Hold tight because football’s coming home on Thursday. Well, not unless your home is a non-ethical racist cesspit. It was seven and a half years ago when those nefarious egomaniacs at FIFA had us all shaking our collective heads over breakfast when they awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia, and then used their top trump to select human rights dinosaurs Qatar for 2022. We’ve been shaking our heads ever since.
We could all boycott it of course, you know a football fan’s every Christmas and birthday rolled into a month, 64 matches to be glued to, but that’s plain silly. Yet it is hard to see the month will pass without any incident.
I love the World Cup. Wall charts, Panini sticker books, cheesy team songs, player names you can’t pronounce, the glossy stadiums, the TV music and pundits plus the rare event of spotting the Charlton connection.
Nick Pope is the most obvious, and it’s a real shame that Joe Gomez is injured, and Gareth Southgate turned a blind eye to Jonjo Shelvey’s claims. Reza Ghoochannejhad will be there again as will the ever impressive Johann Berg Gudmundsson. Iceland also include ex-Addicks trialist Rurik Gislason. Another tenuous link is Costa Rica’s Christian Bolanos, who hung around for a while in 2006 but was unable to gain a work permit due to his lack of International caps. He now has 71. Finally Duchatelet’s network doozy Marko Dmitrovic will be on the bench with Serbia.
My first memory of the World Cup was as a starry-eyed 7-year old in 1974, and I wrote about my memories from then four years ago to coincide with my 10-year Blog anniversary. Please read (cos it took me ages to write!).
Thursday sees the opener which is a bit of a lay-up to use a basketball term for the hosts, and then the torrent of games begins, three on Friday, four on Saturday, which takes a little getting used to, and needs some careful negotiation at home. Nonetheless we will get used to it, and I have taken Friday off work to practice.
Timing, which crosses four time zones, has been set for the best global coverage and us in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean do very well with games either at 9am, midday or 3pm, at least at the group stages.
As for England, I am happy that expectations have been toned down, mostly because of our younger squad, but there’s plenty of time for some hand wringing and some hanging of our young stars. I have always had low expectations of my country though, except for perhaps 1990, but the Germans loiter in the quarter-finals, so that’s that then.
Anyway, bring it on. I am ready.
Will be interesting to see Gislason because when he was with CAFC he showed technical skill but didn’t like the physical side of the game. Look totally unsuitable for English football.