A feast of top quality football awaits us with the cream of the world’s players being present and the current incarnations of all of the previous winners being represented. All of this suggests, that something special might be in store, but are there any extra special reasons why the next month or so should be spent in front of the TV? Read on for the top 3 reasons to not miss the World Cup 2010.
1. Ronaldo v Messi
Every World cup since the tournament was first held in 1930 has had a star that prior to the tournament was touted as being the best in the world or some such epithet. However, this year we have something very special – the battle between the footballing geniuses of Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid’s Goal Scoring Portuguese Adonis and the diminutive and frankly unstoppable force of nature that is Argentina’s mercurial Lionel Messi – the player who was been instrumental in Barcelona winning 7 trophies in a 13 month period of utter brilliance, and the current holder of the title – World’s best player.
Now obviously, we need each of their teams to perform well and advance to the latter stages, but the thoughts of seeing these two matched up in a semi Final or Final is absolutely mouth watering for football fans the world over – Ronaldo; Usain Bolt-like Pace, Raw Power, incredible aerial ability and a virtually patented free kick technique that has been copied the worlds over. Messi; phenomenal control, the vision of a chess grandmaster – looking 20 moves ahead – the ability to score every type of goal there is – a pile driven shot, a curling free kick, a deft chip at the end of a mazy run or a headed goal that shouldn’t be possible for a man of such short stature.
If these two players can produce the anything like their best form then who knows what might lie ahead – football’s very own Borg v McEnroe, Palmer v Nicklaus, Ali v Foreman – these best of the best pitted against each other in a battle for supremacy – Wonderful!
2. The potential coming of Age of the USA
The US has been involved in the world cup on 8 previous occasions and has fared well to a certain extent (1950’s defeat of England sent shock waves through the world of football) and 1994 saw the US host a wonderful tournament, in which they played a very large part on the field as well as off it – only losing out to eventual winners Brazil. But this year US football could be ready to make a real mark – grouped in a pool of four with England, Algeria and Slovenia there is little to suggest that progression to the last 16 should be the limit of their ambitions. With players drawn from many more traditional footballing hotbeds – Spain, Germany, England and Italy and with star player Landon Donovan fresh from a very successful loan spell in England with Everton, there are real signs that this tournament could be the one where the traditional winners approach to sport by all teams American finally pays off. It might be a stretch to suggest a win for the US, but a quarter final or Semi Final spot would certainly vindicate their position in the top 20 of FIFA’s latest world rankings.
3. It only happens once every four years.
The world cup is special and it has been kept special by the fact that all players, coaches and fans know that it’s not like a bus – miss this one and there won’t be another one along in a few minutes.
I’ve been a football fan all of my life and even now, in my 41st year, this will only be the tenth time I’ve had the chance to enjoy the spectacle – in the same period it would be reasonable to assume I could have watched 37 Super Bowls or US Open Tennis Tournaments, or even about 20 Ryder Cups.The players feel it and the fact that participation in the finals comes after two hard years of qualification and is not a god-given right adds to the magic. Only one country (Brazil) has been represented at all tournaments and the most appearances by a single player is only 5 tournaments (Germany’s Lothar Matthäus and Mexico’s Antonio Carbajal) and indeed some of the best players that the world has ever seen have not had the chance to appear even once (Ryan Giggs and George Best).
So get ready, it’s nearly here. Pull up a seat and switch on that new HD TV and prepare for the greatest show on Earth!!