It’s FIFA World Cup time once again! Tonight is the grand opening ceremony at 10:30 PM for us Indian viewers, followed by the first match taking place between Brazil and Croatia at 1:30 AM tomorrow morning.
I can’t believe this is the third World Cup my active blog is witnessing… kinda makes me feel so old. And going through some of my old World Cup blog posts really brings back memories!
First there’s the 2006 World Cup opening ceremony, where me and my friends continuously exchanged text messages and commenting on all the things we’re seeing on TV. Today, we’re doing the same as well when it comes to long distant friends, except hardly anybody uses SMS anymore and everything is done via WhatsApp groups, Viber and other instant online messaging services, not to mention Hangout, Skype and other mobile video chat services.
Back in 2006, it was all about supporting Netherlands and displaying how frustrated I was as they crashed out against Portugal. That was also the year when blog conglomerate sites such as desipundit and mutiny were extremely popular in India. One of my World Cup related post “Of Women and Football” was a featured post at desipundit for a week! Yes it was a tad sexist post written in humor, and many of my female blog friends back then loved it too, but today, I dare not write such stuff again for fear of being lynched by the femnazi brigade.
In 2010, I was again cheering for Netherlands, and was ecstatic to see them progress till the Finals, only to be shot down by Spain at extra time. It was a boring match anyway. The 2010 World Cup was different, as I mentioned in my 2010 blog post - it was the first World Cup to be powered by Social Media.
2014 - This year, I’m not supporting any country in particular. One of the main reasons why I’ve always supported The Netherlands was because of a host of Arsenal legends like Dennis Bergkamp, Marc Overmars and (the now much hated) RVP, not to forget other renowned players like Ruud Gullit, Patrick Kluivert, Nistlerooy and Van Basten (I never got to see Johan Cruyff in action so I’m not including him in the list). Another reason why I support them is because a lot of them are named VANS, like Van Basten, Van Nistlerooy, Van Bommel, Van Bronckhorst, Van Hooijdonk, Van der Sar, Van der Vaart, Van Persie and so on, just like me, Van lalruatkima.
But now that RVP has become Arsenal fans’ enemy number 1, somehow, I just couldn’t find myself supporting that team. So this World Cup, I have decided I am going to enjoy the spirit of football and the excellence of game play by supporting a host of different countries. Here is a list of different countries, divided by different tiers.
Tier A teams:
This is the most important list of my chosen teams. These are the countries which have current Arsenal players included in their squad. They are -
1. Germany (Group G) - Because of Podolski, Ozil and Mertesacker.
2. France (Group E) - Because of Koscielny, Sagna and Giroud.
3. England (Group D) - Because of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere.
4. Belgium (Group H) - Because of Thomas Vermaelen.
5. Spain (Group B) - Because of Santi Cazorla.
6. Costa Rice (Group D) - Because of Joel Campbell.
7. South Korea (Group H) - Because of Park Chu-young.
If any of these 7 teams are playing against any other team, I will be supporting them. However, if two teams from this same tier are playing against each other (example: Group H has S.Korea and Belgium while Group D has England and Costa Rica), then it’s a coin toss to decide who to support :)
Tier B teams:
These are a mix of different teams – some have a connection with me, while others are underdogs. People who know me well will know I love supporting an underdog team against a renowned super strong team because (a) it is so clichéd and herd-mentality to support a stronger team that is bound to win, and (b) it is so much more fun and exhilarating if the underdog suddenly wins, though this happens rarely. Such teams in this list are -
1. Ivory Coast (Group C) - Because of Drogba, Yaya Touré, Salomon Kalou, and ex- Arsenal players Kolo Touré and Gervinho.
2. Cameroon (Group A) - Because they’re one of the weakest teams in the group stage. And also because of ex-Arsenal Alex Song.
3. Chile (Group B) - Because of Start-Up Chile :) It was an extreme honor to be one of the 100 privileged start-up companies selected from a total of 1577 applicants across 68 countries. I still have my approved and stamped Chilean visa which is still valid up to September 2014!
4. Algeria (Group H) and 5. Iran and 6. Bosnia & Herzegovina (Both Group F) - Because these are the three teams with a Muslim majority population and it will be really interesting to note how their players cope since Ramadan is starting on June 28. (Yes I’m fully aware there are Muslims in other teams as well, like Mesut Ozil, Toure brothers, Karim Benzema, Bacary Sagna, Marouane Fellaini etc who’ll be observing Ramadan as well, but I handpicked these three teams because a majority of their squad are Muslims).
If any of these 6 teams are playing against any other team (other than Tier A teams), I will be supporting them. However, if two teams from this same tier are playing against each other (example: Group F has Iran and Bosnia & Herzegovina), then it’s a coin toss to decide who to support :)
Tier C teams:
Any teams playing against the countries listed below, I will be supporting the opponents :)The following countries are:
1. Any team playing against Netherlands (Group B) - Because of RVP :P
2. Any team playing against Uruguay (Group D) - Because of Luis Suárez :) Also because of Diego Forlan, ex-ManUtd player :P
3. Any team playing against USA (Group G) - Because they call football, soccer :D :P
4 & 5. Any team playing against Brazil (Group A) and Argentina (Group F) - I got nothing against these two teams, they are both great with a lot of awesome players in both squads. However, most of my friends are supporting these two teams, so in order to balance the odds a bit, I will be cheering for whichever team they’ll be playing against, especially since FIFA Pre-Tournament Power Ranking (not to be confused with FIFA country wise ranking) placed these two countries as the “most likely” and “second most likely” to win, at position #1 and #2 respectively.
6. Any team playing against Portugal (Group G) - Because my girlfriend supports this team :D
If two teams from this same tier are playing against each other (example: Group G has Portugal and USA), then it’s a coin toss to decide who to support :)
So based from my Tier A, Tier B and Tier C listing, here are the teams I’ll be supporting till Round of 16. This is in no way a prediction of course, because we know Argentina and Brazil are going to win most of their matches. But let’s see how many I get right :D
FIFA WORLD CUP 2014 FIXTURE
13.6.14 Brazil Vs Croatia (Group A) - My team: CROATIA
13.6.14 Mexico Vs Cameroon (Group A) - My team: CAMEROON
13.6.14 Spain Vs Netherlands (Group B) - My team: SPAIN
14.6.14 Chile Vs Australia (Group B) - My team: CHILE
14.6.14 Colombia Vs Greece (Group C) - My team: COLOMBIA
14.6.14 Uruguay Vs Costa Rica (Group D) - My team: COSTA RICA
15.6.14 England Vs Italy (Group D) - My team: ENGLAND
15.6.14 Ivory Coast Vs Japan (Group C) - My team: IVORY COAST
15.6.14 Switzerland Vs Ecuador (Group E) - My team: ECUADOR
15.6.14 France Vs Honduras (Group E) - My team: FRANCE
16.6.14 Argentina Vs Bosnia (Group F) - My team: BOSNIA
16.6.14 Germany Vs Portugal (Group G) - My team: GERMANY
16.6.14 Iran Vs Nigeria (Group F) - My team: IRAN
17.6.14 Ghana Vs USA (Group G) - My team: GHANA
17.6.14 Belgium Vs Algeria (Group H) - My team: BELGIUM
17.6.14 Brazil Vs Mexico (Group A) - My team: MEXICO
18.6.14 Russia Vs S.Korea (Group H) - My team: S.KOREA
18.6.14 Australia Vs Netherland (Group B) - My team: AUSTRALIA
18.6.14 Spain Vs Chile (Group B) - My team: SPAIN
19.6.14 Cameroon Vs Croatia (Group A) - My team: CAMEROON
19.6.14 Colombia Vs Ivory Coast (Group C) - My team: IVORY COAST
19.6.14 Uruguay Vs England (Group D) - My team: ENGLAND
20.6.14 Japan Vs Greece (Group C) - My team: JAPAN
20.6.14 Italy Vs Costa Rica (Group D) - My team: COSTA RICA
20.6.14 Switzerland Vs France (Group E) - My team: FRANCE
21.6.14 Honduras Vs Ecuador (Group E) - My team: HONDURAS
21.6.14 Argentina Vs Iran (Group F) - My team: IRAN
21.6.14 Germany Vs Ghana (Group G) - My team: GERMANY
22.6.14 Nigeria Vs Bosnia (Group F) - My team: BOSNIA
22.6.14 Belgium Vs Russia (Group H) - My team: BELGIUM
22.6.14 S. Korea Vs Algeria (Group H) - My team: S.KOREA
23.6.14 USA Vs Portugal (Group G) - My team: USA
23.6.14 Australia Vs Spain (Group B) - My team: SPAIN
23.6.14 Netherland Vs Chile (Group B) - My team: CHILE
24.6.14 Brazil Vs Cameroon (Group A) - My team: CAMEROON
24.6.14 Croatia Vs Mexico (Group A) - My team: CROATIA
24.6.14 Italy Vs Uruguay (Group D) - My team: ITALY
24.6.14 Costa Rica Vs England (Group D) - My team: ENGLAND
25.6.14 Japan Vs Colombia (Group C) - My team: JAPAN
25.6.14 Greece Vs Ivory Coast (Group C) - My team: IVORY COAST
25.6.14 Nigeria Vs Argentina (Group F) - My team: NIGERIA
25.6.14 Bosnia Vs Iran (Group F) - My team: BOSNIA
26.6.14 Honduras Vs Switzerland (Group E) - My team: HONDURAS
26.6.14 Ecuador Vs France (Group E) - My team: FRANCE
26.6.14 USA Vs Germany (Group G) - My team: GERMANY
26.6.14 Portugal Vs Ghana (Group G) - My team: GHANA
27.6.14 S. Korea Vs Belgium (Group H) - My team: BELGIUM
27.6.14 Algeria Vs Russia (Group H) - My team: ALGERIA
Yayyyy, common teams :) And comonnn ARSENAL! :D