Brazil 3, Croatia 1. At last, the World Championship has begun, and it was worth the wait.
Just like Christmas, anticipation and suspense were dominant and building up – an impartible quality of both events.
The World Cup also resembles to Christmas when families and friends gather to celebrate, dine and wine, play and talk.
When a ragtag of Cambridge students constituted the first bunch of football rules back in 1848 (allowing for 15 to 20 players per team), quite a few post-Congress-of-Vienna European states experienced turmoil and their Spring of Nations revolution. The formation of nations with the concept of a national state accelerated in the decades to come, and the football game – formerly a club-only exercise – saw its first “international” match, Scotland-England in Glasgow 1872.
Still, playing for one’s club remained a priority over the flag for a while, and the first World Cup played in 1930 could be categorized as a rather late or even recent addition. That was halfway between the World Wars. It is less the 1914 centennial memory which sprang to my mind when writing this, but the hypothesis that the growing importance of international matches and the World Championship in particular correlates with the “long peace” after 1945.
For a start, football is just a game, evidently sports. In contrast to chess, it is not a science (although professional football is becoming ever more sophisticated). A team activity emphasizing corporate feelings and team spirit, it clearly promotes fighting spirit and skills. In other words: I am happy to see nations dwell on 90 minutes of football fighting, on the green, as well as in the arena, the pub, in public viewing or at home in front of their tellies.
I would love to see my national team winning all the time, but I’d rather have the aforementioned hypothesis being proven by sociologists and be happy with my team losing now and then.
Let us look forward to a colourful and marvelous tournament and many more exciting moments!
„You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.“ (Frank Zappa)