So, it’s the 2014 World Cup soon. Yes, I know, who gives a hairy baboon’s backside? Well, sadly, quite a lot of people, including a large lump of your colleagues and friends.
As the thrill of seeing a load of people repeatedly running around a field approaches, you have but two options.
1. Every time people start talking about the World Cup, plaster on your most gracious smile while mentally tuning out (personally I favour listening to the latest Eminem release in my head) or
2. Research the bare minimum about the World Cup so you can join in the discussion (even if it’s to assess which team has the hottest players. Don’t worry, I’ll go into that).
With this in mind, here’s all anyone really needs to know about the 2014 World Cup.
What is it?
Basically the Eurovision Song Contest of sport, but with more boring commentary and bigger balls.
Thirty-one teams from around the world arrive, play and represent their countries with the hope of winning a shed-load of money (nearly £21million for the victor) and a little trophy that looks suspiciously like it’s been constructed from Galaxy wrappers.
Where is it?
Brazil. The matches will take place in 12 different cities across the country (Bolo Horizonte, Brasilia, Cuiaba, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natel, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Sao Paulo), which will be a fun lot of travelling for the teams, fans and sports hacks trying to keep up with them all (most countries stick to two venues).
When is it?
Thursday, June 12, all the way through til Sunday, July 13.
So if you’re wondering why your partner’s getting all edgy about that July 13 wedding you’ve promised to go to, that’s why. It’s the final.
Does England have any chance of winning?
Don’t be ridiculous, we haven’t won since that one time in 1966… is what any logical person would say.
Brazil has won five times, Italy four, Germany three and Argentina and Uruguay twice.
William Hill has given England 25/1 odds of winning, compared to 3/1 for Brazil and 6/1 for Spain (who won the last one).
But maybe don’t say all this out loud. It’s a bit like saying there’ll never be another SATC film – probably true but we just don’t want to believe it.
When and who are England playing?
Italy on Saturday, June 14 at 11pm
Uruguay on Thursday, June 19 at 8pm.
Costa Rica on Tuesday, June 24 at 5pm.
All these teams are in group D. Meanwhile, there are about a million other matches going on (oh fine, 48 in total), as other countries play their rivals within their groups (A-H).
Then, depending on how well England does, they potentially go on to the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.
So who are the players to watch?
All the biggest stars only have one name and Neymar, playing for Brazil, is no different. The 21-year-old is hottly tipped to shine in the World Cup.
Similarly, there are high expectations of Isco, of Spain. Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal was recently named the best player alive by FIFA, so he should be pretty good too, as should Lionel Messi of Argentina.
As for the England squad, the pundits still love Wayne Rooney.
No, I mean is there any eye candy?
Ronaldo. Luis Suarez for Uruguay.
In the England squad there’s always Glen Johnson and Steven Gerrard plus, if you squint, goalie Joe Hart looks a bit like Ryan Gosling.
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