Eyeing for the Cup, Playing for the Dream: FIFA World Cup 2018 is here
Team MM | Jun 25, 2018
The most watched sporting event in the world, the home of the spectacular and the legendary, the footballing extravaganza that takes the globe by storm once every four years, is back!
Probably one of the greatest shows on earth, the FIFA World Cup is the international sporting event on football contested by the senior men’s national teams of the member countries of the apex body on global football, FIFA. The grand event started in 1930 and has been held every 4 years ever since, barring the 1942 and ’46 editions due to the second World War.
The beauty of the World Cup is that while 32 countries get to cheer for their respective teams, the event also affirms a global pluralism- it is as much of a festival of cultural multiplicity as it is a competition featuring some of the best athletes in the world and has an aim of bringing the people of world together -Clint Smith
The FIFA World Cup brings together the best 32 teams on the planet after three years of qualifier rounds, who fight it out for the illustrious trophy. For many, football is not just a sport, there’s emotion involved, there’s passion. With people all around the world fixated on this event, it almost always turns out to be a fascinating affair. Now in its 21st edition, with superstar names like Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar, Pogba, Hazard, all involved for their countries, Russia is your place to be, this summer. The FIFA World Cup 2018 is taking place in 12 stadia across 11 cities throughout the great country (and two continents!) from 14 June to 15 July 2018. With a cumulative audience of more than 26 billion people watching the last World Cup, and almost a ninth of the entire global population (715.1 million) being spectators for the finals alone, the World Cup by far exceeds the popularity of other prestigious events including the Olympics.
The official song for FIFA World Cup, Russia is “Live it up” by Nicky Jam, featuring Will Smith and Era Istrefi, promising to fill the stadiums around Russia with a lively atmosphere to bring fans together. Adidas Telstar 18 is the official match ball of this World Cup.
This World Cup will miss the presence of stars like Arjen Robben, Robin Van Persie, Gianluigi Buffon, Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal as Netherlands, Italy and Chile were the ‘big’ teams not able to qualify for the World Cup. The tournament is still believed to be a super-hit affair because of the involvement of many other superstar names. It might also turn out to be the World Cup for many stalwarts of the game like Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Ramos, Manuel Neuer and Luis Suarez.
This World Cup is into its third week now; the early signs indicate that we are in for a marvellous summer. The world cup has already seen some shocking results, some absolutely awe-inspiring performances and some edge-of-the-seat thrillers. This edition also marks the debut of Video Assistant Referees (VAR) in a World Cup. In the early stages, VAR has already been impactful in reducing the number of human-errors in the game, thereby making the beautiful game all the fairer. While the formidable Argentines have seen major upsets by Iceland and Croatia, the defending champions found themselves in a fighting ground for survival too, with a morale-shattering loss against Mexico and a narrow escape from Sweden. At least 3 teams have already been knocked out, and the battle for the Qualifying rounds have only grown ever more intense. While some teams like Russia, England, Belgium and France have been cruising through the group stages rather gracefully, others like Brazil, Germany and Switzerland have been providing some nail-biting finishers of late—all the more to their fans’ delight.
However, the beautiful game has also seen some of the most memorable episodes ever. From Diego Maradona’s Hand of God to Dennis Bergkamp’s wonder goal, from Clive Thomas brilliant save against Zico of Brazil to the Miracle of Bern, the tournament has always been abounding with controversies and stunners. Meanwhile, the current generation would not forget easily Germany’s 7-1 bulldozing of a distraught Brazilian team in the 2014 semi-finals; or Zidane’s head-butt on Marco Materazzi that led to a straight red card in the 2006 finals, or even the South Koreans snatching an upset victory over Italy in 2002 after a disallowed goal. Alongside these encounters, there have also been a plethora of instances where both fair-play and fouls have shocked the fans to their core. From Patrick Battiston losing his teeth in a notorious foul and Roy Keane walking out on Ireland to Mario Goetze coming up with a sensational goal in dying minutes in an ecstatic world cup victory for the Germans, the list for discussions would be endless.
The cup of glory and emotions has always managed to surprise its audience. Most of all, it has managed to bring together people from all walks of life, irrespective of faith, colour or ethnicity, to celebrate the best entertainment on earth, 90 minutes at a time. While as an Indian, we still earnestly await the historic day of witnessing our own jersey colours in the international arena, we cannot help meanwhile but be smitten with our own favourite teams-- every time we spend sleepless nights cheering for them, painting our cheeks with their flags, holding passionate debates about our favourite players and of course breathing and cheering and crying every bit for them all through. So long, always football!