWEVER despite all this, I (and some like-minded souls) am thoroughly enjoying this particular World Cup, for a number of reasons:
- Collecting Pictures of Men, i.e. the Panini sticker album. As a keen player of Pokemon I am totally down with the concept of Catching Them All, and a ton of my chums are partaking this year which means plenty of swaps to go round.
- Amazing kits, especially ones which show off the athleticism of the players and how much hard work they’ve put in to be here (hello Uruguay)
- Learning how to pronounce the Swiss squad (current favourite is Granit Xhaka)
- Constantly singing Hocus Pocus by Focus and remembering that time Wayne Rooney lived in a caravan
- Seeing who can sing the national anthem the loudest (Ecuador currently vying with Cameroon for top spot here)
- Speaking of Ecuador, having this in my head whenever they are mentioned
- Legitimately being allowed on the Betfair website at work, to ‘determine sweepstake odds for everyone’
- And thanks to the sensible Brazilian time zones there’s no danger of being dragged down to the Duke of York for a Guinness at 9.30am by my boss
- The onward march of progress i.e. that spray line thing (MAGIC) and Jonathan Pearce not understanding how the goal line technology works
- Stats-o-geddon and/or random made-up facts e.g. ‘until the age of 13 Didier Drogba had a fear of walking backwards’
- While half the pubs in London are indeed off limits, the OTHER half of the pubs are blissful, tranquil beer havens where you can even get a table on a Friday evening
- Plus suddenly everywhere is selling half-price caipirinhas
- Gleaning hairstyle ideas from the Ghanaian and Nigerian squads. Seriously considering the shaved-sides-tuft-on-top look when I next visit the robot hairdresser (basement of 55-57 Charing Cross Road, ask for Elane)
- The Pop World Cup, and its many imitators). It’s been a great tournament so far! Plucky Honduras may have gone out at the group stages this year, but I certainly found a lot of great reggaeton that turned out to actually have come from Puerto Rico. Japan’s Lolita-Storm-inspired opening goal is my favourite of the tournament so far!
- Also in the banging tunes stakes: I avoided the England match the other night by putting in headphones while playing Pokemon Y. I’d never bothered before and for the very first time I heard the full gloriously boshing 303 squelch-bassline that plays during Battle Chateau fights! DWOULPH-VWOLPH-OWLPH-MWOLPH.
- And of course, seeing all my football-loving mates enjoy themselves immensely. I love you guys.
I’m not saying the World Cup is perfect. In fact, I’m happy to offer a little constructive criticism! Just implementing these few simple steps would make it 100% perfect:
- Make the half-time gap longer and get Beyonce to do a gig in it
- Make the cup an Actual Cup so you can DRINK the VICTORY from it (poss. champagne/rose water, as per Formula 1)
- Have a ‘lucky dip’ match where one of the group matches is randomly held in a swimming pool. It doesn’t have to be a deep one. 0.9m would be fine.
- Allow the goalkeepers an optional horse to ride on to give them a chance to get up to the other end quicker for 90th minute corners etc
- Someone needs to send me the Lionel Messi sticker so I can complete Argentina
- Get rid of the kicking-a-ball-around bit. No? Ah well, can’t say I didn’t try….