The World Cup starts in two days! If you’ve either been in Mongolia or are an American, you might not know that it’s being played in Brazil, and that the first match is between Brazil and Croatia on Thursday. I don’t know how I’ll be able to watch it (though I fully intend to) and revise my book at the same time, but perhaps Ceiling Cat will give me both the leisure and the fortitude.
It seems like only yesterday that I was watching the last Cup. Now, as then, some foreign and football-crazed graduate students will install a full-screen display in the seminar room downstairs, and we’ll be able to relax in comfort, watching two matches per day.
I’m rooting for Brazil. How can you not? They’re the home team, they failed to win the World Cup in the last tournament played in their country (1950, when they lost 2-1 to Uruguay), and the country is in a state of malaise (see yesterday’s New York Times article on the team and the nation). Their lackluster performance against Serbia in a warm-up match last Friday (Brazil won 1-0) has also dampened expectations.
Here’s the official FIFA video previewing Brazil’s team and football history before the tournament begins:
And here are 32 trick shots by comic Rémi Gaillard, each one conducted wearing a different jersey from the participating teams. Given that Gaillard is a comedian, I wonder if he really is this talented, or that somehow these are faked (I don’t know how). The YouTube caption:
To celebrate the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Rémi wears all the finalists official football jerseys whilst executing 32 incredible trick shots.
Finally, reader Marella reports some football madness in Australia, as reported in the Herald Sun’s piece, “Outrage over giant Jesus air-balloon floating over Melbourne.” Marella notes:
This made me laugh! The Sportsbet people have floated a giant inflatable Jesus over Melbourne to advertise the World Cup. The gist being that it would take Divine intervention for Australia to get anywhere since we got the worst possible draw in the current competition. The religious of course are not too happy about it, but I think it’s more offensive to our poor soccer players,for it’s hardly a vote of confidence is it?
I wonder if Russell Blackford can see this from his house: