Wednesday, June 25, 2014

WORLD CUP FEVER 2014

world cup fever 2014...

The much awaited football world cup 2014 has begun with a fantastic response from fans all over the world, some unwanted controversies, and tons of shocks and surprises. The 2014 FIFA World Cup is the 20th FIFA World Cup, a tournament for the men's football world championship that is currently taking place in Brazil. The arrival in Brazil this year of more than 200,000 Spanish-speaking fans, for the FIFA World Cup, from large nations like Mexico and Colombia and smaller ones like Costa Rica and Uruguay exemplifies one of Latin America's most profound shifts since the start of the century: the rise of the middle class. As per news reports, fans are sleeping on buses, staying in hotels or on cruise ships, or simply bedding down in vehicles near Rio de Janeiro's beaches. But whether they are inside Brazil's new stadiums or simply at the celebrations on the streets, many of the Brazilians and their neighbors visiting here for the World Cup are displaying the craze and frenzy each football world cup brings to the lakhs of football lovers.

It began on 12 June 2014, with the group stage, 32 teams fighting it out for the last 16 and is scheduled to conclude on 13 July with the final. It is the second time that Brazil has hosted the competition, the first being in 1950. The South American nations seem to be capitalizing on the home advantage and are giving a tough fight to their contemporaries. Besides the all time favourites, Brazil and Germany, two teams which are showing promise and are in great form this year are Netherlands and Chile.  After the second set of matches, six teams had easily guaranteed their progress into the knockout stages after winning both of their games: Netherlands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Argentina and Belgium. On the other hand, the title holders, Spain, having defeated the Netherlands 1–0 in the 2010 final to win their first World Cup ,were mathematically eliminated after two consecutive losses in what has been regarded as one of the shocks of the competition. The 1966 champions, England, having the likes of Rooney, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, Chris Smalling, Cahill etc were also eliminated at the group stage, the first time since 1958. Cameroon, Australia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina have also eliminated after two consecutive losses. 

More surprise has come with teams like Italy and Portugal having big names in their pool also facing early exit after a rather dismal performance this time. On the other hand, underdogs like Costa Rica, Iran, Algeria and Australia have shown promise and resilience. According to statistics, there have been 117 goals so far at the time of writing this article, 108 yellow cards and 7 red cards, with Brazilian captain Neymar and Dutch players Arjen Robben and Robin Van Persie being the top performers so far.

The world cup frenzy is spreading over the world and one can see the craze in India as well. Even though the matches are telecast in india as late as 12.30am or 3.30am till wee hours in the morning, but the excitement is keeping us Indians glued to our tv sets like never before. The U.S , which is all about basketball and American football also seems to be enjoying this world cup. According to Nielson, Holdings N.V. an American global information and measurement company, Sunday night's face-off between the U.S. and Portugal drew 18.2 million people on ESPN, the network said, more than the total audience for all but one of the World Series games on Fox last year and more watched than any of the NBA Finals games on ABC this year. Mexico's success at this World Cup has come with an added perk. Their manager, Miguel Herrea, just happens to be the most likable personality of whole tournament.

Forecasts on the eve of the tournament estimate the cost to the Brazilian government will be $14 billion, making it the most expensive World Cup to date. FIFA is expected to spend $2 billion on staging the finals, with its greatest single expense being the $576 million prize money pot. However, it remains to be seen whether the host country can pull off an emphatic  win and bring its country their 6th world cup or whether it will be the Dutch which has been in its  best form which snatches away the most coveted title.

As for me, my heart is always for the Germans…! Go Deutchland..!