In every sporting event one can invariably find a player, a team, a nation, poised to become the next memorable story – a story that will survive the test of time and go down in history. The FIFA World Cup is unique, in that, every country can qualify. It is the only tournament that can unite the world with its common passion for the sport. It is a tournament where everyone celebrates, dances, and rejoices in the streets of their capitals, exulting in the spectacular feats of their players, their teams and their nation.
But what makes the World Cup particularly extraordinary is the national pride that it inspires, especially for the first time qualifiers. Since the first tentative World Cup in Uruguay in 1930, World Cup history was not only about the winner or winning the title, but about the stories. World Cup history resonates with the back-stories that echo through time – of players, teams and nations that surprised the world by achieving the unexpected. From the poignant moments of the underdogs and the worlds Cinderella teams, to the birth of legends and the brilliance of the football giants – the World Cup brings joy to every nation. It is about the stories of players, teams and nations taking it to the highest levels; the stories about emotions and pride that unites the world.
At FIFA World Cup, teams come from the European continent and all the way to the South American continent. For these giants, winning is everything. In their spirit is held the promise of thrilling showdowns, individual feats of brilliance and the majestic harmony in motion of a team united in its quest for the world’s most coveted prize in football. Will the European contenders – Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Netherlands, France, and England have the firepower to overcome the South American power forces from Brazil and Argentina, or will the world be dancing to the samba beat again this year?
What about the other European contenders, the lesser known South American teams, or the North American and Central American zone teams? Or better yet, the Australians? Let’s not overlook the African continent! Will the trophy finally make its first trip south of the Mediterranean Sea? For that matter, even the Asian continent and their desire to bring Asian football to new international acclaim should be considered.
There is always something special about the underdogs for winning is not everything to them. Simply by qualifying to walk onto the world stage, they have realized their goals and sparked the hopes of their nation. Armed with this impossible hope, win or lose, they are there to defend their national pride, and valiantly defend it they will, sometimes to the very chagrin and amazement of disbelieving onlookers.
As football fans across all continents count down to the opening day of FIFA World Cup. There will be sorrow, there will be joy. There will be dreams crushed, there will be dreams made. There will be silence in the streets, there will be rejoicing and dancing in the streets. After all, this is the World Cup, the tournament of tournaments. So may the best national team win!