Duniya GOAL Hai

Get ready to cheer for unpronounceable names like Choupo- Moting for the greatest sporting event in the world is here and unlike the Beijing Olympics it doesn’t stink of child labour and cockroach manchurian. It is time once again for the FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial event which celebrates football, known as ‘The Beautiful Game’ across the world, ‘Soccer’ in the USA and ‘The-Sport-We-Play-When-The-Rich-Guy-Forgets-The-Bat’ in India. For 32 days, we will bear witness to grace and poise, large spheres being knocked about and absolutely jaw-dropping sights. Yes, I am obviously talking about the hot ‘phoren’ women in the audience. Only the white ones obviously, we wouldn’t leer at a dark-skinned Nigerian even if you paid us.

But I digress. The focus of the world is on Brazil, where new stadiums have been built and new methods of spreading corruption have been discovered, some which could make even A. Raja proud. The people of Brazil are apparently very angry with the billions being spent on the World Cup but their protests have largely been ignored, just like an Indian kid’s opinion is ignored if he wants to take up a career apart from engineering or medicine.

Fed up with the apathy, some citizens have started spray-painting graffiti on the walls and surprisingly, it does not say ‘Vinod Loves Shruti’. Some have even resorted to rioting to show their anger. Do these Brazilians really think that riots can stop a multi-billion dollar tournament? If riots could really make an impact, India probably wouldn’t have a Prime Minister now. (Anticipatory Bail Has Been Filed For Making This Joke). Billions across the world will tune into the tournament, but only if they have electricity which means UP will be watching the World Cup for 15 minutes a day. Realizing the potential of reaching such a large audience, brands come up with innovative campaigns which try to convince us that millionaire athletes who prod a ball along for 90 minutes ‘Risk Everything’, you know similar to those single moms who work two jobs to feed their kids. Even the media is not spared. On every TV channel, there are debates like ‘Is 4-3-3 The Best Formation for Spain?’, ‘Is Messi The Best?’ and ‘What Will Maradona Be Snorting This Year?’ But no one’s complaining for it is a welcome change from seeing Sanjay Jha’s face on TV each night. That stuff will give you nightmares.

India’s role in this is by way no means minuscule. Blog posts titled ‘Why can’t a Nation of 1.2 Billion Produce 11 Footballers?’ are being typed as we speak. Even Iran has a team. I mean, we are literally worse than a country ruled by a despot. But, we do console ourselves by thinking that we have a long and rich history with the tournament. OK, maybe not THAT rich. Urban legend has it that India once refused to take part in the World Cup just because the players were not allowed to play barefoot. A story evidently made up to suggest Indians value self-respect more than sporting tournaments. Hey, if our sportsmen had self-respect, how do you explain Sreesanth,Srinivasan, Azharuddin, Jadeja … err I think you get the point.

However, this does not stop us from picking a team and supporting it ferociously, mostly on Facebook. It is highly unlikely that an Indian Portugal supporter will beat up someone who says ‘Cristiano is overrated, dude’. But use the same sentence on social media and your entire family is cursed with every spell in the Harry Potter series. Most Indians support Brazil, a country whose name makes adolescent boys giggle like adolescent girls. It is a win-win proposition anyway. If Brazil wins, you can always laud the New Generation of the game and if it loses, you can always say ‘Arre voh Rinaldo jaisi baat nahin hai in naye laundo mein. Pass the khaini’. Others pick teams like Spain AKA Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara ka Goa, Argentina AKA Messi ka Maika and Germany AKA Football’s Chokers. We get right into the spirit of the tournament by getting into some really high spirits, hic haec hoc. We download the official theme song, buy jerseys, balk at the shopkeeper when he says that printing the name is an extra charge and even try our hand at playing the game. Until we remember it is played with feet and there is no ‘Trial Ball’. This is when the tournament gets over and we go back to our national sport, gossiping.

But, at the end of the day, it is a wonderful tournament which is fun, enjoyable and full of excitement. The only drawback though is that matches start at 3:30 AM which leaves people who get up early with no time to sleep, unless of course, you’re unemployed like me. Ha-ha Boo Yah, Paychecks 0 Vellapanti 1.


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