It’s been often said that nothing unites people of different backgrounds and ideologies more than sports.
But out of all the sporting events, nothing unites the world more than football – or soccer, to differentiate it from the numerous types of sport with the moniker ‘football’.
And perhaps the most important event in the world of football is the World Cup – the pinnacle of world football competition, culminating in the finals, held once every four years.
Well, the four year cycle is here once again, and this time, South Africa plays host to the tournament, the first time ever that the finals have been held in the African continent.
As with previous finals, the one this time around sees eight groups of four national teams from the four corners of the world. No different from previous finals, Europe is the most-represented continent, with thirteen national teams (Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, defending champions Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland).
Thirty two teams, with one single common objective – to be the world’s best in football.
(the tournament so far, prediction poll, and more, in the full post)
So far, four games have been played, covering Groups A and B. And from what Walski has seen so far, the tournament should be a good one this time around, promising some surprises and disappointments.
The opening match between hosts South Africa and Mexico (Group A) was a thrilling one, with South Africa drawing first blood when Siphiwe Tshabalala delivered a fantastic strike in the 55th minute. The game ended in a 1-1 draw, after Mexico managed to equalize late in the game during the 79th minute, via a goal by Rafael Marquez.
Another draw was to be the final result of the next Group A game between France and Uruguay, but a goalless one this time.
Group C’s first game, between USA and England is schedule to start at 2:30am (Malaysia Time), approximately one hour from the time of posting.
So, which team do you think will be victorious in the World Cup 2010 tournament? Walski has put together a poll, to ascertain your opinion. As of yesterday morning, it appears that the favorite to be crowned world champions is Spain.
Personally, Walski, too, is of the opinion that Spain will win. Despite what he thinks, however, he will also be watching Brazil, Argentina, and Englad quite closely. The latter, only because Walski follows the Barclay’s Premier League, and not because he thinks that England has a good chance.
So, what do you think? You can take the poll here, or by clicking on the image above. Alternatively, the poll is also displayed on the sidebar area to the right. The poll will be open until June 26th, the day after the last of the group matches is played. By then, it should be clearer which team stands a chance.
Incidentally, Walski has this crazy idea of a North Korea / South Korea finals, later in July. After today, we know that South Korea has a chance to go through, if they can maintain their performance. What’s left to be seen is how the North Korean team performs. Their first game is on June 15, when they meet Brazil – not a good start.
Any hare-brained ideas like the one Walski has? Leave a comment to tell him about them, and perhaps also about who you like in the tournament.
By the way, Walski has put together a list on Twitter aggregating tweets from about 25 World Cup news sources – http://twitter.com/walski69/wc2010 – do feel free to follow it. Also, Twitter has created a series of special event pages for World Cup 2010 – it essentially aggregates tweets about the tournament. Good stuff!
Walski hopes that the month-long tournament will go on without much tragedy, which had already struck, two weeks prior to the start of the matches, when singer Siphiwo Ntshebe – dubbed the 'Black Pavarotti' – died after battling acute bacterial meningitis. Again tragedy struck when after the World Cup opening concert when Zenani Mandela, granddaughter of former president Nelson Mandela, was killed in an accident, after the opening concert.
But so far, these tragedies aside, sad as they may be, have not put a damper on the tournament. And it is hoped that the next month will continue to be an exciting one for football fans around the world.
Granted, for Malaysia and most of Asia, the World Cup month is one that will be marked by lower productivity, late nights, thrills and heartache. For a football fan, however, the most important thing is to share the best football the planet can offer, with the rest of the world.
The World Cup is truly the one sport tournament that unites us all, no matter where we may be.