It’s back and more corrupt than ever before, it’s the FIFA World Cup! The tournament of tournaments is the only football I can bring myself to watch religiously, because it feels like the Olympics. There’s a sense of national pride and achievement without undertones of racism. I’m sure if you go to the right pubs and bars, in the right corners of the world, you’ll still find lashings of prejudice that go along with following football. But, for the most part, the World Cup is free-range and cruelty free.
Unless you look at the governing bodies.
Or the host nation.
You know what, let’s just watch the football.
As I’m typing these words I’m watching a game between Egypt and Uruguay, without the benefit of BBC commentary. Instead I have a couple of Americans, who’re attempting to get through the terminology of a game of football; One that’s played with actual feet. It’s familiar, in a way, because they sound like me when I’m trying to talk about football to anyone.
“And the player is really going for it, he’s got the ball right in the- area.”
“The referee is only just now reaching into his pocket for that yellow rectangle!”
“They’ve got to focus on the defence, there’s no two ways about it, at three to nothing you have to focus on the defence.”
“Well that was a-! Wow! What an awesome event!”
They’re getting most of the words wrong, but their accents and cadences do inject a certain level of excitement and unpredictability into each game.
The United States don’t seem to mind about the World Cup, any American I’ve spoken to about the current tournament just starts talking about the fact that they’ll be hosting in 2026. Can’t be left out of the tournament if you bribe your way into hosting it, can you? That’s some pretty sound logic from our non-soccer playing American brothers and sisters.
I don’t think I’ll be too torn in who to support eight years from now. I’ll still be one year away from potentially applying for American citizenship, so I’ll be trapped in the nightmare vacuum that is being a part-time England supporter. As far as I know, the entire MO of an English football player is to be amazing for 3.9 years of your career, and then be a sentient pile of hot garbage for the remaining 0.1.
A small piece of me will want to r- oh, Uruguay just scored, dammit, I was backing Egypt – a part of me will want to root for the USA. They’ll certainly be underdogs in the tournament, but they never behave in such a manner. Iceland and Egypt are two teams that really know how to act like the plucky, yet humble, chancer. The USA aren’t capable of acting like the underdog in any situation. They’ll boldly and boisterously lose every single match in a flourishing, and almost impressive, display of arrogance.
“We may have lost, but we definitely won” has been the slogan for American wars over the last fifty years, why not apply it to a friendly kick-around?
No, I’ll be with the England squad. The group of men who show up to a host nation, having brought a helping of overcast weather above their hair-plugs. It doesn’t matter which generation it is, they always set themselves up to fail before the tournament begins.
“How do you feel England will fair this year?”
“Well, you know, if we can just about kick the ball then I reckon we’ll have done our country proud.”
“How far would you like to make it in the tournament?”
“Well, you know, the ninetieth minute is a good achievement, but substitutions can happen.”
“Okay…And what will you be having for dinner tonight?”
“Woah! Let’s not get ahead of ourselves!”
It’ll be fun to attend a World Cup game though. Denver is hotly rumoured to be one of the host cities. Which will be fun for the teams unlucky enough to play here. The altitude will exhaust anyone who’s not used to it. I still get out of breath here, when climbing flights of stairs that extend for more than two floors. Plus, there’s the dryness. So any health drink company would do well to sponsor the Denver events. I suppose by 2026 Coca-Cola will be considered a health drink, having pulled some strings in the great brand-rebranding scandal of 2022.
2026 seems so far away. Canada, USA and Mexico are currently involved in what can be trivially described as a “trade-tiff”. I’m sure by 2026, we’ll either all no longer be here, or we’ll have entered another period of relative peace. If it’s the former then I reckon the last surviving, mutated members of the human race will find a way of continuing on with the tournament.
“You can’t kill football. Not with knives or guns. Not with nuclear bombs or chemical weapons. Football will always live on. After the dust has settled, all that will be left is the old pig-skin and FIFA board members. You see, they have this bunker…
– David Beckhamm
Four teams will put down their pointy sticks for a weekend, in order to play the shortest tournament in World Cup history.
The Human Republic vs The Mexican Cold-Lands
Help, Everything is Burning vs The New Kingdom
The winners of each match will clash in a final that decides who gets all of the remaining fuel, fertile women and glowing yams!
Let’s face it, it’s more likely that this whole terrible charade of society will continue, and we’ll have a handful of leaders that promote peace and unity for a decade. The 2026 World Cup can be used as a great international PR event, in order to convince the world that North America isn’t the fragmented mess it was during the Donald and Ivanka Trump administrations.
Back in 2018, Morocco and Iran are about to start playing, and I’m sure that’ll be something. Later it’ll be Portugal vs Spain which, sarcasm aside, sounds genuinely exciting. Peninsula warfare!
For as much as I jest about the decline in stable international relations, it’s really important that tournaments like the World Cup continue to exist. It brings people together, and is a culture that most countries can share in. Afterall, the first world war was ended by a game of football (don’t look that up). Kicking something around for ninety minutes, with not a lot of anything happening, could be what eventually brings about world peace.
Today is Saturday, June 16th and are Walkers doing all of the football flavoured crisps this time? The red card flavour was always my favourite.