In case you hadn’t heard, the FIFA World Cup Finals is in full swing in this year’s host country, Brazil. Teams from around the globe are battling it out on the football pitch aka soccer field to determine who is best at kicking a ball into a net.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the fact that people are coming together to celebrate their passion for a common sport. It’s just that there’s so much of it. The finals phase is comprised of over 60 matches that are played over a month’s time.
After only a few days’ worth of games the novelty has started to wear off and I begin to feel that as David Mitchell fromThat Mitchell and Webb Look has proclaimed “The football is officially going on forever!”
In order to really enjoy the World Cup you must be inclined to appreciate the finer points of the game. If not, even the highest level play can feel like this to someone who just can’t be bothered, such as Moss (Richard Ayoade) from The IT Crowd.
Of course the quality of the match commentator is an important factor to the viewers’ understanding and enjoyment of the game. Announcers are expected to be knowledgeable about the sport and to keep a level of professional objectiveness. However when your commentator is Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan), you are guaranteed to get a lot of emotion and very little expertise.
Growing up in the US when I did, soccer was not a sport we played in gym class let alone as an organized sport for kids. And though now soccer is counted right up there with baseball, basketball and American football as a one of major youth sports, US zeal for soccer as the national pastime has a long way to go before we catch up to our friends across the pond.
Serious training begins at a young age with specialist skills being taught right from the get go. Dave Wilson’s (Hugh Laurie) school in Ipswitch is just such a training ground for promising young footballers.
Lest you think that football is only for the young and talented, it’s a sport in which British men continue to compete even when they’re a bit past it. Reverend Adam Smallbone (Tom Hollander), despite being a man of the cloth, takes his interfaith football league matches quite seriously indeed.
In fact apparently just about everyone likes to kick around a football once in a while, from Little Britain’s benefit swindling Andy Pipkin:
To a Gallifreyan Time Lord:
And finally, a group of Greek and German philosophers brought to you by the surreal minds of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
If the recent elimination of Spain, the 2010 World Cup champions, tells us anything it’s that this tournament is unpredictable. If your favorite team is struggling you may well think like Smithy (James Corden) that you have invaluable advice to offer.
Are you caught up in the World Cup frenzy? If so, which teams are you rooting for? Or like me, are you curious but not committed to the outcome of this global sporting event? Share your thoughts about all things soccer/football in the comments section.