Moscow: There is nothing like a FIFA World Cup with a successful home team. Not necessarily the one that goes on to lift the trophy, but a home team that exceeds expectations entertains the world along the way and instils in its people a massive sense of pride. Or at the very least, a home team that gives the nation hope.
A smoothly organised FIFA World Cup will definitely add to president Vladimir Putin’s standing and Russia’s stature as far as geopolitics is concerned to post the Crimean disturbance. Once the ball starts to bounce at the spruced-up Luzhniki on Thursday, the grammar of politics will start pursuing a tangential narrative driven by consummate passion, nationalism and hero-worship.
Shots are about to boom on the banks of the Neva, the Volga and the Don, and someone joked the other day whether Germany can finally win in Moscow. Call it football’s Christmas or Eid, it’s June and the World Cup is here to charm the people, the politicians and the players.
Brazil was the first post-nationalist World Cup, claimed Simon Kuper of the 2014 edition. The football writer had to retract his statement. “Maybe I have spoken a bit too early,” he said as the world sought to choose otherwise.
Sports festivals are never bereft of politics or economics as the newfound expression of astronomical expenditure comes with a whole lot of unfavourable headlines and nagging headaches. Russia’s head of state can do without both.
Bombs can keep raining in Syria and Palestinians can keep suffering without water or electricity but the discourse will revolve around Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar’s strife for greatness alongside Joachim Loew’s imitation game to decode the hidden figures. Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan’s sudden show of fondness for things long gone by will be quickly erased out of public consciousness.
Television will make the real world even more real, reaching more homes as progress in numbers are the only constant in our ever-expanding markets. VAR, the newest face in the Congress of actors, offers broadcasters even more opportunities to complicate simple things giving rise to more arguments than settling any.
On another hand, Google has decided to run a series based on the cultures of the 32 participating countries, featuring guest artists hailing from each nation.
“Today’s Doodle collage, created by Gluekit, gives a special sneak peek at the diverse art to come by incorporating elements from the 32 unique guest-artist Doodles,” Google said in a blog post.
The 21st World Cup will witness 32 teams fighting out for the coveted trophy.