How to survive the World Cup
The World Cup 2014. The greatest sporting competition on earth, or a titanic waste of money better spent on vital improvements to the insufficient infrastructure of a country where corruption is exorbitant? Whatever your viewpoint, there’ll be little avoiding the upcoming tournament. Shops are filled with expensive, World Cup-related paraphernalia, every brand of food/drink in your supermarket has crowbarred football imagery onto their packaging and it’s all that some of your friends have been talking about for weeks. So, you can either try to avoid the whole circus or buckle-up and allow yourself to ride the World Cup rollercoaster.
If you’re not an expert and you want to blag your way through the next month of football madness, then you’re gonna need some help. So here’s our guide of how to survive the World Cup.
1. Know what you’re letting yourself in for
Here’s a quick heads-up. This year the World Cup takes place in Brazil. For the first two weeks there are three games every day, after which, the games are less frequent. After initial group rounds, the knockout stages continue until two teams are left to compete in a final to decide the overall winner. To cut a long story short, there’s a lot of football to watch.
2. Follow Soccer Guy on Twitter
There are some amazing comedy accounts on Twitter. Like Accidental Partridge, for instance. Few can beat Soccer Guy though. It’s a simple premise, he tweets about football using Americanisms that purists hate, and he deliberately gets facts wrong. The results are hilarious. Let’s hope Dwayne Rooney hits a goalshot into the ballbag and doesn’t get a felony card. Follow Soccer Guy’s tweets here. Oh and have a listen to the incredible World Cup Anthem he created. Thanks Buddy for the real nice soccer!
If football doesn’t float your boat, then how about the sight of hot young men in short shorts revealing abs you could grate cheese with as they lift their shirts off in celebration? And if you’re not of that persuasion, then be aware that most cameramen who cover the World Cup are dirty old men. They will scan the stadiums, repeatedly picking out the sexy laydeez in the crowd for your viewing pleasure. And don’t forget, they’re in Brazil. There’s a lot of eye candy from which to choose.
4. Watch the games at home
In theory, watching the game in a pub seems fun but going anywhere with a good atmosphere will also result in you waiting interminably at the bar to get served and craning your neck to see the action. So, instead, go for the more comfortable and inexpensive option of watching it in a living room. Now, unless you live with a few dozen drunk strangers (in which case, you really need to reconsider your lifestyle choices), your living room lacks the atmos you’d get in a bar, so you’ll need to invite a few friends round to view the big matches. Actually, someone else’s house is preferable to your own because that way it won’t be you bemoaning the stale stench of a beer-stained carpet the next day after goal celebrations go OTT.
Some of these games are on at pretty silly times. For instance, the Australian fans amongst us are going to be watching their side in the early hours of the morning. And the last thing you need is the tummy rumbles while you are watching the game because, let’s face it, you ain’t gonna want to start cooking mid-match. So you’re going to need to get your takeaway options sorted if you want something on which to nibble. Aussies should take a look at something like Eatnow (www.eatnow.com.au), which is a quick and easy way to order delivery and takeaway food online. There’s a big variety of cuisines from your local restaurants and some of them deliver late into the night, which is exactly what you’ll be looking for.
6. Drink (obviously)
It’s generally frowned upon and quite possibly illegal to watch important World Cup games without being blind drunk. If ever there was an excuse for a month of dipsomania, this is it. Football was built for drinking games too. Every time a player falls to the ground like he’s been shot after receiving minimal contact from an opposition player… DRINK! Every time a commentator tells you exactly how hot it is… DRINK! Every time you see a footballer with a horrific haircut… DRINK!
7. Appear like you know what the hell you’re talking about
If you are watching games with football nerds who know their stuff, you don’t want to stand out as being clueless and risk being mocked by your peers. So it’s important to have some ready-made “knowledge”. You could actually do some research, but, let’s face it, life’s too short, so instead just learn some phrases to say at key moments. During general World Cup chit-chat, suggest that you “fancy Brazil or Argentina to win the tournament.” Pontificate that Spain are a great side but that “European teams never win World Cups in South America.” During matches, just direct general criticism at the referee. You can never go far wrong with that. And if all else fails you can always try the old IT Crowd favourite… “Did you see that ludicrous display last night?” Oh, and just so that you know, the World Cup is held every four years and 32 nations take part.
8. Avoid the punditry, or play Cliche Bingo
The worst thing about televised football is the pre/post-match analysis. Invariably this consists of balding former players sitting in a studio wheeling out hackneyed cliches which offer zero insight and display an appalling grasp on tenses. Put the TV on mute until the action starts and play some tunes instead. Alternately, play Cliche Bingo. Create some bingo cards with different overused phrases on them (It’s a game of two halves/take each match as it comes/no such things as an easy game at this level, etc). First person to tick them all off wins a prize.
While being the greatest sport in the world, football can still sometimes be unspeakably boring. Especially when you have no interest in either of the teams playing. The way to counteract that boredom is to inject some personal interest into the equation. Have a bet. Suddenly watching Honduras v Switzerland becomes a whole lot less snoozeworthy if you’ve got a few bones riding on it. Also, do a sweepstake at the start of the tournament with your mates/colleagues. There are few things better than taking money off your peers.
10. Assume that your team will fail miserably
Nothing spoils a World Cup like your own country’s participation. They will raise your hopes only to dash them soon after. So, it’s best just to go in with the assumption that they will lose every game and perform like the wheezy kids who always got picked last in the schoolyard. After all, a pessimist is never disappointed. Let’s face it… England have zero chance of winning the World Cup. Australia would do well not to lose all three of their games. The USA probably won’t reach the knockout stages. The sooner we all accept that, the easier it will be to deal with inevitable and impending failure.
11. Having said that…
Just get in the Goddamn spirit, you humbug. Even if our teams all implode on the big stage, that doesn’t stop us getting excited about the tournament in general. Take a leaf out of friend of Something You Said, Michael Rossi’s book. He took to the streets of the US to try and get people in the mood…
12. Finally… remember
Never ask anyone to explain the “offside” rule to you unless you want to spend the next twenty minutes watching a baffling demonstration of the rule using props and diagrams. It will be the most boring thing you’ve ever seen and you probably still won’t be any the wiser at its conclusion.
How to survive the World Cup, by Bobby Townsend