June 12, 2014
Ole Ole Ole
(The World Cup is upon us. And here is a piece written by Sportsmaryosep’s guest blogger, ravishing Dave Albarado, a long-time buddy who gave up sports writing for the world. Now enjoy.)
Half of the world’s population will be spending sleepless nights and stay tuned to their television sets for a whole month. This fever, that comes only every four years, reaches fever pitch. The World Cup of Football is coming to home soil.
The English invented football, but the Brazilians perfected it. If you open a dictionary to find the word football you will see a picture of Pele. That is how football is revered in Brazil. It is not only a sport, it is a religion. A religion that is being practiced all around the world. Its adherents include Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and even atheists. It is the only sport that can be truly called universal.
Today is the start of the World Cup with Brazil opening its campaign against Serbia. Of course, we are hoping for an upset for the sake of the Serbians, but going up against a side that has a mix of veterans and young superstars can be a tall order. Brazil is expected to top Group A with only Mexico that will be much of a competition to the five-time World Champions.
The match to watch will be tomorrow as Spain and Netherlands will go up against each other reprising their finals encounter four years ago. Spain got the better of the match-up. Both teams have an identical 4 wins 4 losses and a draw in their head-to-head match-up. This promises to be a humdinger. Louis van Gaal will be relying on his solid front with his patented Total Football style, which is expected to be the style of play when van Gaal takes the cudgels at Manchester United after the summer.
For his part, Vicente del Bosque, Spanish boss, says he is not afraid of the Dutch and their offensive sock. This despite having his star David Costa still nursing an injury that kept him out of the UEFA Champions League and Atletico de Madrid ultimately leading to a loss to Real Madrid. Nonetheless, del Bosque has a bevy of superstars led by Juan Mata, David Silva and a defensive line headed by the great Iker Casillas. Spain will remain to be the heavy favorites.
Don’t count out Germany. The Germans are dangerous and we will be seeing their mettle against powerhouse Portugal that may be rely on natural talent without their star striker Cristiano Ronaldo, still nursing an injury.
The English will be always dangerous and so are the Argentinians. As they say it is hard to bet against Lionel Messi. Messi is god and with the current pope being an Argentinian, they may be able to pull a surprise and replicate the Hand of God of 1986. Hopefully, this time there is no controversy of committing a handball.
The World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world. Much bigger than the Olympics. It is sad that Filipinos are not that enthusiastic like the rest of the world. But, the good news it is changing. The football heartland of this country is staying up late to watch the spectacle. Places like Cebu, Dumaguete, Bacolod, Iloilo and Zamboanga where football is the chosen sport, they are watching with the rest of the world. Hopefully, the fever catches on and more will watch as the matches move on.
It is going to be a carnival in Rio and it will last a month. If you don’t like the World Cup, then you’re not a football fan to begin with.
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(Photos courtesy of FIFA)