Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Soccer, some sun and samba; it's over to you Brazil

'If you can't beat them, join them.' So considering our own crowd, that is to say the Republic of Ireland, couldn't beat them, the choice for most Irish, even those with just a token interest in soccer (football if you will), is to join them and get roused up in this year's World Cup.

Past World Cup winners. Who will it be this time around?
Who's it going to be this time around? (Pic: Fifa World Cup Facebook page.)

This is made much easier too when you're in a country that is taking part – one that's not England that is. Plus, from this perspective, it's not just any country, it's Colombia. That rather odd but at the same time enjoyable game of tejo may be seen as the more authentic, national 'sport' for some, but there's no disputing what the real passion is.

Indeed, such is the importance of the game to the masses, had La Selección's (the national team) luckless superstar, Radamel Falcao, known a few months ago that he wouldn't make the finals, he could have ran for president where he would, without much doubt, have been elected at a canter. There'd be no need for this upcoming second round of voting, and with it La Ley Seca, which we now have to 'suffer' through on the World Cup's opening weekend.

Colombia's luckless superstar, Radamel Falcao.
President Falcao? (La Selección Col.)
Of course, it could be argued that without Falcao leading Colombia's line in Brazil, fans could be set for more suffering watching events on the pitch. Time will tell on that one. For now, hope springs eternal.

So as we ready ourselves for four weeks of what will hopefully be a memorable football feast, here's the Wrong Way 'sideways' take on things.

'This World Cup, I'll be mostly supporting...'

I'd probably be doing Colombia a service by not supporting them, given how most teams I want to see win never actually do. But it is my 'second home' these days, so one must do one's 'patriotic' duty.
Outside of Colombia, I've always had a soft spot for Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica – oddly enough these three teams happen to be in the same group as England.

Put your money where your mouth is
If you're betting thinking about how much you're going to win rather than what you might lose, then lumping, significantly, on the winner coming from South America, at odds of about 10/11, looks a nice option. That's going by the fact that European teams have never won the tournament when it's been held in the Americas.

Nice colours: The Ivory Coast flag.
Looks familiar... (
More specifically, for many this is Brazil's tournament to lose, so you could just cut to the chase and take the 3/1 on the Samba Boys lifting the trophy on July 13.

All those might seem a little boring, aimed more at the professional, heavy punting gamblers. So for a fun bet, where a small stake could win big, an each-way dabble on Ivory Coast at 150/1 might give you a run for your money; there's something about the national flag that resonates. The 40/1 about Colombia is also interesting. Yes they must face Ivory Coast, but both teams can emerge from the group. Plus it gives an added incentive to feverishly support my adopted country.

Brazilian babes; not bad...
'Very good.' (
Battle of the anthems
While football/soccer national teams rarely sing their respective anthems with the same gusto as their rugby equivalents, it's still nonetheless very much part of the build-up to kick-off. When it comes to this side of things, I'm very much a traditionalist and stick with the tried and trusted. So in the absence of the Celtic nations, it's hard to beat either France's La Marseillaise or Il Canto degli Italiani for the Italians

Whisper it, but due to constant exposure over the last couple of years, even the Colombian anthem is beginning to sound semi-decent these days.

Brazilian babes
World Cup cameramen are usually pretty adept at picking out the attractive ladies watching in the stands. Down through the years the majority of these have tended to be Brazilian. So what a 'tough' assignment those working behind the lenses will have this year. Who do you leave in, who do you leave out? If any TV company needs assistance in this area, I'm willing to lend a hand – on the ground, in person of course, it's the best way. Wrong Way – always here to help.

Right, time to let the football do the talking.

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