Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The 'European' world cup 2010

Four years of impatient wait and speculations later, the Soccer World Cup was finally here. Not that it was constantly on my mind. But it somehow always weaved itself into a story. It would drop in casually during other sports conversations or travel stories to South America or just gossip about hot guys in general. The wait became more pertinent during my trip to Brazil earlier this year. The fever was hard to miss there. Right from a football in its flag to young boys playing it at all odd times of day in the numerous soccer stadiums and parks to soccer stars gracing magazine covers, it was all pervasive. I of course got carried away and bought myself a few Brasil team merchandise that I would proudly wear as the world cup would progress. Those yellow tees looked like such a great investment at the time. Imagine how much mileage I could get out of that gear. After all, Brasil was all set to make it to the finals and possibly win the world cup. Or so my laid back Brasilian fellas had me believe. It's amazing how impressionable I am and how I always realize it and do nothing about it.

Back to soccer. It has certainly been an interesting and unpredictable world cup so far. Africa, who analysts believed were in luck this time looking at the planetary configuration or something was out early on with Ghana being the lone survivor. Then Paul, the psychic German octopus rose to fame with his accurate predictions with a 100% success rate making the European teams knock out Brasil (sigh... all that gear, gone to waste), Argentina (Messi, I still think you're a rock star) and Paraguay. One prediction after another from Paul saw Germany sail through it with their amazing precision and brutal play knocking off the South American soccer teams. When Brasil was out, I was almost in tears. But much to my consolation, it didn't die the shameful death that Argentina did with an excruciating 0-4 against Germany.

What is it about this world cup that had us all, fanatics, fans and the couldn't-care-less category biting our nails with a thumping heart? Is it the European domination, is it that the big stars didn’t show the big tricks and ended up being a big disappointment, is it that well organized and disciplined teams performed better than popular teams with a phenomenal track record or its just a valid excuse to take time off work, get drunk and pass off trash talk as acceptable social behavior?

Finals are almost here. The psychic octopus has predicted Spain will beat Germany in semis. It must be hard to be psychic and loyal all at once. Will the Dutch take it all? My money is riding on them. They certainly have it all... Amsterdam, weed, canals, beer, euthanasia, cheese, cows, red light district, windmills... and football! Either way, it'll be all over tomorrow. Everyone will go back to normal life and some country will pay Germany good money to buy Paul off and I will start convincing people to go to Brazil in another 4 years when it will host World Cup 2014.

Oh and regardless of what happens, the world will be a better place for the world cup has given us 'Waka Waka' by Shakira :p

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