Thursday, May 20, 2010

The first preview

21 day to go.

Just three weeks until the World Cup starts.

Here's the thing. I absolutely love it.

There are reasons not to. Reasons, some would say, to hate it.

Scotland not there. England there. Scotland not there. Fifa representing the very worse kind of globalisation. Scotland not there. Corporate behomoths getting richer as the game becomes ever more corrupted by money. Scotland not there.

And I care about those things. Some of them I care about a lot. Some of them not so much. But I do care.

Yet somehow I am able to suspend disbelief, embrace the hype and forget about Scotland's failings because I get to enjoy a month of as much football as anyone could want.

I love the wallcharts, I'm in heaven if there's space to include goal difference in the group tables - although I never had the patience for Panini. I love the preview supplements in the papers. I love that this is, sometimes, world class football available free to air. I love that people who don't like football spend a month either learning to like it or really pissed off.

Scotland not being there, that's the elephant in the room. But 204 countries tried to qualify for South Africa. Only 32 made it. Are 172 countries supposed to take no interest in what is, truly, a global event?

England being there. The rhinoceros in the room, warily eyeing up that elephant. I am not buying into the Anyone But England stuff. Bit bored of it all. Actively supporting them? No. Pretending to suppport whoever they are playing? Absolutely not.

Anyway, England have the world's most hypocritically moralistic press and that whinging, imbecilic fourth estate seems to hate them more than enough for all of us.

Yes, I find the media hype surrounding every England throw in annoying, often it makes my blood boil. But that's not the players fault, has nothing to do with the manager and can't be blamed on the decent fans who follow them.

And the world's a smaller place now. There's thousands of other places to get commentary when England are playing. Embrace the global village and the lingua franca of football.

So, free from the worries of watching Scotland and without a misguided jingoistic hatred of England, I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the spectacle.

And, if you are so minded, keep visiting the blog where I'll be covering the World Cup along with the usual feast of Scottish football.

A word from our sponsors


"The World Cup on The Scottish Football Blog is brought to you in association with..."

Not really. But I must mention the kind gentlemen at SoccerPro.com who saw their way to ensuring I can enjoy the World Cup in style.

I can never really make up my mind who to back at these events but this time I've taken the not wholly controversial step of picking Brazil as my team to follow. After all we've played them so many times that Brazil are pretty much the Scotland of the southern hemisphere. Kind of.

And now I can cheer them on in my very own Brazil World Cup jerseys as provided by SoccerPro and which are, of course, brilliant.

Seriously, they are good guys who said I could slag them off if I wanted but the service was first rate and the gear is actually great quality. Doesn't quite make me look like a samba soccer star but you can't have everything. (In my head it completely does make me look like that anyway.)

They've also covered me for World Cup kickabouts with a pair of Puma soccer shoes. Obviously football footwear has made giant strides since my day because these are the bees knees. I'm also told by those in the know that they look equally good when worn as part of one's everyday outfits. So take that, my trusty old Hush Puppies.

OK, advertorial almost over. Thanks again to Trevor at SoccerPro. Much appreciated and it is great stuff.