The first few days of the World Cup have been pretty exciting, and it seems Brasil took away a few lessons from Sochi. Apparently, accommodations were all ready for everyone, but the stadiums were not. At least our athletes have not been breaking down walls after getting stuck in bathrooms.
The opening ceremony was a vibrant, yet a relatively modest show. It looked like a giant musical production--a bit hard to believe the country spent, "officially," some $11 billion, until you realize that each of the 12 stadiums cost around $300M. The controversy surrounding all of this, of course, is that if Brazil has all this wealth, and is able to spend this much money on this event, how is it not taking care of its own people, and how is it not actually benefiting the locals? This is always the issue with developing countries hosting world events like the World Cup and the Olympics, isn't it? Let's just hope that Brazil does not need to spend much more and puts much of this towards the 2016 Olympics, which it is hosting in Rio.
Politics aside, I still love this event because it brings the world together to the same place for the love of the same sport. It's incredibly exciting. Just look at the crowd and their crazy-ass, often incomprehensible outfits. I am still very curious about Japan's waving around what looked like blue, empty trash bags filled with air.
I find it especially fun, because my family is a bit of a melting pot, so there are lots of teams to root for. England is always my #1 team in these games, but my mom and I counted how many countries our family represents in this World Cup, and it comes down to at least 8: Brazil, Holland, England, Japan, Switzerland, France, USA, and Germany. Fun, eh?
So yes, I have been looking forward to this and now that it's here, I couldn't be more excited. I missed the first game between Brazil and Croatia; but I wish I saw it, because I would have loved to have seen Brazil score all the goals in the game, including the one against itself. However, my colleagues and I gathered in a conference room for lunch to catch the Spain/Nederland game, and man was that a fun one to watch! Of course I was rooting for Holland, but I did NOT expect that kind of win (1-5). I thought it would be a close and exciting game, and that Spain may even win, considering it is the #1 team in the world right now; however, Holland dominated and showed everyone what Dutch redemption looks like! Hup Holland hup! Man, I was so excited I prayed they'd send their good ju ju to my Kings, and then that night my Kings ended hockey season and won the Stanley Cup in double OT! What a fabulous Friday the 13th. Did I mention 13 is my favorite number? I had no doubts :).
Then Saturday came, and the game I had been looking most forward to between England and Italia was upon us. Unfortunately, England disappointed, but it's okay--I have faith! And alas, what a beautiful Sunday it has been. The beautiful men of Suisse won 2-1 over Ecuador, and France dominated 3-0 over Honduras. France was on fire, and Benzema was that fire! In that game, we also got to see the workings of the new goal line technology. It definitely makes controversial goals like goal #2 in that easy to decide, because honestly, based on the replays I still could not tell if that ball actually crossed the line or not. However, according to the new goal line technology, it did. So yay! Argentina's game is on as I am typing this, and they are leading 1-0. I expect them to win, and they're a strong contender to watch throughout the games--though somewhat comically, along with the USA and Iran, they are 1 of 3 of the most hated teams in the Cup according to this NY Times article: Click here.
I am very much looking forward to tomorrow's games as well, because the Group of Death makes its debut, and though Team USA is the major underdog here, as I've learned from my LA Kings, it ain't over 'til it's over, and the game tomorrow against Ghana may be our only chance to do something good in this World Cup. The Germany vs. Portugal game should be a very interesting one, as well.
Enjoy the games! Show your pride, and your love! It's not a perfect world that we live in, but it's a beautiful one.
BIG BIG LOVE & HUGS