Itz June eighth today and the Biggest soccer extravaganza in the world kicks off tomorrow, 9th June at 2130 HRS IST. I'm talking about the FIFA World Cup 2006 which starts off with the Germany Vs. Costa Rica match at Munich's Olympic stadium tomorrow. Like the Olympics, the Soccer World Cup is a keenly anticipated event across the globe and as it comes once evry four years, the excitement only increases. Arguably, by being the world's most widely-watched event, the World Cup is even bigger than the Olympics!!! The last world cup in South Korea and Japan was a truly memorable one, both for the spectators and the players (well, atleast, for some of them!) and this year's event at Germany promises to be an even bigger one.
At the last world cup in Korea/Japan in 2002, Brazil were the eventual winners. This time around too, they seem to be the pre-tournament favourites.Whereas there's no denying Brazil's class & skills, some people have doubts regarding their fitness and 'age'! Ronaldo, Cafu and Roberto Carlos are on the wrong side of their 30's and that seems to be a stumbling block! Teams such as Italy and Netherlands are the eternal warriors and on their day, they can beat the best in the business. England are -IMHO- the most over-hyped team! With Sven's larger-than-life image and with stalwarts such as Beckham, Owen, Gerrard et al in their ranks…not to forget all the excitement that Wayne Rooney Generated, even before the tournament kicked off , they are onw team which will be centre of attraction most often than not. Germany have the home advantage but will they be able to pull it off? I don't think so! Argentina, Spain, Sweden and Portugal also have a sniff of a chance but they may not last that long in the tournament! And what about France? Well, after last WC's disappointment, they'll be raring to go! But will they? Only time will tell! And there are those less-known teams that can spring a surprise anytime! Ivory Coast has such capabilities and so does the Czech Republic , Japan and Australia! There's no telling how will they fare just because they're so unpredictable!
According to me….
Contenders: England, Germany, Brazil & Italy.
Sniff-of-a-chance: Spain, Argentina, Netherlands & Portugal.
Wayfarers: Japan, France & Sweden.
Party-Poopers: Czech Republic , Ivory Coast & Australia.
As the World Cup progresses, I hope to be adding more and more nuggets, trivia and pieces of information that I may find ineteresting enough! And not to forget the triumphs and the pitfalls!
Every world cup has a mascot associated with it and this year, the mascot is the adorable Lion called Goleo VI (Why VI?? I dunno!)
GOLEO VI the loveable lion is the Official Mascot of the 2006 FIFA World Cup™. He is alive, talks and thinks. And naturally, he has his own opinions and point of view, as no-one is born just to be a mascot. GOLEO VI has set himself one overriding task and has made it his sole priority: he wants the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany to be one huge, joyful and unforgettable party, spending his time as the "King of Parties" celebrating, singing and dancing with fans from all over the world for four whole weeks. He's as cool as they come, an attribute he's likely to need as his fame and stardom inexorably increase.
This smartest of lions features on magazine covers, appears in shop windows and on screens, has a long list of appearances in front of him, and is even working hard on an album!.
GOLEO VI's constant companion, Pille the talking football, is always at his side. They are an unequal double-act, as Pille is a right chatterbox who wears his heart on his sleeve. The pals' shared interest in football, and the prospect of what GOLEO VI calls "the biggest party in the world," make them inseperable.