For adherents of football (soccer), the World Cup is an international parade of football athletes and personalities that lasts for one month (June 11-July 11) every four years. In this way, it is like a punctual meteor, or cosmic tractor beam that sucks the attention of all human men (and most women, either by default or preference) regardless of ethnicity, creed, religion, or national origin. For as corny as this sounds, when we watch the World Cup, many of the differences that separate us seem to dissolve.
The World Cup is a great excuse to use when one wants to collude with partisans, frenemies, and mates. Even though the first World Cup was played 80 years ago (1930, Uruguay) the Federation Internationale de Football Association (or F.I.F.A.) estimates that the 2006 World Cup “had a cumulative television audience of 26.29 billion.” This makes the World Cup the most watched television event on the planet, bar-none. On top of that, it might be the only time that you are going to get all the countrymen (and countrywomen) from one continent cheering in unison as a team from another continent is getting pummeled. The World Cup might be the largest trafficker in continentalism the world has seen.
However, there are protocols that must be established. The first thing you must establish before you proceed is, to “whom” do you belong? In other words, what team (and colors, pues, but not in a gang way) will you be boostering? This key fact may very well determine your World Cup Maniac stamina. Who you will be boostering determines what group you will choose to “big up,” so it might be a good idea to acquaint yourself with the groups. This information is easily accessible via the Internet thanks to FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), the governing body which administer the World Cup, among other things.
The next thing you must do is construct a program of the matches that you need to see (information readily available on FIFA’s website). For example, I think it is safe to say that everyone is going to want to watch the World Cup opener between the host, South Africa, and Mexico. This game on June 11th at 4 PM is that global gong that says, Mundial Time! Now, remember, since the World Cup is being played in South Africa there is a huge lag in time between our continent and Africa. Therefore, even though the first game is at 4 PM South African time, it will transmitted at 10:30 in North America (Standard Eastern Time). ESPN is doing a Gamecast of the whole Cup on their website (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/world-cup/fixtures)
On June 11th, I would also be interested in seeing France vs. Uruguay (still group A), which commences at 2:30 p.m. The next day, however, June 12th, is going to be more essential for me because at 10 AM on the 12th, Argentina and Nigeria play the first match of the B group. After that match, though, I will be jumping to the C group, which is playing at 2:30 PM, their first match: England vs. U.S.A.
It’s not that the adjacent game in the B group, South Korea vs. Greece, will not be vigorously fought and majestically played. It’s just that, to me, so much trash-talk has been built around the England vs. U.S. match that it is more interesting to me. Also, the fact that the U.S. beat England in the 1950 World Cup has brainwashed some into thinking that the U.S. might pull off another stunning upset. The moral to take away is that matches are unpredictable: a lot can happen in 90 minutes. I guess what I am saying is that you have to choose your battles carefully, and you have to think ahead because once it starts, the World Cup will be flinging matches and highlights at you faster than you can watch them. Get prepared, people, this is the World Cup!
by Yago Cura