As a crazed soccer fan, when the World Cup rolls around I become a happier individual. Regardless of whether the US has qualified for the tournament (which is not the case this year), as a fan of the beautiful game, nothing compares to a full month of soccer all day every day.
Now I know many people in the world and in the US especially don’t feel the same passion for the World Cup, so here are 5 reasons why I think it’s worth watching!
With 32 teams participating in the World Cup the field of teams ultimately consists of countries with a wide range of soccer clout. From Panama, who’s making its first appearance in the tournament in its nation’s history, to Brazil, who’s never missed a World Cup and won it 5 times, the most of any nation, the range of experience varies greatly. Where there are mismatches, there are underdogs, and where there are underdogs, there are upsets, and for anyone who watches any sport, you know how exciting upsets can be. Let’s go Egypt!!
Anyone around the world who watches, listens to and supports World Cup matches helps create the emotional value in the tournament. That being said, the fans that make it to the stadiums add an extra special emotional element to each game. Faces painted, scarves and/or flags draped over them, chanting, crying, laughing, dancing, they express pride for their country or the country they support. Such expressions of national pride are beautiful to witness and make the game feel more alive for those watching at home. Not to mention you get a glimpse of some awesome getups!
The Stars (present and future):
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Neymar Jr. (Brazil), Antoine Griezmann (France): Whether it be because of their exploits on the soccer field or their dashing good looks, chances are you recognize at least one of those names. They are some of the superstars headlining the 2018 World Cup and are reason enough to tune in to their games. Kevin DeBruyne (Belgium), Marcus Rashford (England), Sadio Mané (Senegal). These names are probably not as familiar to you, but these amazingly talented young players will be looking to make a mark on the tournament with their squad and thus making it worth following their progress. With the US not a part of the tournament, we Americans are free to hop on any bandwagon we please, so find a player you like and cheer for them! Who knows, maybe you’ll be able to visit the country they’re from one day!
The Beautiful Game:
There’s a reason soccer has the nickname, “the beautiful game.” With immaculate touches, the ball is fired around the pitch from player to player. Sometimes slowly and other times so quickly it can be hard to follow. These ebbs and flows of the game reminds me of a piece of music with its crescendos and decrescendos, teams looking to hit a higher gear, bringing the audience with them, culminating ultimately and ideally with a goal, reaching a pinnacle of emotion that feels like the finale of the most amazing piece of music you’ve ever heard! And for someone like me, this is happening constantly throughout a game. It’s no wonder why soccer brings people to tears of joy and sadness!
Everyone else is!:
Over 3 billion people tune in to the World Cup. That’s approximately half the world’s population! If you’re going to pay attention to any sporting event, this isn’t such a bad one to get excited about. Being a part of that number connects you to the biggest single sporting event in the world and everyone else involved. It’s a rare opportunity to open your mind and think about the bigger world we are a part of and celebrate the success of other countries as well as our own, despite coming from such different cultures and backgrounds. The World Cup sets politics aside (mostly) and releases unbridled joy, passion, and pride in all of us. Join me and 3 billion others in enjoying the ride!
Experience the sports you love on an international scale!