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World Cup Football - The Greatest Show on Earth


World Cup Football - The Greatest Show on Earth

World will witness once more the greatest show on earth by the second week of June this year. I mean the FIFA World Cup Football finals to be held in Germany. Football is celebrated as ‘the beautiful game’ and the world cup tournament is considered to be the greatest show on earth. It was the Brazilians who gave the epithet, ‘the beautiful game’ to the sport. Though the game had its origin in England, its popularity today is due to the Latin American teams, particularly Brazil and to a certain extent Argentina. But the Latin American teams will be languishing in obscurity, if they did not have the great stage of the European football. The Europeans simply love football and they love it to distraction. Thanks to television and the modern satellite technology the whole world can watch a match just at the moment when it is being played and be transported to delirious levels of emotion and undergo a sort of catharsis in a short period of 90 minutes.

The game is truly beautiful. After all what is beauty? To a mother her baby is the most beautiful thing on earth. From this we can understand that anything that gives us a healthy happiness, I used ‘healthy’ because some people find happiness in drugs and alcohol, is beautiful and watching a good football match gives us immense happiness. We may feel sad when our favourite team loses. But a superior team has won and we rejoice at that. There are other aspects of the beauty. It is not intensely individualistic like Tennis, which takes an indefinite time to come to an end and at times can be very boring. The collective efforts of a team to take the ball to the goal and the efforts of the other team to stop it and take hold of the ball, with all the rules of the game observed, makes it a wonderful sight. It is one game that has got speed, power, judgement, art and adventure – all in itself. It is a game that gives free play to individual initiative as well.

You don’t have to be a millionaire to become a super footballer. It you take the case of Pele, his father was an ordinary worker. In 1950 Brazil lost the final match of the world cup and Pele’s father wept sitting before the radio that was broadcasting the commentary. At that time Pele was just nine years old. The boy wiped the tears of his father with his tender hands, hugged him and assured him that he would get the cup for him. And he did!
Brazil won the 1958 World Cup and Pele, at that time just 17 years old, played a decisive role in Brazil’s victory. A super star was born then and till date no one has come any where near that super star though quite a few talents stole the hearts of football fans in the meantime. Neither Maradona was a rich man. He learnt his foot ball in the streets of Argentina. Probably that came to his help when he craftily pushed the ball into the goal using his hand at the quarter finals against England in Mexico ’86. Remember the famous ‘hand of God’! Unfortunately, I do not know much about the Kaiser though he happens to be president of the organizing committee of the hosts in Germany -2006. But the Kaiser (Franz Beckenbauer) comes from an affluent country where we don’t see poverty as we see in Afro-Asian and Latin American Countries. And Kaiser is definitely a loveable sports personality.

There are moments in a football game that can be cherished for a life time. Remember that second goal, just four minutes after ‘the hand of God’ goal by Diego Armando Maradona! Maradona took the ball in the midfield, tackled four defenders dexterously with great speed, unimaginable speed indeed and that too combined with great dexterity, and sent the ball into the goal. I was a young man at that time. My joy knew no bounds at that time. Whenever I recall that moment I become young and hopeful. The mind dances with abandon and we are happy that we exist. Let the philosophers break their head trying to figure out the meaning of life. The meaning of life is here.

No other tournament is awaited with such enthusiasm and expectation. Newspapers, magazines and television channels have started bringing out features about the tournament 60 days before the start of the finals. There are retrospectives, features about various teams, their strong and weak points and even repetitions of the biographies of the football idols of yesteryears. Interviews of Pele, Maradona, Kaiser and various coaches are being published. In India a sports magazine has given an exclusive column named ‘the kaiserspeak’. Now making the world cup tournament a great entertainer depends upon the teams, the players, the referees, the press, the television channels, sports correspondents, the organizers and last but not the least the spectators at the stadium.

This world cup may give the world football fans new icons like Lionel Messi of Argentina, Rooney of England or some surprises like Pele in 1958. Pele was an unknown figure in international football when he played his first world cup. Brazil may be the favourites. Cafu, the captain of Brazil has said that his team has got players that can get the world cup for them. Ronaldinho, twice the best footballer (FIFA), is there for Brazil. Ronaldo, Adriano and Kaka are there too. But there may be dark horses lurking. If you can foretell who is going to win all the fun is lost.

Published: 2006-05-26
Author: Narayanasamy Srinivasan

About the author or the publisher
I am a 50 year old man. I completed my post graduate course in English language and literature in the year 1977. I am also a qualified teacher. My fields of interest are classical literature in different languages, current affairs of the world and human psychology.

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