2014 FIFA World Cup
The World Cup has been run and won (Germany were victors for those who have been living under a rock, or for those Argentine fans who have chosen to bury the memory of their country’s loss) and I couldn’t have had a better experience. I’ve always followed the football (yes, I now call it ‘football’) but as I hail from the west coast of Australia, football has always been the oval-ball type, Australian Rules or AFL. I’m now a fully converted round-ball fan.
I was fortunate enough to witness six games at the biggest event in the world and arguably, in the best ever World Cup. I watched part, if not all, of every other game in various bars, shopping centres and friends’ homes and was lucky enough to see the genius of Neymar, Messi, Ronaldo, Drogba, Benzema and Hazard live and in the flesh.
The lead-up to the World Cup in Brasil was littered in bad publicity. Not even a train wreck like Lindsay Lohan could have generated as much negative coverage. But, as they say, the show must go on, and on June 12 when Brasil and Croatia kicked off the 2014 World Cup, the show went on without a noticeable hitch.
The football was magnificent, there’s no denying that. There were 171 goals scored over 64 tight and tense matches that were filled with moments of individual brilliance, ecstasy and agony. You couldn’t have asked for anything more.
I love going to world events because it brings people together. You get to meet people from across the globe that all have a different story to tell and a different outlook on life. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or the state of your country; everyone is there for the same reason. There’s no pretentiousness, your career, the car you drive or how much you earn means absolutely nothing. Nada. It’s all about meeting new people and experiencing something with strangers who have now become your best friends.
The football was memorable, but in 20 years I won’t be able to remember which teams I saw play, but what I’ll remember the most from the World Cup is the way that people from all over the world united as one in Brasil. Everyone, from the favelas to those in penthouse suites, and everyone in between came together and cheered when a goal was scored, and if their team lost, the supporters mourned, but still congratulated the victors. I’m sure it happened, but I didn’t encounter any of the ‘football hooliganism’ that the beautiful game is so infamous for.
I have so many great memories from that month of the World Cup, and they will be something I look back on fondly, for the rest of my life.