For football fans, it is all systems go. But what about us who are just catching up with the fever? How do we begin making head or tail of all the madness? Here a simple guide of the World Cup, from one dummy to another.
The World Cup has been going on for three years.
Apparently what is happening in Brazil is actually the World Cup finals. Or the second stage of this animal called World Cup if you like. The first stage is where teams from over 200 countries have been sloughing it off against each other for the last three years. That is how they got down to the 32 teams for whom the DStv decorder has been bought. You can say these are the 32 best teams in the world as of now. They will still have to go through group stages, and quarter finals and semifinals and the final match, all within this finals stage of course.
Stop saying Brazil will win because they are the hosts
It is true they have won the World Cup five times since its inception. But they have never won on home soil. They are a formidable team but in this case they qualified automatically as they are hosting the games. The last time they hosted the World Cup in 1950, it went to Uruguay despite a 200,000 strong crowd coming to cheer them. Look at me going all pundit on you. Anyway it could very well go that way but just so you are not disappointed.
You do not need to know the actual team names or player names.
For this it is simply too late. But you can at least master the team colours for some of the favourites, or the popular teams. I have asked the real football fans and they tell me it is better to say nothing than to say how Spain’s Super Eagles are in bad form.
No, Barcelona is not playing
There is a big difference between the World Cup which happens every four years and the other leagues. .Yes, most of those players you hear being thrown around by die hard football fans may be in the World Cup, but this time they are not playing for clubs but countries. Emphasis on the word countries. So for instance, Christiano Ronaldo plays for Real Madrid, a Spanish club but he is Portuguese so in the World Cup he will be playing for Portugal. Think you can wrap your head around that?
Yes, there is a Ronaldo playing in this World Cup but it is not the Brazilian Ronaldo
There always seems to be a Ronaldo. However he is not always from Brazil. The Brazilian Ronaldo is no longer playing professional football. Let the retired Ronaldos retire.
You can ask questions, just not stupid ones
An example of a stupid question is who is playing now when the screen is right in front of you. There is always a little box on the screen with acronyms of the country and the score. Cram acronyms for all 32 participating countries if you are not good at guesswork. Just do not ask that question.
It does go on forever
Before you start moaning about how long the World Cup is taking, know there are 64 games to be played. It will take a month to finish them and come up with a winner.
It may be the World Cup but,
No other country outside Europe and South America has ever won it. No country has ever won it consecutively either. Countries still try and qualify hoping to clinch that title. No African country has won despite several qualifying every year. This year there are five African countries, four from West Africa and one from Northern Africa. They are Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Cote D’Ivore and Algeria. On whether it looks good for them or not, why not leave it to the real fans?