There is always a moment in a major sporting event when a spectacular shot or throw captures the true essence of the sport and that moment this year was Robin van Persie’s on the fly header which tied the game with Spain and shocked the world with its uninhibited audacity, brilliance and joy and also established Holland as the team to beat in this year’s World Cup:
The flying Dutchman, Robin van Persie, not only electrified the world with his soaring header but he inspired his team and soon the rout was on ~ As Arjen Robben got in gear and brilliantly attacked through the middle ~ Spain’s central defenders, Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique, faltered and last year’s champion Spain was thrashed 5 to 1. All of this occurred with striking workers and bloodshed in the streets of Rio as an ongoing reminder of the world wide inequality of our times.
I’ve always considered myself a citizen of the world so the World Cup every four years gives me the chance to exercise that liberty as a fan with 32 teams throughout the world. But what fully captures me is the joy and exuberance of each countries followers which is unlike any other event in the world ~ as such, the World Cup offers the whole world the chance to celebrate together for one month in the spirit of the true football (soccer).
The current format of the tournament involves 32 teams competing for the title at venues within the host nation (Brazil) over a period of one month ~ this phase is often called the Final Competition.
A qualification phase, the Preliminary Competition currently takes place over the preceding three years, and is used to determine which teams qualify for the tournament together with the host nation ~ which this year is Brazil.
This is truly a world event ~ The FIFA World Cup is the world’s most widely viewed sporting event; an estimated 715 million people watched the final match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup held in Germany and the 2010 event in South Africa was broadcast to 204 countries on 245 different channels. Inside the stadiums, a total of 3,170,856 spectators attended the 64 matches an average of 49,670 per match and the third highest aggregate attendance behind USA 1994 and Germany 2006.
The United States victory over Ghana 2-1 in Group G will be short lived since they still have to face Portugal and defeat a vastly superior Germany ~ which means that Germany will most likely eventually be facing Holland (the Netherlands) in the finals.
To me, this is Holland’s year for they have never won the World Cup, although they were the finalists with Spain four years ago, but they are now playing like a team possessed. Watching Argen Robben manipulate the middle with his quickness and guile and strike like a lightning bolt was truly breathtaking along with Persie’s speed and desire. See Robben in action ~ One minute video
Persie’s header goal however is without a doubt the poster story for this 2014 World Cup and here it is in real time ~ along with Robben and Persie embracing each other while delirious supporters celebrate in the stands ~ One minute Video
“It seems that soccer tournaments create those relationships: people gathered together in pubs and living rooms, a whole country suddenly caring about the same event. A World Cup is the sort of common project that otherwise barely exists in modern societies.”
Catch the World Cup fever !!
About the Author: Allen L Roland is a Freelance Alternative Press Online columnist. He is also a practicing psychotherapist, author and lecturer who also shares a daily political and social commentary on his web site at AllenRoland.com. He also guest hosts a Truthtalk, a national radio show that airs monthly. He is available for comments, interviews, speaking engagements and private consultations via email at [email protected].