The FIFA World Cup was first held in Uruguay in the year 1930. It was a tournament by invitation and only 13 Teams got that golden IV card, with the host country Uruguay winning that very first world cup tournament. The immediate previous world cup – the 2010 FIFA world cup – was hosted in South Africa and Spain was the world leader in football that year.
This is 2014 FIFA World Cup and our host country is Brazil. This would be a second-time hosting for Brazil, the first was in 1950. You don’t need an oracle to tell you that this South American country has put a whole lot into making this tournament a success – new stadiums and hotels were built in host cities and that is mentioning the very least.
This is a very exciting time for football lovers… all that excitement is hidden under a whole lot of nerves and short fuses… you don’t want to step on any toes while this tournament is going on, trust me.
Thirty two (32) nation teams will be playing in this tournament in a total of 64 matches to be played across Brazil.
In spite of it being a very serious game, there are some fun facts about the World Cup Tournament and some of them are:
- Brazil is the fifth country to host the World Cup twice. Same country has won the most world cup tournaments… and that is five times.
- Zinedine Zidane is widely considered one of the modern world football’s greatest players. But in spite of this, statistically Zidane also had the undesirable title as the dirtiest player at the FIFA world cups, having received four yellow and two red cards, including the now infamous Materazzi head-butt.
- During the 2006 World Cup, referee Valentin Ivanov oversaw possibly the dirtiest game of World Cup football in the modern era. Either that or the ref was too liberal with his card brandishing; displaying no less than 16 yellow and four red cards in the game between Portugal and the Netherlands at the Frankenstadion in Nuremberg on 25 June.
- Cameroonian Roger Milla was not only aged 42 when he played in his third World Cup (the first African player to do this), but he also managed to score against Russia and therefore has the record as the oldest goal scorer at a Fifa World Cup.
- The most goals scored in a single match was 10 by Hungary against El Salvador during the 1982 World Cup. The final score was 10:1. The player with the most goals scored during World Cups is currently 15 held by the Brazilian Ronaldo. However, having made the German World Cup team for the fourth consecutive time, Miroslav Klose (currently with 14 goals) has the opportunity to break this record in Brazil.
And the funnest fact is…
- The best American Player ever is not included in the US Rooster – Landon Donovan has been excused from the tournament for being not quite at the level of his would-be teammates. And best Colombian player would also be absent from the world cup. Radamel Falcao tore a ligament while playing for Monaco in the French League some months back. And finally the highest paid player did not make the rooster too. Gareth Bale is from Wales and the country did not qualify for the tournament, so the most expensive player in the world would be missing this year’s tournament in Brazil.
With these funnest facts, I say the rest of the world players, right now in Brazil, seem to have a fair chance of making their marks on the Brazilian soil.
And for us Nigerians, as usual we’ve got big hopes for our Super Eagles. They made the Group F of the World Cup teams, along side Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Iran. Their Group play begins on 15 June and ends 25 June. And our first match is with Iran on 16 June at the Arena da Baixada, Curitiba…. **let us pray**
So the stage is set in Brazil in my opinion and may the best team win… *God save Nigeria*.
And ladies, if you don’t care much for football… as most of us don’t… this is your time to to give space, big space to the boss man in the house. Remember, nerves are shot at this time and tempers are on the edge… be wise, Mmm hmm.