As I have alluded to in a previous post, it is often much easier for a First Time Footballer to pay more attention to the actions and reactions of the players during the matches, rather than the actual game itself. As Suarez’s recent incident proves, even football connoisseurs can become distracted from the game sometimes. After Chiellini rammed his shoulder into Suarez’s teeth (really…?) there was a flurry of outraged tweets from the general public and well-regarded footballers alike. My Facebook newsfeed was shortly overflowing with jokes and images about the Uruguayan and it was, honestly, quite amusing. Aside from all the hilarity, there is, of course, a more serious side to the story and I was pleased to see today that FIFA decided to ban Suarez for four months – ruling him out of the remaining World Cup matches as well as the start of the Premier League. It’s good to see that the footballing world aren’t letting even the most talented of players get away with ludicrous occurrences like this…it’s just a shame he couldn’t have done it before the England game!
Rather than ramble on about ‘the bite’ (the Internet is flooded with opinions, photos and gags already), I want to talk about my experiences of the World Cup in Spain over the past few days. I arrived in Madrid, where I had been living for the past 8 months, on Monday night. Having watched the Champions League final between Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid in the centre of the city a month or so ago, it’s safe to say that Spaniards are football crazy. I headed straight out to a tapas bar for some food with a friend, hoping to catch a bit of the World Cup action. No games were being shown at the first place we went to, so after our first round of tapas, I suggested that we head to another location and try and catch some football. My friend recommended a place that he had been to a few days before, where they show the matches on a big screen in the terrace – perfect! Lo and behold Café Continental was not showing football on their screens, but instead what looked like a black and white movie! Then, today, I met with my landlord and we started chatting about the World Cup. He seemed totally unenthused and said that he hadn’t really been following it since Spain had crashed out…
While your country is still in the running, you care about every game that they play and root for them until the bitter end. You follow carefully the progress of the other groups to see who your team could be up against if they are lucky enough to get through the first stages. You head out to pubs and bars with all your friends for some drinks and food whilst enjoying the spectacle.
When your country is knocked out of the competition, the buzz totally disappears. What a shame.
I’m certain that a similar extinguishing of excitement is happening around the world as, one by one, nations drop out of the race. Although die-hard football fans will still be tuning in, I think it’s probably fair to say that, as a general rule, if your country isn’t playing, you don’t really care.
Despite all this, and despite England no longer being in with a chance, this First Time Footballer will continue to tune in. With the help of @0riginalfooty and their team of enthusiastic and knowledgeable writers, I feel all clued up and eager to see what thrills The World Cup can provide in the coming weeks.