An Occasion of Global Proportions: The World Cup

 By: Jill Smi
Waiting for the World Cup to start has always been a punishing yet rewarding experience for soccer aficionados. The former is felt days after the last World Cup ends, the latter, days before the next one starts. Soccer fans will declare that the long four-year wait is all worth it once this truly world event begins with that starting kick off. All that pent up excitement has to come out sometime and what better way for it to go than through the explosion of cheers, applause and jubilant gestures of support once the games are underway. Finally, the excruciating wait is over as the eight groups of thirty-two teams from various countries compete for the World Cup Trophy and their respective nation's pride. Last Friday marked the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. Several countries virtually went into a standstill as history unfolded in the Allianz Arena at Munich.

This truly is an occasion of global proportions as football devotees root for their country's team with fervent display of loyalty and zeal. In the 64 grueling and exciting matches ahead, soccer fans are sure to get a treat as the likes of Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, and Beckham strut their wares on the road to football glory. The powerhouse that is Brazil is clearly the team to beat this year. In the seventeen previous tournaments since the first World Cup in 1930, Brazil has been a dominant force having won five of the seventeen events including the one back in 2002. The defending champions shouldn't take it easy though because hot on their heels are other soccer superpowers and they are not trailing far behind in talent and passion. Italy, England, Germany and Argentina are only few of the countries that will surely make Brazil's journey to the finals very difficult. The other countries in FIFA's top world ranking list includes Spain, Mexico, Netherlands, Czech Republic and the United States. These are all formidable teams that can certainly hold their own in this tournament and could easily be this year's World Cup champions. It is almost an impossibility to predict who will raise the trophy in Berlin on July 9 but that's simply the beauty of it! One thing is for sure, the country that gets to keep the World Cup Trophy for the next four years will have justly earned and deserved it. All this rich history, glorious pride, legendary teams, prominent personalities and beautiful venues will be the making of one of the best tournaments thus far.

Talking about the World Cup would be incomplete without mentioning the hooligans that this event seemingly attracts. Add booze to the mix and you've got an explosive situation warranting a serious once over.

Too often, the World Cup has been analogous to thousands of people trooping into colossal stadiums, euphoric crowd shouting, ultra tight security and some minor riots happening near and around the stadium. Although there is nothing wrong with this image (except for the riot part) and all the fanfare, the real value of this monumental event is not just about winning the most sought after accolade in sports. It is the coming together of different countries and cultures under one common goal. Let's play futbol!
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