The World Cup so far…
To set the scene, it’s raining, it’s cold as ice, and after a few job interviews to try and find another day job to accompany the dream job and pay the bills, we finish walking around town. My mates and I find ourselves all huddled up at our downtown favourite PHO restaurant, eating, talking about our lives and of course, the football (As I also drink all the tea once again like the d*ckhead I am, leaving hardly anything for anyone else)
Talking about the football with mates where 1/4 of us have no idea about the game, is quite a funny display. We spent a good 10 minutes trying to explain, what has happened over the past few days, who Mo Salah is and that Vietnam are not in the World Cup. THEY DIDN’T BLOODY MAKE IT, STOP ASKING.
So my good friend of 9 years (who is Korean) turns to me and we go over the last few games, but not before she loses her mind over the results between South Korea and Sweden. A mixed emotional scene of “SCREW THE VAR! And “Our goalkeeper is a saviour, he deserves a bigger club!” And it’s true, South Korea’s goalkeeper does deserve more than a standing ovation after his wild and world class performance against Sweden. On the world stage is where you must make your mark, not only are you playing for your country but you are playing for yourself, displaying yourself in hopes for something bigger and better next season. As for Sweden, well they are just remarkable, and it was all without Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the starting IX … but I won’t say that too loud, he might hear me from Russia and slap me.
We move on to Egypt, and I have a little moment of sadness as I remember Salah’s face when Uruguay scored in injury time. We speak of Argentina, and the disappointment they faced against Iceland. We’re still trying to wrap out heads around it, in the end applauding Iceland in their performance and honesty hoping they cause another upset with England for the giggles. We sit and compare my favourite Argentinian to her favourite Portuguese king, Cristiano Ronaldo, and his hat trick against Spain. What an INSANE game that was, did not disappoint and was defiantly World Cup standard, it did, and I quote her words “felt like a final and not a group stage game”
We move on to Croatia and their performance against Nigeria, the team with the most swagged out home kit, that I am still running around trying to purchase, and how Croatia will be up against my beloved Leo Messi on Friday. I bring up Serbia and how we both honestly expected more of a performance from the Balkan side against Costa Rica, but Navas was just too much! I speak of Kolarov and how he scored that ABSOLUTE BEAUTY, imagining how my half Serbian cousins would be feeling right about now. Bringing a smile to my face. Ah, football.
A few more cups of tea and then we head off to our other famous hangout ground that we’ve called home for the past 6 years. Same place, same seating arrangement, same time of day… wow, I’m beginning to see a pattern here.
We continue our conversation on the World Cup, annoying the living sh*t out of our other 2 mates who don’t watch the game AT ALL, “Are you still talking about the World Cup!?” Yes…yes we are and we won’t stop until we have a good ‘complain’ about WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED BETWEEN FRANCE!
France…what can I say, if I wanted anything more than a win in that game, it was young Arzani to nutmeg Pogba and score a worldie…I also want to travel to Barcelona but we can’t have everything, can we Christina?
We deserved to get a draw if not a win and we are going to get it against Denmark! MARK MY DAMN WORDS! You could tell we were pretty pissed off about the ordeal because customers surrounding us DID, in-fact, get up and leave. But it was also getting late so maybe it was just their time to go, we’ll never know. The cafe still loves us coming there so it can’t be our loud behaviour… could it?
The sun begins to set over the town, we still haven’t finished our coffees and we also seem to be the only ones left at the cafe but the employees don’t mind, they’ve known us since we were kids in high school. We talk a little more about what might happen between England and Tunisia, our lives outside of the football, finish off our coffees, we crack a hell of a joke that we spend the next 20 minutes laughing over, I almost passed out. But we finally head off, taking a short stroll around the shopping centre, trying to avoid getting in the car because we don’t want to go home yet.
On our stroll, I see country kits are hung up in shop windows, footballs on display, TV screens showing highlights, nations flags hung up around the food court, kids running home from school with their country kits hiding under their school jumpers. It really is the World Cup. Hard to believe the last time I was watching it was 4 years ago on a couch at my grandparents place, we were watching the re run of the Netherlands game between the Socceroos on SBS…and I was sitting there with my grandfather.
Bringing me out of my daydream was a question from my best friend “Christina, you still doing that radio and football stuff, right?”
“Yeah I am” and I continue to enlighten them on the gig I have with FourFourTwo Magazine and talking about how I hope it works out for the best. 4 years forward, I’m older, wiser, more in love with the game than I was. I’ve been given opportunities to work for the game, within the game. Experience the atmosphere from the sidelines, in media boxes, in press rooms… but my grandfather isn’t here to see any of it this time. It pains me, but I can’t stop and won’t stop.
Into the car we get and onto the open road we go… that’s a dramatic lie, in reality we turn the corner and it’s actually a busy highway we spend 20 minutes stuck in peak hour traffic. I spend that time mentally preparing myself over the next few days for the Denmark game, I have all the hope in the world for the boys in green and gold.
But that’s the World Cup so far, for me, anyway.