Thursday, June 10, 2010

South Africa: a jungle where dreams are made of.

So, the World Cup arrives tomorrow, and I would be lying if I were to say the anticipation wasn't making me a little light-headed. For the past few weeks, since the premiership season ended, nay, before the premiership ended, I've been thinking about precious little else other than how the Drogbas of the world will fare, who will dazzle in South Africa and who will flop, and whether or not England will, once again, crash out on penalties. As a fan of football living in England, I'm lucky in that I can actually attend matches, not to mention watch them on Sky Sports, where the attention and time put on our country's biggest sport is nothing if not meticulous. But there is something even tastier about the World Cup. Partly due, perhaps, to the fact that it only comes once every four years, or maybe that the sweltering heat in the long hot Summer (for some, not Brits, lamentably) brings out a feistier side to us all. The High School Musical factor also plays a part, ie - we all feel "united" in the mutual supporting of our country, whether we're fans of Tottenham or Tranmere Rovers. It's a combination of all these things, and many more, that makes me feel very, very happy, that starting from tomorrow, I shall be treated to a month of non-stop football.

I was out shopping a couple of weeks ago, in New Look, when I spotted these bikinis with the England flag drapped across where the tit would be. The whole thing looked horribly cheap and tacky. Similarly, England flags have infiltrated our roads via car windows and windshields, our clothes via socks, pants and god knows what else, and just about anything you can name: it's been sold with an England flag draped across it. It's embarrassingly crass, but at the same time, I wouldn't have it any other way; the anticipation and influx of marketing is what makes the World Cup what is is. Whilst the hope us England fans have in our National Team can border on delusion, it's also a credit to our passion for the game that England fans love their NT so much despite coming face to face with disappointment so much in the past. This year, there's been a noticeably more subded edge to our predictions; the majority of England fans have ditched the crowing (our below par performances in the previous World Cup and not even being able to qualify for Euro 2008 has put us in our place at long last) and decided, instead, to hope, rather than expect.
The multi-national quality of the World Cup also means that, whether intentionally or inadvertantly, I always come out of it a little more educated about the World and current affairs. I've found out more about the state of the government in North Korea this week alone than I had previously in my sad 20 years of existence. It just completes the experience of the game, I feel, to learn a little more about the players' upbringings and backgrounds. In the same vein, I generally escape the World Cup with a whole new arsenal of foreign words. I did Spanish up to AS-level and got an A, and my decision to drop it for the more Sciencey subjects still jars, even three years on. Xavi, Iker Casillas and Cesc Fabregas will have to refresh my memory with their post-match interviews, which I'm sure will be fine (in more ways than one.)
If experience has taught Bung anything, it is that she is a shit football predictor. After all, my pessimism this season led me to thinking that my beloved Chelseabung would finish third (though I was never so happy to be proved wrong.) The only thing I've ever been remotely good at predicting were the Oscars, and that's because pre-cursors were there to guide me. Nonetheless, I shall try my hand at predicting how this year's tournament will go (of course, now that I've written it out, none of this will happen):


Golden Boot: David Villa
Best Player: Xavi
Most Bookings: Wayne Rooney or John Terry (heh)

From the musical montages set to Duran Duran songs that I know the BBC will put together, to the prospect of seeing players from the same teams come ~head to head~ when representing their countries, to the naff punditry (Gareth Southgate talks football as well as he takes penalties, yet I still find him so utterly hot and would be his Loleeeeeetah any day of the week) and puns galore (The Sun writers, now's your time)... I simply cannot wait for the World Cup.


Besty said...

Will you see the opening ceremony Emz?

Emma said...

:( Negative. I'll be at work 'til 5:30, so taking in travel, I won't get home 'til 7.

But I'll be able to watch Uruguay France in the evening! :D

Harry W said...

As you know, I don't like football ordinarily but my interest in several of the countries means I'll be watching, and supporting France. As for puns, if I see any good ones, I'll text them you!

monkey said...

i think germany will do a little better than that, emma! ;-)

so excited~!

Anonymous said...

your prediction that australia will get through the group stages isn't looking so good now.

Lisa V said...


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